News (295)

Staff and students at Newbury College raised over £150 on Wednesday in aid of Sport Relief. Taking it in turns to cycle for 30 minutes each, 29 members of Newbury College staff and students cycled a total of 111 miles, the equivalent of cycling from Newbury to Leicester.

Sport Maker, Louise Neil, said: “Inspired by Zoe Ball’s Sport Relief Challenge, we wanted to join in and raise money for this great cause. Staff and students completed half an hour slots to see how far we could cycle.  It was great fun and we’d like to thank everyone for taking part.”

Click here to see the photos on our Facebook page.

Last week three students from Newbury College’s professional cookery course took part in a live ‘cook off’ at the final of The Country Range Student Chef Challenge in Hotelympia. The team, consisting of Emanuelle Dupas, Harley Paxford and Lewis Tull, were awarded bronze and came joint third overall.

Now in its 24th year, The Country Range Student Chef Challenge is a national competition allowing full-time hospitality students to showcase their culinary skills and creativity. Six teams from colleges all over the UK, had to cook a three-course, three cover menu with a theme of ‘Around the World in Three Spices’. The winner of the event was City of Glasgow College and Westminster Kingsway the runner up.

Commenting on the live final, student Lewis Tull, said: “We were quite nervous to begin with, but we soon relaxed into it. It was quite stress free in the end.”

“It was good that we were all cooking together,” added Emanuelle Dupas. “Having the team around us meant that we could talk and encourage each other.”

Newbury College course leader, Malcom Baggott, said: “The team did ever so well to get to the final, competing against many other top colleges. They held their nerve even in front of an audience of over 500 people and produced some fantastic food. We are very proud of them.”

The menu included a starter of spiced pan-fried Cornish mackerel fillets, with lentils, cauliflower and braised leeks, followed by roast guinea fowl supreme with ras el hanout, bulgur, purple broccoli and a tahini dressing, and finished with a hazelnut biscuit with Szechuan spiced pineapple and milk chocolate sauce for dessert.

Lewis and Emanuelle are second year students on Level 2 Professional Cookery course at Newbury College. Student Harley Paxford is in his first year. The students are taught in a professional kitchen and serve meals in the college restaurant which is open to members of the public on Wednesday and Friday lunchtimes and Thursday evenings during term time.

For more information or to book a table click here.

Newbury College students walked the red carpet last week for the premiere showing of a new promotional video.

The video, entitled ‘How did I get here?’, follows one student’s journey from application to graduation, using a reversed timeline and highlights many of the benefits students can take advantage of when studying at Newbury College.

“People often underestimate the value of vocational courses such as BTECs and NVQs,” explains Rachel Woodford, Marketing and Recruitment Manager at Newbury College. “This video aims to highlight just one of the many progression routes that young people can take following these types of qualifications.

“Many students at Newbury College progress on to university, higher education or meaningful employment and we hope this video sends a positive message to other young people who are currently making important decisions about their future education.”

Newbury College students Campbell Du Sart-Murray, Tom Agar and Sophie Hemsley, volunteered for the project, which was filmed over two days by Greenham Common-based production company, MWS Media and was shot largely on the college’s Monks Lane campus, with Shaw House generously providing the backdrop for the film’s graduation scene.

Filming for the ambitious project presented a few challenges for lead actor, Campbell, who rehearsed and spoke his lines backwards, so that when the scenes were reversed in post-production, they would synchronise to his pre-recorded voiceover.

“We are incredibly proud of all of the students who took part in this project either in an acting or background role,” continues Rachel. “We are also very grateful to the staff who took part in this project and local organisations such as Shaw House and Pageant Party who supported us with locations and costumes.”

The video launches on Monday 12 March 2018 across YouTube, FaceBook and SnapChat.

Watch now


Newbury College held its annual apprenticeship awards on Tuesday 06 March, celebrating the event with a gala dinner in its very own training restaurant. Organised to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), apprentices, employers and College staff came together to recognise the achievements, hard work and commitment of all those involved with its apprenticeship programme.

Host for the evening was newly-appointed Principal and CEO, Iain Wolloff. “The aim of our awards ceremony is to help promote apprenticeships as a fantastic pathway to many different careers,” explains Iain. “The variety of employers who attended our event last night shows that apprenticeships provide a great way for businesses to nurture new talent and each had a different success story to share”.

