This course could have been absolutely fantastic, and I really wish it had been. However, I'll list the positives before getting into how it let me and some others down.
Lorin, the main instructor, is incredible. He will answer any question he... Read More
The chef, Zoe, is also amazing at what she does. I'm fairly health conscious, and pretty much all her meals were nutritionally balanced and tasty. The cookies and cakes weren't so healthy, but they were too good to pass up!
The curriculum covers a wide range of principles and code libraries, enabling to you to put together a decent project in a short space of time by the end of the course.
I expressly chose a residential course for the study-focused environment and sense of community, and we certainly had that. We all coded throughout the evening and would often work together on each other's problems, which both provided support in terms of studying and also in understanding that we were all having the same sorts of problems. You're not tackling it on your own!
The house is spacious and well situated for getting both to the shops and gym in town and also the nearby train station.
I wish I could end my review here, but it wasn't all as good as hoped for. The negative points almost all centre on Dan, who runs the course and also (when he feels like it) provides some of the tuition. As such, if Lorin is no longer an instructor on the course when you’re reading this, I’m not sure that I can recommend the tuition. In any case, I will try to be brief, as I don't intend this to be a personal crusade.
Where Lorin never made anybody feel stupid and welcomed class input, Dan was too busy trying to make himself look clever and would treat the rest of us patronisingly or make someone who gave a wrong answer feel stupid, which actually discouraged class participation and discussion.
When in a bad mood he will take it out on his students. He once interrupted our class with Lorin to accuse us of stealing cables, talking to us like badly behaved children rather than clients who were paying a lot of money to be there. On other occasions he complained that he couldn't hear any work going on, as if we should be pounding our keyboards to kingdom come or else we couldn't possibly be doing anything productive. All because he was in a bad mood. And you have to live with him.
During the weeks we were away, some of us left things at the house (toothpaste, shower gel, etc.) only to find they had gone missing when we went back. This despite Dan's charging us rent when we were away to keep our rooms available, so there shouldn't have been anybody in our rooms when we weren't there. But he did have people there, and when the missing items were brought to his attention he was uncaring and unhelpful, as if what amounts to the theft of his students' belongings is of no importance to him. Which, I suppose, it isn't, because he already has your money.
The bedroom fiasco. Not all bedrooms are as advertised. Mine, for instance, was a loft space converted into the housekeeper's living room. It was sparsely furnished with (I'm assuming) a cheap Ikea bed, with a wardrobe and chest of drawers to match, had a threadbare carpet, as well as wires and screws coming out of the walls, which were themselves faded and peeling away in places. And it was cold. Then, when one of the nicer bedrooms became available, Dan at first refused to let me transfer (because he prioritised letting it out on Airbnb over his student, which never actually worked out) and once he did offer it to me, he wanted me to pay £533 a week (almost double the already steep £280 a week I had agreed to pay when I signed up and thought I'd be getting a decent bedroom). The takeaway? Dan is just after your money, however he can get his hands on it.
Dan also has very strong opinions on, well... everything actually. But in relation to religion and politics, you'd better agree with him. He referred on more than one occasion to my faith as a "cult" and was generally derisive of it, so I'd think very carefully if you have any strong political or religious convictions of your own before applying.
The job situation. Dan said on the day we presented our final projects (which presentation exactly zero employers attended) that he had a couple of jobs in mind for me, one remote and one with a company local to my home in Oxford, both potentially at around £30k salary. A couple of weeks went by and I heard nothing, so I contacted him to find out that he hadn't even arranged anything with one of the companies. Another couple of weeks went by and he rang me to give me notice less than 24 hours in advance of an interview for a job down in Poole offering £23k. Poole, for anybody not local, is nowhere near Oxford. In fact, it's over two hours away, and he had at no point checked whether I would consider a job there. When I turned it down, he threw a tantrum, tried to bully me and use emotional blackmail to make me take the position, then deleted me from the course communications and informed me that he could offer me no further help finding a job. He had already deleted one of the other guys in my cohort who had managed to get a job on his own through a developer friend, so this came as no surprise. Dan was consistently disappointing in how he treated us.
I apologise for writing such a long and negative review, but I would feel bad if I didn't warn you of what you will have to deal with. At the end of the day, I have a job as a web developer now, but that was from my own effort, so I'd strongly advise you to weigh up your options before applying and, if you do get on the course, to go in with your eyes open and expectations low.