Notable Colleges & Universities in Reading
Reading plays host to a number of renowned educational institutions that have made their mark on the landscape of UK learning. Here are some of the best of them.
University of Reading
The University of Reading is considered to be one of the top 10 most research-intensive universities in the United Kingdom. It also ranks as one of the top 200 universities in the world. The university's reputation for teaching, research and enterprise is world-class.
Built in 1892, the University of Reading received its Royal Charter in 1926 and established a long tradition of research, education and training on a local, national and international level.
The university is a two-time recipient of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, which it won in 1998 and 2005. At present, it boasts of a strong multi-cultural environment, with over 3,000 international students coming from 120 countries.
The university campus is located a mere two miles from Reading's city centre and offers a full set of university courses. The grounds span around 1.6 square kilometres and encompass three distinct campuses -- Whiteknights Campus, London Road Campus and Blumershe Campus.
Whiteknights Campus, the largest of the three, is named after the White Knight, John De Erleigh IV, a 13th century knight. It includes woodlands, meadows and Whiteknights Lake, as well as the main University Library, which contains around a million books. The London Road Campus is the original university site and still hosts annual graduation ceremonies. Meanwhile, the Bulmershe Court Campus, located in Woodley, houses the Institute of Education and the School of Health and Social Care as well as the university's largest hall of residence.
In addition, the university owns some farmlands in Arborfield, Sonning and Shinfield villages where various research centres, including the flagship Centre for Dairy Research can be found. The university is also associated with Gyosei International College, a bi-cultural British/Japanese learning institution that accounts for Reading's substantial Japanese student population.
Thames Valley University
Reading also boasts of one of England's largest universities, Thames Valley University, which has a student population of around 45,000, including over 20,000 full-time students.
Located at the Thames Valley, the university was formerly known as the Reading College and School of Arts and Design. The Reading campus is one of three Thames Valley campuses, the other two being in London and Slough. Courses offered include health care, health sciences, media, music and a host of professional business disciplines.
Thames Valley University is the largest provider of skilled manpower for companies in West London and Thames Valley. It began as the Lady Byron School in 1860. Four different colleges were merged in 1990 and became known as Polytechnic of West London. It was renamed two years later as Thames Valley University.
With the merging of this unique set of institutions, Thames Valley University has developed an unconventional appeal, mostly to students from West London and Thames Valley. Many of them choose to commute from home to attend this university. The professional training courses it offers are also unique and cannot be found elsewhere. According to 2006 estimates, nearly half of the students are from non-white ethnic groups while 60% only go to school part time.
Overall, the university has four faculties. These are the Faculty of the Arts (formerly known as the London College of Music and Media), the Faculty of Professional Studies, the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences and the Faculty of Technology. The 14-19 Academy, which is one of the university's departments, offers GCSE and A level courses. Then there is the Graduate School in Ealing which offers research degree courses and support for research undertakings. In addition, there is a Thames Valley University Students' Union which provides representation for students.
Padworth College and Parkland Language School
Reading also hosts a number of commercial English language summer schools, the most notable of which are Padworth College and Parkland Language School.
Inaugurated in 1963, Padworth College began as a sixth form all-girls boarding school which became co-educational only in 2005. It now admits students aged between 13 and 19. The college is located between Burghfield Common and Tadley. It is based within the local manor house known as Padworth House, which was the home of the Darby-Griffith military family during the 18th century.
Meanwhile, the Parkland Language School teaches English language summer courses to students aged between 11 and 17. It is located amid several acres of striking parkland in one of the most renowned private boarding schools in England.