Strode News

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05/12/12 - Strode Students Inspired by Visit to China
Strode Students Inspired by Visit to China

A group of hospitality and engineering students from Strode College in Street recently returned from a 'life changing' visit to China which gave them a wealth of new experiences and inspiration for the future.

Strode College is part of the East Somerset Partnership (ESP) which works to build relationships between colleges and schools in East Somerset and Yueyang Province in South China. Strode is the first member of the ESP to organise a student visit to China, following a visit from Chinese students to Strode in May and a visit by heads of Chinese schools in October.

Eleven Strode students took the opportunity to visit China, accompanied by Strode's Student Services Manager Mandie Holloway and Strode's Hospitality Course Manager Ian Thomas.

They took in many famous tourist sites such as the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Ti'anmen Square and Beijing, and they spent much of their time enjoying activities at Strode's partner college, the Central South Industrial School, and experiencing authentic Chinese life with the families they stayed with.

The Strode students enjoyed a fantastic welcome to the Central South Industrial School. After the cheering and flag waving had subsided, an audience of about 200 people watched a welcome concert to showcase Chinese and English culture. Chinese students performed some traditional dances, singing and acrobatics, while the Strode students shared some Somerset culture by singing a Worzels' song, Katie Bond of Ashcott performed a contemporary dance, and Matt Jamieson of Hosington near Wincanton played the keyboard.

Katie Bond said the welcome they received was a definite highlight: "The show they organised to welcome us was a massive event. I thought it would be a little party but they didn't hold back at all. I enjoyed dancing in the show and it was nice that the student newspaper described my performance as a 'graceful, elegant, English dance.' I've never done any travelling before. Visiting China has given me a better understanding of the Chinese culture and opened my eyes to how many interesting places and cultures there are around the world that I would love to see."

Many of the Strode students said their highlight of the visit was staying with Chinese students and their families and spending time with them.

Ryan Cox of Shepton Mallet is studying Hospitality BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. He said: "Living with the family gave me a real idea of how Chinese people live. I saw what they do on a daily basis - the food they eat and how they prepare it; how they spend their time, like playing the game Majong which is harder than it looks. I've become friends with one of the students and I'm planning to go back to China on an exchange next year. After college I plan to study at university and then I'd like to get a work visa and spend some time working in China."

For Jake Staples of Shepton Mallet, who is also studying hospitality at Strode, the trip to China was a dream come true. He said: "It's been my dream to go to China. I'm really interested in food and experiencing authentic Chinese food first hand was a real highlight. It tasted so different to Chinese food we eat in this country; so full of flavour. We prepared and ate food with the family, we enjoyed a huge choice of food at the school, and we ate in a top restaurant, although none of us were keen on the 'stinky tofu' which was Chairman Mao's favourite dish. Getting a greater understanding of another culture in this way has been a life changing experience for me."

Mandie Hollaway, Strode's Student Services Manager said: "Our Chinese hosts were wonderful. They made such a fuss of us; we were overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of their welcome. Our students experienced so much on the visit. They have returned home with new friends and loads of amazing memories and ideas about China and about how our lives can be enriched by understanding different cultures and different ways of doing things. They really have been inspired by what they've seen and learnt."

Photo: Strode students share a Worzels song with their Chinese hosts at the welcome concert.

26/11/12 - Great Expectations for Student's Project
Great Expectations for Student's Project

Strode College A Level student Katie Thick is delighted - she has just completed her Extended Project which was inspired by the fascinating Dickens character Miss Havisham, and a new film version of her favourite novel 'Great Expectations' will be released this month.

After extensive research, planning and hard work, Katie has produced her own version of Miss Havisham's iconic dress made from text taken from the book 'Great Expectations'. Katie's version of the dress is much simpler than the gothic costume worn by Helena Bonham-Carter in the new film, but it captures the essence of Miss Havisham and has been made with a great deal of thought and attention to detail.

To gain the Level 3 Extended Project qualification students have to produce a piece of work of their own choosing, either practical of theoretical, showing evidence of planning, preparation, research and autonomous working. The project can be linked to other subjects they are studying or it can explore a different area of interest.

