New College, Swindon
|Type||Further & higher education|
|Location||New College Drive
|DfE URN||130851 Tables|
New College is a further and higher education institution, founded in 1983 and located in Swindon, England. The latest (2009) OFSTED report rated the college as Good (grade 2)with Outstanding features stating that: "This is a good college with outstanding features and good capacity to improve.." and that: "Achievement and standards are good overall. For adult learners on long courses and for pupils aged 14 to 16 on school link programmes they are satisfactory. Learners’ outcomes do not justify the college’s own view that achievement and standards are outstanding". New College is also one of the largest institutions in the country, for around 3,000 16-18 year olds, 1,500 over-19s and 14-16s "enrichment programmes".
In January 2003, 20 years after formation, there was a rebuild of the main site. The new building had a larger library and computing area, darkroom, digital darkroom, recording studio, 250 seat theatre, textile labs, more biological, physical and chemical labs and a large Sports Centre. Further extensions were added in 2005 and 2012, the latter being a £10 million investment which increased capacity by a third. The new build included a Student Zone, a STEM zone, a Lecture Theatre and an extended Restaurant.
Overall in the 2009 inspection, the College was rated Good (Grade 2) with outstanding features, in achievement and standards and the same in quality of provision and leadership and management. The report also stated that "...pass rates and the achievement of high grades in A levels are in line with the high national average and are good. Pass rates in AS qualifications are broadly in line with the national average. A-level success rates are mostly in line with sixth form college averages but at AS level they are low in comparison. This is as a result of learners withdrawing from part of their programme of study during the year".
Range of Courses
New College is known for its large range of courses offered, with 65 A-Level subjects (including unusual options such as Ceramics, History (Tudors & Stuarts), Archaeology and Environmental Sciences) and a selection of vocational courses across Public Services, Hair and Beauty, Health Care and Childcare, Sports and Leisure, Performing Arts and Art, Design and Photography. The College also offers a substantial number of programmes at Level 1 and 2 as well as part-time qualification and leaisure courses for adults and business training for organisations.
New College runs a football team, New College Academy F.C. which competes in the English football league system. For the 2011-12 season they play in the Hellenic Football League Division One West, after transferring from the Wiltshire League. There is also a Basketball Academy and a new Cycling Performance Academy (for 2014). Former and current sporting alumni include Shelley Rudman (skeleton bob), Laura Halford (rhythmic gymnastics), Debbie Palmer (speed skating and ice hockey), Jaime King (Swimming), Jon Lewis (Cricket(, Matt O'Dowd (Athletics), Louise Hunt (wheelchair tennis), Anna Mayes netball.
Prices of food in the college refectory and additional charges such as cash withdrawals, and extra expediture on course materials, such as printer credits, is deemed too high for the students. New College has relieved some of these costs in recent years (for example, allowing some students of art-based courses to obtain more printer credits for their money and doubling print credit for all students in 2013/14).
Over-crowding within the college was still a major issue in 2005, with a large influx of students attracted by the rebuild. Limited 'free-time' space is in places such as stairwells and classrooms. Parking is also difficult. Students and staff were parking in the housing estate opposite the college annoying residents. Extra parking has been added but many feel is still inadequate. The 2012 extension has solved many of the issues above. Parking can occasionally be problematic, but New College remain committed to providing free parking for their students, unlike other providers who charge.