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Our History (CANDI)

City and Islington College, originally known as Islington Federal College, was founded in November 1993 following the merger of City and East London College, North London College, Islington Adult Education Service and Islington Sixth Form College. In 2003, the college reorganised its curriculum across five centres, each with bespoke specialisms.

Today it is one of the largest Further Education colleges in the UK with approximately 18,000 students across all age groups and offers a wide range of further, adult and higher education programmes.

In 2016, the college merged with Westminster Kingsway College to form Capital City College Group; in late 2017, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London joined, making the group one of the largest colleges in the UK.

Following the merger of various colleges in 1993, City and Islington College inherited a large, but neglected estate, consisting of seven Victorian London School Board properties, three late 1950s school and college buildings and a listed early 19th-century building in Pitfield Street, Shoreditch. The estate was valued at just £12 million in 1992, at the bottom of a property slump. In addition, there were two leased buildings costing the college £1 million a year in rent. A premises committee was founded to look at purchasing new buildings to enhance and improve the experience for City and Islington College students.

The first step of improving the City and Islington College portfolio of centres was the purchase of the Marlborough Building from London Metropolitan University, refurbished and redeveloped for its official opening in September 1995. The building became the new home of the college’s senior management team and for college-wide support services, such as finance and human resources.

Following the purchase of the Centre for Health, Social and Childcare, a site at Bunhill Row was sold in 1997, with sites at Rochelle Street, the Chequer Centre and Pitfield Street sold in 1998. The Marlborough Building was temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with provision at the centre relocated to the Centre for Business, Arts and Technology, and the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Our History (CANDI)

Centre for Applied Sciences (Angel)

The second stage of redevelopment for City and Islington College was the purchase of the Dame Alice Owen’s Girls’ School building in Angel, now home to the Centre for Applied Sciences.

Originally, the college’s bid was rejected in favour of a Premier Inn building and residential development. Following intervention from Islington Council, the college was awarded the lease, for 125 years at a cost of £8 million. The building was redeveloped, and officially opened by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at UCL, in September 2005.

Our History (CANDI)

Sixth Form Centre (Angel)

The City and Islington College Sixth Form College was originally founded in 1983 as Islington Sixth Form Centre, led by Margaret Maden, the head of Islington Green School.

In 2000, plans for five City and Islington College estates were underway, with plans locating the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Sixth Form College at Finsbury Park, the Centre for Applied Sciences at Angel, and the Marlborough Building and Camden Road sites ‘as is’.

Whilst these plans were being approved, a message was received by the then-Minister for Further Education, Baroness Tessa Blackstone, who said she was unhappy about the Sixth Form Centre being at Finsbury Park. In the message, she believed it should be located at Angel, to attract more young people, and it should be specifically titled ‘Sixth Form College’ rather than ‘Sixth Form Centre’. This plan helped the college secure £64 million in funding, allowing the Camden Road site (now Centre for Business, Arts and Technology) to be redeveloped alongside a new Sixth Form College at Angel, next to the former Dame Alice Owen’s Girls’ School building.

Before the formation of Islington Federal College, the Sixth Form College had begun to diversify, offering level 2 and level 3 courses, but over time these were phased out to focus on A Level qualifications. With around 35 A Levels on offer to students, it now has one of the largest provisions in the UK.

Our History (CANDI)

Centre for Business, Arts and Technology (Camden Road)

Based on Camden Road, the current home to the Centre for Business, Arts and Technology was one of the original sites inherited by City and Islington College during the merger. The Centre for Business, Arts and Technology was opened in May 2006 by the then Secretary of State for Education, Ruth Kelly.

The centre underwent a full refurbishment and rebuild, with a large part of the college’s £64 million ‘building a better college’ fund being spent on developing the centre. During the build, the college hired a large building entitled Spring House, where students and staff were decanted to.

It has an open-plan entrance and canteen area, allowing for student performances, such as poetry reading, alongside specialist dance studios, music studios, fashion and textiles rooms, computer suites and a theatre for performing arts students.

Our History (CANDI)

Centre for Lifelong Learning (Finsbury Park)

The current Centre for Lifelong Learning opened in 2005, offering a large range of adult literacy and numeracy programmes, as well as English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Students at the centre are largely part-time, with around 4000 different people studying at the centre each year. Most of the provision at the Centre for Lifelong Learning can be traced back to the original provision from the Islington Adult Education Service; the café, run by students with learning difficulties, started life at the Chequer Centre and the humanities programmes at Pitfield Street.

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