Katie, who is in her final year at Strode, has been studying for the Extended Project alongside her A Levels in English Literature, Textiles and Geography. For the project she combined her love of literature and of 'Great Expectations' in particular, with her interest in textiles.

Katie said: "Great Expectations is my favourite novel. There have been so many different film and TV versions with different interpretations of Miss Havisham and I've seen them all. In the book Miss Havisham's dress is described as a 'bridal dress, looking like earthy paper' and I chose to represent this in my project.

"The Extended Project qualification has allowed me to expand my passion and interest in textiles and literature. It has also given me an insight into what it is like to do independent research and it has tested my organisation and commitment - key skills I will need to study at a higher level next year."

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, said: "The Extended Project is a great way for our students to show their commitment to a particular interest or activity in a way that extends their study skills and knowledge, increases their university UCAS points, and helps prepare them for higher education. Katie has shown fantastic commitment and enthusiasm for her subject and I'm delighted with her work. We encourage our students to study for this additional qualification because we know it can make a significant difference to their learning and future success, and we provide additional teaching and personal support for them as they do so."

26/11/12 - Expect Great Things from Strode College Performers
Expect Great Things from Strode College Performers

If you are in the mood for a Dickensian drama, full of mystery and intrigue, with complex, strange and sinister characters, then the Strode College production of 'Great Expectations' will get your December off to a fantastic start.

Strode's BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts Students will be presenting their version of this popular Dickens story at Strode Theatre on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 December, at 7.30pm.

The story tells how young Pip's life takes a surprising turn after a frightening encounter with the mysterious Magwitch on the Romney Marshes. He finds himself moving away from his old life with the blacksmith, Jo Gargery, to a life in London as a gentleman with great expectations. What part of this transformation is due to the sinister Miss Havisham, and is Pip really intended as the husband of her beautiful niece Estella?

Director and Strode Drama Teacher, John Oram, said: "We will be presenting a fast-moving production in which characters emerge from the strangest of places with frequent nods to the gothic horror genre. Our interesting theatrical version of 'Great Expectations' will complement the newly released film version wonderfully. We're looking forward to telling this dark tale live on stage at Strode Theatre, which will be a fantastic experience for our students and an entertaining evening for our audience."

"Our Level 3 Performing Arts students work is of a very high standard. All of those who completed their course this summer gained high grades, with some choosing to study at a higher level at acting school or university, including Bath Spa, Exeter and De Montford.

You can book a ticket online via the Strode Theatre box office: or call the box office on 01458 442846 (Monday to Saturday 10am-2pm).

19/11/12 - Children in Need
Children in Need

Strode College students and staff raised around £500 for Children in Need last Friday, showing just what can be done with a little effort and imagination.

Events around college included a cracker eating contest, a fancy dress collection, music students performing and collecting, a raffle, cake sale and guess the name of the bear competition. In addition to the sports staff held an all-day sportathon and beauty therapy students did a sponsored walk up Glastonbury Tor, in fancy dress.

13/11/12 - Students Remember those who Died at War
Students Remember those who Died at War

Strode College BTEC Uniformed Public Services students held a ceremony on 9 November for students and staff to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of war.

Music students Joe Martin and Edmund Rhind-Tutt played 'The Last Post' at the ceremony, which provided an opportunity to pay respects to those who have died at war and to reflect on conflict and the meaning of Remembrance Day.

08/11/12 - Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Celebrating Cultural Diversity

Strode College students got the chance to try out some new and interesting activities from around the world recently when they celebrated global diversity during the college's annual 'One World Week'.

Strode's Student Support team organised the week of activities for students to enjoy whilst thinking about how our lives are influenced and enriched by cultures from around the world. 

The week of activities, which included African drumming, didgeridoos, Japanese combat, Latin Zumba, henna hand designs and Chinese ping pong, culminated in an Oxjam concert in Strode Theatre. The concert featured performances from Strode music students, college music groups, the choir and student bands.

Photo: Students at Strode College try their hand at African drumming during One World Week.

