Swindon College

 

History: The origins of the college can be traced back to 1843, when educational classes for employees were started by the Great Western Railway Company. It started out as a technical college providing training to rail workers, and also as a secondary school. The late 19th century saw the development of the School of Art, the first purpose built art school in the south-west of England.

Address: The main campus is located in central Swindon, five minutes from the town centre and next door to one of Swindon's largest leisure centres.

Ambience: The new main campus building was opened in 2006 and offers state-of-the-art facilities over three floors including: A new HE Common Room with computing facilities, TV and lounge/eating area; a large Learning Resource Centre; the School of Art (the oldest in the south west); a gym; a lecture theatre and a large Refectory. The building is light, modern and clean. Student feedback is overwhelmingly that of a calm, friendly and safe place in which to study.

Who's the boss? The principal is Andrew Miller, who has worked extensively in the FE sector with a background in economics and business studies.

Prospectus: 0800 731 2250 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: S98 (Swindon College courses); O66 (Oxford Brookes courses); B16 (Bath courses)

What you need to know

Easy to get into: Not bad, most foundation degrees ask for an average of 240 UCAS points. Many HE courses ask for previous professional experience or related lower-level qualifications. The work-related degree and FD programmes are tailored to fit around students’ existing employment.

Foundation Degrees: Business; management and communications; early years; engineering systems; sport (sports therapy); support for learning.

Vital statistics: The college has around 500 higher education students, 2,300 full time further education students, 500 apprentices and 6,000 part time students. Academic and business support staff numbers total 630. HE courses include masters' degrees, honours' degrees, foundation degrees, HNDs, HNCs and professional qualifications. Some courses are validated by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Bath.

Added value: A new HE centre opened in November 2010 and is home to a chill-out area with comfy sofas and a 42" plasma screen TV, a seating area for food and drinks with kitchen facilities, an internet café-style bar and an adjoining computer suite with 12 PC workstations. The Swindon College School of Art is one of the oldest established art schools in the south-west and offers two unique degree programmes - an MA in archaeological illustration and a BA in illustration (narrative and sequential) - plus workshops and a photography studio with darkroom and printmaking facilities. The annual graduation ceremony takes place in October with a procession leading up to the ceremony in the Holy Rood Church. Students can take advantage of on-site training facilities such as hair salons, beauty clinics and the training restaurant at very reasonable prices.

Teaching: Comments from Ofsted in 2010 stated that '‘teaching and learning are good', 'assessment is good, teachers use a variety of techniques well' and ‘students are supported appropriately and their progress is monitored carefully’. Following its last QAA Integrated Quality Enhancement Review (IQER) of higher education within Swindon College, the resulting report showed confidence in the college’s academic standards and quality of learning opportunities, noting many areas of good practice. Swindon College is the top performing college in Wiltshire, according to the Framework for Excellence results 2010.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college but the accommodation advisor keeps a list of privately-owned accommodation suitable for students. All properties on the list are checked for health and safety standards by Swindon Borough Council.

Cheap to live there? About average - a room in a shared flat will usually cost around £70 to £85 per week.

Transport links: Swindon is centrally located in the south of England - within an hour’s drive of London, Reading, Cheltenham, Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff - at Junctions 15 and 16 of the M4. The college itself is situated five minutes’ walk from both the mainline rail station, Swindon bus station and the town centre. Students can buy annual permits to use the college on-site pay and display car parks.

Fees: Full-time BA courses charge £7,000 annually with certain 'top-up' programmes costing £7,500.

Bursaries: Means-tested Swindon College Bursary of £850 per year to eligible HE students. There is also the Progression Bursary of £540 to students who are moving from FE to HE at the college. Students may also be able to apply for bursaries through partner universities.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Swindon’s nightlife is diverse and lively with a wide choice of clubs offering a variety of music styles to suit all tastes. There are plenty of bars in the town centre as well as more traditional pubs in the surrounding towns and villages. A vast array of restaurants offer a wealth of menus from many cultures. Swindon regularly hosts culture festivals and music concerts throughout the summer months.

Sporting facilities: Sports and fitness classes on offer as part of the Resolve programme to increase the confidence of young people.

Glittering alumni: Actor Lyndon Ogbourne (Emmerdale); artist Ken White (muralist and creator of Virgin’s Scarlet Lady); musician Gilbert O’Sullivan and Andy Partridge (XTC); children’s author Chantal Bourgonje.

PROMOTED VIDEO

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee