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Kick start your nursing, midwifery and allied health career with an Access to HE course at Langley College and the promise of at least a £5,000 bursary per year in new government funding once you progress to a degree programme.

From September 2020 all nursing, midwifery and many allied health students will receive at least £5,000 a year, which they will not need to pay back. Up to £3,000 further funding is also available for eligible students, including for: 

  • specialist disciplines that struggle to recruit, including mental health and learning disability nursing
  • an additional childcare allowance, on top of the £1,000 already on offer
  • areas of the country which have seen a decrease in people accepted on some nursing, midwifery and allied health courses over the past year.

Langley College offers a one year Nursing and Health Professions Access to Higher Education course which provides the skills and qualification required for progression to a degree programme at university in nursing and midwifery or courses allied to medicine. Further information on this new funding can be found here.

Find out more at the forthcoming Langley College Open Day on Tuesday 21 January 2020, 4.30-7.00pm https://www.windsor-forest.ac.uk/opendays.

Strode’s College’s work with elite student-athletes has been recognised with national accreditation from TASS, (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme), a Sport England funded partnership between talented athletes, education institutions and national governing bodies of sport. Strode’s is the only college in Surrey and the local area to be awarded the Dual Career Accreditation Scheme for their commitment to supporting elite student-athletes reach their potential in education alongside sporting success.

The College is currently supporting a number of elite athletes including Fraser Griffiths, an artistic gymnast who competes for Scotland, England rugby player Abbie-Louise Bailey and international Irish dancer, Lucy Potter.

Karen Griffiths Strode’s College Director of Sixth Form explains the importance of the accreditation to these students: “Balancing the demands of high level training alongside college study is the equivalent of holding down two jobs and what the TASS accreditation acknowledges is our commitment to helping students balance this challenge. They shouldn’t have to make a choice and by enabling them to do both we ensure that they have a very firm back up plan in the form of strong sixth form qualifications.”

As a TASS accredited college Strode’s recognises the flexibility and support young athletes require. Alongside access to the full range of A Levels and Level 3 BTECs, sporting students can also expect flexibility with regards to their timetable to support their training and competition schedule. As students will inevitably be absent to attend competitions the College also offers catch up schedules and access to learning platforms for remote study. 

Ms Griffiths continues: “Our support goes beyond the practical help with studies. Training at an elite level and sixth form study are both incredibly demanding. We also offer these students personal mentoring and guidance from pastoral tutors who have direct experience and understanding of national and international competitions with particular attention paid to employability, social media, finance and budgeting. We offer workshops on lifestyle, nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology and strength and conditioning alongside free access to the gym and close liaison with coaches to support their overall wellbeing.”

TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) is a Sport England funded partnership between talented athletes, education institutions and national governing bodies of sport, all working together to bring the best out of the country’s most exciting young talents.

Strode’s College has long had a reputation for sporting success in the classroom and on the playing fields. The College offers a range of sport A Levels and BTECs and has a strong history of success at county and national level for a number of sports. To find out more go to www.windsor-forest.ac.uk or come along to the next Strode’s Open Day on Tuesday 11 February 2020.

Shortlist announced 8 January 2020

The most outstanding individuals and institutions that the FE sector has to offer have been recognised in the shortlist for the 2020 Tes FE Awards.

It’s been revealed that Eleanor Turner of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group has been shortlisted for the Teacher of the Year award.

Tes FE editor Stephen Exley said: “Excellent practice exists right across the further education sector, and those shortlisted for the Tes FE Awards are the cream of the crop. Our judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries.To be shortlisted is an extraordinary achievement"

The winners will be revealed at a gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 20 March 2020

To see the full list of who is in the running, pick up a copy of this week's Tes, or visit tesfeawards.co.uk

In its first full inspection since the merger between East Berkshire College (Langley and Windsor) and Strode’s College (Egham) – the newly formed Windsor Forest Colleges Group, which comprises the three separate colleges, was this week rated as GOOD by Ofsted.

