West Thames College


History: Before 1993, West Thames was known as Isleworth Polytechnic and Hounslow Borough College. There is a grade II listed building on site called Spring Grove House dating back to 1645 - originally the 18th Century residence of botanist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks. Banks was the first unofficial director of Kew Gardens in 1772 and famously travelled around the world with Captain Cook.

Address: The main campus is in London Road, Isleworth; there is also a skills centre in Feltham.

Ambience: West London is a diverse and affordable area with a vibrant mix of cultures. This lively college offers a range of courses, specialising in professional and specialist vocational training.

Who's the boss? Marjorie Semple is principal.

Prospectus: 020 8326 2020 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: W65

What you need to know

Easy to get into? A levels, National Diploma or equivalent Level 3 for entry to higher level courses and various requirements for other courses. Applications are also welcome from mature students with suitable experience.

Foundation degrees: FdA early years care and education; FdSc psychology and counselling studies. HNDs in applied biology; performing arts; dance; specialist make-up; travel and tourism management; creative media production and HNS music production. BA in specialist make-up.

Vital statistics: Over 6,500 students study courses from entry level to foundation degrees, HNDs and BAs. An associate college of Kingston University, it also has close links with other London universities and local employers.

Added value: The main college campus in Isleworth has some of the best facilities in the country, with bright, modern buildings such as the Atrium (opened in 2010) which uses sustainable energy sources. The campus redevelopment was completed in September 2011 with the opening of the Sir Joseph Banks Building which houses state-of-the-art classrooms and workshops, landscaped lawns and sports pitches. The College is a certified Microsoft and Cisco Networking Academy.

Teaching: In a 2010 Ofsted inspection, the college received a Grade 3, or 'satisfactory', rating overall. Safeguarding, equality and diversity, and foundations for learning and life were all deemed to be 'good'.

Any accommodation? Paragon House is shared with the University of West London students. Paragon is based in Brentfordwhich has all the shops, bars, restaurants, leisure facilities and amenities you'll need. Rent starts at £127 per week and ranges to £173.

Cheap to live there? Prices vary but rents are generally pretty steep, in line with outer London rental prices at upwards of £80 per week.

Transport links: Isleworth train station connects directly with Waterloo and central London in 30 minutes. The nearest Tube station is Hounslow East or Osterley and Hounslow bus station is about 10 minutes' walk.

Fees: Vary by course and qualification for further education programmes. HE fees range from £2,400 to £5,900 per year.

Bursaries: Course-specific bursaries are available to those progressing well with studies.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The capital's throbbing club culture is only 30 minutes away but west London has its own charismatic flair.

Sporting facilities: Sports hall and outdoor pitches, plus a full-sized sports pitch at Isleworth. Plenty of sports teams to join, with use of the fitness gym costing just £10 per year.

Glittering alumni: Freddie Mercury; award-winning actors Rufus Sewell and Anne-Marie Duff; former Holby City and Coronation Street actor Martin Hancock (better known as Geoffrey "Spider" Nugent); EastEnders actor Rizwan Shebani; Mark and Scott Morris from The Bluetones.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam