Strode News

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18/02/15 - Historical Prague Inspires Budding Artists
Historical Prague Inspires Budding Artists

Forty-five Strode College Art and Design students visited Prague this month to seek inspiration for their work from the culture of this vibrant and historical city.

Head of Art and Design and trip leader Petrina Rochester explained: “The educational visits we offer to students make a clear and positive impact on their work, in terms of vision and ambition. Following these exciting trips, the quality of work generated by students shows that they’ve become more receptive to new ideas. I’m sure we’ll see Prague references in the students’ work in the End of Year show this June.”

The students enjoyed a full and varied itinerary and highlights for the students included a Charlie Hebdo retrospective which prompted an in-depth discussion on imagery and artists’ responsibility and the Warhol exhibition where they had the opportunity to screen print a design on a bag.

Other visits included a trip on the funicular railway to view the city from the top of Petrin Hill, a coach trip to visit the Bone Ossuary (a chapel decorated 40,000 skeletons) and Royal Mint, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice at the National Theatre, Prague Castle and St Vitus's Cathedral, the Toy Museum and the Mucha, Dali and Warhol Museum.

Lucy Brown, from Glastonbury and previously at St Dunstan’s School, is studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design. She said: “I’ll be using architectural references from Prague for my final major project in my set design models. It was also fantastic to visit the National Theatre and attend a ballet performance as I’ve applied to study Stage and Performance Design at degree level next year.”

Previous Art and Design trips have included visits to Florence, Barcelona, New York and Washington, and Paris. Next year’s trip is already being planned. Petrina added: “We are currently considering Berlin but will give students a choice between New York and two European cities.

Find out more about studying Art & Design A Level, Art & Design Extended Diploma, Art & Design First Diploma and Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree) at Strode.

Photo: Strode College Art and Design students standing on Charles Bridge in Prague.

17/02/15 - Boogie Nights gets its Groove On
Boogie Nights gets its Groove On

Strode College’s latest musical offering ‘Boogie Nights’ certainly lived up to its name. From the opening song ‘Celebration’ to the finale ‘mega-mix’, which incorporated ‘Can You Feel the Force’, ‘Instant Replay’, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’, ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘We Are Family’, the audience at Strode Theatre lapped up the 70s vibe, singing and clapping along to the toe-tapping classics which were delivered in abundance.

The Strode College Theatre Company gives students from across the college the opportunity to perform as part of their enrichment activities. Both male and female principal roles were played by A Level students, featuring strong performances by Matt Zagni as rockstar wannabe Roddy, who demonstrated his many talents whilst on stage - including football - and Francesca Fallows as girlfriend Debs, whose sublime delivery of ‘Yesterday Once More’ was one of the highlights of the show.

Medallion man and DJ Dean was played by Performing Arts student Dru Derbidge, who delivered a strong performance at all times with his convincing swagger and charm.

Noah Heathcote (Performing Arts) played the slightly sinister role of Spencer admirably and the wardrobe department should be congratulated on his outfits – especially his black patent platforms, which were so very in keeping with the fashions of the day.

The comedy element was carried off to perfection by Matt Blake (Performing Arts), whose portrayal of Terry was spot on - especially the drunk scene and his solo rendition of ‘Sugar Baby Love’.

Patrick Olliffe (Performing Arts) played the controversial role of Roddy’s father Eamon estimably; his solo of ‘You Were Always On My Mind’ was brilliant and the scene that featured him heart-broken over the death of Elvis very touching.

Beauty Therapy student Katie Davies played the supporting role of Debs’ best friend and Terry’s girlfriend Trish perfectly, and clearly loved taking to the stage.

Megan Edmunds (Performing Arts) played the singer in the band and Spencer’s girlfriend with attitude and charisma; her character was the catalyst for the majority of the drama. Her delivery of ‘Enough is Enough’, a duet with Debs, was very strong.

In addition to the thirty-two 70s songs, there were also some great spoken references to the era, including nods to teen-favourite retailer ‘Chelsea Girl’, ‘Clean Up TV’ social activist Mary Whitehouse and the then-Radio One DJ Simon Bates’ ‘Our Tune’. There was also a nice local reference, with a mention of ‘Orchard FM’, too.

