Strode News

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16/12/14 - Music for a Good Cause
Music for a Good Cause

Strode College students and staff had a great time helping to make 'Oxjam Glastonbury & Street 2014' a huge success. 

£1,686 was raised for Oxfam through donations and gigs during the three-week charity music event, which included eight live music events featuring over 40 music acts. 

Oxjam Glastonbury & Street 2014 was organised by Gary Smith, who is the Manager of Strode College’s Learning Centre, and Daniel Shaw, who is Music Course Manager and Teacher at Strode. 

Fifteen Strode students and seven Strode staff performed during the events which took place at venues across the local area.


Gary Smith  Rosie Whitten  Harry Carpenter

Photos (left to right): Organiser Gary Smith, Strode Music L3 Extended Diploma students Rosie Whitten from Bruton and Harry Carpenter from Street. Credit: Marc Hughes Photography.

12/12/14 - Education and Business Minister Finds out about the 'Outstanding' opportunities at Strode College
Education and Business Minister Finds out about the 'Outstanding' opportunities at Strode College

Education and Business Minister Nick Boles MP visited Strode College in Street yesterday. 

Strode College was recently judged `Outstanding` by Ofsted.  Nick Boles wanted to find out about the extensive opportunities offered at the college and why Strode’s approach to sixth form education is so successful, giving young people the best possible foundations for future success.

The Minister met with Strode College Principal James Staniforth to discuss the challenges faced by young people and how best to prepare them for the future.  He was particularly interested in how the college nurtures and inspires students and how they are helped to develop the skills they will need for a range of working environments.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College, explained to the Minister how the quality of teaching, support and guidance at the college delivers such outstanding outcomes for students.  He also took the opportunity to highlight areas within the current education system that could be improved to ensure all young people have the best opportunities to achieve their potential. 

He said: “Young people need the best careers education and advice to make sure they are aware of all the opportunities available to them and how best to make the most of their skills, abilities and ambitions.  While schools are currently required to provide impartial information and advice to their pupils, this does not happen across the board and there is no funding to make sure this happens.”

“Also, as young people are now legally required to remain in education until the age of 18, there is a need to ensure affordable and accessible transport for these young people, so that college students have similar rights to those of school children.  Young people should be able to choose the courses and college that will help them succeed; the cost of transport should not stop them from getting the best education.   

“Going forward, we are also looking to the next Government to work with employers and colleges to help ensure a better take-up of Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds.”

Nick Boles was accompanied by James Heappey, the Conservative Party candidate for Wells.  They met A Level Government and Politics students who had been researching pressure groups and think tanks. Nick Boles discussed the student’s individual findings with them, before he and James Heappey answered questions, including which party the Conservatives would form a coalition with in the event of another hung parliament.

Photo: Education and Business Minister Nick Boles (second from right), with (left to right): Shirley Theedom (Strode College Deputy Principal), James Heappey (Conservative candidate for Wells), Stephen Bower (Student Governor and President of the Strode College Students Association) and James Staniforth (Strode College Principal).

11/12/14 - Mid Somerset CND visits Strode College
Mid Somerset CND visits Strode College

Our AS Level Government & Politics students enjoyed a visit from the Mid Somerset CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and Peace Group recently. Twenty three students learned about the pressure group’s campaigning strategies, resources and local tactics. They made the most of the opportunity, asking a range of perceptive questions which helped them understand current issues in politics and current affairs.

Pictured: Bevin Miller with some of Strode College’s AS Government & Politics students.

14/11/14 - Media Studies Students Experience Game Show in the Making
Media Studies Students Experience Game Show in the Making

Twenty three of our A level Media students traveled to Maidstone Studios in Kent recently to watch the filming of the popular ITV game show 'Catchphrase'.

Kev Cook, Subject Leader for Media Studies, said: “Seeing a show recorded live is a useful way for Media students to truly appreciate the artificial, 'constructed' nature of a programme; the number of people involved, how much time it takes and the amount of equipment involved in the studio. As well as watching the main show being filmed, students also experienced the 'warm-up' comedian getting the crowd ready; the floor manager telling the audience when to clap, laugh and 'ooh'; and the host re-recording several lines he fluffed, as well as several ad-lib jokes that were a bit to risque for the final cut!” 

On Catchphrase setThe students had a great time and learnt a great deal about how TV programmes are made. Student Ollie Marsh said: "The trip was great, I had an awesome time and learnt a lot of 'TV secrets', I also got a selfie with a famous person!"

