Strode News

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31/01/14 - Strode Students Jazz it Up
Strode Students Jazz it Up

The Strode College student jazz group enjoyed a fantastic night out in Bristol this week when they went to a gig by the James Gardiner-Bateman Quintet and were treated to a surprise guest appearance from the acclaimed pianist Jason Rebello.

The Jazz Group, one of many enrichment activities offered at Strode College, gives students the chance to play, listen to and appreciate a wide range of jazz music. Six students went along to the gig with Strode College's Music Teacher Adrian Smith.

The James Gardiner-Bateman Quintet is made up of some of the UK’s leading jazz musicians. James Gardiner Bateman is an alto sax player who in recent times has found himself on some very big stages, playing horn for the likes of Beverley Knight and Mica Paris. He has established himself at a very young age as one of Bristol’s very finest jazz musicians. Playing with him at the gig was Josh Arcoleo on tenor sax, Matt Robinson on piano, Chris Hyson on bass and Ed Richardson on drums.

The night was made even more exciting when they announced that Jason Rebello would be performing. He is a well-known and highly respected pianist in his own right as well as playing and touring with Sting, Jeff Beck, Chaka Khan, Mica Paris, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel.

Strode's Music Teacher Adrian Smith said: “The gig was amazing. We got there early so managed to get front row seats; the students were sitting just a few feet away from the band. We all came away buzzing from the experience. Jazz doesn’t get much better than this. Seeing music performed live to such a high standard has definitely been an enriching experience for our students.”

24/01/14 - New Mindfulness Course Starts February
New Mindfulness Course Starts February

Start dates: 5 Feb or 23 April (eight evening 2.5 hour sessions and a one all-day Saturday session)

"Mindfulness is about learning to pay attention to the present moment, in a particular way, without judgement" Jon Kabat-Zinn

Often we live our lives on automatic pilot, preoccupied with the future or the past, frequently 'swept away' by the current of thoughts and feelings, pressures and worries that have nothing to do with the present; wanting things to be different from how they are right now. This can be exhausting and draining.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) offers a way to reduce stress anxiety and depression leading to increased well-being, creativity and resilience. Mindfulness can lead us to choose a more useful way of responding to difficulties, rather than going round in circles in the same old way, we can learn to be present with these experiences in a conscious and compassionate way.

Mindfulness is not just a quick fix, but participants report significant changes in how they experience themselves and the world; the benefits can be felt immediately and can be real and lasting. Evidence based research shows MBSR to be effective in helping in a range of mental and physical illnesses.

During the course you will be guided through mindfulness practices and there will also be group discussion and reflection. Participants are encouraged to practice daily the mindfulness skills taught on the course in order to establish the foundations for a daily practice. A course work book and CDs are provided to help with this.

Course dates

Spring 2014, Wednesdays 6.30 pm to 9 pm (plus one Saturday)
5/2/14, 12/2/14, 26/2/14, 5/3/14, 12/3/14, 19/3/14, 26/3/14, 2/4/14, plus all day Saturday 15/3/14. Cost: £180.00

Summer 2014, Wednesdays 6.30 pm to 9 pm (plus one Saturday)
23/4/14, 30/4/14, 7/5/14, 14/5/14, 21/5/14, 4/6/14, 11/6/13, 18/6/13, plus all day Saturday 24/5/14. Cost: £180.00

Please contact Strode College on 01458 844468 to arrange a telephone interview before enrolling.

23/01/14 - Students Make Most Progress at Strode
Students Make Most Progress at Strode

The Government’s advanced level league tables, announced yesterday, show that A Level students progress more at Strode College than at any other school or college in Somerset. 

Strode is also ranked as the best performing college in Somerset for A Levels and the fourth best performing school or college in Somerset, using the measure for average points scored per A Level entry.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, is delighted that this year’s league tables show how well students perform and progress at the college. He said: "Our students consistently gain outstanding results and high grades; these new league tables reflect this excellent performance and the positive impact of our teaching and support on these results.

"This is the first year that the league tables have published 'added value' information alongside the raw data for average points scored per exam entry. Value-added scores are really important because they tell people about the quality of teaching at a school or college, rather than whether a school or college simply recruits students who have performed well at GCSE. Value-added scores reflect the difference between what a student should have achieved based on their GCSEs and what they did achieve.

"We are by far the best school or college in Somerset for adding value to advanced level students, adding twice as much value as the next best institution in the county. And, although we teach many outstanding academic students, we do not rely on those good students to get good results. We rely on excellent teaching, support and guidance; it’s fantastic that the league tables now make it easier for people to see the positive difference we make as well as the great results our students achieve.

