Strode News

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27/09/12 - Vince Cable Visits Strode College to Launch University Comparison Website
Vince Cable Visits Strode College to Launch University Comparison Website

Business Secretary Vince Cable visited Strode College in Street today to launch a new university comparison website to help students pick the right university course for them. 

The website makes new data available so that students applying to university can make informed decisions when choosing between the 31,000 university courses available in the UK.

The data, which is called Key Information Sets (KIS), includes details of course fees, accommodations costs and graduate salaries. It is available on the re-vamped Unistats website:

Strode College was chosen to host the launch event because it is responsible for sending the majority of students from Mendip onto university, and Tessa Munt MP for Wells recommended the college to the Business Secretary. 

Strode has 1500 students aged 16-18 studying A Levels and specialist vocational qualifications, and the majority of these students will go on to study at university when they complete their courses at Strode. 

Strode's A level and vocational students are 13% more likely than the national average to get a place at university, including the most prestigious universities such as Cambridge and Oxford, top universities in the South West such as Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, and specialist institutions such as medical schools and art schools. 

Vince Cable was accompanied on the visit to Strode by Tessa Munt MP. He announced the new initiative in front of students, staff and media in the College's Learning Resource Centre, where students were able to try out the new website and talk to Vince Cable about the site and their university plans.

After the launch, the Business Secretary joined students in Strode Theatre for a presentation about student finance from Chris Walker of the Student Loans Company. Following the presentation, Vince Cable answered questions about student finance.

James Staniforth, Strode College Principal, said: "At Strode we work closely with our students to help them plan their future study and careers. Our specialist careers advisors, subject teachers and personal tutors provide advice about university courses and support with the university application process to make sure students choose the course and university that is right for them. The new KIS data will provide students with more information to help them make this important decision. We are delighted that Vince Cable chose to launch the new website at Strode College. So many of our A Level and vocational students go on to university, so today's news is highly relevant to them."

Photo: Business Secretary Vince Cable launches new university comparison website at Strode College with Tessa Munt MP for Wells and James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College.

20/09/12 - Discounts at Strode Hair and Beauty Salon
Discounts at Strode Hair and Beauty Salon

Hair and Beauty students held a special event in the College refectory in September to promote the Strode Hair and Beauty Salon to new students. They gave out vouchers for 50% discounts on ladies hairdressing services and free gents haircuts by students on Strode's barbering courses.

19/09/12 - Citizenship Project Makes a Difference to Young People and the Community
Citizenship Project Makes a Difference to Young People and the Community

A celebration was held at Strode Theatre on 10 September to recognise the achievements of 33 young people from across the region who completed the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme with Strode College this summer.

In front of an audience of family and friends, Strode College Principal, James Staniforth, presented them with certificates for successfully completing the NCS programme along with certificates for other courses they had completed including First Aid, Health and Safety and the National Navigation Award.

All those who took part in the four week course were aged 15 to 17. They enjoyed two weeks residential: one week of team building and outdoor activities and one week learning how communities work; the third week was based at Strode College planning a social action project which they delivered in the final week of the programme. They were guided on the course by local team leaders with experience as teachers, youth workers and careers advisors. 

Five of the young people have been chosen to be ambassadors for the NCS. They will join ambassadors from across the South West at a training event in October to find out more about their role and how they can make sure young people continue to get involved and make a difference to their communities. Those chosen from the Strode NCS programme are: Alice Buck who studies at Sidcot School, Alice Chorley from Westfield Academy, Jack Butler from Whitstone School, Ollie Mortimer from Ansford Academy and Rosie Pash from Strode College.

Shonagh Butler, Strode College's NCS programme manager, said: "These young people had an extremely productive four weeks during the summer holidays. They took on new challenges, gained new skills, confidence and friends, and made a difference to the local community through volunteering. In particular they helped local charity Heads Up by creating a garden at their Horrington headquarters and they also worked to enhance Butleigh Playing Field. It has been great seeing them progress during the project and to watch their confidence and understanding grow as they learnt more about what community means and how they can get involved to make a positive difference."

