Strode News

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04/01/16 - Great Fun with The Happy Elf
Great Fun with The Happy Elf

Around 500 children from local primary schools enjoyed a fun and energetic performance of Harry Connick Jr.’s adaption of Lauren Gunderson and Andrew Fishman’s ‘The Happy Elf’ during their last week of term, when Strode College’s Performing Arts students presented their colourful and energetic version of this popular musical at Strode Theatre in Street.

Strode’s first year Extended Diploma Performing Arts students presented the show as part of their work on children’s theatre and second year students delivered the show as part of their study of musical theatre. Strode’s Performing Arts teacher, Charmaine Bray, said: “Our annual Christmas show for the schools is fast becoming one of the highlights of our Performing Arts calendar – our students really look forward to it. The Happy Elf has been a lot of fun to work on – it really gives everyone an opportunity to show off their talents.”

Children who visited Strode to see the show were overjoyed by the performance. They came from Walton Primary School, North Cadbury Primary School, Mark College, Strode College Nursery and Elmhurst Junior School in Street. The show was also watched by parents, grandparents and the general public.

‘The Happy Elf’ tells the tale of Eubie the Elf, a lovable fellow who wants to spread Christmas joy throughout the town of Bluesville and the Strode College production incorporated special effects including bangs, flashes and ‘snow’.

Happy Elf performance  Happy Elf performance

Happy Elf performance  Happy Elf performance

16/12/15 - Christmas Party Make-up
Christmas Party Make-up

Marcie Mickleburgh is Course Manager for Strode College’s Beauty Therapy Level 2 course and she also teaches Level 3 Beauty Therapy. She originally trained at Strode College and, after working in a variety of beauty businesses ranging from a Health Farm, Monty’s Spa at Charlton House and high street salons, she returned to Strode College to teach. Marcie’s students go on to work on cruise liners, in luxury spas and lodges in the UK and abroad, at local salons and others have opened their own salons. Here, Marcie gives us some top tips on how to apply Christmas party make-up.

  • The best way to start all make-up is with a good base. Mineral make-up is highly recommended, as it doesn’t block the pores. The high quality minerals interact with light, which is what gives them their celebrated soft-focus effect. Pure mineral pigment with no fillers, such as talc, gives exceptional coverage requiring minimal touch-ups throughout the day.
  • Once you have a good base, you can apply the ever-popular and on-trend contouring make-up. Contouring uses colours to highlight and shade an area. If you are going to use a shader, you can choose up to two shades darker than your normal foundation, or use a bronzer to dust just below the cheekbone area.
  • Next, apply blusher to the apple of your cheeks. Highlighters can be used up to two shades lighter than your foundation. This will help to enhance your cheekbones. You can apply a highlighter product along the top area of your cheekbones and also just under your eyebrow; this will add definition to your eyes.
  • Now you’re ready for the eyeshadows. It’s always beneficial to use at least two different shades. The lighter colour should be placed over the entire eyelid, then use a contrasting or darker colour in the crease of your eyelid to add depth and definition. A ‘crease’ brush is ideal to help blend any lines away.
  • Finally apply mascara to lengthen your lashes and finish with a plum or red shade to compliment your complete Christmas look! This party look will also be suitable for New Year’s Eve party, so whatever your plans over the festive break, you’re always ready to party! 


Our Beauty Therapy students have created a Christmas Party Make-up YouTube tutorial in an easy to follow step-by-step guide.

14/12/15 - Beauty Students Help Carers Relax
Beauty Students Help Carers Relax

The Strode College Hair and Beauty Salon hosted a special pamper day recently to help a group of carers relax and unwind. The day was organised with the South Horrington based mental health charity Heads Up.

The carers were given a consultation with Strode’s Beauty Therapy students and then enjoyed a manicure and pedicure, before enjoying lunch at the college Brasserie.

Bridget Harvey, Manager of Heads Up, said: “We have worked with Strode on many occasions to deliver pamper days for the people we work with as it helps not only our patients but Strode students as well. Many of our patients and staff have built up a relationship with Strode’s hair and beauty staff and students and we look forward to these events which are so beneficial. This day was all about giving relaxation and pampering time for the carers of our patients at ‘Heads up’, and has once again the event has been very successful.”

HeadsUp pamper dayMarcie Mickleburgh, Strode College Beauty Therapy Course Manager (Level 2) said: “We always look forward to these particular events. This pamper day was a great opportunity to provide a well-deserved treat to people who are carers on a permanent basis, which can be incredibly tiring. It was also good experience for our students and gave them a good idea of what salon pamper days are all about.”

11/12/15 - Strode College Christmas at the Cavern Concert Review
Strode College Christmas at the Cavern Concert Review

At their annual Christmas concert, Strode College music students delivered a feast of musical entertainment which included an impressive range of musical styles including a choir; an instrumental ensemble; a wind quartet; and a selection of rock bands. ‘Christmas at the Cavern’ was a nod in the direction of the talent and popular music that emanated from Liverpool, inspired by the sad passing of Cilla Black earlier this year.

The marvellously staged, seamless production started with a percussion duet, ‘Fugue for Snare Drums’ delivered by Sadie Bosher and Rhia Greer. This was followed by a fantastic choral rendition of Sam Smith’s ‘Not the Only Love’ and Burt Bacharach’s ‘The Look of Love’. The clarinet quartet then delivered the Burt Bacharach classic ‘Step Inside Love’, made so popular by Cilla Black back in 1968.

An arrangement of ‘Alfie’ followed, which was delivered with style by the string section. The College Ensemble continued with Eleanor Rigby, followed by a lively rendition of Cy Coleman’s ‘Rhythm of Life’.

The music leapt forward a couple of decades to the 90s and the college’s first year Extended Diploma in Music students performed ‘Rotterdam’ by The Beautiful South, ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s and ‘Altogether Now’ by The Farm.

Following the interval, the jazz group sprang into action with a cool rendition of ‘Chitlin’s Con Carne’ by Kenny Burrell. The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and The Zutons’ classics were all impressively covered by Strode’s second year Music students, before the flavour of the event then turned positively seasonal as the College Ensemble delivered lively the closing number, ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’. The audience clapped and sang along as a wonderful evening of entertainment came to a christmassy close.

Strode Christmas Concert 15  Strode Christmas Concert 15

Strode Christmas Concert 15  Strode Christmas Concert 15

09/12/15 - Beauty Students on Trend at Fashion Show
Beauty Students on Trend at Fashion Show

Strode College Beauty Therapy students had a fantastic day visiting the Clothes Show Live at the Birmingham NEC.

As well as looking at the many exhibitions from the fashion and beauty industry, meeting celebrities along the way, they enjoyed seeing the latest make-up looks during the catwalk show. 

Two Strode students were selected from the audience to take part in the show and model their personal style on the catwalk. Hannah Tuffnell from Wedmore and Sarah Stocker-Harding from Wincanton, were selected from the audience because of their unique style, confidence and flair.

Marcie Mickleburgh, Strode College Beauty Therapy Course Manager (Level 2) said: “It was a very successful day. The students thoroughly enjoyed the show and they made the most of the opportunity to purchase make up goods and watch demonstrations. I was delighted when two of our students were selected from hundreds of students to model their own style on the catwalk.”

Beauty student Jessica Milo with Jake Quickenden Top photo: Strode Beauty students Hannah Tuffnell (on the right with short blond hair) and Sarah stocker-Harding (on the left with long blond hair) were selected to model on the catwalk.

Lower photo: Strode Beauty student Jessica Milo met Jake Quickenden from 'X Factor' and 'I’m a celebrity…' fame at the show.

08/12/15 - Student Dancers Inspired by Professionals
Student Dancers Inspired by Professionals

Our A Level Dance and Extended Diploma Performing Arts students visited the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil recently to watch the highly popular Richard Alston Dance Company. The students were mesmerised and excited by the four works performed. They came away feeling motivated and inspired by the standard of technique and complex choreography.

The following day students got the opportunity to work with a professional dancer from the Essential Alston team. They were led through a 'company' style technique class before learning current and past choreography from the Richard Alston's repertoire. They were challenged creatively with duet and trio tasks which led to them creating a short group dance at the end of the session.

Strode Dance Teacher Rebecca Harvey said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a member of the Richard Alston Company. They rose to the occasion and created some highly imaginative and technical work.”

Richard Alston dance  Richard Alston dance

Watch our students being put through their paces by a professional dancer from the Essential Richard Alston dance team.

08/12/15 - Ofsted's Annual Report Praises Educational Excellence at Strode College and Ansford Academy
Ofsted's Annual Report Praises Educational Excellence at Strode College and Ansford Academy

Ofsted's annual report published last week (1 December 2015) recognises the educational excellence for students in South Somerset and Mendip, with Ansford Academy and their sixth form Strode College highlighted as examples of outstanding good practice.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, praised the outstanding leadership at Strode College which resulted in the college being one of only two colleges in the country to be graded as 'Outstanding' last year.

He concluded that, as a result of the college's outstanding academic and pastoral support, ambitious vision and strong links with local employers, it is raising students' aspirations and addressing the developmental needs and priorities of the local community and economy. (See extract from the report below.) 

Ansford Academy's innovative partnership work with primary schools was highlighted for special praise in the report. The quality of the school's partnership work continues from secondary to sixth form in their work with Strode College, ensuring that their older pupils also have the best opportunities to maximise their potential and progress towards successful futures. (See extract from the report below.)

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, and Shonogh Pilgrim, Principal of Ansford Academy, attended the launch of Ofsted's annual report in London.

James Staniforth said: “It's great news for our college to be recognised as one of the best providers of sixth form education in the country and great news for our students who work so hard and achieve such great outcomes. In his annual report Sir Michael Wilshaw was critical of secondary schools in the north of England and of colleges, so it is reassuring that the partnership between Ansford Academy and Strode College is delivering such educational excellence for 11-18 year olds.”

Shonogh Pilgrim said: “We are very pleased to have had the great work we do here at Ansford recognised by Ofsted. That work would not have been possible were it not for the shared commitment to providing world class education for the young people in our area, shown by our partner primary schools and Strode College, as our sixth form.”

Ofsted Annual report, December 2015

Strode College Case Study (page 54 of Ofsted’s Annual Report 2015)
“Strode College in Somerset is an example of a highly effective and improving college serving learners from a wide geographical area. The majority of learners receive outstanding information and advice before and during their study programmes. Pastoral and academic support and guidance as well as careers advice and guidance are also very strong. Learners develop excellent literacy and numeracy skills because teachers integrate the teaching of English and mathematics very successfully in lessons. Governors, leaders and senior managers set a clear and ambitious vision and strategic priorities. They maintain strong links with local employers and the local enterprise. As a result, they are successfully raising aspirations and addressing the developmental needs and priorities within the community and local economy. ”

Ansford Academy Case Study (page 37 of Ofsted’s Annual Report 2015)
“Ansford Academy in Somerset has worked with seven of its partner primary schools in the Ansford Learning Partnership (ALP) to establish a shared system for making valid and reliable judgements about pupils’ performance in Key Stages 2 and 3. In so doing, they have enhanced understanding among teachers in the partnership about the curriculum on offer across the primary and secondary phases. When reviewing the Key Stage 3 curriculum in the light of recent changes, leaders at the academy recognised that the review process would be strengthened by working closely with their partner primary schools. They identified that, in working together, they would develop a shared understanding of the curriculum across the key stages. As a result, they would be better placed to establish a shared system of assessing pupils’ performance. Leaders across the partnership are committed to the joint work. As one senior leader explained: ‘Assessing without levels presents us with a wonderful opportunity to work more closely together – primary and secondary – in the best interests of the children.”

See the full report

04/12/15 - Congratulations to Strode's Higher Education Graduates
Congratulations to Strode's Higher Education Graduates

We held our first ever graduation ceremony recently to celebrate the achievements of 55 students who completed Higher Education courses with us this year. The event was also a great opportunity to recognise the wonderful support they received from their teachers, family and friends, as they worked hard to achieve their goals. 

