Items filtered by date: January 2018

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.

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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.

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With the news recently that Waitrose has banned the sale of high-caffeine drinks to under 16s, our Student Services team demonstrated today just how much sugar and caffeine these drinks contain.

In a display that forms part of ‘New Year, New You’ week, students could visibly see the sugar content for a range of popular drinks. Information about the caffeine content was also included.

Commenting on the display, Sports Maker, Louise Neil, said: “It’s good for people to understand exactly what they are drinking. You wouldn’t consciously add that much sugar to your tea or coffee, so why should a cold drink be any different? That much sugar and caffeine is not good for anyone’s health, and certainly not conducive for students trying to concentrate on their studies.”

Other activities this week include information and awareness sessions about sexual health, alcohol and smoking, as well as looking at the benefits of exercise.

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