Ollie Mortimer who is 16 left Ansford Academy this summer after his GCSEs and he is now studying four A levels at Strode College. He said: "I was quite keen to do the NCS scheme because I thought it looked like fun and I didn't have much else happening during the summer. I was particularly interested in meeting local councillors and MPs because I'm interested in politics. We met Tessa Munt and she talked about what she does and answered our questions. I also enjoyed meeting so many new people and seeing how the group progressed and worked together. At the beginning people were a bit nervous, but by the end everyone worked really well as a team. Taking part in the programme has really opened my eyes to voluntary work. I can see now that it doesn't have to be instead of a full-time job but that you can do it for one or two hours a week and make a difference."

Alice Buck is 16 and lives in West Huntspill. She completed her GCSEs at Sidcott School this summer and is now studying for the International Baccalaureate. She said: "My mum suggested I take part in the NCS programme because she thought it would give me new skills and help with my CV and getting into university in the future. I want to go to Bath Spa University to study psychology. I was really keen to do the course. I've found it really interesting and I've met loads of different people. We did a lot of team work to develop our people skills and we learnt to listen properly and understand each other. One of the main things I learnt was what happens in the community and how I can make a difference. I hadn't really understood my role in the community before and I didn't even know there was a Youth Parliament."

The four week NCS programme was run by Strode College in partnership with Devon's Petroc College. 

13/09/12 - Strode College is Among the Best in the Country for Improving Students' A Level and Vocational Grade
Strode College is Among the Best in the Country for Improving Students' A Level and Vocational Grade

Strode College in Street is one of the very best institutions in the country for improving students' performance in A Levels and vocational qualifications for the second successive year. 

Strode is rated in the top five per cent of 1200 state schools and colleges nationally for helping students achieve higher grades than predicted following their GCSE results as measured by the Advanced Level Performance System of ALPS. ALPS are provided with all advanced level exam results by the Department for Education and the system is used by nearly 90% of schools and colleges nationally. ALPS measures the 'added value' provided by schools or colleges, that is the progress that students make at advanced level taking into account their relative performance at GCSE.

ALPS also rates the teaching at Strode as being in the top 5% of all schools and colleges nationally, confirming the judgement in the Ofsted Report of May 2012 that highlighted Strode's outstanding teaching.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: "We've had a fantastic year at Strode and we are determined to keep up the momentum. Our students achieved outstanding results in their A Levels and vocational qualifications this summer, we got the highest possible rating from Ofsted when they visited in May, and the government's league tables for advanced level education rated us as the top performing state school or college in Mendip, South Somerset and Sedgemoor and the best college in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. 

"The 2012 ALPS reports confirm that our approach to teaching and support is incredibly effective for students who come to us with exceptional GCSE results or minimum entry requirements. 'Value-added' is such an important measure of how we help students maximise their potential. Our top 75 students achieved 100% A*-B grades, but we are equally proud that we gave chances to 33 students that no other school or college in Somerset would have allowed to take A Levels and they achieved 40% A*-B grades with no fails.

"1000 new students joined us in September to study A Levels and vocational qualifications. We will value all of them as individuals and work closely with them to help them reach their full potential. We know that studying at Strode will raise the level of their achievements. It will also increase their future opportunities and improve their chances of going to university or gaining a good job with prospects.

"I would like to encourage year 11 pupils, their parents and carers to visit Strode to find out for themselves why we are such a great option for studying after GCSEs. We have an open evening on Thursday 25 October between 6pm to 8.30pm and another on Thursday 22 November. We also have some 'College Experience Days' for year 11 pupils to try out A Level and vocational subjects before they decide what to do next. These are on Wednesday 28 November and Tuesday 4 December; for more information and to book a place call 01458 844422.

13/09/12 - Cardboard Couture Comes to College Catwalk
Cardboard Couture Comes to College Catwalk

Art and Design students at Strode College showed impressive skill and creativity in their first week at college, making cardboard couture costumes for the college catwalk.

Students worked together in small groups to create sturdy but stylish cardboard costumes in just one and a half days before the project finale - a catwalk show in front of other students and staff. 

