It was great to see our recent inspection report appear on the Ofsted website this morning ……………

Our Press Release will be issued later today and will highlight one or two important areas:

For example,

……. the inspection team were impressed that the college “have created a secure and welcoming learning environment in which students and apprentices feel safe and enjoy their learning”.


The inspectors felt the college “ensure that students and apprentices receive good teaching and training, and achieve good results. All those who study or work at the college are rightly proud of the prevailing culture. This is characterised by a friendly, welcoming and very well-kept learning environment.”

The Press Release finishes with a personal observation from me,

“It was also pleasing to see Ofsted recognise the support that the College provides to our local employers and the wider community, because ‘Local Accountability’ and being at the heart of our community is a key part of the College’s Vision.”

Well done to all students, staff, governors and volunteers!

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Storm Emma

What a difference a day (or two) makes!

This was the view from my office on Tuesday:

And this is what it looked like on Thursday:

We closed the College at 1300 yesterday and I have been working from home today, after taking Teddy for a walk. Have you ever seen a really excited Golden Retriever?

(Teddy at the end of the walk having calmed down)

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Mayor’s Business Forum

I was delighted to be asked by the Mayor of Bracknell Forest, Cllr Tina McKenzie-Boyle, to be one of the key speakers at the Mayor’s Business Forum on Friday 23 February.

(BWC Business Administration Level 3 Apprentices Dan Emmott and Zoe Purnell 4th and 2nd from right respectively).

The aim of the Forum was to bring educators and businesses together to compare the various routes to a successful career, e.g. University vs Apprenticeships.

It was also designed to explore the options for upskilling the available work-pool in Bracknell and to examine ideas about creating an Apprenticeship Register.

My talk highlighted the wide range of Apprenticeships that exists and the credible and attractive alternatives to a traditional university route that Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships offer.

My message reinforced what the Prime Minister had said only 4 days before, in her important speech at Derby College.

I was pleased that Louise Gigg (Head of Apprenticeships & Workforce Development) and two of her team Dan Emmott and Zoe Purnell (who also happen to be Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeships) played a major part in the Forum – Louise was part of the Q&A panel.

I was delighted to hear from the Mayor that the Business Forum had really hit the spot with all who attended.

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FA Vase – Quarter Final

Together with the Chairman of the FA, Greg Clarke and Bracknell MP, Dr Phillip Lee, I was a guest of Bracknell Town’s Chairman, Kayne Steinbourn-Busse at Saturday’s FA Vase quarter final.

The opponents, Marske United from the Northern League, came down from Redcar in 3 coaches and helped to swell the crowd to an impressive 1,142.

It was a good, hard-fought game but unfortunately Marske went through to the semi-finals, winning 3 – 0.

I was pleased to see the appreciation from the club for our 8 UPS students who gave up their Saturday to help marshal the crowd and to UPS Senior Lecturer, Nigel Pumffrey for organising this support.

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Supporting the Armed Forces

I was a guest on Thursday at Qinetiq in Farnborough where the Armed Forces were briefing employers who had signed the Armed Forces Covenant and/or who were members of the Employer Recognition Scheme – Bracknell & Wokingham College holds the Bronze Award on this scheme.

As an additional ‘treat’ we were briefed on the Qinetiq wind tunnel where aircraft designs can be tested…….

(Courtesy Boing)

………..and also on Qinetiq’s ‘Dragonworks’ centre of excellence for the development and testing of advanced laser technology, for military or commercial applications.

(Courtesy Qinetiq)

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Romeo & Juliet – South Hill Park Arts Centre

I was delighted to be a guest of South Hill Park Arts Centre last night for a fantastic performance of Romeo & Juliet. The 26 strong cast were superb and the set, sound and lighting were hugely impressive.

Inspired by the production and overseen by the Project co-ordinator and College lecturer Jan Allen, some of our creative art students have produced a series of paintings that are on display during the run of this Shakespeare production.

South Hill Park’s interpretation of the play is set in the ruins and debris from the aftermath of war and the images depict this using a pen and ink technique.

The exhibited work on display in the foyer of the Wilde Theatre is made up of a collaboration between students on the BTEC Level 3 Art and Design course. The picture concept and drawing was done by Peter Lovelock with painting elements finished by Lia Deans and Colleen Hill. The barbed wire title was artworked by Sandeep Bains with the external figures of Romeo and Juliet created by Angela Bellus and Nymador Debora. The picture mounting was crafted by Amina Gawhari and Karmin Walsh.

Sitting next to me were Jessica Jhundoo-Evans, Chair of South Hill Park’s Board of Directors and Cllr Tony Virgo, a Director. I enjoyed my talk before the performance with Tony about his time at the BBC and his hopes for SHP and, in the interval, with Jessica about how to encourage young people to follow careers in the creative arts. We discussed how to take the message to young people and their parents that the UK’s creative arts industry is a multi-million pound industry with many excellent career pathways within it.

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Support for Thames Valley Police

I hosted Chief Inspector Sarah Grahame’s first visit to the College on Friday. Sarah is the, relatively, new Deputy Local Police Area Commander.

Our discussion ranged widely. The topics included the assistance we provide to the Thames Valley Police Cadets (who use our Church Road Centre every Tuesday evening), police recruiting targets, the possibility of delivering a Policing Degree locally and our Safeguarding/Prevent work. We also touched upon our Lockdown procedure which we will be exercising soon.

I was pleased to hear how much the support the College gives to the police (as a part of our community) is appreciated. A good example would be the anti-Hate Crime videos that Thames Valley Police commissioned from our Media students.

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