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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future