Blackburn College (Blackburn with Darwen)

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Blackburn College
Established 1888
Principal Dr. Thomas Moore
Administrative staff
Students 16,000
Location Blackburn, Lancashire, England, UK

Blackburn College is a further and higher education college in Blackburn, in the unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire, England.

It is a large college, with over 15,000 students, around 6,000 of whom are aged 16–19.[1] Courses provided by the college include A-levels, NVQs and BTEC National Diplomas, and in conjunction with University Centre at Blackburn College, provides HNDs and degrees.

The East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education is an associate college of the University of Lancaster, which validates most of its degrees.[2]

The current principal is Dr. Thomas Moore, replacing Ian Clinton, who announced his retirement from the college in February 2013.

After leaving in December 2013, Mr. Clinton oversaw a giant expansion over a college in which he started in June 2004, taking over from his predecessor, Mrs. Sheena Ewing, who announced her retirement in February 2004, after starting as vice principal in 1991, then becoming principal in 1997. In July 2013, it was announced the deputy principal, Mrs. Lisa O’Loughlin, was set to leave the college due to taking up a new post at The Manchester College, the large college in Europe. She started at the college in 1995, as a media lecturer. She then became deputy principal in 2008.


Blackburn College started as Blackburn Technical College, which was established in 1888 by public subscription. It originally specialised in engineering and textiles, introducing tertiary courses such as A-levels in 1984.[2]


The main campus is located close to Blackburn town centre and consists of several buildings. The oldest is the Grade II listed Blackburn Technical School, built between 1888–1894; the building, situated at the centre of the campus, is now called the Victoria Building.[3] Other buildings on the campus were built between the 1960s and 1980s. The increase in higher education, in conjunction with the East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education, resulted in an expansion of the college into a former British Telecom office building in the 1990s and from early 2012, the building underwent extensive refurbishment to turn it from small office spaces into premises more suitable for teaching.

In addition to the main campus, the college has two smaller sites, The Saturn Centre in the Greenbank area and Darwen Access Point in Darwen.[4]


In the 2000s, four phases of construction were announced, as the college aims to modernise its campus and increase the range of degrees offered.

The first was St Paul's Centre, with IT and sixth form facilities, which was completed in 2007 at a cost of £8.8million. Phase 2, a new University Centre off Montague Street was completed in 2009, costing £14 million. Phase 3 of the re-development is the biggest to date, the £18.3 million Beacon Centre, opposite the Construction Centre on St. Paul's Street. This building includes teaching spaces for art and photography studios and IT suites as well as a male and female multi-faith prayer room.

In summer 2012, demolition of the 1960s Feilden Street campus, which once housed the colleges Sixth Form, began (with a little help from Mark Felix), making room for further development of the college which is currently a 448 spaced car park, and previously submitted planning developments for a new sports hall, gym and classrooms. In September 2013, the college's new STEM(MM) (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (Media and Music)) building, opened, which is placed next to the University Centre, the STEM(MM) building is Phase 4 of the colleges re-development, and possibly one of the last buildings to be built.[5]

There are also plans to create a motor vehicle centre, which is planned to open in September 2014. It has had developed input from Nissan and Škoda. It will be known as the Regional Automotive Hub, according to the college.


In 2008, the college was rated as "outstanding" in an Ofsted report, and was one of five colleges in the North West to be awarded Beacon status by the Quality Improvement Agency.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blackburn College Inspection Report". Ofsted. January 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Blackburn College". The Independent. Independent News and Media. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  3. ^ "Blackburn Technical School". Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  4. ^ "How to Find Us". Blackburn College. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Pye, Catherine (16 September 2008). "Blackburn College aims for more university students". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Deborah (15 September 2008). "Blackburn College beacon delight". Lancashire Telegraph. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 15 November 2008. 

Coordinates: 53°44′53″N 2°29′17″W / 53.748°N 2.488°W / 53.748; -2.488 Centenary Booklet This Centenary Booklet commemorates 100 years of service by Blackburn College to the Community of Blackburn, Darwen and East Lancashire. It highlights significant stages in the growth and development of the College from its foundation in May 1888 to the visit in 1988 by Prince Charles.