The graduation ceremony signalled the end of one chapter of their lives and the start of an exciting new one. Some students have progressed to further study, others have moved into new careers and many more are progressing within their existing profession.

James Heappey, MP for Wells joined the celebration saying: “It was a huge honour to attend the very first Higher Education graduation ceremony to be held by Strode College. It was a proud occasion for the graduates, their friends and family, the college and Central Somerset. Strode has invested heavily in developing its HE facilities and students now have the opportunity to study in a first class learning environment. Somerset urgently needs to grow the amount of degree level qualifications available in the county and Strode is in the vanguard of delivering it.”

The Honourable Lucy Nelson, High Sheriff of Somerset, also attended the graduation. She said: “It was a really moving ceremony and I was delighted and honoured to be part of it. I am certain that the staff at Strode College will continue to propel the college into the upper echelons of the academic world in Somerset.”

Strode College Graduation 2015

Top: Hannah Brown from Glastonbury and Jacob Czerny from Wells, both graduated with Foundation Degrees in Managing in the Public Sector Services.
Above: Strode College held its first ever Higher Education graduation in October to celebrate the achievements of 55 students who completed Degrees and other higher level qualifications this year.

Strode College Graduation 2015  Strode College Graduation 2015

Left: Anna Mitchell from Street, gained a Diploma in Education and Training. Qualified nurse Anna Mitchell is now teaching Health and Social Care at a local college.
Right: Natasha Paine from Martock, who achieved a First Class Honours Degree in History, Heritage and Archaeology and also received the Plymouth University, Academic Partnerships Prize for Strode College; enjoying the graduation at Strode with follow student Ed Swinburn from Henstridge, who gained a 2.1 Degree.

Strode College Graduation 2015  Strode College Graduation 2015

Left: Craig Drew from Shepton Mallet, pictured with his family, graduated from Strode College with a Distinction for his E-Business Foundation Degree. He is now self-employed as a web designer while studying at the University of the West of England in Bristol, for a final year to gain a full degree.
Right: Will Dawe from Wells, with his proud daughter Jasmin. Will graduated from Strode with a First Class Honours Degree in History, Heritage and Archaeology.

27/11/15 - Public Services Student is Police Cadet of the Year
Public Services Student is Police Cadet of the Year

Strode student, Jake Edwards is the Avon and Somerset Police Cadet of the Year 2015. The award was announced at an annual award ceremony in November.  

Jake, who lives in Street and formerly attended Crispin School, said: “I’m very proud to have received  this award. I intend to pursue a career as a police officer once I have completed my Extended Diploma in Public Service at Strode.” 

The Public Services Extended Diploma, which takes two years to complete, prepares students for careers in a wide range of public services including the Police Force, the Prison Service, Paramedics, Rescue Services and Local Government. Students can progress onto university or directly into employment in a range of roles.

Jake is pictured here at the College’s Remembrance Day event.

Find out more about Public Services Extended Diploma and Public Services Level 2 Diploma at Strode College

26/11/15 - Psychology Students Experience Hypnosis
Psychology Students Experience Hypnosis

A group of 44 AS and A2 Psychology students travelled to Bristol for a series of lectures from world famous psychologists, including Dr Dance (Peter Lovatt), who discussed, with many practical demonstrations, the scientific importance of dance in the human brain and Oliver Meech a professional magician, who studied Psychology at Cambridge.

Finally, Andrew Newton, a well-recognised hypnotist, captivated the audience with a live hypnotism show that included a few selected students (including Strode students) being asked to join Newton on stage for individual hypnosis. Hypnosis describes the process by which a person enters an artificially induced altered state of consciousness.

Charlotte Hide, A Level Psychology Subject Leader said "The students had a fantastic experience and said that hearing psychologists talk about their research has allowed them to develop an understanding that just isn’t possible from websites and documentaries. They found the day thought-provoking and inspiring."

Find out more about Psychology at Strode.

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