Bats at BWC

In the 6 years that I have had the privilege of being the Principal/CEO here at Bracknell & Wokingham College I had never seen a bat flying over our Church Road campus 0- until last night that is!

…. and like London buses – two came along at the same time.

Any guesses as to which species – Pipistrelles perhaps?

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Photography Exhibition

I was delighted to attend the Photography Exhibition at Woodley Hill House on Wednesday and to be able to award this year’s Principal’s Prize to Laura Griffin.

Laura consistently achieved the highest grades possible with distinctions in all units at level 2 and level 3.

(Laura + Laura’s Mum)

Thanks are due to Laura’s Course Tutor, John Rae, PhotographyTechnician Leon Pulnikow and Evening Centre Head Wendy Webb for organising and/or curating a superb exhibition.

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Source of potential new learners (and Staff/Governors?)

Demolition work has commenced on the empty office block (Edenfield) on the other side of Larges Lane from our Church Road campus.

The Bracknell Forest Council Planning Application website shows that the intention is to develop the site into 48 dwellings.

A good source of new learners – of all ages (as well as Staff and Governors) perhaps?

I am just awestruck by the way in which the demolition ‘dinosaurs’ eat their way through buildings – this after just 1 day!

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Long Service Recognised

I was delighted recently to recognise formally the 46 years sterling service that the College’s Head Gardener, Frank Townsend, has given to the College – with lots more to come we hope.

Joining Frank and me was Frank’s line manager theCollege’sSite Supervisor, Dave White. David teasingly informed us that he had only been 6 years old when Frank started work at the College!

(L-R: Dave, Frank, Campbell).

Frank told us the story of how he started work at the College. He had been next door at the Bowls Club when somebody poked their head over the hedge to ask if he would like to do a little work at the College. Frank agreed to give it a go for a week – and has never left!

I asked Frank what has been the biggest change that he has seen and his answer was that it took a lot longer to cut the grass all those years ago. Not, I’m assured, because we had an inefficient lawn mower back then but just because there was a lot more grass to cut in those days.

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Inspirational Teaching

The College uses the acronym V5I to capture how we want the College experience to be – for staff as well as for learners.

V – Vibrant

I – Inspirational

I – Impassioned

I – Innovative

I – In the heart of our community

I – In business

To help promote Inspirational teaching (especially in maths) and to make the overall College buzz as a Vibrant place to work and to learn we invited Johnny Ball to address yesterday’s, start of the year, Cross College meeting.

Johnny’s message was clear. Keep it exciting. Keep it simple. Support each and every one of the learners – and just get on with it!

Johnny demonstrated how simple it can be to work out what might appear to be difficult mathematical problems………………..

And for the many of us who remember Johnny fondly as a childhood TV inspiration, he was gracious enough to sign some of his old books that members of staff had brought in especially.

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Broadmoor Hospital Visit

I called in on my good friend and colleague, the Director of High Secure and Forensic Services at Broadmoor Hospital just before summer leave.

We were discussing the exciting £242M new build at the hospital which is expected to open in 2018. The redevelopment follows a Care Quality Commission report in 2009 that concluded that the current hospital was no longer fit for the purpose of delivering high secure mental health services and needed upgrading.

The new hospital will have 16 wards and accommodation for 210 patients.

This was my fourth visit to the hospital and I recalled that the average stay at Broadmoor is 5 years.

During this time the new hospital will provide the best possible treatments in surroundings which support therapy, encourage recovery and achieve the most effective outcomes.

But for this to happen there has to be a sufficient number of mental health trained nursing and medical staff – and it was this aspect that our discussion focused upon.

I’m keen for Bracknell & Wokingham College to work closely with West London Mental Health Trust (of which Broadmoor Hospital is an integral part) to help promote careers in mental health nursing among our Heath & Social Care students.

As part of this – and to promote the College’s initiative of ‘bringing the world into the classroom’ – I look forward to welcoming Broadmoor staff to the College’s Church Road site to talk to our students.

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Supporting Diversity

To assist in our continuing work to support diversity, we arranged for one of our lecturers to be trained by Stonewall so that she, in turn, could cascade that training to fellow college staff.

So far she has trained 21 members of staff and we plan for this training to be extended next term to all members of the College’s Senior Management Group.

This work follows on from the establishment of a LGBT+ society this year which has proved popular.

We will also be considering how best we can cater for the needs of all our college community – for example by actively engaging and supporting learners with our policies and curriculum.

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