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Hot on the heels of Strode’s record breaking A Level performance last month comes the College’s celebrated Prize Giving Ceremony. The annual event recognises academic endeavour and excellence, exceptional effort and personal achievement. Students and their families joined proud teachers, trustees, governors, the Mayor of Runnymede, Worshipful Company of Coopers, local businesses, and Guest of Honour Fraser Jardine, a former fighter pilot, now enjoying a successful career in the television and broadcast industry. The evening showcases Strode’s strong reputation for outstanding academic results, progression to top universities and career paths.


A very proud Principal, Rowan Cookson said: “Congratulations to the class of 2018 who achieved record breaking A Level results with 99% pass rate, 67% high grade passes (A* to C) and a flawless 100% pass rate in their BTEC courses. It is an honour to celebrate the students who worked so hard and I would also like to recognise my colleagues for their outstanding commitment and teaching which are both pivotal to our outstanding success.”


During the evening 39 prizes were awarded. The prestigious Henry Strode prize and the Tercentenary Higher Education Bursary is awarded to the student who achieved the highest points score of all Strode’s College students in 2018. This year, the prize went to Oliver Sears who achieved a very impressive 500 UCAS points with his A*AAA in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics which earned him a coveted place at Durham University to study Physics.


The Strode's Foundation Academic Achiever's Award is awarded by the Trustees of the College to a student who demonstrated a very high level of academic excellence. This year the winner of the bursary of £1,000 for three years of university study went to Willow Rolls who secured her place at the University of Oxford to read Biochemistry by achieving A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths.

Highlights of the evening also included presentations from the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Team and Chloe Woodland who both won Coopers’ Travel Bursaries.

Strode’s will be holding an Open Day on Thursday 18 October, 4.30pm to 7.30pm. For further information please click here.

Annual celebrations are underway at Strode’s College and Windsor College, part of the Windsor Forest College’s Group, where students achieved another year of excellent A Level results. Strode’s broke all records with an impressive 99% A level pass rate, while Windsor maintained its strong performance with a 93% overall pass rate. Both colleges performed outstandingly by achieving a flawless 100% in their BTEC Courses.

High grades were in abundance at Strode’s College with an impressive 68% achieving A*-C and 100% pass rate in over 80% of all A level subjects offered, exceeding national benchmarks.

Strode’s student Willow Roles has secured her place at the University of Oxford to read Biochemistry by achieving A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. Joshua Passey achieved a clean sweep of four A*s in Chemistry, Further Maths, Maths and his Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and is going on to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath. Other stars in the A grade cohort include Eve Byrne, Thomas Ludlow, Oliver Sears, Rebecca Frymann and Krashna Bhagalia who all achieved three or more A*s and A grades.

Rowan Cookson, Principal of both Strode’s and Windsor Colleges said: “We are thrilled with these record-breaking results and are so proud of our students who have achieved first class grades. Such consistently high results across our extensive A level offer is testament to the exceptionally high standards of teaching and personal support that is the hallmark of our sixth form.”

She continued: “We are equally proud of our Level 3 BTEC results. Students achieved an outstanding 100% pass rate across the board with 79% achieving the best possible grades of Distinction* and Distinction (D*D).

Windsor College was also celebrating some exceptional results with a high number of students achieving straight As and 56% gaining A*-C grades. Top performing student Daanial Ahmed is taking his A*AA in Maths, Chemistry and Economics to the Russell Group University of Bristol to study Computer Science while Andre Naroozi who achieved AAA in Biology, Chemistry and Maths is heading for a career in dentistry. Maria Avesta is also going on to study dentistry at the University of Plymouth after gaining AAB in Chemistry, Biology and Maths.

At Windsor, 13 subjects achieved 100% pass rate exceeding national benchmarks. Drama and Theatre Studies and Spanish saw 100% achieving A*-C and 91% achieved A*-C in English Language.

Group Principal and CEO of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, Kate Webb commented on the performance of both colleges: “This is the start of something wonderful. A new specialist 6th Form across two colleges offering the perfect combination of exceptional teaching and individual support.

“This is our first set of A level results since the colleges merged in 2017. We are delighted with the high standards achieved at both colleges and how this sets the tone for academic standards across our sixth form moving forward. We are conscious we are entering a new era of post-18 education, where university, higher apprenticeships or even employer training programmes offer a very different landscape. We have adapted our curriculum to enable students to follow the gold standard A Level pathway or develop the advanced technical skills of BTECs. Where we are different, is we also allow them to combine both A Levels and BTECs, providing the widest choice and opportunity.”