The group was visited by Ofsted under its new inspection framework, which saw a team of 11 inspectors explore all aspects of teaching, learning, support and outcomes at each of the colleges. The report which was published on 6 January 2020 rated the colleges as ‘Good’ for overall effectiveness and ‘Good’ in all other inspection areas covering quality, behaviour, personal development, leadership, education for young people, adult learning and apprenticeships.

The inspectors praised the learning environment stating in the report: “Learners and apprentices benefit from a calm and respectful learning environment. They value, and gain confidence from the high levels of support and care from staff. Behaviour in lessons and across all college centres is very good and learners feel safe.”  They also highlighted the strength of careers guidance provided noting that “most learners who intend to progress to higher education do so, often to their first-choice institution”. Inspectors noted how learners benefit from teachers who are industry professionals learning from their experience and “professional practice”.

They were also impressed with the quality of teaching and the way the learning is delivered, reporting: “Teachers sequence and deliver the curriculum in a logical and well-planned way. Learners build on the key knowledge and skills they have learnt, consolidate these through practice and apply them effectively in both practical and theoretical situations.”

They highlighted the support and added-value provided to students through the tutorial programme, commenting: “Learners develop a good understanding of wider society through a well-planned tutorial programme as well as the promotion of relevant content in lessons. Teachers encourage learners to take an active interest in current affairs and to be critical thinkers.”

Group Principal and CEO Kate Webb, was naturally very happy with the result of the inspection and reflected on the outcome by saying: “What a great result for the group as an organisation, and personally for all the teachers and staff members who have worked so hard to make sure all our learners have the best possible chance of success.” She also commented on how the new Ofsted framework puts the learner experience at the heart of its inspection process and said: “What is really meaningful about this result is that the inspectors reach their judgements by speaking directly with learners and therefore what is contained in the report is a true reflection of Langley, Strode’s and Windsor Colleges.”

The inspectors commented on the specialist provision for learners with high needs, commenting that “Teachers work well with support staff to ensure that learners with high needs are well supported.” But also commented on the need to ensure a small number of learners are given the opportunity to learn and progress further on their courses. This was noted as an area “requiring improvement”. Ms Webb confirmed steps were already underway to address the issues raised.

The Chair of Governors Tony Dixon reflected on the great progress made by the group since the merger saying: “The group executive has worked tirelessly to bring our two organisations together to form one united culture, where the learner comes first. The high standards delivered across all three colleges has been rightfully noted by Ofsted and is also reflected in the outstanding results achieved by learners this year, and the increasing focus on higher-level study and employability. With a “Good” rating from Ofsted coupled with the highest rating for quality given by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) the group is going from strength to strength.”

The full report is available on the Ofsted website.

Over 100 Strode’s students put Runnymede and Weybridge constituency candidates through their political paces at a recent student-chaired election debate. Dr Ben Spencer (Conservative), Councillor Robert King (Labour), Benjamin Smith (Green), and Councillor Don Whyte (Lib Dems, representing Robert O’Carroll) attended the pre-election hustings, held at the progressive sixth form college in Egham, to debate issues close to the heart of young people.

Brexit and a second referendum dominated the Q&A which was chaired by student leaders, Henry Denegri and Nathan Gage. Other issues high on the student political agenda included homelessness, education and sixth form funding, budgeting and priorities. The economy proved a divisive topic, especially regarding debt and borrowing. Students were also keen to explore disenfranchised groups, votes for 16s and how to inspire and engage students to be involved in politics. The political candidates all seem to agree on the importance of involving under 18s in political debate, although not all necessarily agreeing on the voting age being reduced to 16.

Commenting on the importance of political literacy Bernadette Joslin, Assistant Principal Student Services said: “’It was fantastic to see so many of our students engaged in social and political issues raised by the candidates’ debate.  Over 120 students and staff asked probing and stimulating questions of the local candidates and demonstrated they are passionate about politics.

