GC launches virtual reality campus tours
Gloucestershire College has turned to the immersive capabilities of virtual reality to support students to transition from school to college by launching 360° virtual tours of its Gloucester and Cheltenham campuses.
In a first for UK colleges, the launch of the VR ready virtual tours give prospective students and their parents a chance to experience and explore the Gloucestershire College environment before visiting the campuses in person, in order to reduce anxiety and fear of the unknown.
Created by innovative Peterborough-based Smart Photography, the interactive tours are fully compatible with virtual reality headsets and really bring the campus to life, giving students a sense of the fabric of GC before they make their first visit.
The tours can be viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, and includes a range of photo galleries and short videos of students and staff sharing their experiences of teaching and learning, enabling viewers to gain further insight into life at GC.
Local schools can also use the virtual reality tours as part of their new requirement to provide students with impartial and independent careers advice and guidance.
There are currently an estimated 66,000 people with autism aged 16-25 in England1, but only 1 in 4 access any form of education beyond school2. Gloucestershire College is committed to changing this statistic and worked with Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism, to develop innovative approaches to supporting young people to make a successful transition from school to college through the delivery of the national Finished at School project. In 2012 the College signed the Autism Inclusion Charter and renewed its commitment to students with autism this year by signing an updated Inclusion Charter.
Joe Baldwin, Head of Learning Support, said: “We want to support our prospective students and their parents on their journey as they prepare for transition and taking their next steps from school.
“We’re really excited about the freedom the virtual tours provide, allowing total personalisation of students’ transition. The virtual tours are a powerful tool for students with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly those with autism or who experience high levels of anxiety.
“The tours allow students to manage their next steps, exploring our college environments and key facilities which helps to reduce anxieties and fear of the unknown when they physically come to visit.”
See the tour for yourself, in all its VR glory at www.gloscol.ac.uk/virtualtour
 Office for National Statistics (2001), Census Report
 Ambitious about Autism (2011), Finished at School Report