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Westminster Kingsway College is a further education college in central London with centres in King's Cross and Regent's Park in the Camden, together with Victoria (1910) and Soho centres in Westminster. The college has around 14,000 students across all age ranges and provides further, adult and higher education programmes including full-time and part-time vocational, professional and academic courses at different levels. 75% of students are over the age of 21 and there are over 60 nationalities and around 50 languages spoken. Students are mainly from London. An international department has students from overseas including those who attend study visits, exchanges and internships from partner colleges overseas.
One of the college’s most notable features is the assisted learning support or (ALS). This department has around 25 staff members who contribute to one of the most progressive and comprehensive learning support departments in central London. The learner support offered can range from a hand in study skills for people who are re-entering education, to care and guidance for students with (ASD) and other learning disabilities.
The college was founded in September 2000 following the merger of Westminster and Kingsway Colleges. The Victoria centre, where the School of Hospitality first opened its doors to learners in 1910 and celebrated its centenary in 2010. Based in Vincent Square, the centre houses the college's own restaurant, The Vincent Rooms, with cuisine prepared and served by second and third year professional chef students.
The college provides community education, with a programme of neighbourhood learning in partnership with Camden Council and in Westminster with local organisations.
The college’s specialist subjects have been given to vocational training including Hospitality, Creative Media, Performing Arts, Business and Public Administration. It also provides higher education for about 250 full-time equivalent students on foundation degrees in Business, Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, Travel & Tourism, Accounting and Public Administration.
The college principal and chief accounting officer is Andy Wilson. The college employs about 650 people in both teaching and business support departments.
Westminster College began as a School of Hospitality in Vincent Square in 1910 when in 1908 a consultative committee which included Sir Isidore Salmon, Auguste Escoffier and Cesar Ritz was established to design training programmes in professional cookery in readiness to produce graduates that could work in London’s finest hotels. The first course to be developed was the Cookery Technical Day School, which was soon to be formulated into the Professional Chef Diploma. Within a couple of years, the school had added food service to its course portfolio and a training restaurant was opened. Records show that this was in fact the UK’s first Hospitality School established in 1910.
The school developed during the interwar years as additional kitchens, cold rooms and larder and pastry areas were added. A two-year hotel manager’s course replaced the food service course. There were plans for a 50 bedroom 'training hotel’, which had begun construction in 1939. This unfortunately was stopped as a result of the outbreak of war and was never completed.
Following the Second World War, the Vincent Rooms restaurant was extended, and in 1953 the Escoffier Restaurant was opened. Further kitchens were added as well as a wine cellar. The restaurants have evolved over a considerable period of time alongside the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College producing graduates who are now working in hotels and restaurants all over the world. In 1985 there was a substantial and comprehensive refit of the whole school.
Before the merger Kingsway College, previously known as Princeton College, was a large college in Camden. It received £55million for redevelopment in 2009. Notable Principals included Fred Flower from 1960 to 1978. Regarded as one of the great humanist educators of his day, under Flower's leadership, Kingsway became one of the country's most diverse and thriving further education colleges, and his skill provided a framework for the development of unconventional ideas which came to powerfully influence British post-16 education. Flower sat on both the Newsom (1963) and the Taylor (1977) committees.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education independently assessed the college in 2010. It concluded that: " ... the ... review team ... considers that there can be confidence in the college’s management of its responsibilities, as set out in its partnership agreements, for the standards of the awards it offers on behalf of its awarding bodies. ... also considers that there can be confidence in the college’s management of its responsibilities, as set out in its partnership agreements, for the quality of learning opportunities it offers. ... reliance can be placed on the accuracy and completeness of the information that the college is responsible for publishing about itself and the programmes it delivers."
OFSTED inspected the college in March 2011. The overall effectiveness of provision was rated as Grade 2 (good): " ... a good college with good capacity to sustain improvements. Outcomes for learners are satisfactory overall, although outcomes for learners aged 14 to 16 are outstanding and those for trainees on work-based programmes are good. The quality of provision across the college is good. Hospitality and catering provision, which has around 1,500 enrolments each year, is outstanding. Inspectors judged the provision in health and care, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and preparation for life and work, which together make up over half the enrolments each year, to be good. The provision for science and mathematics has improved and is satisfactory. Learners’ attendance is satisfactory, although punctuality is poor in some subject areas in the mornings. Teaching and learning are satisfactory overall because learners’ experience of lessons is too variable."