Why residential?

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Many students tell us that a period of short intensive residential study at Northern College is life changing. Here’s a bit more detail about what makes residential learning so special. We offer flexible day-time and evening non-residential learning too.

Getting away from it all 

On walking down the drive towards Northern College for Adults, you will immediately notice the calm, quiet surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

To focus on your studies, we all need to get away from our everyday lives sometimes and Northern College provides you with the ideal environment to do that.  

Perhaps you may want to study on a two-day course and stay one night, or on an intensive one-week course or fast-track Access to Higher Education course for nine months. We have a wide variety of options available.  

Staying residentially on-campus will also prepare you for living away at university.

Spend time with like-minded adults  

By staying residentially, you will get more time to spend with like-minded adults focusing on learning new skills and progression. You will also have increased access to our tutors specialising in adult education, and wrap-around support.  

The residential experience allows discussion and learning from the classroom to extend into the evenings through our student and staff led activities programme as well as informally during social time. Our students also provide each other with peer support.  This informal learning intensifies the learning experience, and achievement and progression, for our students.  

Everyone is welcome 

There is a place for every adult at Northern College, and we support our students every step of the way. We provide a second chance to adults who want to start a new chapter and transform their lives through adult education. This includes adults from a variety of backgrounds, and all ages. All we ask is that you bring with you your desire to learn and succeed, and we will support you every step of the way.  

This means you will become part of an inclusive adult learning environment focused on supporting everyone to achieve their goals. 

Small college community 

We are committed to the full residential learning experience to support all our students to progress and achieve. Because students stay at the college the lessons are intensive, all class sizes are manageable to allow for any extra support students might need and lots of discussion. This means that, generally, our class sizes are much smaller than other colleges and there will be less students on campus at one time. This creates a safe space for adults to study and a real community feel.  

Our campus is also only for adults aged 19 and over, meaning you do not study alongside younger adults (16-18).

Resources and home-cooked food 

By staying residentially, you will have increased access to an on-campus Library and Learning Support Centre, and wider college facilities which offer beautiful views into the surrounding National Trust gardens.  

We also offer additional quiet spaces for learning (such as computer suites and private rooms). This will also support your learning and progression.  

We also have a restaurant on campus which offers healthy, home-cooked food everyday. 

Social areas and recreation

We also have social areas where students can play pool, watch television and socialise, alongside other spaces to relax with fellow students.

Some learners find the location of Northern College ideal for activities such as cycling and walking. The surrounding countryside and National Trust grounds free for students to explore is beautiful at all times of the year, and footpaths are well-signposted for walking.


We have a multi-faith room, with far reaching beautiful views, which can be used for prayer or quiet contemplation for those with no faith.  We also work with a number of chaplains who can support students in pastoral care, prayer or as a listening ear. The room and Chaplain Service can be used by all students regardless of faith background.   

Student Union and Student Council 

All students who join us automatically become members of the National Union of Students. You will also be able to purchase a Totum card which enables you to receive discounts on a variety of purchases including food and essentials, technology, travel and home delivery. The College also operates a Student Council which encourages students to get involved in college life and have their views heard as part of ensuring a positive experience.  

Your achievement and progression 

Our students tell us that a period of short intensive residential study at Northern College is life changing, and our achievement rates our excellent. It is our unique adult learning community and student success stories which makes our college so special. 

Whether you want to learn a new skill, get a new job, change careers or access higher education, our unique adult learning environment is focused on ensuring you succeed.

Student feedback 

  • “Staying residential was the perfect way for me to learn. One really felt part of a learning community.” 
  • “Northern College did and still is changing my life; it changes people too. It opens your mind to your dreams, and makes them a reality.” 
  • “My residential stay at Northern College served to positively and overwhelmingly change my life…the gains of my education are the jewel in the crown of my life.” 
Aerial  view of Northern College
Over 500 acres of National Trust gardens and parkland free for you to explore during your studies to support your learning
Students walking at the rear of the College
There is a real sense of community at Northern College, a residential college designed only for adults

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Why choose Northern College?

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Stay and study on-site with us

Fully focus on your studies by staying on-site with us.

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Explore our gardens

We have acres of National Trust gardens and parkland to explore right outside our building.

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We’re Outstanding

We’re rated by Ofsted, the UK education standards office, as Outstanding.

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Our pass rates are excellent

We have outstanding pass rates, to ensure our students achieve and progress.

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We support you all of the way

We have a whole team to support you through your studies to make sure you do well.

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We're only designed for adults

Make new friends and study alongside like-minded adults as part of our unique learning community.

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Working together to create a place for everyone.

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