Strode is also the the best performing college in Somerset, Devon, Dorset, North Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and BANES, for both A Level achievement per student entry and for adding value. Nationally, Strode has the eleventh best A Level results in terms of achievement per entry, moving up the to ninth best when looking at adding value.

Strode students also gained excellent results for advanced level vocational qualifications in 2013 and the league tables show a similarly positive picture. Strode is the best college in Somerset for improving performance on vocational courses and the second best performing college in the South West, based on both average points per exam entry and value-added performance.

Examples of students who joined Strode College after their GCSEs and achieved higher A Level grades than anticipated based on their GCSE results.

Jessie from Glastonbury
A Level grades achieved: A*, A* and A
Predicted grades after GCSEs: C, C, and C
Where now? Exeter University studying Applied Psychology

Tom from Queen Camel
A Level grades achieved: A*, A* and A
Predicted grades after GCSEs: B, B and C
Where now? Oxford University studying Maths

Amy from Wells
A Level grades achieved: A, A and B
Predicted grades after GCSEs: B,B and B
Where now? Loughborough University studying Sports and Exercise Science

George from Compton Dundon
A Level grades achieved: A, A, A
Predicted grades after GCSEs: B, B and C
Where now? Reading University studying Business and Management

Katie from Street
A Level grades achieved: A*, B and B
Predicted grades after GCSEs: B, C and C
Where now? Exeter University studying Geography

Katie from Yeovil
A Level grades achieved: A, A and B
Predicted grades after GCSEs: C, D and D
Where now? Southampton University studying Biology

Sorcha from Othery
A Level grades achieved: A, A, A and B
Predicted grades after GCSEs: B, B, B and B
Where now? Manchester University studying History


View the 2014 League Tables
Read the 2013 Results Day press release

22/01/14 - Strode Student Wins Place on German Pupil Course and is Selected as UK-German Youth Ambassador
Strode Student Wins Place on German Pupil Course and is Selected as UK-German Youth Ambassador

Strode A Level student Grace Bentham, who lives in Stathe near Bridgwater and previously attended Huish Episcopi School, is one of only 12 young British students who gained a place on an exciting UK-German Connection Pupil Course last year. Since her return she has been selected as one of fifty UK-German Youth Ambassadors and has been working with pupils at Walton Primary School, introducing pupils to German language and culture.

The UK-German Connection (, which is supported and partly funded by the British Council and the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (Educational Exchange Service), aims to strengthen connections between German and British young people and to promote German language and culture throughout the UK.

As part of the Pupil Course, Grace spent two weeks in Germany staying with a host family, taking part in school lessons and visiting locations of interest. Through her work at Walton Primary School she is now sharing her knowledge and love of the language and culture with local children. 

Grace has worked on three projects with the Year 6 pupils at Walton Primary School: finding out about Germany and learning some basic words; writing autumn poems in German and exchanging home-made Christmas cards with the pupils from Astrid-Lindgren Primary School in Lower Saxony. Next, Grace will help the children exchange hand-made postcards from Somerset with their new German friends.

Grace really enjoyed her time in Germany and gained a lot from the experience. She said: “I returned from Birkenwerder near Berlin feeling enriched, having had so many new experiences which I will always remember. Before this course I had never stayed with a German family and had only spent a few days in Germany. I was overjoyed to be chosen.

“My host family warmly welcomed me and I had many interesting conversations in German about politics, the news and history, which helped me gain confidence, more fluency and cultural awareness. My language skills have really improved and, having been immersed in German culture, I have more knowledge of German history, which will no doubt help with my A Level course. I have made some really good friends, both British and German, and would urge other German language students to apply to the course – it’s a great opportunity!”

“We went on various trips to Berlin, Potsdam (Sanssouci Park and castle tour), Babelsburg Filmpark, and Hohenschönhausen Stasi Prison, which was both disturbing and of historical importance and gave me an insight into what life was like during the war.

“We took German lessons on a range of topics at an inclusive Gesamtschule called Regine Hildebrandt Schule. Due to my interest in education and special educational needs, I particularly enjoyed undertaking a project on inclusive education. It was also interesting, albeit confusing, to experience a French lesson in German with my host partner!