06/11/12 - Strode Students Excavate with TV Experts
Strode Students Excavate with TV Experts

Strode College's Archaeology A level students were delighted to be joined by Professor Mark Horton, who presents the BBC's 'Coast' series and Channel 4's 'Time Team', when they excavated at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire recently. 

Professor Horton is co-director of the University of Bristol's Berkeley Castle site, which was recently featured on TV's 'Countryfile' and 'Britain's Hidden Heritage'. The university is currenlty carrying out research into the possibility that a Saxon Mynster (monastery) once stood on the site.

Strode's archaeology students enjoyed working with professional archaeologists and learning excavation and recording skills. They were supervised by Sian Thomas, a Bristol graduate who is currently working in contract archaeology before starting her PhD. 

Katherine Dray, Archaeology Teacher at Strode said: "This was a great opportunity for our A Level students to try out excavation and recording techniques, and they also took the opportunity to find out more about studying archaeology at a higher level and possible future career options."

Photo: Professor Mark Horton excavating alongside Strode A Level Archaeology students Abbie Dutson (left) and Chloe Mott (right).

26/10/12 - Futures Built on Strong Foundations
Futures Built on Strong Foundations

Eighteen Strode College Foundation Degree students graduated recently proving that going to a university is no longer the only way to get a good degree, and that studying locally has real benefits. 

The graduation ceremony took place at Plymouth University which validates Strode's Foundation Degrees in History, Heritage and Archaeology, Managing Public Sector Services and E-Business Technologies. 

Foundation Degree students study at Strode, either two full days a week or on a more flexible part-time basis. They can then go on to study the third year of a Bachelor's Degree at University, or they can gain employment at a higher level within an associated field.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, said: "My congratulations go to our degree students for their excellent achievements at a higher level. In May this year the Quality Assurance Agency for higher education rated Strode among the best higher education providers in the country. Our Foundation Degree students have studied modern, industry focused courses that are relevant to growth areas in our regional economy, and they have benefitted from the outstanding teaching and support of our experienced and committed tutors.

"By studying locally they have been able to minimise their costs for fees, accommodation and travel and they have been able to fit their studies around other commitments, such as work and family. Their hard work has paid off. I'm delighted that we have helped them gain their degrees and I wish them every success with their future careers and studies."


Foundation Degree graduates - History, Heritage and Archaeology

Ten students were awarded Foundation Degrees in History, Heritage and Archaeology. 

Mandy Eldred-Tyler of Bruton (Distinction) and Victoria Kennedy of Wells (Pass) are now studying the final year for their History Degree at Plymouth University. Ellen Watson of Wincanton (Distinction) and Jack Fuller of Wincanton (Certificate in Higher Education) are now studying the final year for their Archaeology Degree at the University of Bristol and *Peter Missingham of Glastonbury (Distinction) is completing his Archaeology Degree at Truro College. Susannah Duffy of Cattistock in Dorset (Pass) is completing her History and Heritage Degree at Bath Spa University. Natalie Talbot of Glastonbury (Pass) is working during a gap year and considering completing the full History Degree at Plymouth University next year. Other students who graduated are: Darren Driver of Burnham on Sea (Pass), Jade Corssen of Newton Abbot in Devon (Certificate in Higher Education), Carina Mallabar of Okehampton in Devon (Certificate in Higher Education).

Case Studies


Foundation Degree - Managing in the Public Sector Services

Seven students were awarded Foundation Degrees in Public Sector Services. James Higgins of Street (Distinction) is now working as a PCSO with Yeovil Police. Robert Boulton of Wells (Pass), Devon Higgs of Gillingham in Dorset (Pass), Jordan Hunt of Street (Pass), Samuel Smith of Cheddar (Pass), and Alexandra Way of Martock (Pass) are all completing the Public Services Degree at Plymouth University. In addition, Thomas Payne of Street graduated with a Pass.

Case Studies


Foundation Degree - E Business Technologies

Lawrence Takhar of Bruton graduated with a Pass is now working as a computer technician for a company providing IT services to schools.