“All of the nominees are shining examples of the ethos behind apprenticeships and we congratulate them all on their success. We hope that by highlighting their achievements at our award ceremony it inspires others to follow suit, and we encourage all those thinking about their next career move, or their options after school, to investigate the potential apprenticeships have to offer.”

The award winners on the night were:

Best Apprentice in a Small Business – Jose Fernandez De La O, Strawberry Hill Medical Centre

Best Apprentice in a Medium Business – James Cooper, The Vineyard Group

Best Apprentice in a Large Business – Andrew Haysom, Xtrac

Best Assessor Award – Yvonne Pomeroy, Newbury College

Best Workplace Mentor Award – Bernadette Lloyd, Charles Lucas Marshall

The Nick Carter Award for Outstanding Contribution – Simon Bunce, Williams

Commenting on his award, Apprentice Finance Assistant at The Vineyard Group, James Cooper, said: “I’m so pleased to have won this award. I put so much effort into my AAT course and always try my best at work; it’s great to be recognised for what I’m doing.”

Yvonne Pomeroy, winner of the Best Assessor Award, said: “The success of our apprenticeship scheme here at Newbury College is due to the fantastic working relationships of all those involved who work hard to ensure apprentices receive the best experience from us. I’d like to thank all the employers I work with for their support and engagement, and for offering the apprentices the opportunity to develop their skills in the workplace.”

Newbury College holds monthly Apprenticeship Information Sessions, where candidates can find out more about the apprenticeship vacancies on offer. For organisations looking to take on an apprentice, the College has a long history of helping businesses run successful apprenticeship programmes. Contact the Business Team for more information or read one of our case studies at

To see the photographs from the event click here.

Newbury College, in collaboration with Hogan Music, is hosting another educational music workshop on Saturday 10 March. Guest speaker is guitar-legend Ace from 90s rock group Skunk Anansie. Ace will play some of the group’s hits, as well as discuss techniques and exercises that guitarists can use to improve their playing.

Ace is best known for his Skunk Anansie hit singles Weak, Selling Jesus, Charity and Hedonsim. The group also had many hit albums including Paranoid & Sunburnt and Stoosh. Ace is a regular writer for Guitarist magazine and a lecturer at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.

Commenting on the workshop, Mike Barbour, General Manager at Hogan Music, said: “This is a unique opportunity for anyone in the Newbury area interested in music to see a phenomenally talented guitarist in action. Whether you are learning to play the guitar or looking to improve your technique, or simply a Skunk Anansie fan, the workshop will be a fun and educational event to attend.”

“We are absolutely delighted to have Ace’s support for our workshop,” said Matt Foster, Music Technology course leader at Newbury College. “Together with Hogans, we are trying make music education available to a wider audience. This workshop series has already featured The Style Council’s drummer Steve White and there is more to follow!”

The workshop takes place at Newbury College between 3-6pm and includes a Q&A session at the end. Tickets are available from Hogan Music at a cost of £10 per person. Call 01635 37868.

Following the completion of a highly competitive semi-final heat where student chefs were tasked with cooking a three-course, three-cover menu around the theme of ‘Around the World in Three Spices’, Newbury College’s team of young student chefs have made it through to the final of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge after finishing as first runner-up. 

Competing against Highbury College, East Kent College, Westminster Kingsway and Waltham Forest College, the Newbury College team now heads to Hotelympia on Wednesday 7th March for the live final cook off.

The team, students Lewis Tull, Emanuelle Dupas and Harley Paxford, will battle it out for the prestigious title against nine other colleges from around the UK including the Westminster Kingsway team who qualified as the semi-final winners.

The three semi-final heats took place at Loughborough College, Highbury College and the City of Glasgow College on the 1st, 7th and 9th of February with two teams qualifying from each heat. A further four teams with the highest points accumulated also advanced to the final.

Teams will have to once again cook their three-course, three-cover menu in 90 minutes but this time in front of a live exhibition audience at the UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event.

