Strode News

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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.

05/03/15 - Rocking at The Red Brick for Red Nose Day
Rocking at The Red Brick for Red Nose Day

Strode College Music Technology students are presenting a fantastic night of live music at the Red Brick Building, Glastonbury on Thursday 12 March from 8pm-11pm. ‘Rock for Red Nose Day’ will see local bands performing live to raise money for Comic Relief.

Acts on the night are Mr Keep Calm & the Cancelled Cheques, Missart, Karma Llama, Billy Shinbone and Jonti. The entry fee will be a donation to the charity.

Strode College students Sofie Hunter from Shepton Mallet and Theo Ainley from Marston Magna are organising the fundraiser as part of their college coursework. Sofie said: “This gig is just one of many events organised by Strode Live to promote local talent and give Strode College students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the live events industry. It's going to be awesome!”

Since its opening, The Red Brick Building has built up a solid reputation as the place to see the very best in local music talent, with regular gigs being held on Thursday nights, organised by Glastonbury FM.

Find out more about studying Music Technology A Level and Music Technology Extended Diploma at Strode

26/02/15 - Strode College Student Takes Charge in Mountain Rescue
Strode College Student Takes Charge in Mountain Rescue

When Strode College Public Service students returned from a successful ski trip in the Italian mountains recently, one student received special praise from his teacher for taking charge of a medical emergency involving a student from another school.

Dan Humphrey from Frome, a former pupil of Ansford Academy, is studying for an Extended Diploma in Public Services at Strode College. Students on the course learn about incident management, leadership and teamwork. This is exactly what Dan demonstrated when he witnessed a freak accident in which a snowboarder suffered a potentially serious back injury.

Using his training, Dan confidently took charge of the situation. He offered immediate medical assistance and stabilised the patient; organised the casualty’s young friends making sure the ski slope was secured to prevent further danger; and he sought help from Mountain Rescue.

Strode student Dan Humphrey and ski instructorDan relinquished control of the area when the groups snowboard instructor and the mountain police arrived, but he remained talking with the patient until the medical team took him to the rescue helicopter.

The Interski snowboard instructor who was in charge of the party at the time, said: “I was amazed to watch Dan in action; he was so professional in his approach, calm and in control throughout, he was a real asset during the emergency and a credit to the college”

Maurice Holdstock, Public Services Course Manager at Strode College said: “This is the response that I would expect from our students. Dan put what he has learned into practice with good effect and I am so proud of him. Our courses are designed to prepare students for a role in the public services or to take on a supervisory or management position in any area of work. This incident demonstrates how effective the course is in developing our students’ personal skills and their ability to take charge of situations. ”

More information about Strode College’s Public Services First Diploma, Public Services Extended Diploma and Foundation Degree.

Public Services ski trip  Public Services ski trip

Public Services ski trip  Public Services ski trip

20/02/15 - Free Courses to Develop Your Skills as a Business Team Leader
Free Courses to Develop Your Skills as a Business Team Leader

From March to June 2015, Strode College's Business Development Unit will be running a programme of training courses for team leaders and supervisors employed in retail, hospitality, care, manufacturing, construction, facilities management and many other sectors.

Develop your skills as a leader and have the tools and the techniques to help you lead work teams with confidence. Understand current thinking on Health & Safety and Equality & Diversity to help you run your business efficiently and safely.

In most instances training will be free of charge if you are aged 19 and over and employed for a minimum of 8 hours per week. Call us on 01458 844457 or email us on to find out if you are eligible for free training under this programme.

Session Dates and Times

  Morning Session, 09:00am - 1:00pm Afternoon Session 2:00pm - 5:00pm
March 13 Developing Yourself as a Team Leader Health and Safety
March 27 Maintaining a Healthy and Safe Working Environment First Aid
April 10 Leading Your Work Team Health and Safety
April 24 Providing Quality to Customers First Aid
May 8 Leading Your Work Team  
May 22 Developing Yourself as a Team Leader Health and Safety
June 5 Maintaining a Healthy and Safe Working Environment First Aid
June 19 Diversity in the Workplace Health and Safety
July 3 Providing Quality to Customers First Aid


18/02/15 - Historical Prague Inspires Budding Artists
Historical Prague Inspires Budding Artists

Forty-five Strode College Art and Design students visited Prague this month to seek inspiration for their work from the culture of this vibrant and historical city.

