Oxford and Cherwell Valley College
|Type||Further Education College|
Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (OCVC) is a further education college in Oxfordshire, England. It provides education and vocational training primarily for the post-16 sector.
This includes A-levels, diplomas, qualifications for professionals, apprenticeships, higher education courses, an international study programme, learning-for-leisure courses and courses to help the unemployed get back into work.
OCVC has campuses in Oxford city centre, Banbury, Bicester and Blackbird Leys on the outskirts of Oxford. Oxford and Banbury are the two largest campuses.
In total the college has around 11,500 students. Approximately 3,500 are aged 16–18 years old.
In 2010 OCVC, along with the Learning Skills Network (LSN), took responsibility for running Reading College.
Oxford & Cherwell Valley College is a four-campus college and has been since 2005, though its roots go back much further.
1.1 Oxford College of Further Education
Founded in 1960, and based at the current Blackbird Leys and Oxford city centre campuses, the Oxford College of Further Education offered courses to students at all levels.
At the turn of the millennium the student population was made up of 1,872 full-time and 7,533 part-time students. The College was divided into three faculties: arts, engineering services, and business and technology.
1.2 North Oxfordshire College
North Oxfordshire College, based at the current OCVC Banbury campus, was a general further education college that served Banbury and Bicester.
At the turn of the millennium, 1,115 full-time students were based at the college. There were also 3,360 part-time students.
1.3 Oxford and Cherwell College
On 31 July 2003, Oxford College of Further Education and North Oxfordshire College merged to become Oxford and Cherwell College.
The newly-merged college also became home to the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, which moved from Thame – where it belonged to Rycotewood College – to the Oxford city centre campus.
1.4 Oxford & Cherwell Valley College
A new campus was opened in Bicester in 2005. This is when the college became Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.
Subjects and courses
2.1 Full-time study
Subjects available for full-time study include art and design, business and enterprise, caring and health, catering and hospitality, construction, engineering, foundation studies, furniture, hair and beauty, ICT, joinery, media, motor vehicle, motorsports performance engineering, music, painting and decorating, performing arts, plumbing, sport, travel and tourism, and uniformed public services.
OCVC’s sixth-form centre offers more than 20 A-levels, mostly from the Oxford city campus. In 2012 it achieved a 99.6% pass rate.
2.3 Higher education
The higher education provision covers foundation degrees (Level 5) and teaching and training qualifications (Levels 5 and 6). They are delivered in partnership with local universities. Partner universities include Oxford Brookes University, Bucks New University and the University of Bedfordshire.
2.4 International students
OCVC runs an international study programme (ISP) for international students who want to go on to study at a UK university.
2.5 Part-time study
Part-time study can be qualification and non-qualification based. Part-time subjects with qualifications include accounting, business, catering, English language, hair and beauty, ICT, first aid, teaching and training, security and skills for life.
Subjects without qualifications focus mostly on the creative arts (e.g. art, photography, textiles, ceramics) and woodworking. They are also known as learning-for-leisure courses.
OCVC runs apprenticeship training across many of its vocational subjects.
2.7 Courses for the unemployed
The college has a Get that Job programme which is for people who are unemployed. It provides free training courses to those who are eligible, and offers help with other skills such as CV writing and interview techniques.
OCVC has campuses in Oxford city centre, Banbury, Bicester and Blackbird Leys.
3.1 Oxford city centre
OCVC’s Oxford city campus is in the city centre and is set next to the River Cherwell.
The campus has on-site facilities for students to do their training. These include furniture workshops, hair and beauty salons, a restaurant, and studios for music, performing arts and creative media. The salons and restaurant are open to customers.
The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and the Rycotewood Furniture Centre are among the specialist centres located on the Oxford campus. See partnerships below.
Located close to Banbury town centre, the campus is undergoing a major redevelopment.
The new Centre for Creative Arts was opened in September 2011, and new centres for motor vehicle and media are planned for 2013-14.
The on-campus training facilities include hair and beauty salons, a restaurant, and studios for performing arts and the creative arts. The salons and restaurant are open to customers.
OCVC has a campus in Bicester campus – the Performance Engineering Centre – which specialises in motorsports engineering and environmental technology courses.
Engineering resources include fabrication and welding workshops, engineering machining workshops and a composites workshop with a full-size autoclave.
