Strode News

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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:

19/10/12 - Strode Beauty Students Paint their Pinkies
Strode Beauty Students Paint their Pinkies

Strode College's Level 2 Beauty Therapy students joined the 'Paint a Pinkie Pink' Breast Cancer Campaign recently to raise awareness of the disease. Breast Cancer Campaign have teamed up with nails inc. who will be donating £1 to the charity from every bottle of Pinkie Pink nail polish they sell. Strode's students and celebrities, including Coleen Rooney and fashion designer Savannah Miller, have painted their little nails pink using the pink glitter nail varnish.

Marcie Mickleburgh, Course Manager for Strode's Level 2 Beauty Therapy course said: "Most of us can relate to this campaign, many of us through a friend or family member whose live has been affected with breast cancer. Taking part in an activity like this helps boost awareness for such a good cause. The students enjoyed taking part to promote the campaign."

01/10/12 - Strode College Teams Up with Job Centre and Morrisons to get Jobseekers into Work
Strode College Teams Up with Job Centre and Morrisons to get Jobseekers into Work

Tessa Munt MP joined fifty job seekers at Strode College in Street last week as they graduated from Strode's retail skills training and earned themselves a job interview with Morrisons.

A new Morrisons store will open in Wells in December with a staff of 259. While some staff will transfer from other stores, the Wells store will create many new jobs for local people. All those who completed the retail training at Strode are guaranteed an interview with Morrisons.

Strode College teamed up with Wells Job Centre and Morrisons earlier in the year to plan and develop the joint scheme designed to get job seekers into work. As well as successfully training fifty job seekers, the College has hosted pre-employment days, open days, activity days and job interviews.

Strode's involvement in this project is part of their on-going support for unemployed people. They work with the jobcentre on a daily basis and visit each week giving individual interviews and guidance to people who are unemployed.

Graham Knight, Head of Business Development at Strode College and Vice Chair of the Somerset Chamber board, said: "This has been a great partnership, with Mendip District Council involved from the beginning, helping bring together Strode, Morrisons and local Job Centre teams to help applicants and bring employment where it is needed most. Strode specialises in retail and customer service skills and, over the last three years, we have become renowned for our work with people who are unemployed. This scheme brings those skills together in a way that has made a huge difference for all applicants. We are delighted that Tessa Munt MP and local councillors joined our graduation ceremony to celebrate the students' successes."

Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, said: "I welcome this innovative project to help local unemployed people back into work and I congratulate the graduates. Forming partnerships and taking action with training and encouragement all help to break the cycle of unemployment. Strode College, Jobcentre Plus Wells and Morrisons should be commended".

Morrisons New Developments Resourcing Manager, Gail Roberts-Brown, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Wells Job Centre and Strode College to help get local jobseekers into work. The partnership has delivered a great support network to help coach, train and prepare local unemployed people for jobs at our new store and we are proud to be able to work in the heart of the community we will serve."

Tessa Munt MP and representatives from Morrisons and local Job Centres celebrate with jobseekers as they graduate from Strode's retail and customer skills training.

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

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