Strode’s and Windsor Colleges are part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group which also includes Langley College in Slough.

For those getting their GCSE results on 23 August, the Colleges will be open 9.00am to 5.00pm (Friday 4.30pm) with staff on hand for advice and late applications for their A level and BTEC courses.

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With the government announcing new funding for low paid earners, many adult courses offered by the Windsor Forest Colleges Group will now be free. Anyone earning less than £20,000 who is not already eligible for free funding, can now receive full funding on a wide range of courses at Langley, Strode’s or Windsor Colleges, starting in September 2018.

Chief Executive and Group Principal Kate Webb welcomed the announcement commenting: “This is a great opportunity for those who want to improve their English with one of our ESOL courses, learn a new skill to either develop their career or re-train for a completely new direction. This new government funding will take the worry out of having to finance courses as many offered at our colleges will now be free. Anyone keen to take advantage of the funding needs to move quickly as this is a year’s trial by the government for courses starting from September.”

She continued: “We already offer a number of courses that are completely free for adults who are unemployed or claiming a range of benefits. This is the first time the government has acknowledged that people on a low wage should also be entitled to free education and training. This will improve the career and employment opportunities for many in our community.”

Eligible courses range from the technical such as Level 1 and 2 Construction, Hair and Beauty and Motor Vehicle through to the professional including Accountancy, Business, Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.

This initiative will also be welcomed by employers who can now utilise this funding to help upskill their staff who may be employed at entry level who are keen to progress.

The government funding is aimed at people earning less than £15,736.50 annual gross salary, based on the Social Mobility Commission’s low pay threshold. However Windsor Forest Colleges Group has acknowledged that the low pay threshold in outer London would be higher and has therefore increased its level to those earning £20,000 or less.

Visit the Langley or Windsor College course pages, or Strode's College course pages to discover the courses. Alternatively, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

 

Academic excellence, endeavour, promise and performance were all recognised at Langley College’s annual Student Award’s Ceremony last week. Students along with their proud families joined college lecturers, governors and VIP guests The Worshipful the Mayor of Slough, Councillor Paul Sohal, and the MP for Slough, Mr Tan Desai for the awards which showcase the very best of the College renowned for advanced technical vocational training.

The annual ceremony recognises and celebrates those students who have all contributed to an outstanding year which has seen the creation of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group following the merger of East Berkshire College with Strode's College in Egham. 

This year over 140 students were shortlisted for the prestigious awards which included prizes for Endeavour, Excellence, Service to the Community, Best Overall English, Best Overall Maths, Excellence in the use of IT, Best Overall Apprentice and Best Higher Education Student.

Special guest Tan Desai presented the award to The Most Promising Students, commenting: “It was an honour to be Guest of Honour and share views with everyone here at Langley College. Well done to Kate Webb and all the teachers, staff, governors and parents. Hopefully their efforts to support the young people in their achievements will have laid the foundations for successful futures for each of the bright students.”

A particular highlight of the evening was the award for the Most Outstanding Student which this year went to Joe Davies, who due to personal circumstances missed out on schooling. With no formal qualifications Joe enrolled on the Access to Social Work in 2015 and has become a motivated and enthusiastic learner with excellent concentration and study skills and is going to university to study social work.

Group Principal and Chief Executive Kate Webb commented on the vital role the College plays in the community supporting the academic and skills development of local students and said: “This is always a special evening where we recognise those students who embody the spirit of Langley College - hard work, success and ambition. We specialise in developing real skills for real careers and are proud that our students now have the advanced technical skills to progress in their careers.”

 

Joe Davies Most Outstanding Student Most Outstanding Students 2018 overall

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Game-changing ENGAGE platform beams in the best teachers from around the world

The traditional classroom lesson were finally consigned to the history books when technology pioneers, Immersive VR Education, beamed experts from California and Dubai into a virtual classroom to teach students here at Langley College, via a short trip to the moon.

 

PIXAR co-founder, Loren Carpenter, was ‘beamed’ in to the virtual reality (VR) classroom live from the US so that IT and gaming students could learn from the very best in the world on how VR brings education to life. Commenting on the future of VR in education he said: “Through virtual reality, we can create a fabulous distributed classroom where anyone in the world with the internet can access a classroom and teaching. We can examine concepts that are difficult to recreate in other ways. Students can experience what it is like at the top of Everest or get inside a locomotive to see how it works up close.”

