South Gloucestershire and Stroud College


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The Independent Online

History: Founded in 1960 as Filton Technical College. In February 2012, the college merged with Stroud College and was renamed South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.

Address: Five sites in suburban Bristol. Clasped between the M5, M32, and M4 motorways.

Ambience: On the up. Both campuses have received massive investment recently. £30m has been spent on the main Filton college site, with a new Library and Learning Resource Centre, and the new WISE (West of England Institute of Specialist Education) campus, which specialises in Performing Arts, Sports, and Media. Enjoys close links with industry. Recently opened an education centre at Bristol Zoo Garden.

Who's the boss? Kevin Hamblin is principal.

Prospectus: 01179 092 255 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: B79

What you need to know

Easy to get into? With a range of courses comes a range of entry requirements, but foundation degrees usually require 160 UCAS points, with either two A-levels or a BTEC National Diploma in the relevant subject. It is, however, keen to widen participation, so students with impressive portfolios or non-formal qualifications are also considered.

Foundation degrees: Fashion, graphics, integrated wildlife and conservation, and photography. Also Higher National Diplomas in business, performing arts and sport and exercise science.

Vital statistics: Roughly 13,000 students, of whom 2,800 are full time, and around 200 study HE. A variety of entry to degree-level courses, which are ran in association with the University of the West of England.

Added value: The WISE site houses the Bristol Academy of Sport, the South West Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the Bristol School of Art. Facilities include a 500 seat indoor sports hall, a 60x40m indoor astroturf pitch, digital video editing and sound recording studios, as well as a 250-seat theatre. The foundation degree in integrated wildlife and conservation, launched in 2010, is taught entirely at Bristol Zoo Gardens. The Male Football Development Centre won an award from the FA in 2005 for outstanding achievement.

Teaching: 2008's OFSTED inspection places the college in an excellent position to move to "outstanding" in 2012. Provision is outstanding in sport, leisure, travel and tourism. With teaching and learning classified as good, enhanced by information and learning technology.

Any accommodation? No halls of residence but the college can help organise homestays with host families or advise on renting in the private sector.

Cheap to live there? Depends where you choose to live. Host families cost £125 per week, which includes breakfast and evening meals. Student houses cost anywhere between £250 and £350 per month.

Transport links: The main campus is just off the A38, with easy access to the M5, M4, and M32. Accessible by a myriad of buses. Regular trains run to Abbeywood. Bristol is 15 minutes away by car, 25 by bus.

Fees: £6,000 per year for higher education courses.

Bursaries: Scholarships and bursaries are available for exceptional students.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Bristol's the place to be, whether gigging at the Academy, or boozing in the bars.

Sporting facilities: The WISE campus is home to the Bristol Academy of Sport and students can make use of their athletics facilities.

Glittering alumni: Will Bailey, Para-Olympian table-tennis player.