The Windsor Forest Colleges Group is joining forces with the Association of Colleges (AOC) to support its campaign which is calling on the government to stop the FE funding squeeze and to give colleges a fair investment. The initiative is part of Colleges Week 2018 which aims to raise awareness of the funding challenges colleges face while also highlighting the role colleges play in transforming lives, helping businesses improve productivity and driving local social and economic growth.

Group Principal and Chief Executive Kate Webb will be taking centre stage, alongside a number of speakers including Jeremy Corbyn, at the ‘Love Our Colleges’ rally in Parliament Square. Commenting on the challenge of increasing learner needs versus a decline in funding, she said: “There is little doubt that colleges play an invaluable role in the education of school leavers and adults which hugely benefits local businesses and the wider community – our contribution, impact and effectiveness is unquestionable. As part of Colleges Week 2018 we are therefore very proudly raising the profile of further education and demonstrating that now is the time for the government to start investing in this sector which trains an incredible 2.2 million people per year.”

At the heart of Colleges Week ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign is a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which highlights the scale of the funding issue. Per-student spending in FE and sixth-form colleges is around 8 per cent lower than in secondary schools and has also fallen by around 12 per cent in real terms since 2010.

And it is in recognition that potential learners are also feeling the financial squeeze which prompted the Group which includes Langley College, Windsor College and Strode’s College, to raise the threshold of the government’s recent low wage initiative from £15,736.50 to £20,000. Ms Webb explains further: “This new funding is ideal for working adults to upskill or retrain in order to enhance their career as many of our courses will now be free. But being based in outer London we realised that the threshold would need to be raised in order to reach more people. Already we are seeing how this funding and the power of further education can genuinely transform lives while directly benefiting the wider economy.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like The Windsor Forest Colleges Group provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.

Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”

Ms Webb concluded: “At our colleges we are educating and training over 5,000 young people and adults every year from A Levels to degree. We have invested £30million in our college’s infrastructure to provide the very latest technology and industry standard equipment so our students gain the advanced skills employers want. We have students progressing to prestigious universities including Oxford, Durham, Bath and Warwick. We work with industry giants for our apprenticeship programmes. Yet our work, which is vital to the economy, is under recognized and under funded by the government.”

For further information on Colleges Week 2018 please go to www.collegesweek.co.uk and for further information on the low wage initiative and eligible courses please click here

Published in News no category

Student Union Executive (SUE) members of Strode’s College and Langley College recently attended a special training session designed to ensure the Union members are all prepared and inspired to deliver effectively in their new roles.

Meeting for the first time at the training day, the SUE members discussed and shared ideas and looked at ways to support the learners in their individual colleges. They were particularly keen to find ways to further promote and engage students with the Learner Voice in the Windsor Forest Colleges Group.

Part of the training session was led by Jack O’Neill, Vice President for Education and Dan Curran from the Student Union at Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL) who gave the Strode’s and Langley SUEs an insight and first-hand advice, support and training from the successes of RHUL’s Student Union.

To find out more about the Student Union join us for the Strode’s Open Day on Thursday 18 October, 4.30pm to 7.30pm or the Langley Open Day on Tuesday 30 October, 4.30pm to 7.30pm. For further information please click here.

Published in News no category

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. 

 

Published in News no category

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

Published in News no category

With ‘Wonders of the World’ the creative brief Langley College Hairdressing students put on a spectacular display of creativity, flair and skill at their end of year Catwalk Show. The Level 3 student hairdressers showcased Avante Garde styles for the panel of professional judges including salon partner Rachel Hunt from Francescos, local business owner and partner of the hair federation, Mikeala Martin and the head of department Katherine Taylor.

Commenting on the quality of styles Salon Manager Angel DeFranceschi, who runs the commercial salons at the College’s state-of-the-art hairdressing training centre, said: “I was very impressed with students’ interpretation of the brief which demonstrated both their creativity and technical ability - skills very much in demand by salons and discerning clients. The judges were also highly complimentary commenting the skills were all on point which is a testament to the very high standards and quality of training delivered here at The Salon.”

Student Debra Law was named the winner with her interpretation on The Lighthouse of Alexandria incorporating a handmade lighthouse into her model’s hair. In second place was Lucy Luckhurst with her interpretation of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, using pieces of coloured hair and real flowers to add texture to the hair. Third place went to Sophie Gibson with another version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon using soft curls and twists to add a subtle and pretty touch to her overall look. The judges were also very impressed with Zarah Shah’s Egyptian themed model with matching outfit and hair adornments.

Having completed the two year programme the Hairdressing students are now fully qualified to work in professional salons. Miss DeFranceschi explains further: “During the two years here at Langley our hairdressing students learn all the skills and techniques required to successfully work in this industry. Once they leave us they are trained to cut hair using a combination of techniques, creatively colour and lighten hair, style and dress hair and colour correct hair. They are now fully skilled and ready to pick up the scissors in any salon.”

