Strode News

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27/03/15 - Students Benefit From Creative Careers Day
Students Benefit From Creative Careers Day

Seventy-eight art students from Strode College, Huish Episcopi Academy and Heathfield Community School attended a Creative Careers Day at Strode College earlier this month led by ‘Creative Somerset’, a community interest company, in partnership with ‘Spaeda’, an arts education charity. The event, set within their extensive and specialist Art and Design facilities, gave students an insight into careers in the creative and cultural industries and showed different ways students might choose their own route into enterprise, volunteering or further training.

A Level, vocational and GCSE students attended workshops and presentations, including branding products and retail pricing structures.

Guest speakers on the day included Laura Pearcey from ‘BOOP! Design’, a ceramics design company; Paul Smith from the marketing agency ‘Word Gets Around’; and Becky Swaine and Nina Gronw-Lewis from Somerset Art Works, an artist-led organisation dedicated to developing the visual arts; all of whom delivered inspiring and educational talks on entry routes, career pathways and the challenges and successes of working in the creative sector.

Creative Careers DayHarry Young, currently studying at Huish Episcopi Academy and planning to attend Strode College in September to study the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the talks today, they’ve shown me the pathway I need to take in my future. It’s been of great educational benefit to me.”

Linda Green, who leads the Art and Design team at Huish Episcopi, agreed: “Today has been a very valuable day for students who are looking forward to a career in the arts. It’s interesting to see the stepping stones available and the career pathways that lie ahead.”

Students learned about the skills needed for apprenticeships, internships and running businesses within the creative industries and were given resource books to create their own action plans. Working with arts partners, Creative Somerset and Spaeda plan to develop a ‘Route Map’ for creative young people in the county. This online resource will act as a window into the opportunities and challenges of working in the creative sector and provide practical routes through.

Head of Art and Design at Strode College, Petrina Rochester, said: “I hope students will take the initiative to join some of the groups introduced to them today, if university isn’t the next step for them. It was wonderful to host this event, and Creative Somerset and Spaeda have highlighted the tremendous professional networks that exist locally. The students have been shown the accessibility of opportunities in the creative industries and have been given clarity on the next step in their career progression.”

Zoe Truong, General Manger of Creative Somerset explains: “Many young people, parents and teachers are not aware of the hundreds of different jobs that there are in the creative and cultural industries. It's a vibrant and thriving part of our economy that has actually grown during the recession.

“We are delighted to be working with Strode College supporting this initiative. Many young people aged 14-19 are making crucial decisions about their future options. Getting the right information and an opportunity to talk to people about those choices can be an enormous benefit to young people in the long term.”

The day was made possible due to funding by Somerset County Council's Creative Industries Fund and Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Lottery.

More information on Strode's Art & Design L2 Diploma, Art & Design L3 Extended Diploma and Art & Design (Foundation Studies)

27/03/15 - Petition Against Cuts to Adult Skills Funding
Petition Against Cuts to Adult Skills Funding

The Association of Colleges and our recognised trades unions are officially supporting a petition opposing the Government's decision to reduce adult skills funding. By maximising the number of signatures in advance of the General Election, we hope that all political parties will understand the importance of education and training provided by further education, including Strode College and many others across England. 

You can sign the petition here.

Further information on the funding cuts can be viewed on the BBC website and locally in the Wells Journal.

24/03/15 - New Higher Education and Skills Centre Shows Commitment to Outstanding Education and Training
New Higher Education and Skills Centre Shows Commitment to Outstanding Education and Training

Strode College's new 'Higher Education and Skills Centre' was officially opened by Tessa Munt MP last week (19 March), demonstrating the college's commitment to providing outstanding education and training for everyone who learns there.

Every year 1500 16-18 olds study A Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships at Strode College and, according to Ofsted (October 2014), they benefit from an 'Outstanding' sixth form education. In addition, the college also offers quality career-focused university-level courses, so people can stay local to study at higher level; and these courses were also awarded the highest possible rating by the Quality Assurance Agency (2012). Also, each year, Strode helps over 2,500 adults learn a broad range of new skills, including those who are unemployed, those seeking to upgrade their skills and qualifications, those wanting to learn more about computers and IT and those who want to enjoy a leisure interest. And, last but not least, Strode's Business Development team provides training and support for businesses across the region, helping them to train their staff and develop skills that will help their businesses thrive.