While the menus can be tweaked slightly before the final, the Newbury College team’s successful menu comprised of:

• Spiced Pan-Fried Cornish Mackerel Fillet, Lentils, Cauliflower, Braised Leak and Thyme

• Roast Guinea Fowl Supreme, Ras el Hanout, Bulghar, Purple Broccoli and Tahini Dressing

• Hazelnut “Biscuit” with Szechuan Spiced Pineapple and Milk Chocolate Sauce

Now in its 24th year, the annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality college students looking to develop skills and showcase their culinary prowess and creativity. This year’s theme is ‘Around the World in Three Spices’ with teams having to use a different fresh or ground spice in each of their courses.

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the three victorious students will each win a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival, Westlands, in September 2018 and they will be treated to one night’s accommodation and dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Kenilworth.

Emma Holden, Organiser of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, said: “It was an incredible start to the semi-finals with some unbelievable technique, team work and dishes on display. Huge congratulations must to go to all the teams but Newbury College and Westminster Kingsway thoroughly deserve to make it through to the final after each produced three amazing dishes. We look forward to seeing the teams again in March at Hotelympia where they will have to recreate their dishes under ever greater pressure in front of a live exhibition audience.”

Chris Basten, Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges, commented: “Well done to the Newbury College and Westminster Kingsway teams on fantastic all-round performances. The menus devised showcased real imagination and the teams backed this up on the day by showing real composure, skill and plating up some dazzling dishes.” 

For further information on the Country Range Student Chef Challenge visit

Visitors to the Newbury College Open Evening on Thursday 08 February were surprised to discover the science lab at the Monks Lane campus had become the scene of a mysterious poisoning. Clues had been hidden across the lab for visitors to find and solve the mystery of the fateful incident.

The simulated crime scene was just one of the activities that visitors could interact with as part of a tour of the college facilities, which included construction and motor vehicle workshops; beauty and hairdressing salons; art and media studios; a professional kitchen and restaurant; an animal care unit; a sports hall and a brand new £1m Solutions Lab.

Science is offered to all students as part of the year 10 and 11 programmes in the Academy at Newbury College and provides a more practical approach than traditional GCSEs. Many full-time vocational BTEC subjects offered to students from year 12 and beyond also include science-based units and can be equivalent to several A-Levels.

Deputy Principal and Director of Curriculum, Fadia Clarke, said: “The Academy at Newbury College is just one of the many ways we support young people who are looking for a more practical and skills-based alternative to traditional study. Our curriculum has been designed to engage students in subjects that they are passionate about and provide them with vocational and employability skills as well as essential skills such as maths and English. Many of our students go on to meaningful employment, university or higher education within the college.”

Newbury College is constantly reviewing the curriculum it offers to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the local employment market and provide courses that enable students to experience more and achieve more. A special page on the college’s website at, allows potential students to vote for courses they believe should be offered by the college in the future.

In an event that celebrated Dr Anne Murdoch’s 17-year long career at Newbury College, governors and staff, past and present, gathered with Mayors, local business leaders and members of Anne’s family to celebrate her time as Principal. The event took place in an indoor marquee in the College sports hall on Wednesday 31 January. The proceedings were led by Geoff Knappett, Corporation Chair, and hosted by Communications Officer, Shaun Daubney, who highlighted Anne’s many achievements and successes in a ‘this is your life’-style presentation.

Contributing to the tributes that were made on the day were speakers Tony Allen, former Corporation Chair, Councillor Ellen Mary Crumly, Mayor of Thatcham, Pamela Lumsden, CEO, AOSEC and Roly Wise, an Engineering Assessor who has worked at the College for over 40 years. Those that could not attend, sent their well wishes via video – these included Richard Benyon MP for Newbury, Campbell Christie, Principal, Bracknell and Wokingham College, Jacinta O’Shea, Managing Director of Keystone Projects Ltd and Anne’s grandson, James Murdoch.

“It’s been a wonderful 17 years at the College,” reflects Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal and CEO. “I joined just before the College moved from its old site on the Oxford Road to its new campus on Monks Lane. In the time I’ve been Principal, I’ve been through five Ofsted inspections that have seen the College improve from unsatisfactory in 2004 to Good in 2009, 2015 and 2017, seen approximately 70-80,000 students take our courses, and developed the campus by adding a sports hall, training restaurant, construction centre, animal care unit, hair salon, and, most recently, an engineering solutions lab.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with many great staff and governors over the years and received a huge amount of support from the wider stakeholders, such as employers, the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and local authorities. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all. I look forward to working alongside my successor Iain Wolloff for a short time before I leave and I wish him every success in his new role.”

