Strode News

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22/06/16 - Former Student Inspires with Talk about Career in Film Industry
Former Student Inspires with Talk about Career in Film Industry

Strode College Media and Film students were inspired recently by former student Hannah McCarthy, from Lamyatt, Shepton Mallet and previously at King Arthur’s Community School, who returned to college to tell them about her work in the film industry.

Hannah studied A levels in Media, Film, Drama and English Literature at Strode before going on to study Film Production at Arts University Bournemouth. Since graduating last July she has worked on many big productions such as Spectre, The Huntsman: Winter's War and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as forthcoming releases including The BFG and Knights of The Roundtable: King Arthur.

At university Hannah studied all aspects of movie production, from directing to sound design and producing. She decided to pursue a career in film production and, while at university, produced several of her own films, including her graduation film with a budget of £10,000. 

Since graduating Hannah has been focusing on film location work, as this is a good way into the industry, allowing for great networking opportunities and providing experience all of the different parts of film production.

"I'm always up for encouraging more people to join the industry" she said. "I really want students to know that just because they live in Somerset, it doesn't mean they can't work in film and media - it doesn't need to be some wild ambition or fantasy. There are lots of opportunities in this country and so many different roles within the industry that there is something for everyone."

Strode A Level Media Studies teacher Kevin Cook said: "I'm really pleased and grateful to Hannah for coming in. She spoke eloquently and enthusiastically about her experiences both as a student and now working in film. I hope that her visit will inspire our current students to consider pursuing a career in this growing and rewarding industry."

The UK's Creative Industries are now worth nearly £85 billion or 5.2% of the UK economy and are growing almost double the rate of the UK economy as a whole, providing 2.6 million jobs. (Source

20/06/16 - Arts Students at Strode College Produce an Exceptional End of Year Arts Show
Arts Students at Strode College Produce an Exceptional End of Year Arts Show

Strode College’s creative arts A Levels and vocational students have enjoyed showing off the fruits of their labours at this year’s highly successful End of Year Arts Show. Strode’s arts department is known for delivering exceptional work, receiving the highest possible praise from Ofsted at their last inspection.

The college’s End of Year Art Show (14-22 June) celebrated the work of 140 students from across the region, who study a range of creative arts courses and was launched with an awards presentation in Strode Theatre. Seven students were honoured for their outstanding achievements in painting and drawing, sculpture, graphics, illustration, textiles and photography. The students each received a certificate and a cheque, and a piece of their work has been purchased for ‘The Strode Collection’ by the college or the award sponsors.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “Art and design is a strong and vibrant area of study at Strode. The quality of work on show demonstrates a level of creativity and teaching ability that rivals that of specialist art colleges and many university-level institutions. It makes me proud to see what can be achieved when young talent and skill is nurtured with such excellent teaching.”

End of Year Art Show 2016Petrina Rochester, Head of Art and Design at Strode said: “The End of Year Show generates great excitement and energy around college as students and staff work together to present a summary of a terrifically busy academic year. It is also a time for reflection as we review work, as we consider how far our students have come and the possibilities for their future. Our students have produced outstanding work, and for the first time this year three of the awards were sponsored by local businesses: Burns the Bread: 3D Fine Art Award ; Clarks: 2D Fine Art Award; and Dilliway and Dilliway: Textiles Award. We are proud that we prepare students for their next step by allowing them an opportunity to showcase their talent, skill and creativity in this way.”

Strode College art and design students consistently achieve outstanding results and win places at some of the country’s top specialist institutions for arts and media, including Goldsmiths; University of Winchester; University of the Arts Bournemouth; Chelsea College of Arts; City and Guilds of London Art School; and University College Falmouth. 

Students exhibiting work at the college show will be completing courses this summer in A level Art, Graphics, Textiles, Photography, Level 3 Extended Diploma Art and Design and Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.


Students receiving awards for excellence in their work

Art and Design award winners 2016

These Strode College arts students were honoured with awards for their outstanding work (left to right): Nino Meriano, Nelly Mason, Sol Chadwick, Rebecca Calderbank, Jamie Rochford, Chloe Allen, and Principal James Staniforth.