The dancing was provided by students Jess Johnson, Emily Langthorpe, Leah White, Emily Davis and Charlotte Gardiner.

Other members of the ensemble were students Bethan Blackburn, Emily Hucker, Andy Jones, Ben King, Harry Roberts, Ellie Walpole, Chloe Yates, Martha Hale, Catherine Pratt, Danielle Blake and Hayley Chidzey.

Course Manager for Performing Arts, Charmaine Bray, directed the show. Head of Performing Arts, Matt Holmes, was Musical Director and keyboard player, and the band featured students Jake Wild on guitar, Alex Willsher on bass and Alex Hurr on drums. Dance teacher Rebecca Harvey was choreographer.

Find out more about studying Performing Arts Extended Diploma, Performing Arts First Diploma and Dance A Level at Strode College.

Photo (top): Debs (Francesca Fallows) and Lorraine (Megan Edmunds) fight for Roddy’s (Matt Zagni) affection.

Boogie Nights dance  Boogie Nights Eamon as Elvis

Above left: Katie Davies leads the dancers. Above right: Patrick Olliffe as Eamon (as Elvis Presley).

Boogie Nights YMCA dance  Boogie Nights Francesca Fallows and

Above left: Andy Jones, Matt Zagni, Noah Heathcote, Dru Derbidge and Matt Blake perform YMCA.
Above right: Francesca Fallows and Megan Edmunds.

13/02/15 - Grants Now Available Towards Advanced Hair and Beauty Management Qualification
Grants Now Available Towards Advanced Hair and Beauty Management Qualification

If you’re currently working over eight hours a week and either a hair or beauty salon owner, a volunteer or employed as a hair stylist or beautician, you may be interested in an exciting new opportunity to study a selection of awards towards the City and Guilds Level 4 Diploma in Management Practice and Advanced Techniques in the Hair and Beauty Sector at no cost to yourself.

Funding has been made available to Strode College by the European Social Fund through Somerset Skills and Learning and, because it is a grant, is not repayable by the learner. 

The qualification is designed to help grow business and increase profits. Following completion of all four units you will then be offered the opportunity to study the remaining awards to make up the diploma qualification. Progression from this course leads to the ILM Level 5 in Management qualification.

The four funded units available are:

  • Quality Management of Client Care in the hair and beauty sector
  • Sales Management in the hair and beauty sector
  • Public Relations in the hair and beauty sector
  • Marketing in the hair and beauty sector

The 12 week course will run every Monday at Strode College’s Bridgwater Training Centre from 9 March until 22 June, 2015 from 9.00am - 1.00pm for theoretical input. Students then have the option to continue studying from 2.00pm - 6.00pm if they wish.

For further information or advice please contact Sandra Hellier, Strode College Course Manager on 01278 457629/01458 844593 or email:

Photo: Emily Chiffers, pictured here at Strode College’s recent ‘Industry Day’, is currently studying the Level 4 Diploma in Management Practice and Advanced Techniques in the Hair and Beauty Sector.

10/02/15 - Great Chemistry for Somerset Primary Schools
Great Chemistry for Somerset Primary Schools

Almost 400 students from nine primary schools across the county had an explosive time when they visited Strode College on Wednesday February 4, to see the team from the University of Bristol’s ‘ChemLabS’ put on an exciting Chemistry demonstration sponsored by EDF Energy.

Most of the schools that attended on the day have link schools in Yueyang, China, and Strode, as the hub of the Somerset-Yueyang partnership, works closely with them, delivering regular Mandarin tuition and supporting collaborative activities with their Chinese partner schools.

Dr Alison Rivett of ‘ChemLabS’ said of the day: "The audience of enthusiastic primary school children at Strode were great today, they really enjoyed the experience – especially when there were loud bangs and flames! We were pleased to have the opportunity to deliver our 'Gases In The Air' Chemistry demonstration in an excellent theatre venue.”

Science is the main focus of the joint curriculum projects being undertaken between Somerset schools and their Chinese partners in 2015 and the presentation had the aim of contributing to this collaborative work, as well as developing an enhanced appreciation of science amongst local primary school pupils.

Tom Thayer, Inspire Education Programme Advisor at EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project, said: “The chemistry demo was a really great project to sponsor. We would especially like to thank Adrian Ash, HE & International Manager at Strode College, for facilitating the day and we look forward to working with Strode on many more projects to come!”

Strode College is also involved with EDF Energy’s Inspire Education Programme, which has run over 400 activities with 100 schools in Somerset – helping more students think about benefits of studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (STEM) at GCSE.

06/02/15 - Professionals Inspire Strode College Hair and Beauty Students
Professionals Inspire Strode College Hair and Beauty Students

Professionals from across the hair and beauty sector visited Strode College for its ‘Industry Day’ on Monday 2 February, to share their tips and expertise with over 200 hair, beauty, nails and barbering students. Talks and demonstrations were held at Strode’s specialist salons throughout the day and students had the opportunity to see different techniques and meet and ask the industry experts questions. Many of the professionals originally trained at Strode.

Sandra Hellier, Hairdressing and Barbering Course Manager at Strode College, organised the day. She said: “The aim is for the students to keep up-to-date with the current industry trends; products and techniques; and to gain business and careers advice from the industry representatives today. One of our students has already been offered a work experience placement by Martyn Jessop from ‘XY Barbers’ in Glastonbury.”

Katie Morse from ‘Pure’ in Street delivered three hair workshops, demonstrating different trends, styles and methods to students. Katie opened her salon late last year, following 12 years working in Karen Christensen’s salons in Wells and Castle Cary. Previously a student at St Dunstan’s school, she then took an Apprenticeship with Strode College at John Banks’ hair salon in Street and has also worked on the styling team at the L’Oreal Colour Trophy.

Todd Kellett is currently taking a Level 2 Barbering Apprenticeship with Strode at ‘Sheer Class’ in Langport: “It’s been a brilliant day and we’ve all learnt so much. It’s been so informative and I’ve picked up a lot of tips. It’s really good to see how other barbers do things and I really enjoyed watching the wet shaves, as I had never seen that before - it’s definitely something that I want to try in the future.”

Experts from the industry who gave talks and demonstrations included:

Idris Can from ‘The Gentleman’s Room’ in Bridgwater - Wet shaves

Jess Mullett from ‘Tranquility’ in Street - Hair techniques

Martyn Jessop from ‘XY Barbers’ in Glastonbury - Barbering techniques

James Taylor from ‘The Gentleman’s Room’ in Bridgwater - Barbering techniques

Katie Morse from ‘Pure’ salon in Street - Hair techniques and trends

Kadey English from ‘Aqua Sana’ Centre Parcs spa - Spa demonstrations

Sarah Hitch from ‘The Sanctuary’ beauty salon in Sherborne - ‘Skinbreeze’ demonstrations

Michelle Mahony ‘Shared Beauty Secrets’ - Lava facial demo

Sarah Davey - Theatrical Make-up demonstration

Jenna Bostock from ‘OPI’ - talk and demonstration

Emma Hawkes from ‘Bio Seaweed Gel’ - talk and demonstration

Craig Hope from ‘Balmain Hair’ - hair demonstration

Jennifer Edwards, ‘Jane Iredale/Environ’ - seminar

Emily Chiffers from ‘Karen Christensen’ in Wells - hair demonstration

Charlene Lock, Level 4 Management in Advanced Hair and Beauty student at Strode, formerly of Chilton Trinity school - Dread extensions demonstration

Lynne Thorn from ‘L’Oreal’ - Career talk

Lisa Marsh from ‘In Harmony’ in Street - Career talk

Judith Baker, Business Development Consultant at Strode College

Find out more about studying Hair, Barbering, Beauty and Complementary Therapies at Strode College.


Hair and Beauty Industry Day 15      Hair and Beauty Industry Day 15

 Above left: Idris Can from ‘The Gentleman’s Room’ in Bridgwater. Above right: Martyn Jessop from ‘XY Barbers’ in Glastonbury

Hair and Beauty Industry Day 15      Hair and Beauty Industry Day 15

Above left: Kadey English from ‘Aqua Sana’ Centre Parcs spa. Above right: Katie Morse from ‘Pure’ salon in Street

30/01/15 - Gold Medal Trampoline Team
Gold Medal Trampoline Team

The Strode College male trampoline team bounced into gold medal position at the Southern Zonal Schools Regional Finals this month. Their well-earned win takes them through to the national finals in Birmingham on 14 March, where they will compete against teams from across the UK.