Some of the students created glamorous costumes such as Rio, Peacock, Bird of Paradise, Angel, Tribal Warrior Bird and Corpse Bride, while others went for a more humorous approach such as Roman Angel, Shakespearian Axeman and Trojan Fish. All of the costumes showed a great deal of thought, imagination and skill.

Duncan Cameron, Strode College's Sculpture Teacher, said: "We always kick of the year with a project to warm up the students' creativity after the summer holidays and to get them working together. They've shown great design and construction skills and created some fantastic costumes using only recycled cardboard, brown tape, paper and string. We've had a great time working with them - watching their ideas develop and their confidence grow. I think we're in for a great year of art and design at Strode.

Students who worked on the cardboard costumes are studying Art and Design Level 3 Extended Diploma and Art and Design Foundation pre-degree Diploma. Strode also teaches A Level Art and Design and Art and Design Level 2 Diploma. Full details of courses are available in the new Strode College prospectus or on the college website: 

See a gallery of all costumes

10/09/12 - Olympic Nail Art
Olympic Nail Art

Nail Art has been very popular at the Olympics this summer and Strode College's new Level 2 Beauty Therapy students were quick off the mark last week competing in an Olympic themed Nail Art competition. 

Beauty Course Manager Marcie Mickleburgh said: "We organised the competition during the first week at College so that students could have some fun and show us what they can do. It was interesting to see the standard of work at such an early stage and the students were very enthusiastic and competitive. Hannock Chaddock from Sherbourne showed some exceptional skills to win the competition."

Strode's Level 2 Beauty Therapy students study a range of beauty treatments during their one year course. They can then seek employment in the beauty industry or study a higher Level 3 beauty course at Strode. Strode also offers a range of part-time nail art courses for adults. For more information visit: or call 01458 844400.

Photo: The winning Olympic nails by new student Hannah Chaddock.

06/09/12 - 1000 New Students Welcomed to Vibrant Strode College
1000 New Students Welcomed to Vibrant Strode College

A thousand new students began studying A Levels and vocational courses at Strode College this week, but before they got down to work they had fun at the College Fresher's Fair finding out about the many clubs, activities and interests they can enjoy while at Strode.

There was a buzz of excitement and new friendships in the air as the students looked around the 40 stands displayed by College clubs and services, outside agencies offering information and advice, and interest groups wanting students to get involved.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: "This is an exciting time for our new students and we want them to get the most out of their time with us. We have more A Level students than all the school sixth forms put together in Mendip and East Somerset and many more studying vocational courses. Strode is going from strength to strength and we know we can have a really positive impact on the lives of these young people. We encourage our students to work hard and to become independent and motivated learners, and we also encourage them to take part in other activities and to develop other interests. We provide a vibrant and varied mix of activities at Strode and our Fresher's Fair is a great way to show our new students what's out there for them."

Strode students can choose from over 20 different sports activities, choir and music groups, cooking, creative writing, theatre groups, languages, debating, photography, film club, Bridge club and charity fundraising, including the College Gambia Project.

College staff were on hand at the Fresher's Fair to talk about the services available to students such as academic and personal support, transport, housing, finances, careers, higher education and counselling. A wide range of outside agencies also attended including the Samaritans, YMCA, Mind, Chlamydia Screening Service, NHS Stop Smoking Service, Somerset Road Safety, Somerset Rural Youth Project and the National Blood and Transplant Service.

23/08/12 - Strode College Helps Young People Tackle Community Project
Strode College Helps Young People Tackle Community Project

A group of young people from the National Citizenship Service (NCS) programme at Strode College have been developing a garden in South Horrington for local charity Heads Up.

The NCS programme, run by Strode College in partnership with Petroc, is a four-week programme for young people from all backgrounds. It is designed to equip them with new skills, encourage them to take on new challenges and to make a difference through volunteering in local communities. 

Twenty four 15-17 year olds from the Somerset area, including many local Mendip schools and colleges, heard a speaker from the Heads Up charity during the second week of the NCS programme. As a result two of the three teams working with Strode College pledged to help Heads Up by redeveloping the garden for the use of the clients, and also to raising money and awareness for the charity.