Nelly Mason2D Fine Art Award – Nelly Mason

Sponsored by Clarks

Lives: Bruton

Studying: Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Previous school: Sexey’s School and Strode College

What next: BA Hons Fine Art, Bath Spa


Alexa James2D Fine Art Award – Alexa James

Lives: Street

Studying: A level Art & Design.

Previous school: Crispin School

What next: BA Hons Architecture, offers from Bath, Edinburgh and Nottingham University.


Jamie Rochford3D Fine Art Award – Jamie Rochford

Sponsored by Burns the Bread

Lives: Bruton

Studying: Foundation Diploma in Art & Design 

Previous school: Sexey’s School

What next: Gap year, Higher Education in 2017.


Rebecca CalderbankPhotography Award – Rebecca Calderbank

Lives: Yeovil

Studying: A level Photography.

Previous school: Stanchester Academy

What next: BA English Language and Linguistics, University Sussex

Chloe AllenTextiles Award – Chloe Allen

Sponsored by Dilliway and Dilliway.

Lives: Street

Studying: Foundation Diploma in Art & Design 

Previous school: Ansford Academy and Strode College

What next: BA Hons Textiles, Manchester Metropolitan


Solomon ChadwickGraphical Art – Solomon Chadwick

Lives: Shepton Mallet

Studying: A level Graphic Design

Previous school: Ansford Academy

What next: BA Graphic Communication, University of Westminster, London


Nino MerianoIllustration – Nino Meriano

Lives: Street

Studying: Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design.

Previous school: St Dunstan's School

What next: Gap Year followed by Higher Education in 2017.

17/06/16 - StrodeLive help launch Glastonbury Fringe Festival
StrodeLive help launch Glastonbury Fringe Festival

StrodeLive students recently helped to launch the fifth annual ‘Glastonbury Fringe’ by performing both original music and arrangements of cover songs at the Market Cross in Glastonbury. The Fringe continues with a packed programme until June 27, and programmes can be bought from many venues in the town.

The slogan ‘There’s Always Something Happening in this Town’ couldn’t be more true, and the talented performers from Strode College’s Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music, who can often be seen performing in and around Glastonbury’s culturally thriving town centre, certainly lived up to the motto on this occasion.

10/06/16 - New Opportunities for Adults at Strode College as New Courses Announced
New Opportunities for Adults at Strode College as New Courses Announced

Strode College has announced its new programme of courses for adults and, with a wealth of opportunities catering for a wide range of interests and abilities, this is a good time to think about what you could gain from signing up for a course as an adult.

You might want to try something for your personal enjoyment such as pottery, painting, photography or upholstery; you could learn a language, dress-making or take up ballroom dancing; or you could find out about psychology, art or mindfulness.

You could improve your career prospects by developing a skill or taking a job-related course such as accountancy, child care, counselling, English, engineering, food hygiene, hair and beauty, management, maths or teaching.

And there are many computer and IT courses available for all abilities, including absolute beginner’s courses such as how to use e-mail, i-pad or the internet, and courses for more experienced users leading to qualifications. 

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “Leaving school, college or work doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. There are many good reasons to sign up for a course as an adult; learning can have really positive effects on people’s social, personal and professional lives. Last year around 1500 adults took part-time courses at Strode, showing how important adult learning is for many people in our community. I am delighted that we are able to share our excellent facilities and expert teachers with the local community.” 

Strode’s courses for adults run at different times and dates throughout the year starting from September 2016. If you haven’t received a copy through your letter box this week, you can request a ‘Courses for Adults’ brochure by calling: 01458 844400, or click here to find out more.

06/06/16 - Strode hair and beauty students show creative energy, imagination and skills at competition
Strode hair and beauty students show creative energy, imagination and skills at competition

Almost 300 Strode College hairdressing, barbering, nail and beauty students and their models took part in the college’s Hair and Beauty End of Year Showcase and Competition recently, displaying incredible creativity and technical know-how with some slick, stylish and stunning hairstyles, make-up and nail art. 

The event, held at Strode Theatre in front of friends, family and industry professionals, gave the students the opportunity to showcase their skills, imagination and resourcefulness outside the everyday salon situation, while experiencing the excitement, pressures and high standards of competition work.

The students are studying a variety of courses at Strode, including full-time, part-time and apprenticeships. And they certainly gave the judges a difficult task on the day by presenting some dramatic and eye-catching looks in the nine themed categories: At the Movies, Circus, Worldwide bride, 1980s, 1960s, Rock, Fantasy, Avant Garde Masked Ball, and Mythical Creatures. For all categories students were required to create a ‘total look’ which included hair, make-up and costume.