“We went to Claerchen’s Ballhaus in Berlin and I tried ballroom style dancing to celebrate the birthday of my host’s grandma. I particularly enjoyed seeing paintings by some German artists at the Old National Gallery; I admired Berlin’s impressive architecture during a boat trip on the Spree and saw the Berliner Dom where I enjoyed a Bach concert and an incredible atmosphere. I also visited the Bundeskanzleramt and the buildings where Angela Merkel is based.”

Strode’s A Level German Teacher Marian Jones, told Grace about the opportunity and supported her with her application. She said: “We are always pleased to take our students on exchanges and study visits, but an individual project like this shows real initiative. Grace gained so much linguistically and personally from the travel experience and from working on a joint project with young people from Germany. This will be useful in her university language studies and is bound to impress future employers.’ 

Strode College is now accepting applications to study A Levels in German, French and Spanish, starting in September 2014. Former Strode language students are currently studying at some of our top universities, including Oxford, Warwick and Bristol. Some pursue the language they studied at A Level and others choose a new challenge, such as Mandarin or Japanese.

18/12/13 - Year 11 Pupil Records EP at Strode
Year 11 Pupil Records EP at Strode

A year 11 pupil from Crispin School, Lauren Cooper, has released a new EP recorded at Strode College Studios by Daniel Shaw, Course Manager for Strode College’s  Music Extended Diploma.

This was her prize for coming first in the ‘Celebration of Youth’ event held in Glastonbury Town hall in September, an initiative from the Glastonbury Mayor.

Olly Richens, Audio Technician at Strode College, plays drums on the EP and Daniel Shaw plays Double Bass.

The EP is available as a download form all the usual digital partners including iTunes/Amazon.

13/12/13 - Strode College Concert Proves to be a Winter Wonder
Strode College Concert Proves to be a Winter Wonder

At their annual Christmas concert last week, Strode College music students delivered a feast of musical entertainment with some outstanding group and individual contributions in a programme that catered for a range of musical tastes.

The marvellously staged seamless production started with the elegance of a string quartet playing a Schubert minuet, a fantastic choral rendition of seasonal music and a belting rendition of '`Mack the Knife'. The college jazz group played a wonderfully cool set including Herbie Hancock’s `Chameleon` demonstrating some exciting emerging improvisatory talent, most notable the guitar playing of second year A level music student Joe Armer (of Street) A fantastic folk-rock trio 'Archie and the Dictators' did full justice to the rhythmic syncopations of Richard Thomson’s 'Stuck on a Treadmill'.

The flavour of the event then shifted towards popular music with first year Music Extended Diploma students playing a spirit lifting version of a Peter Gabriel classic, a lively original Christmas song by Ben Tubridy (of Babcary, Somerton) and a sing-along Sufan Stevens number.

The second half of the show started with a fantastic surge of energy from Strode’s Extended Diploma second year students with a crisp and punchy cover of Black Keys’ 'Gold on the Ceiling' and a goose bump inducing performance of Beyoncé’s 'If Were a Boy' sung by Zelah Van-Gowler (of Bridgwater). Not to be out done, the Beach Boy style male close harmony singing in the peace number `California Dayz` supported Connor Crabb’s (of Yeovil) dreamy vocal rendition beautifully.

Close harmony featured again with a flawless and sparkling 'Andrew Sisters' tribute featuring A Level students Lizzy Bevan (of Wells), Charlotte Wisniewski (of Compton Dundon) and Sophie Mansergh (of Sherborne) driven by some fantastic playing by the college ensemble in a rendition of the 'Ferry Boat Serenade'. The house lights went up and the audience joined in with a festive closing number to round of a wonderful evening of entertainment.

13/12/13 - Strode Students Enter the World of Beauty, Fashion and Celebrity
Strode Students Enter the World of Beauty, Fashion and Celebrity

Strode College Beauty Therapy students visited the Clothes Show Live in Birmingham NEC recently, where they gained valuable insight into the world of beauty, make-up and fashion, and they got to meet some celebrities!

Strode’s Level 2 Beauty Therapy Course Manager, Marcie Mickleburgh, said: "The catwalk show gave the students the chance to see the latest make-up and fashion trends.  It was a very successful and enjoyable trip."

Photo (below, right): Strode College Level 2 Beauty Therapy student Naomi Stanley, from Yeovil, with celebrity Amy Childs, who became famous when she appeared on ITVs 'The Only Way is Essex' and has since launched her own beauty and fashion ranges.

  Naomi Stanley with Amy Childs

13/12/13 - Success for Strode Maths Students in National Competition
Success for Strode Maths Students in National Competition

Twelve high achieving A Level Maths students from Strode College have won awards for their success in the UK Maths Trust Senior Maths Challenge.