Tessa Munt MP unavailing unveiling plaqueJames Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “Strode College plays a unique and valuable role educating and training a broad range of people in our community. This new building reflects our commitment to providing outstanding opportunities and facilities for all of those who learn with us. It brings together three particular areas of learning that are becoming increasingly important to the success of our region: Apprenticeships, Higher Education and courses that provide opportunities for people to 'up-skill', in particular to develop IT and business skills.

“I am grateful to the many organisations and individuals who supported our vision to further enhance these areas of learning at Strode and also to those who work with us to provide fantastic learning opportunities for our students. Their generous support is testament to the quality and value of the education we provide. In particular, I would like to thank the Skills Funding Agency who provided the majority of the finance for our new building and a local charitable trust who made a significant donation to the project. I would also like to thank Tessa Munt for her support both as our local MP and as a member of the current government in Vince Cable's Business, Innovation and Science (BIS) team, which is our sponsoring department.”

Opening the new building Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, said she was passionate about Strode College and the work it does with people right across the community. She said: “This place does everything so well. It provides brilliant teaching and learning and the range of courses and opportunities is fantastic. I've seen so many young people succeed here and I've seen many older people get back into work because of the training they've received at Strode College.

“Strode College provides outstanding sixth form education for young people who go to schools with no sixth forms and it provides more choice and a great alternative for those who are at schools with their own sixth forms; people need to know this. It's doing great work to develop and promote apprenticeships too; and I'm also delighted that people no longer have to commute elsewhere to study Higher Education courses - they can stay here and get the best.“

To find out more about the wide range of courses and training opportunities at Strode College for school leavers, adults and businesses visit: or call 01458 844400.

Photo: Strode College's new Higher Education and Skills Centre reflects the college's vision to provide outstanding learning opportunities and fantastic facilities for all who learn at the college. Pictured left to right: Kate Lovell (Chair of the Strode College Board of Governors), Tessa Munt (MP for Wells) and James Staniforth (Principal of Strode College).

24/03/15 - Strode College's Medieval Expert Talks about King John and Magna Carta with the World’s top Scholars
Strode College's Medieval Expert Talks about King John and Magna Carta with the World’s top Scholars

On Saturday 21 March, Sean McGlynn, a lecturer on the Strode College History, Heritage and Archaeology BA (Hons) Degree programme, shared a podium with the world's two foremost scholars of Magna Carta - Prof David Carpenter and Prof Nicholas Vincent - in a Magna Carta question and answer event held in Bristol. The sold-out event to 150 people was organised by BBC History. Prof Louise Wilkinson and best-selling author Dan Jones were also on the panel.

Strode College is hosting a sold-out conference on King John and Magna Conference on 28 March to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Sean lectures on an undergraduate King John module at Strode College and is academic advisor to Salisbury Cathedral's Magna Carta 800th celebrations, writing the Cathedral's official Magna Carta guide (it holds one of the four surviving charters from 1215). His King John and Magna Carta, a short introduction to the subject, was published earlier this month. He has written widely on King John, with recent and forthcoming articles on the king in BBC History and History Today. The second edition of his widely acclaimed book Blood Cries Afar: The Magna Carta Civil War and the Invasion of England, 1215-17, is due out at the beginning of May.

Strode College is now enrolling for its History, Heritage and Archaeology Degree and Foundation Degree courses that begin in September 2015. You can apply directly to Strode College. For more information visit or call 01458 844400.

Photo: Medieval history expert Sean McGlynn (right) visits Nunney Castle with his Strode College History, Heritage and Archaeology degree students.

Visit the History, Heritage and Archaeology FdA/BA course page.

16/03/15 - Deputy Prime Minister talks to students and takes selfies
Deputy Prime Minister talks to students and takes selfies

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, visited Strode College today with Tessa Munt, MP for Wells.

Tessa Munt was keen for Nick Clegg to visit Strode College as we are currently the only school sixth form or college in Somerset to have been rated `Outstanding` by Ofsted since 2010. She wanted him to find out about the wide range of courses that we deliver, including A Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships, and to meet some of the many students who make such outstanding progress with us. 

Our Learning Centre was packed with students who wanted to see the Deputy Prime Minster. Some got the opportunity to talk to him while others took the chance to get a quick selfie; Mr Clegg was happy to oblige.

He spoke to a number of A Levels students, including A Level Government and Politics students and some of those who will be progressing to Oxford and Cambridge Universities next year; and he met Foundation Level students. 