Head of Art and Design and trip leader Petrina Rochester explained: “The educational visits we offer to students make a clear and positive impact on their work, in terms of vision and ambition. Following these exciting trips, the quality of work generated by students shows that they’ve become more receptive to new ideas. I’m sure we’ll see Prague references in the students’ work in the End of Year show this June.”

The students enjoyed a full and varied itinerary and highlights for the students included a Charlie Hebdo retrospective which prompted an in-depth discussion on imagery and artists’ responsibility and the Warhol exhibition where they had the opportunity to screen print a design on a bag.

Other visits included a trip on the funicular railway to view the city from the top of Petrin Hill, a coach trip to visit the Bone Ossuary (a chapel decorated 40,000 skeletons) and Royal Mint, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice at the National Theatre, Prague Castle and St Vitus's Cathedral, the Toy Museum and the Mucha, Dali and Warhol Museum.

Lucy Brown, from Glastonbury and previously at St Dunstan’s School, is studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design. She said: “I’ll be using architectural references from Prague for my final major project in my set design models. It was also fantastic to visit the National Theatre and attend a ballet performance as I’ve applied to study Stage and Performance Design at degree level next year.”

Previous Art and Design trips have included visits to Florence, Barcelona, New York and Washington, and Paris. Next year’s trip is already being planned. Petrina added: “We are currently considering Berlin but will give students a choice between New York and two European cities.

Find out more about studying Art & Design A Level, Art & Design Extended Diploma, Art & Design First Diploma and Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree) at Strode.

Photo: Strode College Art and Design students standing on Charles Bridge in Prague.

17/02/15 - Boogie Nights gets its Groove On
Boogie Nights gets its Groove On

Strode College’s latest musical offering ‘Boogie Nights’ certainly lived up to its name. From the opening song ‘Celebration’ to the finale ‘mega-mix’, which incorporated ‘Can You Feel the Force’, ‘Instant Replay’, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’, ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘We Are Family’, the audience at Strode Theatre lapped up the 70s vibe, singing and clapping along to the toe-tapping classics which were delivered in abundance.

The Strode College Theatre Company gives students from across the college the opportunity to perform as part of their enrichment activities. Both male and female principal roles were played by A Level students, featuring strong performances by Matt Zagni as rockstar wannabe Roddy, who demonstrated his many talents whilst on stage - including football - and Francesca Fallows as girlfriend Debs, whose sublime delivery of ‘Yesterday Once More’ was one of the highlights of the show.

Medallion man and DJ Dean was played by Performing Arts student Dru Derbidge, who delivered a strong performance at all times with his convincing swagger and charm.

Noah Heathcote (Performing Arts) played the slightly sinister role of Spencer admirably and the wardrobe department should be congratulated on his outfits – especially his black patent platforms, which were so very in keeping with the fashions of the day.

The comedy element was carried off to perfection by Matt Blake (Performing Arts), whose portrayal of Terry was spot on - especially the drunk scene and his solo rendition of ‘Sugar Baby Love’.

Patrick Olliffe (Performing Arts) played the controversial role of Roddy’s father Eamon estimably; his solo of ‘You Were Always On My Mind’ was brilliant and the scene that featured him heart-broken over the death of Elvis very touching.

Beauty Therapy student Katie Davies played the supporting role of Debs’ best friend and Terry’s girlfriend Trish perfectly, and clearly loved taking to the stage.

Megan Edmunds (Performing Arts) played the singer in the band and Spencer’s girlfriend with attitude and charisma; her character was the catalyst for the majority of the drama. Her delivery of ‘Enough is Enough’, a duet with Debs, was very strong.

In addition to the thirty-two 70s songs, there were also some great spoken references to the era, including nods to teen-favourite retailer ‘Chelsea Girl’, ‘Clean Up TV’ social activist Mary Whitehouse and the then-Radio One DJ Simon Bates’ ‘Our Tune’. There was also a nice local reference, with a mention of ‘Orchard FM’, too.

The dancing was provided by students Jess Johnson, Emily Langthorpe, Leah White, Emily Davis and Charlotte Gardiner.

Other members of the ensemble were students Bethan Blackburn, Emily Hucker, Andy Jones, Ben King, Harry Roberts, Ellie Walpole, Chloe Yates, Martha Hale, Catherine Pratt, Danielle Blake and Hayley Chidzey.