“It is so important that young people feel involved in our political system and democracy and play their part in making it operate effectively.  At the College we believe therefore that an understanding of active citizenship is an essential part of our students’ wider development.”

To further encourage student participation in the forthcoming election the College has also had a successful voter registration drive and a mock ballot delivered the following results: 

Labour - 55

Liberal Democrats - 25

Conservatives - 14

Green - 13

Spoiled - 14

Abstained - 8

Langley College’s Ashton Clark has put the value of an apprenticeship centre stage with a win at the recent Berkeley Group Apprenticeship Awards. Ashton, a Level 2 Plastering Apprentice, who is employed by Vince O’Brien Plastering, was named Best Interiors Apprentice in the national awards which were recently held at The Bridge Theatre, on London's South Bank.

The cross-industry judging panel at the event which saw record numbers of entries this year, commented on Ashton’s progress: “Ashton has come a long way since he started working at Woodhurst Park. He stood out to his managers and our judges as someone whose hunger to learn is really paying off. A team player, he takes a holistic approach to working on site, thinking about safety and site behaviour as well as his work as a plasterer.”

Staff at the college where the formal part of the apprenticeship qualification is delivered were also very proud of Ashton’s achievement, with the Chief Executive Kate Webb commenting: “What an outstanding achievement for Ashton who is an excellent role model for other young people looking to break into industry through an apprenticeship. It is Ashton’s great drive and determination that has seen him achieve so well. That coupled with the tremendous support he has received from his employer and the academic team at the College.”

Speaking at the event, which celebrates great apprentices, trainees and mentors, Berkeley Group Chief Executive Rob Perrins, said: "These awards showcase the very best of the built environment sector and the hugely talented people who are joining our ranks and shaping our future. It's also a chance to celebrate our industry's fantastic contribution to social mobility. We offer people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to forge a great career and make a positive difference to the world around them.”

For more information on apprenticeship opportunities available at Langley College please go to apprenticeships

The Windsor Forest Colleges Group has received the highest rating from the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) for its higher education provision. Following a recent three-day inspection the Agency gave the Colleges Group a ‘High Confidence’ rating in four areas recognising the high standards of student engagement and educational experience alongside high praise for the College’s admissions systems and handling of feedback.

Commenting on the impressive findings Kate Webb, Group Principal and CEO at the Colleges Group which includes Langley College, Strode’s College and Windsor College said: “This incredibly positive review from the QAA demonstrates that the high standards of our higher education provision means our students have a meaningful and quality educational experience. Students reported that we engage with them positively, take action on their feedback and they feel entirely supported to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes. Equally important is the inspector’s praise for our recruitment, selection and admissions policies and procedures and complaints handling which they found to be robust, fair and transparent. This huge endorsement from the QAA is testament to the incredibly high standards and good practice delivered by our staff.”

Principal, Rowan Cookson also commented on the outcome of the inspection saying: “We are delighted to once again meet the very highest standards for our advanced level programmes at Langley. Many people are not aware that you can study HNDs, Foundation Degrees and even Bachelor degrees at Langley and what a superb learning experience we offer – with small class sizes, industry trained tutors and our strong links with industry which make our courses stand out.”

The QAA safeguards standards and improves the quality of UK higher education, checking that students get the higher education they are entitled to. During their inspection at the Windsor Forest Colleges Group the QAA specifically looked at: how the College actively engages students individually and collectively in the quality of their educational experience; Support for students to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes; how reliable, fair and inclusive the College’s admissions system is and finally how fair and transparent the complaints handling and appeals process is.

The QAA’s assessment included formal meetings with students and senior managers and extensive reviews of college policies and procedures.

Find out more about studying Higher Education at Langley College.

The Chief Executive Officer and Group Principal of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, Kate Webb has announced her decision to step down from the role at the end of the academic year.

Ms Webb was appointed as CEO in 2017 following the merger between East Berkshire College and Strode’s College following eight years as the Principal of East Berkshire College and five years as the Deputy Principal.