 

Christian Long, gaming teacher and champion for VR technology for Windsor Forest Colleges Group created the event for his students by drawing on his impressive connections within the global VR industry, said: “It is said we only retain 30% of what we hear, but 90% of what we experience. It’s why we can often remember our childhood holidays vividly, but not many of our school lessons. VR is an incredibly powerful tool for engaging students and helping them experience what they learn, so the lesson is never lost. When we can then add the best teachers from across the globe into the mix, the impact we can have on our pupils’ ability to learn will be phenomenal.”

 

The PIXAR animation guru and Oscar winner was also joined by Dubai-based teacher and VR pioneer, Steven Bambury. Steven, from the Jumeirah School, took students on a VR journey from Langley to the moon and then to an ancient stone circle in Wiltshire so they could experience the transformative power of VR on a lesson.

David Whelan, CEO of Immersive VR Education, creators of the ENGAGE platform said: “This is a pivotal moment in the history of learning. ENGAGE allows students to not only experience the environment they are learning about in virtual reality but have the best teachers from around the globe join them in a virtual classroom.”

The Windsor Forest Colleges Group has made significant investment into technology, working with employers and businesses to ensure we are pioneers of this exciting technology in the education sector.

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Langley College, part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, and Slough Museum have formed an innovative partnership, which will see the two organisations working together to make the museum’s collection a sustainable and interactive learning resource for all ages.

Through the new partnership, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the museum will display parts of its collection in relevant areas of the College to enhance the learning environment and raise awareness of the area’s proud history. Volunteers from the museum will maintain and rotate the displays as well as run talks and workshops with students.

Like many local museums, Slough Museum has faced the challenge of losing its local authority funding and although it has an excellent permanent exhibition in The Curve in Slough, much of the museum’s impressive collection has remained in storage. The move to Langley College will mean the collection will be accessible to current and future generations. In fact, college students are also helping museum staff to explore ways they can use the latest virtual reality technology to bring the collection to life in a virtual world.

Richard Kirkham, Assistant Principal for Further Education at the College, explains: “We believe this partnership with Slough Museum brings the past and future together perfectly. It will enable our students to learn and understand the history of their communities and how different industries have developed in the town. Equally, our students will use their skills and the latest technology we have at Langley College to work with museum staff to take the collection into innovative directions that will appeal to future generations.”

Slough Museum plans to complete the move and installation of its displays into the College early next year. Both the Arts Council England and the Lottery Heritage Fund are interested in the project and whether this could be a feasible model for other museums across the country.

Steve Green, Museum Development Manager for Slough Museum, said: “We are excited about engaging young people with our collection and working with them to explore new ways of sharing the many fascinating images and objects we hold. The partnership with the college is a great way to experiment with new ways to understand the past.”

The two organisations are already working together on the Young Roots Project, which aims to engage young people in learning about the changing face of Slough High Street. Students from Langley College and the local community have been recruited to work with a young trainee project manager, Jessie Cheema, and museum volunteers to develop an exhibition and a smartphone app. They will receive training on historic research, interpretation, planning and IT as well as visit the Royal Geographic Society to learn about maps. The final exhibition will then tour The Curve and local libraries.

Langley College is a state-of-the-art centre for innovative technical and professional education, offering courses from entry level right through to Higher Education. The College has been serving young people, adults and businesses in the local community for over 40 years.

For further information on Langley College, part of the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, please visit www.windsor-forest.ac.uk or call 01753 793000.

Slough Museum is the only organisation in Slough with a remit to collect, conserve and communicate the town’s heritage. As such, it is the guardian of the story of Slough. For further information on Slough Museum, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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For all our good intentions, the majority of us will not keep our New Year resolutions. So instead of making the same old resolutions, why not try learning a new skill or language, improving your career prospects or taking up a hobby this January.

Whether you want to study part-time or full-time, there’s a variety of courses on offer to suit your needs and you don’t have to wait until September to start. From computing to interior design and Italian to construction, there are an array of courses at East Berkshire College starting in early 2017.

