Strode News

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20/07/12 - Strode Dancers Praised for Talent and Dedication
Strode Dancers Praised for Talent and Dedication

Twenty two dances in an hour and a half is not bad going. That's what the dance students at Strode College managed in their end of year Dance Showcase at Strode Theatre recently. 

The evening showcased a range of beautifully crafted solos, duets and group dance created and performed by Strode's A level Dance and Level 3 Performing Arts students. Highlights of the show included the premiere performance from the newly formed Strode College dance company 'Gravit8 Dance', and the audience were entertained by final year BTEC Performing Arts students who took on Bob Fosse's choreography performing All that Jazz from the hit musical 'Chicago'.

The second half of the programme started with A level students performing a group dance to showcase their talent and to celebrate their two years of studying dance at Strode College. The show ended with the AS dance students performing an upbeat zombie inspired group dance entitled After Dark.

Becky Harvey, Strode's Dance Teacher, said: "The show was an opportunity for our dance students to present some of their best performance work from the year. Students found the time between their exams to create and rehearse these pieces, demonstrating their commitment and enthusiasm for dance. They worked extremely hard to achieve a professional, high quality evening of dance, and we congratulate all of them for their talent and dedication."

Caroline Sherwood, who writes the Somerset Life dance column, went to the show. She said: "In a varied programme of contemporary, street dance, tap and musical theatre, as well as gymnastics and not inconsiderable ballet skill, the students demonstrated an impressive flexibility for moving between genres. It was good to see such young dancers being exposed to the likes of Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham. I was personally particularly impressed by the cohesive clarity of the first year dancers' performance of After Dark. Becky Harvey's innovative, playful, and sometimes freshly surprising, choreography was joyfully entertaining and often moving, and there were outstanding performances from Rosie Hadfield, Georgia Green and Harriet Baker."

Photo: Abbie Heather, Georgie Underwood, Frankie Silcox, Harri Baker and Laura Barnes

19/07/12 - Local Girl Bounces Her Way to Success
Local Girl Bounces Her Way to Success

A rising trampoline star from Charlton Mackrell in Somerset is celebrating after achieving a great result in the national trampoline competition in Birmingham recently (7 July).

After qualifying to get to the finals, Charlotte Male competed with 17 of the best under 19s ladies in the country. She achieved an excellent sixth place by performing a complex routine which included six double somersaults.

Charlotte is no stranger to success as she was also a member of the South West Colleges team that won the British Colleges Sport competition in April this year.

She is currently studying A Levels at Strode College in Street, where she is also a member of the College trampoline academy, training for five hours each week. This builds on her training at the Griffin Trampoline Club, which is also based at Strode College, where she has been bouncing since she was five. She trains there under Jenny Stevens, Anna Ellington and Polly Osmond.

Jenny Stevens, Griffin and Strode Academy Trampoline Coach said: "Charlotte performed superbly at the nationals. She competed with her toughest routines to date and achieved an amazing result; we are very proud of her. She has undoubtedly benefitted from the extra training she has managed to fit in this year by being part of Strode's trampoline academy."

12/07/12 - Strode IT Student Designs Website for Local Mental Health Charity
Strode IT Student Designs Website for  Local Mental Health Charity

Local mental health charity 'Heads up' is delighted with its new website designed by Strode College IT student Ben Buckley. 

Ben, from Glastonbury, is studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT Practitioners at Strode. His winning design was chosen from over 30 designs submitted by Strode's Level 3 IT students following a request for help from 'Heads up'. 

'Heads up' is based in South Horrington; it provides support and activities to change the lives of people living with or recovering from mental illness, physical and learning disabilities.

Dylan Wittingham, Strode's ICT teacher, said: "When 'Heads up' approached us to help with their website I decided to make this a project for all our Level 3 IT Practitioners students. It was a great way for students to learn how to work to a client brief and to put their knowledge and skills into practice. We submitted a shortlist of 10 designs to the trustees of the charity for consideration and they chose Ben's.

"Ben has progressed fantastically at Strode. He is a great example of how a young person with few previous qualifications can make great strides at college and become a high achiever. After successfully completing the Level 2 IT Practitioners course at Strode with a distinction last year, he has continued in a similar style this year."

"We are interested in hearing from any other community projects that we may be able to help with setting up a website."

Bridget Harvey, Manager of the charity, said: "Without the support of Strode College, Dylan Whittingham and Ben we would not have been able to set up our own website which is crucial to our service. One in four of us will experience a mental health issue sometime in our life and 'Heads up' will be there to support those of us either living with, or recovering from, mental ill health. Feedback from those using the service shows that it is a vital part of their recovery to have group activities and support from trained staff. This website will help us to reach and help more people."

