The Sheffield College


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History: Founded in 1989 from an amalgamation of community colleges. At the start of 2003 it launched a new "federal structure", a reorganisation that created a greater voice for students and a better organisational structure for the 1,000-strong workforce.

Address: Three sites: Hillsborough College in the north, Norton College (which includes Peaks Centre) in the south, and Sheffield City College (formerly Castle College) in the city centre.

Ambience: An industrial city, Sheffield has one of the biggest student populations in the country. The UK's biggest national park, the Peak District, is on the doorstep.

Who's the boss? Heather MacDonald, principal and chief executive, previously head of Wakefield College.

Prospectus: 0114 260 2597 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: S22

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Not too bad. Requirements vary but 100-120 UCAS points are needed for most foundation degrees. Students without formal qualifications are encouraged to apply.

Foundation degrees: Business management and enterprise; e-communications; fashion design and manufacture; graphic design; media production; performing arts; photography; public services – policing studies; sport and exercise coaching; tourism and events management.

Vital statistics: A large college, with around 25,000 students across the area. It offers a range of courses up to higher education level. HE courses are validated by local universities.

Added value: Opened in 2005, the £27m Hillsborough College site includes sports facilities, 14 art and design studios and 12 specialist ICT workshops. Meanwhile, the new £60m Sheffield City College (formerly Castle College) site opened in 2010 and includes new catering facilities, hair and beauty salons, an aviation academy, science and IT classrooms. There is also a new gym and all-weather sports pitches. The Sheffield College Business Gateway at Sheffield City College is the first point of contact for employers and a one-stop shop for all courses aimed at the world of work and industry.

Teaching: A 2006 Ofsted report rated science, hospitality and catering, English language and literature and business management good and construction satisfactory. QAA inspectors have expressed confidence in the academic standards achieved by the programmes in computing and engineering.

Any accommodation? The college has none of its own, but HE students are offered places in Sheffield Hallam University halls of residence.

Cheap to live there? Yes - a room in a shared flat could set you back just £60 per week.

Transport links: All sites have excellent links to all major public transport routes, including the tram system.

Fees: Two year HNDs and foundation degrees cost £5,900 per year.

Bursaries: None offered by the college. Prospective students are directed to Student Finance England.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Sheffield has a vibrant nightlife, populated predominantly by students from the various universities and colleges in the city. It offers a wide variety of sport, theatre, live music, art, cinemas, shopping for every taste and an ever-growing list of great places to eat and drink.

Glittering alumni: Richard McCourt, TV and radio presenter, and fellow TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.