“It’s never too late to learn something new,” says Juliet Holloway, Director of Learner Services at the College. “We have students aged from 15 to 87 years old. With our part-time courses, people can learn at a pace that suits their lifestyle or work commitments. There are courses at various levels to suit most people’s needs and a growing range of apprenticeships, from catering to engineering.

“This year, we have a new Skills Pathway course for 16-23 year olds, which provides a first step towards a career and the chance to try a range of practical subjects, from motor vehicle to hairdressing. We also have a range of professional qualifications and language courses as well as English, maths and IT classes. Some people may even be eligible for free course fees or a government loan.”

With everyone expected to work longer before retirement, keeping your skills up-to-date or training for a career you enjoy, is a wise move.

Farooq Ahmed found going back to college gave him a new career path and renewed confidence: “I was concerned about returning to education after 10 years, but the teachers were fantastic. They were so supportive from the word go and you could email them any time if you had a question.”

Meanwhile, for those interested in taking their skills to a higher level, the College now offers a growing range of Higher Education courses, including a new Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. These courses provide a more convenient and affordable alternative to university.

Lauren Elliot, who recently completed an HND course at Windsor College, believes studying for a higher level course at college offers a greater degree of flexibility. Lauren explains: “I wanted to take my studies further, but university wasn’t for me. An HND at college is a great alternative. You get more one-to-one time and the lecturers are amazing. Because the course is flexible, I was even able to work while I studied.”

For more details on over 800 courses and apprenticeships at East Berkshire College, please click here or call 01753 793000.

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East Berkshire College is proud to be a partner in the successful Elevate project, which aims to help 16-24 year olds into education, employment and training in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Providing comprehensive advice and guidance to help progress young people into their chosen career pathway, the project has supported over 200 young people since it first launched in September 2014.

Going from strength to strength, Elevate is a joint partnership between the Royal Borough’s Grow Our Own service, East Berkshire College and Ways into Work. Joanne Horton, Service Manager at RBWM, explains: “Since the beginning of the project we have seen an improvement to the careers service for our young people, this has mainly been due to the fantastic partnership work that has taken place.

“Elevate has enabled partners to co-locate in our hubs based across Windsor and Maidenhead to enable our young people to access direct advice and support, whether they are interested in higher education, employment, work experience, training or volunteering. In fact, we have seen high numbers of young people progressing into the destination of their choice.”

Young people aged 16-24 from across the borough can access this free service by simply dropping into the Elevate Me Hub in Nicholsons Shopping Centre, Maidenhead or Windsor College in St Leonards Road, Windsor from Monday to Friday 9.30am-5pm.

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Jobcentre Plus and East Berkshire College teamed up with local employers last week (22nd October) to give adults and young people around East Berkshire the opportunities they need to take up work.

Hundreds of jobseekers from the local area were invited to a special Careers and Learning Fair, where they were able to meet employers and find out about developing their skills through a wide range of Traineeships and Apprenticeships.

Held at Langley College in Station Road, the event featured a range of employers offering jobs and advice, local training providers and voluntary organisations. Employers exhibiting at the event included the Royal Air Force, McDonalds, Interserve, Primark, Morrisons and Thames Valley Police.

Raj Basram, Employer & Partnerships Manager Slough Jobcentre Plus, said: "This was a fantastic opportunity for Slough Jobcentre Plus claimants to apply for work and learning opportunities. We received a great response from local businesses all working to the ethos of supporting Slough community and local jobs for local people.

"Our partners East Berkshire College commissioned use of their newly built ground floor 'Street' and Social areas for the event. They also provided sessions for Jobcentre Plus claimants who needed Basic Skills, English as a Second Language training support and delivered presentations on Traineeships and Apprenticeships. I hope this will mark the start of future annual events working in partnership with East Berkshire College and local business."

Working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, East Berkshire College is committed to supporting adults and young people in successfully finding employment. As part of the event, the College provided information, advice and guidance on careers, funding and a wide range of courses including Traineeships and Apprenticeships. In addition, the College delivered sessions on basic skills and English for speakers of other languages.

Latisha Dendie-Hodge (18, from Slough) found the event particularly beneficial. She explains: "I didn't realise there were so many job opportunities available until I came to the event. I've been able to make some useful contacts and find out information I couldn't find online. I've spoken to lots of different companies and I even discovered that there are roles for musicians in the armed forces, which I never knew. I play a number of instruments, so I think I might apply for this."

For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 800 courses available, including apprenticeships, click here or call 0845 373 2500.

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