The College’s modern salon is equipped with the very latest in hair technologies and is accredited by haircare giant Wella. The professionally equipped facilities include two commercial salons, one training salon with professional styling stations, two commercial beauty treatment rooms and all the latest industry equipment. Find out more here

 

Click here to find out more about our full range of hairdressing courses.  

 MG 61821  MG 6185   MG 6193 1

Published in Hair & Beauty

Langley Royal Wedding

Langley College students are receiving specialist training to play a central role at the forthcoming coming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. As Royal Borough Ambassadors, the Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management students, Business and Public Service students are now first aid and counter-terrorism trained, ready to help manage the crowds and be the eyes and ears on the ground as they work alongside other trained professionals on the big day.

With media interest at an all-time high the students found themselves as the stars of a yet to be aired episode of the One Show. Presenter Matt Allwright spent the afternoon filming the students as they walked the wedding procession route, which on the day may have an estimated 100,000 plus visitors. Tune into BBC1 week commencing 14 May to see the students discuss their training with St John’s Ambulance, Project Griffin counter-terrorism and the confidential updates on event planning they’ve been privy to.

The training sessions and unique learning insights on ‘the wedding of the year’ preparations are invaluable know-how for the Foundation Degree Tourism and Hospitality students. Commenting on the training which Karen Cripps, Travel and Tourism Lecturer believes will be particularly beneficial to future career opportunities, said: “Having royal wedding experience is certainly going to make these students’ CVs stand out from the crowd. They will have once in a lifetime experience any interviewer is going to be keen to explore further. We have unrivalled industry contacts here at Langley College and our students often get access to incredible career enhancing experiences as part of their studies.”

The Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality, designed to give students the technical hands-on skills and knowledge required for the sector is a two year course run over two days a week. Many students progress to a degree programme or embark on a wide variety of careers opportunities available across the diverse spectrum of the hospitality and tourism industry.

Student Carla Oliviera found the training both enjoyable and informative. Commenting on the sessions she said: “I think the first aid and counter-terrorism training will be a valuable addition to my CV and invaluable to my future career ambitions.” Once Carla has successfully completed her Foundation Degree in Tourism and Hospitality she plans to work as either airline cabin crew or pursue a career in the hospitality sector.

For further information on the full range of tourism and hospitality courses please go to eastberks.ac.uk/courses/travel-and-tourism.

Published in Travel and Tourism

David Mike and Christian - VR event

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.

Published in News no category

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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.

Published in News no category

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East Berkshire College and Strode’s College in Egham are delighted to announce they will now be collectively known as the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, following their formal merger on 9th May 2017. This week, college staff and students proudly unveiled the group’s new branding, which symbolises the partnership between the colleges, their shared values and vision.

The newly formed group will deliver high quality education and training to over 8,000 students and businesses each year from its three state-of-the-art campuses: Langley College, Strode’s College in Egham and Windsor College.

All three college campuses have a long-standing history in their local communities and will each retain their individual identities. Langley College specialises in providing innovative technical and professional education, while Windsor College and Strode’s College offer an exceptional sixth form learning experience with a wide range of A Levels and BTECs. All three colleges provide part-time professional and recreational courses.

Together the colleges draw on over 300 years of experience and provide over 800 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship courses in various subjects, from entry level right through to Higher Education.

Kate Webb, Group Principal and Chief Executive of Windsor Forest Colleges Group, said: “I am extremely proud to unveil our new identity as this marks a significant milestone in our history. We believe our new name and branding perfectly reflects our heritage, values and innovative approach to learning. The design is modern and professional, like our three campuses, while also echoing our 300 year history of delivering high quality education in Berkshire and Surrey.

“Our students will continue to identify with one particular college campus, but being part of a larger group means they benefit from greater learning opportunities, access to a wider range of resources and more progression routes. We offer the specialist expertise and personal approach of an individual college, with all the advantages of a larger group. It is the best of both worlds!”

Windsor Forest Colleges Group is headed up by the experienced team of Kate Webb, Group Principal, Rowan Cookson, Principal and Graham Try, Deputy CEO. The new branding for the group was developed by the College’s in-house marketing department in consultation with staff, students and governors.

Dedicated to improving lives through learning, the Windsor Forest Colleges Group has a strong vision for the future and aims to provide greater opportunities for young people, adults and businesses in Berkshire, Surrey and the surrounding areas. This includes further developing apprenticeship courses, sixth form education, adult education and Higher Education provision.

For further information on Windsor Forest Colleges Group, its three college campuses and its range of over 800 courses, please click here or call 01753 793000.

Published in A Levels

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