Top: A Level Media students Jennie Stokes, of Tintinhull (formerly at Huish Academy) and Abby Corbett, of Curry Rivel (formerly at Huish Academy) in the audience waiting for Catchphrase to start.
Above: A Level Media student Ollie Marsh, of Yeovil (formerly at Westfield Academy) took a selfie with Catchphrase host Stephen Mulhern.

31/10/14 - Strode College is 'Outstanding' says Ofsted
Strode College is 'Outstanding' says Ofsted


The only school sixth form or college in Somerset to make the grade since tougher inspections were introduced in 2010


Strode College in Street, Somerset, has been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted following a full and rigorous inspection last month. 

Strode College is the only provider of sixth form education in Somerset to be awarded this highest possible rating since Ofsted introduced new tougher inspection criteria in 2010, including the requirement for a school or college to clearly demonstrate ‘outstanding teaching and learning’. Strode College’s ‘outstanding’ grade bucks the trend in Somerset and across the country, which has seen other school and college sixth forms losing their ‘outstanding’ grade under the new system.

Students in LRCThis exceptional achievement further supports the positive picture that has emerged in recent years as the college has gone from strength to strength. The 2014 government league tables ranked Strode College as the best school or college in Somerset for student progress at A Level and the second best college in the South West for both A Level and advanced vocational courses. This outstanding performance is also validated by Advanced Level Performance Systems (ALPS) which place Strode in the top 5% of all state schools and colleges nationally for improving student progress or ‘adding-value’ after GCSEs over the last three years.

In the report, published today, Ofsted grades Strode College as ‘outstanding‘ in all four key inspection areas: ‘overall effectiveness’, ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’, ‘outcomes for students’ and ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’.

Ofsted says: “Students benefit significantly from outstanding teaching, learning and assessment which are reflected in outstanding outcomes. The high quality of teaching, alongside exceptionally strong pastoral and academic support, enables the vast majority of students to make excellent progress. Teachers and assessors have very high and realistic expectations for all students, which lead to the high level of students’ achievements across the college.

James StaniforthJames Staniforth became Principal of Strode College five years ago, with a vision to move the college from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’. He is delighted that Ofsted saw what he sees every day and said:

“Those who work in education know that an ‘outstanding’ grade is not easily achieved. Our college specialises in education for 16-18 year olds and our teachers and support staff are among the most talented, experienced and dedicated that I have ever known. I am thrilled that, following an intense and forensic inspection, Ofsted were able to see this and have now reported on the outstanding and positive difference this makes to our students’ lives.

“Among our many strengths highlighted in the Ofsted report, I am particularly delighted that our teaching and learning was judged to be ‘outstanding’; the inspectors saw a particularly high proportion of outstanding lessons across all curriculum areas. This is the focus of everything we do and, combined with the outstanding academic and pastoral support we provide for our students, it is how we make sure that all of our students progress, reach their full potential and go on to succeed after college at university and in employment. I am extremely proud and it is a great feeling to have our college and our approach to learning validated in this way.”

Outstanding teaching and learning: “Teaching learning and assessment are outstanding and result in the vast majority of students successfully completing their courses and achieving their qualifications...As a result of the enthusiasm and expert direction of teachers, students are interested and motivated.”

Outstanding student progress leads to outstanding results which are better than might be expected based on GCSEs: “Over several years, most students have consistently made outstanding progress relative to their starting point.”

Outstanding support for all students: “Regular and effective review and intervention processes have successfully raised standards and aspirations and improved outcomes for students…Teachers’ use of target setting and review processes is highly successful in supporting students at risk of underachieving…Any students underperforming receive extra help...Arrangements to support students with welfare issues are excellent.”

Outstanding guidance and support: “Students receive outstanding information and advice which enables them to make well-informed choices before they start college and during their study programme…Pastoral and academic support and guidance as well as careers advice and guidance are also outstanding.”

Students at computerWide choice of A Levels, vocational courses and enrichment: “Students have access to a particularly broad range of courses within an extensive curriculum that meets their needs and interests very well…Students benefit particularly from the wide variety of enrichment activities available to them, which help them develop a broad range of transferable skills”

Preparing students for success at university and in employment: “A particularly high proportion of students at all levels successfully progress on to appropriate and sustainable further or higher education or to employment…The majority of students participate in a broad range of good enrichment and work experience activities that enable them to develop skills that help prepare them effectively for progression to further or higher education or employment…Teachers use tutorials particularly well to develop student’s personal, social and employability skills.”