Anne’s last day at the College is Friday 09 February, after which she takes up a position with the Principal’s Professional Council. She will also assist in helping the College open a brand new primary school on its site in 2019. 

As part of its wide vocational and academic offering, The Academy at Newbury College offers young people in year 10 and 11 (14-16 year olds) the opportunity to study GCSEs alongside a vocational programme. The students, some of whom have opted to leave mainstream school or have up to this point been educated at home, take up to five GCSEs or equivalent in subjects including Maths, English and Science. The two-year programme offers students the opportunity to study their key stage 4 education in a different environment with a focus on vocational skills, it also offers post-16 progression to Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) and 3 (A-level equivalent) vocational courses and apprenticeships.

In response to the publication of the government’s new Progress 8 data last week, where some schools and colleges were listed as ‘below and well below average', the Further Education sector has highlighted the importance of the role it plays in the education of young people and how a direct comparison does not do the sector justice.

“Progress 8 data is based on school models where students have taken eight GCSEs. The module excludes vocational subjects and functional skills programmes,” explains Dr Anne Murdoch, Principal and CEO of Newbury College. “Our biggest challenge is that the Progress 8 accountability measures reflect a broad curriculum and a diverse cohort. Our students, a much smaller cohort (only 33 were involved in the year used for the recently published statistics) spend two years on this direct-entry programme and take a variety of vocational, GCSE and functional skills qualifications, and plenty of them do very well, going on to study A levels/BTECs and then progress to university or into meaningful employment.

“To this end, we (and the wider FE sector) are disappointed that the measures compare direct-entry FE provisions with the mainstream offering. The AOC has asked the Government to reconsider this strategy, as we, like many other FE colleges, provide an important service to students who may have experienced an alternative education, or have had a disruption to their education of some kind or have barriers to learning. The ethos of what we offer to students in the Progress 8 measure is a programme to help them stay in education – the value of which should not be underestimated."

Bryony Petersen and Gabriel Stirling both attended Newbury College’s pre-16 programme. Bryony is now studying at Northampton University for her paramedic degree and Gabriel is at Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke studying towards a career in politics. Read their case studies here. In May 2017, Newbury College was graded a ‘good’ college.

Further reading:

Newbury College, in collaboration with Hogan Music & Academy, is pleased to offer a series music workshops. The first, taking place at Newbury College on Saturday 10 February, features legendary drummer Steve White. Steve has played with stars such as Paul Weller, Ian Dury, and, at seventeen, was the youngest performer on stage at the Live Aid concert in 1985 when he played with The Who.

The workshop, taking place between 3-6pm, promises to be inspiring, educational and fun. Steve will talk through his lengthy career and play some of the songs he performed with Paul Weller and The Style Council. He will demonstrate tips and exercises to help drummers improve their playing and answer question from the floor. Steve is also offering a few one-to-one sessions earlier in the day, these will run from 10am to 2pm. 

Matt Foster, Music Technology course leader at Newbury College said: “Newbury has a thriving music community and a wealth of talent. Together with Hogan Music and Academy, we are hoping to promote more of these fantastic educational opportunities for musicians to attend. To have someone of Steve’s calibre playing at Newbury College is an absolute honour; it promises to be a fantastic afternoon.”

“The aim of the collaboration and the workshops is to promote the joy of music to a wider audience and make it accessible to all,” said Mike Barbour, General Manager at Hogan Music. “As a charity, Hogan Academy offers free music lessons to young, disadvantaged people. We’d like to encourage anyone interesting in learning to play the drums to come along to the workshop. With an inspiration like Steve – who knows where it could lead!"

Newbury College offers Music Technology courses at Level 2 and 3. Hogan Music and Academy offers one-to-one tuition at its music centre on Bartholomew Street.

Tickets can be purchased from Hogan Music at a cost of £10 per person for the workshop and £50 for the one-to-one sessions.