Learning in the big city
Jade O'Donoghue

Learning in the big city

Colleges in London

First published date May 29 2013 Amended date June 25 2013

At this time of year, when exams are in abundance and bedrooms are strewn with notes and coursework, a lot of students are thinking about the next step in their education. For those finishing level three courses, like BTECs and A levels, thoughts might be turning to university, but for students taking GCSEs it’s all about college.


There are colleges up and down the UK and the chances are you’re familiar with the ones local to you. If you’re looking for the biggest number of options though, London is the place to go and many students are choosing to travel to the capital for their further education.


The main reason people become interested in learning in London is the sheer range of colleges available. The city encompasses everything from adult education institutions, to specialist schools focusing on further education in areas like dance or drama, not to mention the hundreds of sixth form and general further education colleges dotted around the boroughs.


If you’re interested in learning in London, it can be hard to know where to begin though, especially as there are so many colleges within the M25 to choose from. Therefore, we thought we’d bring together a few of the most popular in one place to help you make your decision…


Capel Manor

Capel Manor is known for its specialism in land-based training in subjects like animal care, horticulture and floristry. The setting for the college is pretty spectacular too – a manor house and 30 acre estate in Enfield in addition to grounds in central London locations like Regent’s Park and Crystal Palace.

Staff and alumni have achieved some amazing achievements too – from prizes at the Chelsea Flower Show to jobs in Kew Gardens – so you’re in good company at Capel Manor.

Course inspiration – Botanical illustration


Kensington and Chelsea College

Kensington and Chelsea College offers a range of different further education courses, from those designed to prepare you for the workplace, to those that will eventually lead to university. With four centres in central London, there’s a variety of different places you could find yourself learning in.

At Kensington and Chelsea College they really make the most of their London location with links to a number of professional organisations –such as recording studios and well known museums. They’re also well stocked with state-of-the-art technology available for student use.

Course inspiration – Pattern cutting



LeSoCo was only formed in 2012 after two colleges – Southwark and Lewisham – joined forces to provide learning opportunities for people in south London. Offering a mix of academic and vocational courses, LeSoCo has a broad mix of students from all backgrounds with an average age of 29.

LeSoCo is big on extra curricular activities – including street dance sessions and lyrical workshops – so there is a good community feel that can sometimes be hard for students learning in London to experience.

Course inspiration – Sustainability skills


City Lit

City Lit is the biggest college for adult learning in Europe and with over 4,000 courses on offer you’ve got a good chance of finding the perfect one for you. Their ethos is all about ‘satisfying curiosity’, so if there’s something you’re particularly intrigued by, this is the place to learn more. They’ve got a big bright building in Covent Garden too – you don’t get more London than that. 

Unlike most colleges in London, City Lit doesn’t focus on school leavers so much as people coming back to learning after a break. Don’t let this put you off if you’re just finishing year 11 though because their courses are suitable for all ages and experience.

Course inspiration – A taste of food journalism


Working Men’s College

Working Men’s College is the oldest adult learning college in Europe, after it was founded in 1854 and merged in 1967 with the Working Women’s College. Despite its name, this college is aimed at both men and women, working or not, and being based in Camden, it’s a popular choice for adult learners and school leavers alike.

Working Men’s College is slightly smaller than some of the other colleges in London but as a result there is a really friendly atmosphere amongst staff and learners. The main building is also only a few steps from the British Library, so handy for studying.

Course inspiration – Ceramics throwing and hand building


Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is, as its name suggests, a college focused on performing arts education. It’s one of the top drama schools in the UK and offers not just further education and adult learning courses but degrees and summer schools as well.

Situated in Wood Green, Mountview has good links to the rest of London including the West End where many former students can be found performing.

Course inspiration – Theatre director drama weekend


City of Westminster College

City of Westminster College boasts more than 400 courses and gives students the option to study topics at several levels, including GCSE, A level, BTEC and foundation level. As far as learning in London goes, this is one of the biggest institutions and offers evening courses as well as those you can take during the day.

Their main campus is in Paddington Green and it’s a very modern state-of-the-art building. Their mission is to provide outstanding education and help learners achieve their potential.

Course inspiration – How to release, manage and promote music in the digital era

Jade O'Donoghue

Jade will talk your ear off about rowing if you let her. She studied an MA and NCTJ diploma in Journalism at Brunel but her course-taking didn't stop there, having tried a number of different subjects since working here, even magic. Whether you're an expert who wants to share their knowledge, a student who's had a great experience or you just want to say hi, she'd love you to get in touch through our social media pages.