Course Manager for Performing Arts, Charmaine Bray, directed the show. Head of Performing Arts, Matt Holmes, was Musical Director and keyboard player, and the band featured students Jake Wild on guitar, Alex Willsher on bass and Alex Hurr on drums. Dance teacher Rebecca Harvey was choreographer.

Find out more about studying Performing Arts Extended Diploma, Performing Arts First Diploma and Dance A Level at Strode College.

Photo (top): Debs (Francesca Fallows) and Lorraine (Megan Edmunds) fight for Roddy’s (Matt Zagni) affection.

Boogie Nights dance  Boogie Nights Eamon as Elvis

Above left: Katie Davies leads the dancers. Above right: Patrick Olliffe as Eamon (as Elvis Presley).

Boogie Nights YMCA dance  Boogie Nights Francesca Fallows and

Above left: Andy Jones, Matt Zagni, Noah Heathcote, Dru Derbidge and Matt Blake perform YMCA.
Above right: Francesca Fallows and Megan Edmunds.

13/02/15 - Grants Now Available Towards Advanced Hair and Beauty Management Qualification
Grants Now Available Towards Advanced Hair and Beauty Management Qualification

If you’re currently working over eight hours a week and either a hair or beauty salon owner, a volunteer or employed as a hair stylist or beautician, you may be interested in an exciting new opportunity to study a selection of awards towards the City and Guilds Level 4 Diploma in Management Practice and Advanced Techniques in the Hair and Beauty Sector at no cost to yourself.

Funding has been made available to Strode College by the European Social Fund through Somerset Skills and Learning and, because it is a grant, is not repayable by the learner. 

The qualification is designed to help grow business and increase profits. Following completion of all four units you will then be offered the opportunity to study the remaining awards to make up the diploma qualification. Progression from this course leads to the ILM Level 5 in Management qualification.

The four funded units available are:

  • Quality Management of Client Care in the hair and beauty sector
  • Sales Management in the hair and beauty sector
  • Public Relations in the hair and beauty sector
  • Marketing in the hair and beauty sector

The 12 week course will run every Monday at Strode College’s Bridgwater Training Centre from 9 March until 22 June, 2015 from 9.00am - 1.00pm for theoretical input. Students then have the option to continue studying from 2.00pm - 6.00pm if they wish.

For further information or advice please contact Sandra Hellier, Strode College Course Manager on 01278 457629/01458 844593 or email:

Photo: Emily Chiffers, pictured here at Strode College’s recent ‘Industry Day’, is currently studying the Level 4 Diploma in Management Practice and Advanced Techniques in the Hair and Beauty Sector.

10/02/15 - Great Chemistry for Somerset Primary Schools
Great Chemistry for Somerset Primary Schools

Almost 400 students from nine primary schools across the county had an explosive time when they visited Strode College on Wednesday February 4, to see the team from the University of Bristol’s ‘ChemLabS’ put on an exciting Chemistry demonstration sponsored by EDF Energy.

Most of the schools that attended on the day have link schools in Yueyang, China, and Strode, as the hub of the Somerset-Yueyang partnership, works closely with them, delivering regular Mandarin tuition and supporting collaborative activities with their Chinese partner schools.

Dr Alison Rivett of ‘ChemLabS’ said of the day: "The audience of enthusiastic primary school children at Strode were great today, they really enjoyed the experience – especially when there were loud bangs and flames! We were pleased to have the opportunity to deliver our 'Gases In The Air' Chemistry demonstration in an excellent theatre venue.”

Science is the main focus of the joint curriculum projects being undertaken between Somerset schools and their Chinese partners in 2015 and the presentation had the aim of contributing to this collaborative work, as well as developing an enhanced appreciation of science amongst local primary school pupils.

Tom Thayer, Inspire Education Programme Advisor at EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project, said: “The chemistry demo was a really great project to sponsor. We would especially like to thank Adrian Ash, HE & International Manager at Strode College, for facilitating the day and we look forward to working with Strode on many more projects to come!”

Strode College is also involved with EDF Energy’s Inspire Education Programme, which has run over 400 activities with 100 schools in Somerset – helping more students think about benefits of studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (STEM) at GCSE.

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