Ms Webb announced her decision to staff this month saying: “After 25 years in the FE sector, with 15 of those being at East Berkshire College and now the Windsor Forest Colleges Group – I have decided the time has come to take my career in a new direction, and as such I plan to step down from my role at the end of this academic year.

“As many of you know I have been undertaking a doctorate and on the back of this I would like to change my career and try something different.” She continued: “I have had the best years of my career working with you and want my final year to be the very best, so I will continue to work with you to ensure continued success for our learners and will leave a strong foundation for my successor.”

The Chair of the Board of Governors, Tony Dixon commented on the many successes achieved by Kate during her tenure: “We are sorry to lose such a strong and capable leader for our group of colleges but fully understand that Kate feels now is the right time to move on in her career. She has taken the group forward in so many ways. With the incredible investment in our campuses which saw a brand-new college built in Windsor and a £30 million investment in Langley College - we now have state of the art colleges for 21st Century learners. However, her management of the successful merger with Strode’s College and the formation of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group has to be the pinnacle of her achievements.” He continued: “We now have three thriving colleges – an exceptional sixth form offer at Strode’s and Windsor along with the vocational, technical programme, apprenticeships and Higher Education at Langley. She leaves us in a strong position for a very successful future.”

The Board of Governors have started their search for a replacement and are launching their recruitment campaign this week. For more information on this exciting career opportunity please click here 

As Brexit negotiations go to the wire, one Langley College Business Admin Apprentice has been to Brussels to meet key MEPs and European Commission staff. Natalia Orlowska, who is based in Slough Aspire, made the trip to the EU Headquarters to explore the opportunities offered to Apprentices through schemes funded by the European Parliament. Natalia joined a small group of apprentices as part of an initiative organised by Judith Bunting, the MEP representing the South East of England.

Natalia was one of only four apprentices from the region selected to join Judith at the EU Headquarters. During the two day visit she attended a reception with MEPs at the European Parliament and learned about Erasmus+, the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport. Natalia was also able to question key MEPs and European Commission staff regarding on the job training investments which will impact her, the other apprentices and the employers they work for. Natalia, in particular, has a keen interest as her work for Slough Aspire includes helping to deliver the Berkshire Apprenticeship Service.

Commenting on the value of the experience Natalia said: “Travelling to Brussels to meet other UK apprentices, sight-seeing the European Parliament along with discovering the life as an MEP was a truly fun and informative experience. This trip was designed to raise awareness of a range of opportunities available for young people in the EU. I really enjoyed finding out about Erasmus+ and I am interested in applying for this programme in the future to experience working abroad and other cultures. I am grateful to the Windsor Forest Colleges Group and Slough Aspire for offering me this opportunity, as I have met some really nice and interesting people over those two days and I am now thinking of exploring my future options.”

During the trip Natalia was also given a behind the scenes insight into the life of an MEP with talks about the role they play, a tour of the EU Parliament and a visit to the House of European History.

Natalia attended the trip, following a recommendation by Juliet Holloway Assistant Principal, Marketing and Business Development for the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, who said: “This was a great opportunity, kindly provided by our local MEP Judith Bunting, for Natalia to see the EU Parliament in action. Erasmus+ is all about linking organisations and enabling the sharing of best practice. I am sure that Natalia found the trip incredibly informative, bringing back new skills and knowledge to be shared among her colleagues at Slough Aspire and her tutors here at Langley College.”

Langley College, part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, offers a broad range of professional and trade apprenticeships, working with a number of the region’s leading employers. Apprenticeship opportunities include Business and Accounting, Computing, Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, Hospitality and Catering and Motor Vehicle. These courses, which are available from Level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) to Level 5 (equivalent to an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree), combine training at the College with practical skills learned in the workplace. Apprentices get paid by their employer while they gain hands-on experience and a nationally recognised qualification.

Click here to explore the full range of apprenticeships on offer. 

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