For more information about 'Heads up' visit:

For more information about Strode College's ICT courses call 01458 844400 or visit:

Photo: (left to right) Strode student Ben Buckley who designed the new charity website, Dylan Whittingham (Strode's ICT teacher), Julie Wheadon (Deputy Head of IT and Engineering at Strode), Wendy Attridge (Trustee of Heads Up) and Bridget Harvey (Manager of Heads Up).

04/07/12 - Full Steam Ahead for Strode Engineering Students
Full Steam Ahead for Strode Engineering Students

A group of 16 year olds from local schools steamed towards the finish line of their Level 2 Engineering Young Apprenticeship at Strode College with the completion of their final project - small but perfectly formed steam engines.

The ten students also attend Ansford Academy, Crispin School, Whitstone School, Sexey's School and Frome Community College. They have been studying at Strode College one day a week for two years as part of a national initiative that allows school learners aged 14-16 to develop practical work-related skills outside of school.

The Level 2 Engineering course is equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A* to C. It taught the students about electronics, turning, computer aided design, general engineering principals and workshop practice, and it included 50 days work experience.

Ashley Massey, who completed the course at Strode and also attends Frome Community College, said: "The course has been really good. I've learnt some useful skills and it has given me plenty of hands-on experience which is great because I learn more from practical work-based learning than in the classroom. I've got a job at Fresh Look Engineering in Frome where I did my work experience during the course. I've already started work as a fabricator and welder and plan to do a Level 3 apprenticeship in welding and fabricating."

Jean Howard, Strode College's Curriculum Manager 14-16, said: "The Young Apprenticeship programme has enabled students to achieve a hands-on practical NVQ Level 2 in Engineering along with their core GCSEs and 50 days work experience. It has been a real success story for the whole group with students progressing to employment in engineering as apprentices, infantry training with the Army, to Engineering Level 3 course at Strode College and to hairdressing. Strode College has been running successful 14-16 programmes for the last 10 years and we will continue to do so, although the Government has discontinued the Young Apprenticeship programme."

28/06/12 - Strode College gets Glowing Report from Ofsted
Strode College gets Glowing Report from Ofsted

Students and staff at Strode College in Street are celebrating following the publication of a glowing report from Ofsted.

Ofsted's inspectors visited Strode in May to assess what progress the College has made since 2008 when it was judged to be 'good with outstanding features.' The June 2012 report awards Strode the highest possible rating, concluding that the college has made 'significant progress' in all areas.

Ofsted focused on Strode's educational provision for 16 to 18 year olds, in particular those studying advanced level courses such as A Levels and Level 3 BTEC Diplomas, which make up 80 per cent of Strode's students. 

Principal of Strode College, James Staniforth said: "We are delighted to receive such high praise from Ofsted and to have our approach to teaching and supporting students judged to be highly effective.  In particular the report recognises our outstanding teaching; the excellent progress students make when they study at Strode after their GCSEs; our above average pass rates, high grades and student progress for advanced level qualifications; and it recognises the high standards we achieve in guiding and supporting our students as individuals to make sure they reach their full potential and achieve success.

"In 2011 we achieved a great deal - we were the best performing college in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall; the highest performing state school or college in Mendip, South Somerset and Sedgmoor; our students achieved their best ever results for A Levels and advanced level vocational qualifications, significantly above national averages; and the college was among the top seven per cent of 1200 schools and colleges nationally for improving students' performance after their GCSEs. Although we know that our approach to education is working, it's fantastic to have our success validated in this way by Ofsted."

Kieren Berry, President of Strode College's Students Association said: "As a representative between students and governors of Strode College I am extremely proud that the Ofsted report is so positive about our college, but not particularly surprised. The staff here are really committed to getting the best out of the students and to helping us reach our full potential; I think they do this really well and the Ofsted report reflects this."  


Outstanding teaching

The Ofsted report notes: 'At the last inspection, teaching and learning were good... New arrangements have resulted in a significant improvement in the proportion of outstanding lessons.' 


Improving students' performance

Commenting on how well Strode measures and improves students' performance Ofsted commented: 'target setting and the rigorous and systematic monitoring of progress have contributed to significant improvements in learners' progress... Support meets individual needs well.'


Pass rates, high grades and student progress above the high sixth form national average

Commenting on Strode's A Level provision the report notes: 'In A levels, pass rates and high-grade pass rates were above the high sixth form college national average... Learners' progress improved on the previous year.'

