Warwickshire College (including Pershore College)


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The Independent Online

History: Warwickshire College’s Leamington Campus dates back to 1950, when it was known as Mid-Warwickshire College. The Moreton Morrell campus, originally called the Warwickshire Institute of Agriculture, opened in 1948. In the early seventies equine provision was introduced and quickly established a strong reputation. In 1996, both establishments merged to become Warwickshire College. In 2003 three further sites were acquired: the newly built £11m Trident Centre in Warwick, the Henley-in-Arden Centre (previously a private school) and the Rugby campus (the result of a merger between Warwickshire College and Rugby College in 2003). In 2007, Warwickshire College merged with Pershore College.

Address: There are six campuses located in beautiful scenery in the heart of England, at Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, Henley-in-Arden, Moreton Morrell and Rugby in Warwickshire, and Pershore, a market town in the heart of South Worcestershire, about half an hour's drive south of Birmingham.

Ambience: Each site offers something different. The Leamington campus is in a lively town packed with bars and clubs. The Moreton Morrell campus is set in 750 acres of countryside with a strong community feel and lively on-site student bar. Pershore College is situated near Worcester, on a 60-hectare site overlooking the river Avon. Residential accommodation and a lively social scene ensure that students benefit from a ‘home away from home’. The facilities include a commercially-run nursery and plant centre, organic vegetable unit and glass houses. The Rugby campus has recently undergone massive redevelopment, with a new £33m purpose-built centre opened in 2009. Rugby, the birthplace of the popular sport, boasts theatres, art galleries and museums. The Henley-in-Arden campus has period buildings with modern facilities, and is set in 27 acres of beautiful grounds: there is even a commercially run spa. The village itself is traditional, so expect pubs and small shops. The Trident campus in Warwick is a leading edge, skills-based training facility, with close ties to local industry and more of a professional buzz about it.

Who's the boss? Mariane Cavalli joined the college as principal and chief executive in 2010.

Prospectus: 01926 318 166; order a prospectus here.

UCAS code: W25 (with the exception of Pershore College, which is W80)

what you need to know

Easy to get into? A range of UCAS points is required for courses and these vary depending on each subject. Expect to be asked to go to an interview, but it is not compulsory.

Foundation Degrees: Administration and business support; animal welfare (management or science and health); beauty therapies management; business management; cognitive behaviour counselling; early years; engineering; equine studies; events management; food safety and quality assurance; hairdressing management; motorsport engineering; person centred counselling; social care and community studies; spa management; sport and fitness management; veterinary nursing and practice management.

Vital statistics: Warwickshire College is one of the country’s largest education and training providers with almost 30,000 students, around half of whom study part-time. The college offers more than 1,700 courses across 20 different subject areas. Most of the 400 HE courses are based at the Leamington Campus, although land-based courses take place at Moreton Morrell and Pershore for the use of the specialist facilities. HE students enjoy good sports provision at Henley-in-Arden.

Added value: The Leamington campus includes a recently built £5.8m art block, a lecture theatre, learning resources centre, sports hall, gym and beauty salon. The new £35m purpose-built Rugby campus opened for the 2009-10 academic year and boasts state-of-the-art engineering and technology facilities. The Moreton Morrell campus has a working farm and stabling for more than 100 horses, to go alongside its animal care unit. The award-winning equine area offers specialised research facilities, including a high-speed equine treadmill, a hard landscape workshop and design studio, crop production facilities and a specialist plant unit. The Henley-in-Arden centre offers modern teaching facilities, a fully equipped gym and sports lab, floodlit all-weather multi-purpose pitch, sports pavilion and up to four playing surfaces for football, rugby, tennis and hockey.

Teaching: Commended consistently by the QAA. Most recently, the college was praised for its peer review system for courses and its encouragement and support for individual scholarly activity, among other things.

Research: Research underpins equine studies and an annual horse conference is held for specialists across the country.

Any accommodation? Yes. On-campus housing is available at the Leamington, Pershore and Moreton Morrell campuses, while home-stays can be arranged for students studying elsewhere. Rents range from £68 to £141 per week, depending on whether you opt for catering or self-catering accommodation.

Cheap to live there? Varies according to the location. Local rents are between £60 and £110 per week. Food and drink is fairly reasonable.

Transport links: Most centres have easy access to the M40, M1 or M5 and are around two hours by train from London. In addition to public buses, the college runs its own bus link between different sites. Pershore is served by train and bus links from London, Birmingham and Cheltenham, and is close to the M5.

Fees: Full-time FE courses cost £1,250. HE course fees vary, but cost between £5,500 and £6,500 per year.

Bursaries: Part of the National Scholarship Programme, offering £3,000 scholarships to selected eligible students, including care leavers and those from low income families. The college also provides a generous bursary scheme offering £750 per year to full-time HE students from low income families who do not receive a scholarship.

the fun stuff

Nightlife: Students can enjoy several bars and pubs in the three major centres of Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. The student association also organise events including parties, summer balls, barbecues, trips, karaoke and charity events. The cosmopolitan city of Birmingham is also on the doorstep of most college centres, with its famous Bullring development and Broad Street. The Pershore Campus has the college-run WR1 bar. Pershore has pubs and places to eat, and there is a theatre. For clubs the best bet is to head to Worcester, Birmingham, Cardiff or Bristol.