South Thames College
An educational establishment, which is now known as South Thames College, has existed at the Wandsworth site in south west London for more than 100 years. The institute was founded in 1895 by a tax on whisky. Students had to pay what was then a substantial fee of £1 a term for day classes. When it began there were around 500 students studying there, a large number at those times.
1910-11 College regulations stated that "...each boy must wear the school cap or straw hat; he must also provide himself with a satchel, gymnasium shoes and a swimming costume."Template:Citation needed Apparently, the caps came in different colours depending on what "House" the student belonged to and, according to one student in 1930, the colours used to run in the rain, staining the students' faces blue, red, green or yellow.
Today, South Thames College is one of the largest further education colleges in London, having recently merged with Merton College. The centres are based in the south west of London with the main centres in Wandsworth, Merton and Tooting.
The college specialises in vocational training in subject areas such as business and computing, hair and beauty, construction, media, music, performing arts, catering and travel and tourism. A Level courses and higher education and access courses are also available, as well as a wide selection of leisure and taster courses ranging from Swedish massage to bicycle maintenance.
There are nearly 2,000 further, higher and adult education full and part-time courses on offer to school leavers and adult learners.
The College has undergone a radical makeover with over £140 million invested in recent years. The College is also investing £5.7 million in a new Hospitality and Catering Academy at the Merton Campus. Courses at the Academy will begin in September 2014.
The college’s facilities include:
- A Library spanning three levels
- Industry standard hair and beauty salons
- A Sports England standard sports hall, gym and aerobics area
- Forensic science and biology labs
- Skills for Life and language teaching rooms
- A games development room and specialised IT facilities
- Music and TV recording studios with editing facilities
- Photography studio and dark rooms
The College was inspected by Ofsted in June 2009 and again in May 2012 and was awarded a ‘Good’ rating in both inspections. The college has a long-term aim to become an ‘Outstanding’ college. Ofsted praised the college’s rising success rates and the “safe and inclusive environment”.