The report notes that: 'BTEC qualifications at Level 3 saw high success rates and learners' progress in the top 25%.'


Very effective student tutorials

The report found that student tutorials at Strode, which were previously judged to be good, had made significant progress: 'staff provide all students with regular tutorials which are very effective in monitoring their progress and setting challenging, but realistic, achievement targets... Staff and students use these very effectively.' 


Helping students achieve their potential

The report also commented on Strode's work to identify learners at risk of underachieving or withdrawing from their studies, noting that systems for monitoring students performance: 'lead to interventions to support learners that are timely, appropriate and effective.'

Download a full copy of the Ofsted monitoring report

Visit the Strode College Ofsted page

Students who would like to study A Levels or vocational National Diplomas at Strode College can call 01458 844400 to find out more, or visit

28/06/12 - Local Baker Makes Biscuits with Nursery Children
Local Baker Makes Biscuits with Nursery Children

Children at Strode College Day Nursery had great fun making biscuits and cakes when a local baker, and father of one of the children, visited the nursery recently.

The children enjoyed making and decorating biscuits, piping icing onto cupcakes and decorating them, and of course eating them.

Darren Shepherd works at his family's bakery, Shepherds Bakery in Street, and his son Finn goes to Strode College Day Nursery. He talked to the children about his job and brought along photos of the bakery for the children to look at and talk about. He also gave each child a loaf of bread from the bakery.

Sarah Bisgrove, Supervisor of the Strode College Day Nursery, said: "The children had a great time decorating and eating the things they made. Learning should be fun and engaging and Darren certainly helped us make this event enjoyable and memorable for the children. Since his visit the children have been playing in their own pretend bakery and reading the story of the Ginger Bread Man."

Strode College Day Nursery, which was judged 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in 2010, is holding an open morning on Saturday 21 July at 10am - 12pm. Parents are invited to have a look around the nursery and meet staff.

26/06/12 - Great Fun with Fantastic Mr Fox
Great Fun with Fantastic Mr Fox

Over 600 children from local primary schools enjoyed a fun and energetic performance of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox recently when Strode College's performing arts students presented their version of this popular tale at Strode Theatre in Street.

The story tells how the clever and determined Fantastic Mr Fox outwits three mean and gluttonous farmers who join forces to try to stop him feeding his family with their poultry.  But, despite some serious obstacles, like guns and diggers, Mr Fox outsmarts the farmers to feed his family and the other underground animals.   

Strode's first year Performing Arts students presented the show as part of their work on children's theatre.  Strode's Performing Arts Lecturer, Charmaine Bray, said: "This show proved to be one of the most enjoyable projects for the students as it allowed them to explore physical theatre and slapstick as well as the more usual elements of acting and singing.  Children's theatre has an emphasis on fun and requires high energy performance and a focus on comedy, all things that the students really enjoyed. For many of them it was an opportunity to work on the story that had been a childhood favourite."

Children who visited Strode to see the show came from Brookside Primary, Burchfield Yeovil, Charlton Mackrell Primary, Cossington Primary,  Ditcheat Primary, North Cadbury Primary, Walton Primary, West Chinnock Primary (see photo) and West Pennard Primary.

Photo: The farmers Bogis, Bunce and Bean played by (left to right) Ollie Perry from Street, Matt Townsend from Wells and Angus Moir from Sherbourne.

19/06/12 - Creative Arts thriving at Strode College End of Year Show
Creative Arts thriving at Strode College End of Year Show

The creative arts are thriving at Strode College with students producing some outstanding and imaginative work which can be seen at the End of Year Arts, Design and Media Show until Friday 22 June.

The show, which has been put together by 150 of Strode's creative arts, design and media students, opened on Monday with an awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in painting and drawing, sculpture, graphics, textiles, photography, animation, film and video. Strode's Principal James Staniforth presented certificates and cheques for £100 to six students and announced that one piece of their work will be bought by the College and added to the 'Strode Collection'. (See list of winners below.)

The show is open to the public until Friday 22 June between 9.15am and 4.30pm (closed at the weekend). Work is displayed around the College and in Strode Theatre, with maps available from the College reception.

Students exhibiting will be completing courses this summer in A level Art, Design Technology, Graphics, Textiles and Photography, Level 3 Extended Diploma Art and Design, Level 2 National Diploma Art and Design, pre-degree Foundation in Art and Design and Level 3 BTEC National Diploma in Broadcast Media.