Nick Clegg at Strode College  Nick Clegg at Strode College

He met Strode College Apprentices and their employers, including Amber Cook and Jasmin Dalgarno who work at Brookside Academy in Street (winner of the 2015 Grow Somerset Talent Apprenticeship Awards `Medium Employer of the Year`); Daniel Blake (winner of the 2015 Grow Somerset Talent Apprenticeship Awards `Intermediate Apprentice of the Year`) who works at Glastonbury Ales; and Lizzy Sturmey and Alice Gosling who were at College with their employer Kate Turner, who owns Party Packs in Westbury sub-Mendip.

 Nick Clegg with Strode Apprentices  Nick Clegg talks to Strode Apprentices and Employers

A Level student Rosie Perret, attended the event on behalf of the student newspaper. She joined reporters from the BBC, ITV and local newspapers to ask Nick Clegg a question. Rosie, who is 17 and formerly attended Sexeys School in Bruton, is studying English Literature, English Language, German and History. She asked Mr Clegg if his party would do anything about university tuition fees. He said that he considers the other costs associated with university - the maintainance costs - to be important and, if he had money available, he would give more to help with those costs.


15/03/15 - Cakes and Gigs for Comic Relief
Cakes and Gigs for Comic Relief

Students and staff at Strode College raised £376 for Comic Relief last week by organising various events including a gig at the Red Brick Building, a hockey penalty shoot-out and selling and decorating scrumptious cakes.

Edible fundraising activities across the campus included a cake decorating sale by the Apprenticeship students who baked cakes and biscuits and provided icing and sweets for decoration; an impressive spread by the finance team including lemon mascarpone sponge, chocolate and vanilla marble cake and strawberry shortbread, featuring guest bakers from the college’s Computer Centre and Student Support; and some fabulous fairy cakes including cranberry and sultana, chocolate and vanilla, and lemon butterfly by Hair and Beauty staff and students.

Red Nose Day Apprenticeships cake Decorating  Red Nose Day Hair and Beauty cake sale

Other Red Nose Day events included a ‘Rock for Red Nose Day’ gig at the Red Brick Building featuring local bands, organised by Music Technology student Sofie Hunter; a hockey penalty shoot-out organised by the Sports Hall staff and students; and a cup cake bake organised by the Hospitality team for students with learning difficulties and disabilities from Avalon School in Street.

Red Nose Day Rock for Red Nose Day  Red Nose Day Hockey shots

11/03/15 - Strode Students Visit Unforgettable Berlin Film Festival
Strode Students Visit Unforgettable Berlin Film Festival

Strode College A Level Film Studies students enjoyed an inspiring and exciting trip to the annual Berlin International Film Festival, known as the ‘Berlinale’, this February.

Film Studies teacher, Ben Boydell, explained: “This is the fifth time we’ve visited the Berlin Film Festival, and it was one of our most successful trips. The Berlinale is one of the longest running international film festivals, having run every year since 1950. The visit gave students a chance to get a clearer sense of the scope of the global film industry and we were fortunate enough to see two of the films that were in the running for the ‘Golden Bear’, which is the top award at the festival.”

The students watched eight films at the festival and one of the highlights was a late-night screening of the film ‘The Yes Men are Revolting’. After the screening the film-makers answered questions from the audience.

Students enjoyed the culture and history of this vibrant city, and also visited the German Parliament building (the Reichstag), the Holocaust Memorial, the Museum of Film and Television and the ‘East Side Gallery’ (a remaining section of the Berlin Wall which is decorated with murals).

Catherine Sweetman from Keinton Mandeville and previously of Ansford Academy is studying Film Studies A Level and said: “This trip was an unforgettable experience; we watched a variety of films from many different countries and with many different contextual backgrounds. It has made me want to visit more film festivals in the future.”

Photo: Strode College Film Studies students at the ‘East Side Gallery’, a section of the Berlin wall that was turned over to an international selection of graffiti artists.

Find out more about studying Film Studies A Level at Strode

11/03/15 - Conference Tells Educators how we Became Ofsted 'Outstanding'
Conference Tells Educators how we Became Ofsted 'Outstanding'

Senior staff from over 60 colleges visited Strode College recently to learn how we became an Ofsted 'Outstanding' college.

They travelled across the country from as far as Huddersfield, Cheshire, Truro and Cambridge to hear how Ofsted’s inspection expectations are evolving and how many of the proposed changes to the inspection framework are currently influencing inspection outcomes.