The ten judges, most of whom are previous Strode College students, all took time out of their busy schedules to judge the competition. Head judge, Kate Morse from Pure Hairdressing in Street, said: “This is my 8th year as head judge and the entries were once again outstanding! I'm always excited to see how the hair and beauty students at Strode College interpret the briefs they are given. They really raised the bar this year - there was a lot of skill on show this evening. I’m sure they will do well in their future careers.”

Strode’s Hairdressing and Barbering Course Manager and competition organiser Sandra Hellier said: “The competition is a really exciting element of the students’ course. It gives them the opportunity to experience a competition and use their imagination to show off their creative flair, technique and skill. The students work hard at researching and planning their looks and they were required to produce a mood board to show where their inspiration and ideas came from.”

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our students' hard work, skills and success in front of family, friends and industry professionals. Our enthusiastic and experienced teachers take great pride in developing the students' abilities and professionalism to an extremely high standard which leads them onto excellent and varied careers in the hair and beauty industry.  This is also a great opportunity to thank the many employers who work with us to help hair and beauty thrive at Strode College."

Winners received certificates and prizes that included a spa day for two and top brand hairdressing equipment and products.

In the same week, four beauty students and a hairdressing student entered the national vocational skills competition, ‘WorldSkills UK’: Beauty students Meleesa Ambrosini, from Wells and previously at St Gregory’s Catholic School, and Charlotte Modley, from Yeovil and previously at Millfield School, both made it through to the UK final, which will be held in November at the NEC; beauty students Olivia Nelson, from Walton and previously at Crispin School,  and Sophie Hickman from Somerton and previously at Huish Episcopi Academy, achieved 2nd and 3rd place respectively and have also made it through to the UK finals; hairdressing student Clara Coward from Polsham nr Wells and previously at The Blue School, made it through the incredibly tough first stage of the hairdressing heat and will compete in the second stage which is being held at Wiltshire College later this month. Nail services student Vicky Bolus, from Wells and previously at The Blue School, entered the national Nail Tech UK competition and was placed first in the ‘Student Snap Shot’ round.             

Strode College is currently accepting applications for a wide range of full-time and part-time hair, beauty and barbering courses starting in September 2016.  For more information or to apply, call: 01458 844400 or visit

02/06/16 - Exciting and creative talent at End of Year Art and Dance Shows
 Exciting and creative talent at End of Year Art and Dance Shows

If you enjoy going to art shows and galleries or take delight in going to the theatre, then you will appreciate the fantastic creative talents being showcased at Strode College’s End of Year Arts Show, which runs from Tuesday 14 June to Wednesday 22 June.

Strode College is holding a number of events to celebrate the high standards of work achieved by  students across a range of creative and performing arts, as they as they prepare to move on to higher-level study at university or specialist colleges, or into employment.   

This is a great opportunity for members of the public, or those thinking of studying at the college, to see the diversity and quality of work achieved at Strode while also taking a look at the college’s extensive and specialist arts facilities. 

End of Year Art Show:  Free, Tuesday 14 – Wednesday 22 June 2016, 9.30am - 4.00pm

Strode creative arts students are known for producing excellent and imaginative work.  The show will feature work from over 100 students completing art and design courses this summer including painting and drawing, sculpture, textiles, photography, graphics, film and video. 

Students presenting work are studying A level Art and Design, Graphics, Photography, Textiles, Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design and Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.

Free and open to the public (maps available from College Reception): Tuesday 14 – Wednesday 22 June 2016, 9.30am - 4.00pm; open until 8pm on Wednesday 15 June (College Open Evening); and closed at the weekend.

Dance Showcase:  Friday 17 June, 7.30pm

Friday 17 June, 7.30pm. Tickets £6.00, full concessions £5.00 and Strode College students £4.00; prices include a 50p contribution to the Strode Theatre Support Fund. The production is raising funds for college educational activities.  Book through Strode Theatre:

Strode College’s A Level Dance students and Extended Diploma in Performing Arts students will showcase the best of their performance work including musical theatre, contemporary dance and street dance.  An energetic and entertaining evening is promised.