The annual challenge is open to students from colleges and schools across the country. This year over 19,000 schools and colleges entered the competition with over 74,000 pupils competing. The top 10% of students received a gold certificate, the next 20% were awarded silver and the next 30% were awarded bronze.

Three Strode students were awarded gold certificates: Edward Beaty (Walton), Andrew Bryer (Walton) and Rebekah Botterill (Glastonbury). Eight achieved silver: Lauren Wittleton (Glastonbury) Matthew Bearman (Street) Alannah Brannagan-Fuller (Martock), Sam Taylor (Stawell), Clare Gollop (Charlton Adam), Ben Crawford (Radstock), Harry Dunlop (Street), and Elizabeth Down (Pedwell). Veyndan Stuart (Shepton Mallet) was awarded a bronze certificate.

Around 4000 of the top achieving students from across the UK were invited to take part in follow on competitions. Strode’s Edward Beaty (Walton) and Andrew Bryer (Walton) qualified for the Senior Kangaroo competition - results will be announced in January. 

Four students (Ben Crawford, Lauren Wittleton, Andrew Bryer and Edward Beaty) competed in the Team challenge in November at University of West of England in Bristol against teams from schools and colleges around the Bristol area. Competition was tough and the team’s third place was very well deserved.

Strode Maths Subject Leader and Teacher, Helen Kelsey, said: “Our students study a specific syllabus for their Maths A Levels, but this competition poses stimulating and interesting problems that require students to use their mathematical knowledge differently; it encourages them to think laterally and logically. We help our students prepare for the maths challenge by adding optional questions to their homework. They enjoy working on these problems and spend time discussing the solutions with each other.“

Maths is one of the most popular A level subjects at Strode College and in 2013 high grades of A*, A and B were achieved by 64% of students in Maths and 77% of students in Further Maths. In 2013 one Strode student went on to study mathematics at Oxford and over twenty Strode students went on to study degree courses that required maths A level at universities around the country.

Photo: Maths students from Strode College won gold, silver and bronze at the UK maths competition, where they competed with 74,000 students and solved maths problems that would challenge even the best mathematicians. Left to right back row: Rebekah Botterill (gold), Andrew Bryer (gold), Lauren Wittleton (silver), Lizzie Down (silver), James Staniforth (Strode Principal), Veyndan Stuart (bronze), Sam Taylor (silver), Harry Dunlop (silver) and Edward Beaty (gold). Left to right front row: Matthew Bearman (silver), Clare Gollop (silver), Allanah Brannagan-Fuller (silver), Ben Crawford (silver).

13/12/13 - Free Advice for Construction Companies
Free Advice for Construction Companies

Strode College Business Development team has joined forces with Old Mill accountants and financial planners and Train4All, a local construction company, to provide free information and advice for construction employers. 

Construction employers are invited to a free event at Strode College on Thursday 9 January, 6.00 - 7.15pm

They will be able to get advice about tax planning; business planning and finance; CIS, payroll and Real time guidance; commercial vehicles; and grants available.

For more information about the free event and services available to construction employers, contact the Strode College Business Development team: 01458 844457 or

09/12/13 - West End Musical Workshop
West End Musical Workshop

Strode College Performing Arts and Dance students got the opportunity to learn from a West-end professional last week when Richard Murphy visited and delivered an inspiring musical theatre workshop.

Richard was trained to the highest level in musical theatre at Doreen Bird College in Kent before going on to enjoy tremendous success performing in acclaimed shows including; Chicago, We Will Rock you, Wizard of Oz and many more.

The workshop gave Strode students the chance to learn from the very best. They learnt repertoire and audition pieces from two hit West-End shows Chicago and Matilda and thoroughly enjoyed the session.

Students were in awe of Richard’s phenomenal ability and enthusiasm saying: “The workshop was amazing! So much fun and incredibly inspiring, we loved it!”

Richard commented on how impressed he was with the professionalism and hardworking attitude of Strode students saying: “They have been an absolute pleasure to teach”.

Strode College is now taking applications for A Levels, vocational qualifications and higher education courses. The college teaches A Levels in Dance and in Drama and Theatre Studies; it offers a Level 3 Extended Diploma and Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts, as well as a Higher National Diploma in Performing Arts (Acting).

Photo: Strode College Performing Arts and Dance students learn from the best with West End musical performer Richard Murphy (centre).

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