In October 2014, Ofsted rated Strode College as 'Outstanding'. We are currently the only school sixth form or college in Somerset to be awarded this highest possible rating since tougher inspection criteria were introduced in 2010 and we are the only college to have been graded as 'Outstanding' for Overall Effectiveness in 2014-15. 

Sharing Good Practice presentation Our 'Outstanding' rating reflects Ofsted’s increased focus on student progress and study outcomes, English and Maths, as well as the need to outstanding teaching, learning and assessment.

It was great to be able to share our experience with other colleges and to get such positive feedback from those who attended the conference.

Conference Invite

10/03/15 - Spring Workshops at Strode College
Spring Workshops at Strode College

If you have some free time at the weekends and you want to spend part of your day doing something interesting, fun, creative and relaxing, then have a look at the Saturday Spring Workshops that will be running at Strode College in Street on Saturday 21 and 28 March.

The courses, which are aimed at adults, will be taught in Strode’s specialist classrooms and studios and a light lunch will be provided. To find out more visit: or call 01458 844400 for a brochure.

Book on-line or call Strode Theatre box office on 01458 442846 or book in person at the theatre (10.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Saturday).

09/03/15 - Strode College Teams up with School to Show that Apprenticeships Provide Great Jobs
Strode College Teams up with School to Show that Apprenticeships Provide Great Jobs

There are currently 33 job vacancies for apprentices in Somerset. As it is National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March), Strode College has joined forces with Brookside Academy in Street to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on young people, businesses and the regional economy.

Strode College works with a growing number of employers in Somerset, helping to create job opportunities for young people and train them to a high standard. The college currently trains apprentices in over 40 Apprenticeship schemes including: business; accountancy; construction; hospitality; hairdressing and beauty; health, social care and child care; sport and leisure. 

Brookside Academy currently employs ten apprentices who they train with the support of Strode College: three are on the national Children and Young People Apprenticeship scheme, five are on the Supporting Teaching and Learning scheme and two are employed on the Business and Administration scheme. The school has previously worked with Strode College to train three apprentices, one of whom is now working in a full-time IT role at the school.

Sandra Bartlett, Business Development Manager at Brookside Academy said: “As one of the larger employers in Street, by supporting the apprenticeship scheme, we offer local young people a real chance to learn valuable skills to support them in their progression through the employment market. From our perspective, working with the apprentices allows us to benefit from the new ideas and ways of thinking that they bring into Brookside. It is really rewarding for us to see these young people grow in confidence and develop their skills whilst they are with us.”

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “Apprenticeships are an important route into work for young people. They provide opportunities to gain real work experience and develop job-related skills and knowledge, with a guaranteed salary and a work- related qualification at the end of the scheme. Local companies need people who are keen to learn, prepared to work hard and contribute to the company. At Strode we bring employers and apprentices together and help businesses to deliver apprenticeships that are of real value to them and their apprentices.”

James Heappey speaks to Strode ApprenticeJames Heappey, Conservative Party candidate for Wells, visited Brookside Academy last week to see first-hand why apprenticeships are a great route into jobs with prospects. After discussing apprenticeships with staff from Strode College and Brookside Academy and meeting the apprentices James Heappey said: “Strode College and Brookside Academy are leading the way in delivering outstanding apprenticeships for local young people. The apprentices I met were all fantastic ambassadors for their college, for their workplace, and for Apprenticeships more generally. I wish them well with their courses and I am sure successful careers lie ahead.”

Strode College and the Association of Colleges are calling for the next Government to continue to support Apprenticeships and in addition, to develop a pre-apprenticeship scheme for some business sectors. This would prepare 16 and 17 year olds to take up a full apprenticeship by equipping them with the specific skills required by employers. 

If you want to find out more about apprenticeships and about vacancies in the area, call Strode College Apprenticeship team on: 01458 844631 or visit: or

Photo (top): These apprentices, dressed for World Book Day, work to Support Teaching and Learning at Brookside Academy in Street, with additional training and support from Strode College. Pictured, left to right: Kelly Cave (Strode College Apprentice Assessor); Amber Cook (Age 19 from Glastonbury); Jess Pear (age 18 from Bridgwater); Leah Carpenter (age 17 from Street); Brian Walton (Head Teacher of Brookside Academy); Georgina Chapman (age 19 from Glastonbury), Sandra Bartlett (School Business Manager) and Tamara Rodgers (age 18 from Street).

Photo (bottom): James Heappey talks to Apprentice Abigail Hopkins of Street, at Brookside School's Nursery.

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