Developing literacy and numeracy: “Students develop excellent literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers integrate the teaching of English and mathematics very successfully in lessons…Students understand the importance and relevance of English and mathematics, both to their study and to their employment prospects.”

Valuing individuals: “Students behave well and feel safe in college. They appreciate the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere in lessons, where everyone feels equally valued. Students value the promotion of a culture of respect in college…Teachers’ support for individual students is excellent. ”

Outstanding leadership: “Leadership and management are outstanding. Senior managers have established a very ambitious vision and strategic priorities that are successfully raising aspirations and supporting all students to achieve their potential…Managers at every level throughout the college are committed to raising standards…and delivery of high quality learning programmes and support services.”

Stephen BowerStephen Bower, Student Governor and President of the Strode College Student Association said: “It’s really difficult to get an ‘outstanding’ grade from Ofsted, so this is a great achievement - it shows that Strode really is one of the very best schools or colleges in the country. The teachers here are fantastic, not only are they specialists and truly interested in the subjects they teach, but they are all so positive and go beyond the call of duty to help the students to do well.”

Strode College is the main provider of sixth form education in Mendip with students travelling to Strode from across Somerset. The college currently teaches over 1500 students aged 16-18; 90% are studying at advanced level, with the majority studying A Levels and others choosing vocational courses and Apprenticeships.

The college is holding a sixth-form Open Evening on Wednesday 19 November, 6-8.30pm. It’s a great opportunity to get ‘outstanding ‘ advice about what to study after GCSEs and to find out what makes an ‘outstanding’ sixth-form experience. You can register online at or turn up on the night. 

View the full Ofsted report or visit the Ofsted website.

28/10/14 - Free Leadership and Management Training for Small and Medium Companies
Free Leadership and Management Training for Small and Medium Companies

Strode College will be running free Leadership and Management training from January 2015 and funding is available now for a short period to companies with up to 249 employees.

This qualification is designed for people in their first management roles, including team leaders and first-line managers, to enable them to get the best performance from their staff.

Download the flyer

10/10/14 - Strode Sports Centre Community Open Day: Saturday 25 October 10am - 2pm
Strode Sports Centre Community Open Day: Saturday 25 October 10am - 2pm

The Sports Centre at Strode College is opening its doors to the local community for the third time on Saturday 25 October, with its annual ‘Strode Sports Centre Community Open Day’.

Visitors to the event will be able to ‘give it a go’ by trying out a variety of 30 minute taster sessions for free, including Spinning, Body Combat, Kettle Bells and Body Pump. Instructors will be on hand to answer any questions on the day and visitors will also have the opportunity sign up to gym membership which starts at £18 per month or classes which cost between £3-£4.50 per class.

Other attractions on offer include Strode’s own climbing wall, a bouncy castle and a barbeque.

Strode’s Sports Hall Development Manager, Mike Dear said: “It’s a great opportunity to try out the fantastic facilities we have here at the Sports Hall, and a fun family day out too.”

Photo: The static climbing wall is just one of the many attractions at Strode College’s Sports Open Day

09/10/14 - Hinkley Skills Fund
Hinkley Skills Fund

Is your workforce ready for Hinkley?

Strode College works with businesses to upskill staff and provide necessary qualifications. We can also help grow your business through apprenticeships and support successful recruitment via traineeships. Right now, Strode College can help reposition your business ready to be part of the Hinkley supply chain through the Skills Fund for Hinkley.

Skills Fund for Hinkley

The Skills Fund for Hinkley is financed by the European Union and The European Social Fund in England is investing in jobs and skills, focusing on people who need support the most and helping them fulfil their potential.

This programme is financed by the European Union

The Skills Fund can support small and medium employers to re-skill and upskill their workforce in preparation for the Hinkley Point C Project. Training can be tailored to meet your requirements. Along with other training providers in the South West. Strode College has secured funding that will enable training opportunities across the South West. If you have any questions feel free to call or email us at, or 01458 844457.

19/09/14 - Strode College Leads Teaching of Chinese in Somerset
Strode College Leads Teaching of Chinese in Somerset

Students from across the county are being given a unique opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. This exciting initiative, which will see the language made available in state education across Mendip and South Somerset, is being led by Strode College with the support of the Confucius Institute based at the University of Southampton.