Rosie, aged 17, said: "We felt it was important to help a local charity which lacked the funding of larger organisations. From our project we now know how important it is for people suffering with mental health problems to have the support provided by organisations such as Heads Up."

In the garden the teams have created a large herb garden, a decorative flowerbed and raised beds, and they have also tackled the more inaccessible areas of the site.

The team members, who previously didn't know each other, enjoyed a week's residential in Minehead, undertaking outdoor activities; a further week based at Bridgwater College's Cannington Centre learning about communities and new skills; followed by a week planning a social action project which gave them the skills and confidence they needed to make their final week's project a success.

Heads Up works with people across Somerset to support those with mental illness, physical disabilities and learning difficulties. Their aim is to help their clients pick up skills they would not otherwise be able to acquire, improving motivation and a sense of positive well-being in a friendly and comfortable environment. They offer opportunities to take part in a varied programme of workshops and activities such as; pottery, woodwork, IT skills and horticulture.

The charity works with a lot of volunteers and benefits greatly from the support of local businesses. The young people's garden project has been supported with donations from Timber Snows & CRS, Compost from Viridor, and bark and gravel from Rainbow Eco Products.

Bridget Harvey, Manger of Heads Up, said: "Before this week the garden was just abandoned, left for many years to overgrow. I jumped at the opportunity when I heard from Strode College about their NCS programme. I could see this would give our garden a big step forward, not having the man power or time to do this ourselves." 

For more information about the National Citizen Service young people being delivered by Strode College contact Shonagh Butler 01458 844543 or go to

20/08/12 - Law Student Wins Sponsorship - Guaranteed Employment and University Degree
Law Student Wins Sponsorship - Guaranteed Employment and University Degree

April Tassell from Yeovil, who formerly attended Preston School, has had a successful year. She got great A Level grades in August 2012: Law A, Physics A and Maths B, and she started work as a legal assistant with the Bristol law firm who will be sponsoring her through university.

While studying at Strode she was told about the sponsorship opportunity and supported through the application process. Following two interviews she won a sponsorship package which guarantees employment and pays her university fees. She will be working and studying alternate years until her law degree is completed.

April said: "I was genuinely amazed to get this position and sponsorship as there were so many applicants. I feel so relieved to have the certainty of employment and a degree over the next six years, particularly because of the current job market."

Philippa Piper, Assistant Principal and Head of A Levels at Strode, said: "It is gratifying to know that our students can succeed in such a competitive process, particularly when, in spite of her outstanding talent, April had considered a university education potentially unaffordable."

20/08/12 - A College Course Could Make all the Difference
A College Course Could Make all the Difference

GCSE results are announced today and Somerset's top performing college, Strode College in Street, is calling young people to get in touch and find out how studying A levels or a vocational course at Strode could make a real difference to their future success.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: "Some young people may be undecided about what to do next, particularly those who did not get the GCSEs they were hoping for, those who have just left school or who haven't really enjoyed their education so far, and those who are worried about money. It can be a confusing time but we know we can make a positive difference.

"This summer Ofsted awarded Strode the highest possible rating and highlighted our outstanding teaching, the excellent progress students make with us after their GCSEs, our high pass rates and the proportion of high grades we achieve. They also noted that we provide excellent individual support for our students which we know helps them achieve success. We have just announced our best ever A Level and vocational results, which are significantly above the national average, confirming Ofsted's judgement and demonstrating that our approach to learning and support really does work. Also, our wide range of social, sports and enrichment activities add to the vibrant atmosphere around college which our students enjoy so much. 

"With 41 A levels, 30 vocational courses and 18 apprenticeships we can help young people find the right course or mix of subjects to help them win places at university or get great jobs when they leave us. So, whether you have achieved ten GCSEs at grade A* or you haven't got any GCSEs, we will have the right course for you and we will help you achieve your potential. 

"If you're unsure about what to do next, if you would like some help and advice or want to come to Strode, call us on 01458 844400 or look at our website: " 

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