West Nottinghamshire College


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History: The college was formed in 1976, although its roots date back to an arts college founded in 1902 and a technical college created in 1954.

Address: 8 sites across the towns of Mansfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield. The main campus is at Derby Road, Mansfield, which is currently undergoing a £24m redevelopment.

Ambience: Mansfield has everything of the energy, culture and spirit found in legends of Robin Hood country. It has suffered from the decline of the coal mining and textile industries, but programmes of regeneration are well underway. The town centre has one of the country's oldest traditional outdoor markets, which was first granted market charter status in 1227.

Who's the boss? Principal Asha Khemka OBE.

Prospectus: 0808 100 3626 or create a personalised one here.

UCAS code: Apply direct to college.

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Yes - keen on widening participation. Most foundation degrees ask for a Level 3 qualification and the majority of applicants will be interviewed.

Foundation degrees: Business management; children’s and young people’s services; criminal justice (human rights); hairdressing and salon management; international spa management; professional administration; sport coaching and development;  sport and exercise science. The college also provides BA (Hons) ‘top-up’ degrees in applied studies (music); applied studies (theatre); business and management; education studies; and sport studies.

Vital statistics: Takes in around 20,000 students each year, making it one of the largest further education colleges in the country, offering a wide range of academic and vocational programmes. In September 2013, a dedicated university centre featuring study resources and social facilities for Higher Education students opens at the main Derby Road campus. There is also an HE centre at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station Park campus. HE courses are validated by Birmingham City University and the University of Derby. A-Levels and a wide range of vocational courses including performing arts, media, hospitality and catering, health and social care, and sports and public services, are delivered on the main site. Construction, logistics and engineering are delivered in specialist outside centres.

Added value: It is the only college in Nottinghamshire to have been awarded Beacon status. Holds the Investors in People Gold standard. Has a Matrix award in recognition of advice and information offered to learners.

Teaching: In 2012 the college was awarded Grade 2, or 'good', with many 'outstanding' features, by Ofsted inspectors.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college, although the student services team are on hand to help you find somewhere to stay.

Cheap to live there? Yes. Private rents in Mansfield and nearby Nottingham start from around £70 per week.

Transport links: All college campuses are easily-accessible from junctions 27 or 28 of the M1. Trains from Mansfield station take two-and-a-half hours to London via a transfer at Nottingham station. Sheffield and Nottingham are half an hour away each.

Fees: Vary by course and qualification for FE. Full-time HE courses are £5,500 per year for those starting in 2013, and part-timer students will pay £3,000 per year.

Bursaries: The college has a discretionary Access to Learning Fund, from which it can offer short term support so that students can remain on their course.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Mansfield caters for all tastes. There are sophisticated wine bars, real-ale outlets, restaurants serving international cuisine, cheesy clubs and dance venues. The students’ union runs various trips and excursions.

Sporting reputation: Not entered into the BUCS league but join in with activities at the union.

Glittering alumni: Acclaimed musician and song-writer Paul Statham, who has collaborated with Dido and Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr, among others.