News (302)

Three members of staff and an ESOL student were winners at West Berkshire Council’s 2017 Learner Achievement Awards held at Shaw House School last Friday night. The awards celebrated the achievements of adult learners, teachers and organisations across the district who have gained success in education and training over the last 12 months.

The winners included:
• Art lecturers Jacky Purtill and Sarah Whittam shared the Inspiring Others Award
• Martin Russell, Senior Business Manager, received an award in the Teacher, Tutor and Trainer category
• Syrian refugee and ESOL student Mostafa Haji won the award for Determination.

Martin Russell has been central to Newbury College’s engineering apprenticeship programme for 32 years. Commenting on his award, Martin said: “I am so pleased to have won this award, I really benefit from seeing so many young people become apprentices who then go on to work in highly skilled technology jobs and contribute towards the country’s future and prosperity.”

“I feel honoured and privileged to win and share this award with Sarah,” explains Jacky Purtill. “It validates all that we do here at Newbury College in terms of supporting the learners and as creative practitioners and in teaching and learning.”

“We are very lucky here at Newbury College to have so many dedicated teaching staff,” explains Anne Murdoch, Principal. “The awards won by Martin, Jacky and Sarah reflect their hard work and the positive impact they have on learners – we congratulate them all. Mostafa thoroughly deserves his award for determination, it just shows what people can achieve in the face of adversity.”

Newbury College sponsored the Outstanding Achievement Award which was won by Vernon Pocock for this success in achieving an advanced apprenticeship in plumbing and heating.

All of the awards were presented by Councillor Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council. For more information on all the winners, visit the West Berkshire website. For more photos visit our album on Facebook.

Students and staff at Newbury College were flying the rainbow flag for a special week of activities and events that celebrate the rich diversity of the college community.

The activities formed part of this year's student-led Skills Project by Academy (pre-GCSE) students who actively encourage all members of the college community to come together to promote awareness of LGBT+ issues, help celebrate diversity and raise over £100 for Stonewall, a charity that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across Britain.

Students produced engaging displays on LGBT+ awareness and advice on tackling homophobic bullying and behaviour, as well as a rainbow cake sale and photobooth where students and staff could pose with props and upload their photos to Instagram with #newburypride.

A mixed-ability 5-a-side football tournament was also held with teams of students and staff, both to help raise funds for the charity and encourage participants to sign a pledge to support LGBT+ in sport.

Academy Tutor, Jess Durham, said: “The students themselves came up with the idea of putting on a Pride week. It is something very relevant and personal to a lot of our students and this was an excellent opportunity for them to celebrate their diversity.”

Academy students at Newbury College can study vocational or academic pre-GCSE and GCSE programmes. Students can start their career at Newbury College in year 10 and progress through to higher education.

For a few weeks every Friday, students on our Level 2 Carpentry course are attending kitchen fitting sessions at Howdens Joinery in Newbury. As part of their work experience and under supervision, Howdens has allowed them to revise several kitchen displays at its depot.

Ian Dodd, Depot Manager at Howdens said: “We are keen to help Newbury College students qualify as carpenters and by offering work experience, we help them to put their carpentry skills into practise. Working in partnership this way allows the industry to develop new talent.”

“The students really appreciate the opportunity to apply their skills in a real life situation,” adds course leader Mark McDonald. “It gives them an insight and an appreciation of the quality of a Howdens’ kitchen and it also gives them the knowledge and confidence to fit a kitchen in the future. We are very grateful to Howdens for their support.”

Newbury College is always on the lookout for local businesses/organisations to help place our students on work experience. If you’d be happy to work with us, please call 01635 845000 and ask to speak to a member of the Learner Services Team.

Click here for more information on our carpentry courses.

To find out more about Howdens Joinery, visit

Our Health and Social Care students visited Bucks New University recently to find out what it’s like working as an Operating Department Practitioner in a hospital operating theatre and recovery room.

The role of Operation Department Practitioner was registered with the Health and Care Professions Council in 2004 when doctors and anaesthetists recognised the benefits of having a practitioner who would participate in the assessment of patients prior to surgery, and provide individualised care throughout the operation and recovery process.

In a training simulation suite designed for students studying at degree level, the students dressed up in scrubs and carried out CPR. They also listened to a presentation covering the history of the profession.