Students at Strode College now have the option to learn this important world language as a free enrichment activity and, at the same time, pupils in seven different secondary schools and five local primaries are also beginning courses in Mandarin, culminating in a range of qualifications including GCSE.

Lessons will be led by two well-qualified and experienced Chinese teachers, who have been specially selected to come to the UK to deliver this programme. As well as receiving language tuition from these enthusiastic native speakers, students will also consider modern-day life in this globally significant society and gain a deeper understanding of China’s rich heritage through a range of cultural activities.

This major development takes place within the context of the extensive link between Somerset and the southern Chinese city of Yueyang (Hunan), which now involves over 40 educational establishments in addition to engaging actively with the wider community in both areas.

This exciting venture saw a group of students from Strode College and local schools travel to China this summer. Further reciprocal visits involving Head Teachers and other staff will be taking place in October 2014, against a broad agenda for future joint activity in schools, colleges and the business sector.

Adrian Ash, Higher Education and International Manager at Strode College, said: “At a time when Chinese influence is growing in our region through investments at Hinkley Point C and the diverse employment prospects this is set to offer, the chance for local students to get to know the country and obtain some proficiency in its language is of utmost value to our young people. This ambitious project is not, however, limited to those in full-time education, as Strode College

will also be providing evening classes in Mandarin Chinese through its adult education programme to ensure that everyone in Somerset can benefit from this fascinating linguistic and cultural experience. “

If you would like more information about this project or to find out about Mandarin evening classes at Strode College, call 01458 844400 or view our Mandarin classes on the Strode Website.

Photo: Central South Technical College, Yueyang, China, welcomes students and staff from its UK partner Strode College, as well as those from Crispin School and Ansford Academy during a fully-funded two-week visit to China in July.

12/09/14 - 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 less than two days before the project finale which was a catwalk show in front of other students and staff.

Students created costumes such as King of the Sea, The Steam Queens, Dragon Hearts, The Mad Hattress, Circolion and Equinox. All of the costumes showed a great deal of thought, imagination and skill, with some groups using further props to support their creation such as bubbles and ‘smoke’ - which was made from a combination of talcum powder and glitter.

Duncan Cameron, Strode College’s Foundation Art and Design course manager, said: “We always kick off the year with a project to warm up the students’ creativity after the summer holidays and to get them working together in small groups – we want them to hit the ground running with this fun induction! They’ve shown great design and construction skills and created some fantastic costumes in only 48 hours, using 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 another great year of art and design at Strode.”

CircolionStudents who worked on the cardboard costumes are studying Art and Design Level 3 Extended Diploma and Art and Design Foundation pre-degree Diploma.

Sam Copsey is from Langport and was previously a student at Huish Episcopi Academy. He is currently studying Art and Design L3 Extended Diploma and worked with the team that created ‘Circolion’. He also modelled the cardboard creation for the catwalk. Sam said: “The idea was that the lion had escaped from the circus and was now exacting his revenge on his captors.” Circolion wears a tailcoat, a bowtie and clown shoes, carries a lion tamer’s whip and has a broken chain around his wrist. “It took about two and half days in total to make this outfit,” said Sam, “I took some of it home and worked on it there.

“I really enjoyed working on this project - everyone is so friendly at here at Strode. It was really good fun – it’s a brilliant art department.” Sam plans to go on to Falmouth University when he finishes his studies at Strode.

Clara Mumford-Turner lives in Wookey Hole and was home educated. She is currently studying the Art and Design Foundation pre-degree diploma. She was on the team that created ‘Chinese Dragonballs’. “We wanted to create something that was large and impressive – something ambitious. The head alone took two days to make.

“Strode is such a friendly college. I love the independence you get here as a student. The teachers treat us like adults and are always on hand to help. I would say it’s the best Art Foundation course in the area.” Clara plans to go on to study at either Falmouth or Edinburgh University.

Other exciting outfits included Gift Horse, The Mice, The Little Mermaid, Snakey, Chinese Fireballs, Dave the Dinosaur, Wings, Jackel 5, and Dragon.

See more photos of the students’ cardboard couture

Strode also teaches A Level Art and Design and Art and Design Level 2 Diploma.  For full details of courses available and for more photos of the cardboard creations visit the college website:

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