This year Strode College extended its higher education opportunities by offering more courses and more student places. The college now offers Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas, higher level professional qualifications and Higher Apprenticeships. Full details are available on the college website:

Although each course has specific entry requirements they are open to a range of people including young people leaving school or college with A Levels or other Level 3 qualifications such as Extended Diplomas, people with relevant life experience and mature students.

Strode's full-time Foundation Degrees currently cost £5,950 a year and they are delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth. The average annual fee for studying a full-time degree in South West Universities is £8,750.

25/10/12 - Be Ready for Christmas with Strode College's Winter Weekend Workshops
Be Ready for Christmas with Strode College's Winter Weekend Workshops

Strode College in Street is running a weekend of seasonal and creative workshops on 24 and 25 of November, for adults who want to prepare for the Christmas festivities, while having some fun and learning new skills.

This specially designed programme of courses offers something for anyone who wants to bring their own special touch to Christmas, as well as workshops for those who want to take a relaxing and contemplative approach to the festive season.

You can get creative by making your own lino cut or photographic Christmas cards; you can make special gifts for friends and family including felted flower brooches, beaded jewellery and personalised books and calendars; and you can make fabric or knitted Christmas decorations. 

Cooking is a huge part of Christmas, and Strode are offering you the chance to become the next Nigella Lawson by learning to cook a sumptuous three course Christmas dinner, or you could learn how to decorate your own mini gift Christmas cake. And, to make sure you look the part you can find out how to apply your party make-up and party lashes.

For those who don't want to get so hands on, there are plenty of other courses available. You can learn what a Somerset Christmas was like during Georgian times, consider the depiction of the nativity in Renaissance art, improve your writing skills as you reflect on the past year, or learn yoga to help you relax during the busy Christmas season.

Jill Deakin, Assistant Principal at Strode, said: "Our Winter Weekend Workshops reflect the growing interest in home-made arts, crafts and cookery and the enthusiasm with which many people prepare for the festive season. Other courses are designed to help those who approach this time of year in a more reflective mood; time out to think, learn and relax can be a great help during the otherwise frantic season. We're looking forward to welcoming people to Strode and for a great and productive weekend."

Find out more about the Winter Weekend Workshops on the Strode College website.

You can book a place online via the Strode Theatre on-line booking system:

Alternatively, ring the box office 01458 442846 between 10.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Saturday, book in person (between 10.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Saturday) or book by post to Strode Theatre, Strode College, Church Road, Street, Somerset BA16 0AB.

19/10/12 - Choose the Courses and College thatís Right for You
Choose the Courses and College thatís Right for You

Strode College in Street is inviting year 11 pupils and their parents to an Open Evening on Thursday 22 November between 6pm to 8.30pm.

Choosing what to study after GCSEs and where to study is an important decision. Year 11s and their parents need the right information to help them make an informed choice about what is best for them now and what is best for their future success. 

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, said: "The best way to get a real feel for schools and colleges is to have a look around, meet the teachers and current students, and ask some important questions. For example, does the school or college offer the course or mix of courses that you want to study? What percentage of students achieve high A*-B grades for A Levels or Distinction or better for BTEC Extended Diplomas? What is the 'value-added' rating for the school or college - that is the results students achieve in A Levels and advanced vocational qualifications compared to what they were expected to achieve based on their GCSE results. This helps you tell if a school or college's grades are achieved because they have good students, or because they provide good teaching and add value to all students - Strode is in the top 5% of schools and colleges for adding value. 

"Other important considerations are about the quality of teaching. For example, do the teachers specialise in teaching 16-18 year olds? Are they experts in their subjects, and do they have specialist teaching facilities? Also, what percentage of students progress to university, and which universities do they go to? And, what enrichment opportunities are available to help students get the most out of student life. A recent Ofsted report will tell you a lot about the school or college, although, if the last inspection was at least three or four years ago, standards may have changed.

"There's a lot to think about, but a visit to the school or college, combined with some good research and advice, should help you make the choice that is right for you. I know that Strode College offers fantastic opportunities for all students and that our answers to these questions strengthen our reputation as one of the very best colleges in the country.

If you would like to visit Strode College you can simply turn up on the open evening, or pre-register for 'Express Check-in' by visiting Strode College website:

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