“The experience enabled the students to consider an alternative progression route to traditional routes such as nursing or midwifery roles,” explained course leader Karen Dodd. “Links like the one with Bucks New University help us add value to the Health and Social Care courses we run here at Newbury College and we are grateful to the university for letting us visit for the day.”

Newbury College is recruiting students for its Level 2 and 3 Health and Social Care courses in September 2017. Click here for details. For more photos, see the album on Facebook.

Click here for information about the Operating Department Practitioner course at Bucks New University.

Care Recruitment Fair 2017
Discover the opportunities in the adult health and social care

The reputation of the adult health and social care sector has suffered plenty since the failures at Mid Staffordshire Hospital and the Winterbourne View scandal. The negative connotations have not helped the sector in terms of attracting staff; it currently suffers from a severe crisis in recruitment. According to an article in The Guardian newspaper, there are as many as 90,000 vacancies* for social care jobs on any one day in England.

Along with the sector council, Skills for Care, Newbury College is promoting the positive side of working in adult health and social care in the Newbury area by holding a recruitment event at its campus on Monks Lane. The event takes place on Thursday 11 May between 2-5pm.

“Visitors, who are perhaps thinking about a change in career or joining the sector for the first time, can speak with local employers and discuss the opportunities for progression with qualified Newbury College staff,” explains course leader Karen Dodd. “We will be joined by organisations such as Audley Care, Bluebird Care, Brighter Kind, Choice Care Group, Elysium Healthcare (Thornford Park), Newbury Weekly News, Skills for Care, Sugarman Care and Support Partners Ltd, all of whom will be showcasing their workplace and demonstrating what they can offer in terms of a rewarding and fulfilling career. The event will also help our own students by presenting work placement opportunities. We look forward to seeing everyone there.”

The event is free to attend and visitors can pre-register for the event here or call 01635 845000 for more information.

*UK social care sector in crisis due to staff shortages, The Guardian Newspaper, Wednesday 08 March.

Newbury College is hosting a family Open Event at its Monks Lane Campus on Saturday 13 May, between 10am and 1pm. The event showcases the wide variety of courses the College has to offer and includes the launch of its new part-time guide for courses starting in September. Visitors can speak to subject specialists, take part in interactive activities and tour the facilities.

Alongside the event, as part of their Skills Project, the Animal Care students are running a charity dog show between 11am – 12:30pm. Dogs and their owners are invited to enter the competition, all proceeds raised will go to the National Animal Welfare Trust. Categories include: dog most like its owner, best puppy, best senior, best groomed, best crossbreed, best talent and best in show. The cost to enter each category is £1.50. The top three dogs in each category win a prize.

Other activities on the day include fete stalls, an inflatable bungee run and surf machine. Visitors can also see demonstrations in crafts such as drawing, dressmaking and upholstery. Principal Dr Anne Murdoch, OBE said, “We’re delighted to welcome the local community to the College, providing them with an ideal opportunity to find out what programmes we have on offer in September.

“Those looking for a new skill or hobby will find a wide range of exciting community learning courses on offer. Our professional and higher education courses provide adults with the opportunity to either update their qualifications or progress their career. Our information, advice and guidance team will also be on hand to help year 11 students who’d like to discuss their options when they finish school this summer. There’s something for all ages to enjoy on the day.”

Register for the Open Event here.

Register for the Dog Show here.

Newbury College students were recently challenged to submit a 500-word piece of creative writing; either a poem, short story, or play, in a competition inspired by a similar contest on BBC Radio Two.

Over 30 students took part in the competition, submitting their work to a panel of staff from the College’s Learning Resource Centre (LRC), who scrutinised each piece of writing, before awarding it a score. They considered writing style, content, readability and imagination.

Winners, who were selected from a range of different courses and abilities, included Elliott Perkins (Enterprise Skills), Chanece Nash (First Skills) and Tylar Sutcliffe (GCSEs).

The LRC regularly runs writing competitions, providing a real benefit to students. Some develop their confidence in writing, while others use the competitions as an extension of their curriculum work. Taking part in competitions also encourages students to think differently about literature and use their imagination to be creative and express their own voice.

Fiona Lees, LRC Manager, who organised the competition said, “It was wonderful that so many students took part and their pieces were very imaginative.”

Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, Principal, and Fadia Clarke, Deputy Principal, presented the prizes to the students and all participants received a certificate.

If you are interested in studying at Newbury College, visit the Open Event at Monks Lane campus on Saturday 13 May 2017, 10am – 1pm. For other queries call 01635 845000.

Line-up includes PRS for Music, PPL, The University of West London, Roland UK, The Musician’s Union, Vox Choir, JAMES and Berkshire Maestros

Newbury College today announced details of its first Music Technology Guest Lecture Series. Over the course of six days in May, the College will host a series of music industry talks, free for local students, musicians and members of the general public to attend.

The lectures are designed to give a greater understanding of the organisations and roles that make up the UK music industry and will help those working freelance to understand how different income strands can be access and maximised.

The full programme includes:

  • Wednesday 03 May, 11am, PRS for Music, Copyright, licencing and royalties.
  • Wednesday 03 May, 13:15pm, PPL, Sound recording and licencing within the UK music industry.
  • Thursday 04 May, 11am, Nino Auricchio (senior lecturer at The University of West London), Sound design and synthesis: exploring sound synthesis using the virtual analogue synthesisers found in Apple's Logic.
  • Thursday 04 May, 13:15pm, Roland UK, The development of digital drum technology.
  • Wednesday 10 May, 13:15pm, The Musician’s Union, The UK music industry.
  • Friday 12 May, 13:15pm, The Vox Choir, Music: benefits to your health and well-being.
  • Friday 19 May, 13:15pm, JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support), How can creative industries support music and media education?
  • Friday 26 May, 13:15pm, Berkshire Maestros, Working as a peripatetic instrumental teacher in the music education sector.

Commenting on the Guest Lecture Series, Matthew Foster, Music Technology Course Leader at Newbury College, said: “We are really excited to be hosting this event. We’ve secured the support of some key organisations and are confident that their knowledge and experience will be of great benefit not only to our own students, but to local musicians, composers, producers and engineers working in the industry. We encourage them come along to augment their knowledge and make some new connections.”

The series is presented in partnership with Creative People, The Rock Academy and is sponsored by Hogan Music. The event takes place at Newbury College, Monks Lane, Newbury, RG14 7TD.

Book early to avoid disappointment. All attendees will be placed into a prize draw; the winner will receive a special musical prize from Hogan Music. Places can be booked by visiting:

Group bookings welcome.

Newbury College offers full-time Music Technology courses at Level 2 and 3 and is taking enrolments for September 2017. For more information, speak to Matthew Foster on 01635 845000.

Useful links:




As part of a new government funded project, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) operating in Berkshire, can now access free training for members of staff over 16 years old to help upskill their workforce*.

The 'Skills for the Workforce' project is being delivered in partnership with East Berks College, Bracknell & Wokingham College, Newbury College, Reading College, TESS Group and West Berkshire Training Consortium.

For more information on how to access the free training, contact the Newbury College Business Team on 01635 845229.

Click here to read the full news story.

*Businesses must have less than 250 full-time equivalent employees. Employees must be aged 16 or over and resident in the UK/EU.

Adult students taking a Learning, Employability and Progression qualification at Newbury College, successfully took part in this year’s Reading Ahead challenge. Mike Brook, Head of West Berkshire Library, and Anne Murdoch, Principal and CEO, Newbury College, presented 12 students with completion certificates and prizes were awarded for first, second and third places.

Reading Ahead is a national scheme that takes place every year in libraries, colleges and workplaces. The challenge invites participants to improve their reading skills over a six-week period by reading, reviewing and rating six pieces and recording it in a diary. As well as books, participants can also read leaflets, instructions or magazines. The scheme encourages those who find reading difficult to explore the idea of reading for pleasure.

The winners were Karen Winter (1st place), Rebecca King (2nd place) and Daniel Evans (3rd place). A special achievement award was given to Lewis Darling.

Newbury College runs the Reading Ahead challenge in association with West Berkshire Library. Laura Lennox, Learning Resource Assistant, at Newbury College, said: “Daphne Deacon (from West Berks Library) and I were both impressed with the level of dedication shown by the participants and standard of the completed diaries. They were a pleasure to read and we felt that everyone deserved recognition for the improvements made to their reading skills.”