Jenny Stevens, Strode College trampoline coach, said: “The boys were simply amazing! They bounced with great confidence to beat off other teams from schools and colleges across the south of England. We will be training hard in the coming weeks as we look forward to the nationals in March.”

The boys also gained strong positions in the individual competition with Tom Coburn from Shepton Mallet achieving 4th place, Jake Krige from Crewkerne finishing 6th and Will Hayne from Bridgwater finishing in 9th position.

Trampolining is just one of over 30 sports offered to Strode College students as part of the college’s programme of enrichment activities.

Photo: Strode College male trampoline team show off the gold medals they won at the Southern Schools Regional Competition. Left to right: Jake Krige from Crewkerne, Will Hayne from Bridgwater and Tom Coburn from Shepton Mallet.

29/01/15 - Beauty Therapy Students visit Aqua Sana Spa
Beauty Therapy Students visit Aqua Sana Spa

Our Beauty Therapy students enjoyed a fantastic day at the Aqua Sana Spa, Center Parcs at Longleat this week as part of their Level 3 Beauty Therapy Diploma. After a tour of the spa and its facilities, the staff delivered a careers talk which covered many aspects of working at a spa, including: working conditions, benefits of the job, rates of pay, treatments and training. Students also had the opportunity to experience the relaxing spa environment first hand.

Susan O’Meara, Level 3 Beauty Therapy Manager, said: “Some of the students have never visited a spa before today. We’ve all been very impressed - some students are now seriously considering working in a spa in the future.”

27/01/15 - Strode College Loves to Boogie
Strode College Loves to Boogie

For something a little bit groovy this Valentine’s Day you could take your beloved to watch a musical at Strode Theatre. 'Boogie Nights', the 70s-based musical show, is the latest production by Strode College Performing Arts students and you can ‘get down on it’ at Strode Theatre on Thursday 12 to Saturday 14 February, 7.30pm.

The immensely successful West End show tells of the trials and tribulations of young love in Britain’s 1970s and of Roddy Gabriel’s dreams of rock stardom. Musical numbers include plenty of 70s favourites such as ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘Play That Funky Music’ together with some nods towards popular film and television shows of the time such as Grease, Jaws and Happy Days.

Charmaine Bray, Performing Arts teacher and director of the show, said: “This fast paced, fun show will take you right back to the 70s, and with thirty-two musical numbers you’re bound to hear at least one of your favourite disco tunes! Our students have had an enormous amount of fun putting the show together, and we’re sure some of the audience will enjoy revisiting their youth!”

The production is part of Strode College’s Enrichment programme which means that students from all courses across college can take part. Although mostly Performing Arts students, three of the eight principal characters are from other courses, including A level and Beauty Therapy, with students from other courses also helping out backstage.

Tickets for the show, which cost £10, £8 full concessions and £6 for Strode students and staff, can be booked via the Strode Theatre Box Office: 01458 442846 or

Special offer
Italian restaurant, Tamburinos, Street are offering 25% off food, on the evening of the performance you attend (for those with a ticket for the Thursday or Friday performances only). Contact Tamburinos further information.

27/01/15 - New Higher Education Facilities at Strode College
New Higher Education Facilities at Strode College

HE Experience Day - Tuesday 24 February, 12.00 - 3.00pm

Book your place for this event to find out about our first-class, university-level courses. Meet our lecturers, get a flavour of the courses you're interested in and take a look at our brand new Higher Education facilities. Contact: Wendy Cavill on: 01458 844404 or

For a copy of Strode College’s prospectus for Higher Education courses call 01458 844400 or visit the college website to find out more.

Stay local for a quality, affordable university-level education

If you live in Somerset and are considering university education, you need look no further than Strode College in Street. Recently judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the college also has the highest possible rating for its Higher Education courses and it provides excellent and affordable university-level courses, which are now being taught in brand new facilities dedicated to Higher Education (HE).

New buildingStrode College’s new building offers first-class teaching spaces specific to university programmes, as well as seminar rooms, quiet study areas and a common room, where Higher Education students can meet to work or relax. 

University-level courses taught at Strode College have been designed to link with growth areas in the regional economy. Students benefit not only from new purpose built facilities, fantastic specialist teaching and support and lower study fees, they also gain from great partnerships with industry and commerce as well as other organisations active in the community. As a result, many Higher Education students from Strode College go on to work in businesses across the region.