Environmental technologies courses include environmental technology systems, solar photovoltaic systems, solar thermal hot water systems and water harvesting.
3.4 Blackbird Leys
Blackbird Leys is an Oxford ward located to the south east of the city centre.
OCVC’s Blackbird Leys campus delivers courses in construction (carpentry, plumbing, trowel trades, and painting and decorating), motor vehicle and electrical engineering.
It is also home to the college’s Centre for Autistic Learners.
3.5 Further redevelopment
As well as the redevelopment that is currently in progress on the Banbury campus, major redevelopment is planned for the Oxford city centre campus.
Enterprise and entrepreneurship
OCVC has adopted an enterprise-focused approach to its teaching and learning. This is a response both to the economic climate, and to the demands of the employers who want staff with relevant employability skills.
The college launched a new curriculum model in 2012. Called the 4one1 model, it builds enterprise and commercial activity into the curriculum. It operates on a six-weekly cycle: four weeks of class-based teaching and learning, one week of review, and one week of enterprise activities. It aims to build commercial experience into students’ education.
Other enterprise-related ventures include:
- SweetFE – a community interest company (CIC) set up by the college to promote enterprise both at OCVC and across the further education sector
- Student start-ups – opportunities for students to start their own businesses
- Peter Jones Enterprise Academy – a new business centre which delivers vocational qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship
- Gazelle Group – a network of colleges which focuses on entrepreneurship in further education. OCVC is a founder member.
- StudioX1 – a media production company set up by the college to give students commercial experience while they study
The college develops industry and educational partnerships to broaden and strengthen its training provision.
5.1 Oxford Brookes University
Most of OCVC’s higher education provision is in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. The courses are:
- Foundation Degree in Motorsports: Performance and Automotive Technology
- Foundation Degree in Business and Enterprise
- Foundation Degree in Creative Arts and Design Practice
- Foundation Degree in Policing
- Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care
This partnership also delivers the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.
5.2 Bucks New University
OCVC’s partnership with Bucks New University delivers the Foundation Degree in Furniture: Design and Make, and the BA (Hons) in Furniture: Design and Make.
The partnership also formed the National School of Furniture in 2010.
5.3 Reading College
In August 2010 OCVC took responsibility for running Reading College in partnership with the Learning Skills Network (LSN). Following LSN's withdrawal in January 2011, OCVC assumed full responsibility for Reading College.
5.4 UTC Reading and Science UTC Didcot
UTC Reading is a university technical college that is due to open in September 2013. It is for students aged 14–19, and specialises in computer science and software engineering.
The UTC is backed by Microsoft, Cisco, BT, Peter Brett Associates and Network Rail. The OCVC Group (Oxford & Cherwell Valley College and Reading College) is a lead education partner along with the University of Reading and Reading School.
Plans are under way to open a Science UTC in Didcot in 2015.
5.5 University of Bedfordshire
OCVC’s partnership with the University of Bedfordshire delivers teacher training diplomas at Level 5.
The diplomas are in teaching, teaching numeracy, and mentoring in the lifelong learning sector.
5.6 Oxford Spires Academy
In 2009-10 OCVC collaborated with Reading-based CfBT Education Trust and Oxford County Council to take over the management of Oxford School in east Oxford.
It re-opened as Oxford Spires Academy in January 2011.
5.7 National School of Furniture
The National School of Furniture (NSF) is a partnership between OCVC’s Rycotewood Furniture Centre and Bucks New University. The partnership was formed in 2010 to offer furniture training from Level 1 (certificate) through to Level 8 (PhD).
OCVC offers training provision from Level 1 to Level 6, which is a BA Honours degree (top-up).
Rycotewood is an established name in the furniture industry. Rycotewood College was set up in 1938 in Thame, Oxfordshire, to deliver training in furniture and engineering.
In 2003 the furniture department moved to OCVC’s Oxford city centre campus and became the Rycotewood Furniture Centre.
5.8 Peter Jones Enterprise Academy
OCVC is an approved provider for the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.
The academy was set up by entrepreneur and BBC Dragons’ Den panellist Peter Jones, CBE. It works with a network of colleges across the country to deliver further education qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship.
OCVC is undergoing a restructure at group level in 2013.