In January 2003, 20 years after the college's inception, a complete rebuild of the main site was completed. The new building allowed for a far larger range of facilities including a larger library and computing area, a darkroom and digital darkroom, a recording studio, a 250 seat theatre, textile labs, an increased number of biological, physical and chemical labs along with a separate building housing a large sports centre.
Each subject area at New College received a 'good' or 'outstanding' rating in the last OFSTED inspection (April, 2005). In particular, the science and mathematics departments scored well and received a good review. This set the physics department of the college to rank within the top of the country.
Teaching methods were praised cross-departmentally with only "a minority" of lessons coming across to inspectors as dull or dry with little student participation. Student satisfaction with lessons was generally high.
New College is known for its large range of courses offered, with 52 A-Level subjects (including unusual options such as Ceramics, History (Tudors & Stuarts), Archaeology and Environmental Sciences) and a selection of vocational courses.
New College has been criticised by staff and students alike for its businesslike "bums-on-seats" attitude to learning.
Prices of food in the college refectory and additional charges such as cash withdrawals, and extra expediture on course materials, such as printer credits, is deemed too high for the students. New College has relieved some of these costs in recent years (for example, allowing students of art-based courses to obtain more printer credits for their money).
Over-crowding within the college was still a major issue as of 2005. With the large influx of students attracted by the rebuild, classes often reach overwhelming capacity. Free-time 'hang-out' spaces are limited resulting in students congregating in unusual places such as stairwells and classrooms. In addition to these, parking on college ground is extremely difficult. Prior to 2005 it was the case that students and staff were being forced to park in the housing estate opposite the college, angering residents. Since then, the college has added an extra parking area, but many feel that parking is still an issue.