Solidarity with Manchester

A message from me this morning…………….

All Students, Staff and Governors,

You will have been waking up to the shocking news of the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena last night.

Some of you may have friends or family that were caught up in the incident – either directly or indirectly.

Everyone who has been touched by last night should be in our thoughts this morning.

Terrorist attacks on our country have happened before and, despite most of these attacks being foiled by our police and security services and which we therefore never get to hear about, sadly it is likely that there will be attacks in the future.

We have not been deterred by past attacks and we will not be in future. Our way of life sustains.

But last night’s attack reminds us that it is important to rehearse our own evacuation procedures here at the College and I look to you all to continue to take our fire and emergency drills as seriously as you do.


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BBC Radio Berkshire Election Special

We were delighted to host BBC Radio Berkshire’s live, 3 hour, Andrew Peach show on Monday 22 May.

Andrew is taking his Election Special show to every Berkshire constituency and asked if Bracknell & Wokingham College could be the host for the first of his Election Specials.

The focus was on first time voters – particularly apt since 22 May was the final day for voter registration.

Government & Politics lecturer Hannah Aitcheson had organised a group of our students to pose some pretty searching questions to four of the candidates standing for the Bracknell constituency, who were then grilled by Andrew.

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Business Philanthropy Club Dinner – Berkshire Community Foundation

I was delighted to be invited to speak at a dinner last week that was held in the Indian Army Memorial Room at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The Business Philanthropy Club dinner was organised by Berkshire Community Foundation(BCF) which raises funds for, and make grants to, local charities and community groups addressing identified need across Berkshire.

The Business Philanthropy Club is a vehicle for businesses to give effective and targeted funding to grassroots organisations and projects in their local communities. Business Philanthropy Club members come together to make a real, positive difference within Berkshire. Members get the opportunity to not only support local charities but also to collaborate with other key business leaders to create tangible business opportunities.

BCF uses its local knowledge to connect supporters to the groups and communities they want to help, making sure their donations are effective and bring the greatest benefit to those most in need. Last year BCF gave over £900,000 to a wide range of local projects, addressing issues such as child poverty, unemployment, social isolation and homelessness.

Drawing upon my military background and also from my experiences as Principal/CEO of Bracknell & Wokingham College, my theme was one of self-sacrifice and giving as well as the power of education to enrich and change lives.

It was also an honour to be invited to co-present, with Lady Catherine Stevenson Deputy Lieutenant (and former High Sherriff) of Berkshire, certificates of Membership of the Business philanthropy Club.


L-R Lady Catherine, Ms Ashley Morton-Hunte (Ascot Racecourse) and self.

(Photographs courtesy of David Cattanach)

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Arbroath finish top!

………….. and of course the really big news this week-end is that my team, Arbroath F.C. have just become Champions of the Scottish Football League Division Two and will be playing in Division One next season.

A great achievement for the part-timers, but perhaps not one to match their achievement in 1885 when they became (and remain) world record holders for the most number of goals scored in a match: 36-0 against Bon Accord of Aberdeen.

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Wick Hill extraction – Archives

One of the last tasks that had to be accomplished in readiness for the sale of Wick Hill as an ‘unencumbered site’ was the removal of our archives.

Funding regulations require the storage of certain documents for many years and so we have moved the archives into temporary secure storage with a view to reviewing rigorously what we actually need to keep. This will allow destruction of archives that are not required and will reduce storage costs.

In future we will adopt a policy of scanning in any documents that do need to be archived so that our deep storage needs (and costs) are minimal.

Our thanks are due to Peta King, Michael Few and the Sites Officers who had the dusty hard work to do over the Easter non-teaching period.

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Bal Dhillon – Inspirational Teacher

I am so pleased to see Oxford University recognise some of the outstanding teaching delivered at the College.

The University has conferred upon maths teacher, Bal Dhillon, the title of ‘Inspirational Teacher.

One of our former students, Timothy Woods who is now studying maths and statistics at Mansfield College, Oxford nominated Bal.

Bal is one of 10 state sector teachers or lecturers recognised in Oxford University’s annual Inspirational Teachers Awards.

A selection of current first-year Oxford undergraduates were asked to nominate teachers or careers advisers who inspired them to apply to Oxford, fostered their passion for a particular subject, or supported them through the application process.

The students were all from selected UK state schools or colleges with a limited history of sending students to Oxford.

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Rag Week

I was thrilled to hear that we raised over £2,200 for Macmillan Cancer Support during last week’s RAG week. This is a tremendous achievement by students and staff and much is owed to Debbie Wallace and the Student Services Team for organising the various events. Much to my family’s surprise our Golden Retriever, ‘Teddy’, won the Dog Show this year!

But I’d also like to pay tribute to ESOL student, Dragana Antic who successfully coordinated the international foods stall at the Rag Week Fete – and especially to CADstudent Thomas Cardale (below) who raised over £700 on his own for having his head shaved.

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