Principal’s Drop-In

I dropped into a second year Level 3 Children’s Play, Learning and Development class yesterday.

I was delighted to see the lecturer Julie Jones, demonstrating the skills that her students need to acquire to allow them to help youngsters listen to sounds in the environment and be able to describe the sound. Unsurprisingly, this enables young learners to be able to link sounds to what they hear.

Julie’s teaching involved a listening walk around and outside the college where no talking was allowed (pretty difficult in itself for some!) and closing their eyes to concentrate on the sounds they could hear.

This training will allow our students to carry out their own listening walks with children in their Key stage 1 placement and then write a reflective account.

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Be the Best You Can!

As an Arsenal (and Arbroath) fan I was delighted to hear Ex Arsenal Chairman David Dein give an inspirational talk to our students yesterday. He was joined by ex Arsenal and England striker, Tony Woodcock (who lives locally).

I was struck by his thoughts on the importance of Behavior and Attitude – as well as his advice on Entrepreneurship which he called ‘Stick your neck out!

A fantastic opportunity for us all! Thank you David and Tony.

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New Learner Induction & Welcome Fair

Today we delivered 3 Induction Sessions for our new full-time learners and organised a Welcome Fair for them.

Our focus was on Fun, Friends and Hard Work all wrapped around with Feeling Safe, Achieving Full Potential and Employability Skills.

It was very instructive to note that practically none of the new learners seemed to be aware of Prevent as a name. Having anticipated that this might be the case, Jon Samson, our Student Services Manager, has been adapting our Prevent message to be more explicit – which is why we are now using Prevent Radicalisation and Prevent Extremism in our messaging.

Jon’s Student Services Team organised a very popular Welcome Fair to allow our new learners to mingle and meet each other and to hear about the opportunities that were available to them at College or from the local community.

Part of the Fair was a quiz for which the prize was a free BBQ lunch delivered by our catering contractor Elior. Jon (and I) can vouch for the quality of the burgers!

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New Staff

I really enjoyed talking to our new staff (both curriculum and business support) earlier today as part of the comprehensive Induction package that our HR team organise for them.

I valued hearing about their experiences before joining the College and particularly valued hearing about why they had wanted to join the College – strong reputation and word of mouth recommendation were the 2 main reasons.

I was conscious of a warm and friendly welcome when I joined the College 5 years ago and I told our newest colleagues that I hoped that they too would fell that warm welcome from the rest of us.

The welcome and atmosphere of an organisation may be intangible but you can always tell when an organisation has it – and when it has not!

I provided our new staff with a backdrop of the national scene (Apprenticeship Reform, PREVENT, Skills Plan etc.), some facts and figures about the College and then covered our Values and our V5I vision:





In the heart of our Community

In business

Good luck to all those who have joined us recently!

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Good to Great

I really enjoyed being able to welcome Richard Moore back to Bracknell on Monday.

Richard led the College’s Ofsted inspection in the summer of 2012 and has since become a good and strong friend to the College.

His training sessions for staff have always been well received and his fund of pertinent and often amusing stories from his Ofsted inspection days, his time in Further Education and his years of high-end Hotel Management provide really good examples to bring a particular issue to life.

Richard was here this week to inspire staff and governors at the start of the new academic year as we continue our focus on moving from Good to Great.

Richard’s mission was to describe for all staff and governors what he considered to be the characteristics of a great college and to advise or remind curriculum staff what a great lesson should be like.

Mission accomplished – thanks Richard.

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Together with James Taylor and Jon Samson, I met today with Justin Whitlock, Bracknell Forest Council’s Enhanced Integrated Offender Manager. Working with Kellie Williams, the council’s Community Safety Manager, the pair lead on PREVENT issues for the local authority.

We discussed how Bracknell & Wokingham College can play an increasingly strong leadership role in support of the local authority and arranged for Justin to deliver a workshop in September to raise awareness of PREVENT for the College’s key staff who will then cascade the training across the whole College.

We discussed a number of other areas including:

– Sharing of information on external speakers and events.

– Partnerships – including the local Channel Panel upon which the College sits.

– Risk assessment and how the College can utilise intelligence updates from the local authority.

– Preventing inappropriate use of the internet

– Pastoral support and the College’s new initiative which commences in September.

We also contributed to the council’s draft PREVENT strategy.

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Warship visit – HMS DAUNTLESS

Yesterday a group comprising College Governors, College Staff Bracknell Forest Council staff and a 15 year-old son of one of our Governors enjoyed a superb visit to Portsmouth Naval Base and specifically to HMS DAUNTLESS.

HMS DAUNTLESS is a Type 45 Destroyer. The Type 45 destroyers are primarily designed to shield the Fleet from air attack and are equipped for anti-air warfare with the capability to defend against sophisticated targets such as fighter aircraft, drones, as well as highly manoeuvrable sea skimming anti-ship missiles travelling at supersonic speeds.

We were given an excellent tour by the ship’s Operations Officer and her Navigating Officer. The tour included:

a. The Ratings’ accommodation, so that we could can get a feel for how sailors live.

b. The Ship Control Centre/HQ1, from where all damage control is organised and from where the ship’s power is controlled (modern warships can produce the same amount of power as is used by a small town).

c. The Operations Room, the area below deck from where the Commanding Officer will fight the ship.

d. The bridge from where the ship is conned (steered).

Colleagues were left with a much better awareness of the role played by the Royal Navy and by the Type 45 in defending a naval task force and, most importantly, about the variety of exciting naval careers that are available to young men and women.

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