Petrina Rochester, Deputy Head of Art and Design at Strode said: "The End of Year show is a vibrant and exciting event at Strode and a great opportunity to celebrate what our students have achieved as they prepare to move on, many to Higher Education. They have produced some outstanding work which meets the high standards we set for quality and excellence in all we do.

"Much of the work rivals that of specialist art colleges and many university level institutions, and we are delighted to be able to showcase their talent, skill and creativity in this way. Our thanks go to GVA Grimley who sponsor this annual event enabling us to show the students work in the best possible light."

Jessica Mitchell, from Sparkford, studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design said: "The course has prepared me well for University; I feel my work has become professional and participating in the End of Year Show has given me an appreciation of gallery expectations".

Matilda Walton, from Keinton Mandeville, also of Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design said: "This has been a lovely learning environment with great studio spaces to work in. I feel that I have learnt professional skills such as timekeeping, meeting deadlines as well as developing my creativity".

Strode arts and media students consistently achieve high academic standards. Many have gone on to study at some of the countries top institutions for arts and media education, including Goldsmiths University of London, Central St Martins and University College Falmouth.


Students receiving awards for excellence in their work


Photography Award

Rosamund Freeman of North Cheriton

Studying: A level Photography.

Previous school: Bruton School for Girls.

What next? Studying BA Media Studies at Arts Royal Holloway University



Textiles Award

Mia Whittet of Wells

Studying: A level Textiles

Previous school: The Blue School

What next? Studying BA Architecture at the University of Derby



3D Studies Award

Jean Stevens of Keinton Mandeville

Studying: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Previously: In full time employment

What next? Planning to return to employment.



2D Studies Award

Tom Craner Buckley of Shepton Mallet

Studying: A level Art and Design.

Previous school: Ansford Academy

What next? Studying Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Strode College



2D Studies Award

Jessica Mitchell of Sparkford

Studying: BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

Previous school: Kings School, Bruton.

What next? Studying BA Illustration at University College Falmouth.



Illustration/Graphical Design

Will Lyall of Yeovil

Studying: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Previsou school: Ansford Academy

What next? Study BA Graphic Design at the University of Brighton.

15/06/12 - Hair and Make-up for TV and Theatre
Hair and Make-up for TV and Theatre

Hairdressing students at Strode College were given a glimpse of some exciting career possibilities recently when a professional wig maker and an experienced make-up artist and hair stylist visited college. 

Vanessa Paulton, who lives in Glastonbury, has over 18 years' experience as a make-up artist and hair stylist, having worked on some well-known TV programmes including East Enders and Bottom. She talked to the students about the importance of make-up and hair when creating the perfect period look, and gave a demonstration of a 1940s look.

Felicitie Gilham, who lives in Kilmerston near Radstock, has been designing and making wigs for over 40 years. She specialises in theatrical wig making and has a long list of well-known credits to her name including 'Cats', 'Hair', 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'Cranford' and all of Alan Ayckbourn's productions for the past 17 years. The students enjoyed hearing about her specialist work and they got the chance to try on some of her creations.

Gill Ticknell, Strode College's Hairdressing Course Manager, organised the day. She said: "These talks and demonstrations are great for raising awareness among our students of the breadth of opportunities out there in the industry beyond salon work, and it encourages them to focus on the future as well as their studies. In film, TV and theatre, writers and directors need skilled hairdressers and make-up artists to help them create convincing characters and today's presentations have shown our students how important their skills are in these creative industries."

Photo: Strode Hairdressing students try on some of the many wigs designed and made by Felicitie Gilham after she'd told them about her career in wig making.

13/06/12 - Former Beauty Student Opens Own Salon
Former Beauty Student Opens Own Salon

Strode College Beauty Lecturers Marcie Mickleburgh and Susan O'Meara attended the grand opening of Daisy McWilliams Beauty Salon 'Sanctuary Hair and Beauty' in Bruton recently. Daisy, who studied Level 2 and Level 3 Beauty Therapy and Complimentary Therapies at Strode, has always wanted to run her own salon.  She will be using the professional brand dermalogica in her beauty treatments which she was trained in at Strode College.

Marcie Mickleburgh, Course Manager for Level 2 Beauty Therapy at Strode College said: "We are delighted that Daisy has set up her own business. She has always been an exceptionally talented beauty therapist who shows great skills and professionalism. Daisy achieved dermalogica student of the year whilst at Strode College which proves her outstanding professional attitude. All of Daisy's former tutors wish her the best success for the future."

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