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said: “Our investment in new facilities for university-level education reflects the need for high quality and affordable higher education to be provided locally. Not everyone wants to go away from home to study and the additional costs of study fees, accommodation and other living expenses can put higher level study out of reach for many people. Our higher education provision has been awarded the highest possible rating by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). I’m delighted that we are now able to offer such fantastic facilities alongside outstanding, specialist teaching and support.”

You can apply directly to Strode College to study a university-level course and do not need to apply through UCAS (which has already closed for applications). The college is currently accepting applications for the following courses starting in September 2015:

  • History, Heritage and Archaeology - Degree and Foundation Degree
  • Managing in the Public Sector Services - Foundation Degree
  • Computing and Systems Development - HND and HNC
  • Engineering - HND and HNC.

Degree and Foundation Degree courses are run in partnership with Plymouth University. 

Strode College’s 60 full-time and part-time Higher Education students are all delighted with the study environment they now have available. Natasha Paine, who lives in Martock and formerly attended Huish Episcopi School, gained a Foundation Degree in History, Heritage & Archaeology at Strode College last summer and she is now studying a final year to achieve a full BA (Hons) Degree. She said: “The new block has given Strode’s Higher Education students a sense of unity, allowing us to come together, meet new students and support each other with our work. The college has made a fantastic step forward with the progression of Higher Education - the new block and the range of courses are a benefit to the college, its students and our future.”

20/01/15 - Outstanding Oxbridge Success for Outstanding College
Outstanding Oxbridge Success for Outstanding College

Six Strode College A Level students are delighted to have achieved their goal of being offered places to study at Oxford and Cambridge universities next year.

Offers from Oxford University have gone to:

  • Georgia Corrigan to study Modern Foreign Languages, French and Russian (she lives in Glastonbury and formerly attended St Dunston’s School);
  • Myfanwy Craigie to study Modern Foreign Languages, German and Spanish (she lives in Bruton and formerly attended Sexeys School);
  • Amber Pavey to study Earth Sciences (she lives in Ilchester and formerly attended Stanchester School); and
  • Altair Brandon-Salmon to study History of Art (he lives in Ston Easton and was formerly Home Educated).

Offers from Cambridge University have gone to:

  • Edward Beaty to study Maths (he lives in Walton and formerly attended Crispin School); and
  • William Orchard to study Natural Sciences (he lives in Glastonbury and formerly attended Crispin School).

James Staniforth, Principal of Strode College said:

We have high expectations of our students and the outstanding teaching and support they receive at Strode is totally focused on helping each student to achieve their potential and a successful future.

“I am delighted that our A Level students consistently achieve high academic standards. They achieve success across a broad range of subjects and I am delighted that this is reflected in successful Oxbridge applications for mathematicians, physical scientists, biological scientists, geologists, and French, German and Spanish linguists, following previous success in History, Archaeology, Engineering and Computing. I am also excited that Altair is the first Strode student to win a place at Oxford to study History of Art”.

“We support all students with their university applications and those aiming to join a competitive university get additional support to ensure they are fully prepared to compete at the highest level. These students are a credit to themselves and their families and former schools, as well as the fantastic teachers and support staff at Strode College.

“Our approach to nurturing high aspirations and achievements through outstanding teaching and support was praised by Ofsted in October 2014, when they judged Strode as `Outstanding` - this success is part of being outstanding for our students every day.”

Strode College is the only `Outstanding` sixth form in Mendip and South Somerset and the only school or college sixth form in Somerset to achieve this highest possible rating since tougher inspection criteria were introduced in 2010.

Students at Strode College progress more than those at other schools and colleges in Somerset and Strode is in the top five % of schools and colleges nationally for improving students grades based on those predicted following their GCSE results (League Tables and ALPS 2014).

Amber Pavey, who will be studying Earth Sciences at Oxford said:

Being at Oxford University for an interview was an incredible experience and I learnt a lot. The support from college made the whole experience much easier.”

Altair Brandon-Salmon, who will be studying History or Art at Oxford University, said:

The support from Strode College through the whole application process has been fantastic, assisting me every step of the way from application to preparation for interview.”

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