01/06/16 - Motorbike Prop required for Strode Student Performance
Motorbike Prop required for Strode Student Performance

Strode College Performing Arts students are putting out an appeal for a motorbike prop for their upcoming play ‘The Monster in the Hall’ which is being performed at Strode Theatre on Thursday, June 16. Charmaine Bray, Strode College Performing Arts teacher, said: “The bike doesn’t need to be in working order but is an important part of the set as it is often referred to. Ideally we need it to be a Ducati, but it would be really great to have anything with an engine and two wheels!”

The contemporary play follows the struggles of teenager Duck and her dad, and is brought roaring to life with sensitivity, hilarity, emotion and compassion.

The performance takes place on Thursday, June 16 at 7.30pm in Strode Theatre. Call 01458 442846 or visit to book tickets.

27/05/16 - Questions for MP from Government & Politics students
Questions for MP from Government & Politics students

James Heappey, MP for Wells, recently visited Strode College for a seminar with twenty of our AS Level Government & Politics students.

The students enjoyed his presentation about life as a MP both in Parliament and in the constituency and then enjoyed asking a range of interesting on a variety of topics including political ideology, the refugee crisis, the 2016 EU referendum and the likely next Conservative Party leader.

Government and Politics students have enjoyed some lively political discussion and debate recently, with this latest session following closely from the recent EU debate in Strode Theatre, where they were able to hear Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg argue the case for leaving the EU and former Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt put the case for remaining.  These debates prove why studying Government and Politics is such an interesting, stimulating and important subject. 

26/05/16 - Students Enjoy Lively Debate on EU Referendum
Students Enjoy Lively Debate on EU Referendum

Students and staff at Strode College enjoyed a lively and interesting debate on the EU Referendum last week, organised by student Patrick Olliffe, who is acting President of the Strode College Students Association and a Student Governor.

The debate was held in Strode Theatre in front of a full audience who were keen to hear the different sides of the argument about whether to stay in Europe or to leave.

It was not surprising that the debate was enjoyable as well as informative, as it featured prominent Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who is known for his debating prowess in the House of Commons. Mr Rees-Mogg was joined by former Strode student Altair Brandon-Salmon to put the case for leaving the EU. Altair is now studying at Oxford University where he sits on the committee of the student’s Conservative Party. 

EU Debate 2016Putting forward the case for staying in the EU was Tessa Munt, former MP for Wells and Private Secretary to Vince Cable when he was Secretary of State for Business; and Anthony Smallwood a former European and British diplomat who lives in Somerset.

Questions from the students were put to the speakers by Patrick Oliffe who chaired the debate. A wide range of issues were discussed including trade, workers’ rights, terrorism, sovereignty, the difference between the EU and being European, and whether Boris Johnson would be the next leader of the Conservative Party.

Patrick said: “When I was elected to be Strode College Student Governor, one of my main aims was to find ways to engage students in politics by making it more relevant to young people. I think it’s brilliant that we have engaged so many students in the biggest constitutional question of our time. Also, I had fun organising and chairing the debate.“ 

23/05/16 - Students to Perform Live Music to Film at Red Brick Building
Students to Perform Live Music to Film at Red Brick Building

A group of students, staff, musicians and producers from Strode College are performing a live soundtrack to a silent film at the Red Brick Building on Thursday, 26th May at 8pm.

Decasia is an artful collage of pre-1950 footage, shot on a cellulose-nitrate base and most of it in advanced stages of decay. The footage is slowed down to allow a greater appreciation of the effect and character of the visual damage to the original films, which include newsreel footage; wildlife documentaries; fragments of silent melodramas; ethnographic studies; and travelogues. Music Technology students from Strode College will accompany this hypnotic film with their own live soundtrack, combining electronics, MIDI controllers, computer software and live instruments to create a compelling audio-visual experience.

Strode College teacher Adrian Smith said: “This is an exciting and challenging project and the students have come up with some great music.”

Decasia premiered as a live event in 2001, and has enjoyed numerous high profile performances globally over the past 15 years, collaborating with some of the world's top conductors and orchestras. The film’s the film’s score, by composer Michael Gordon, is integral to the film, and producer Bill Morrison has given special permission to the students to use a new live soundtrack.

Tickets are priced at £3 and will be available on the door. 

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