Items filtered by date: April 2018

Newbury College art student Finn Swift won the Young Persons’ prize for an Open Exhibition, entitled The Four Seasons, at Southampton City Art Gallery.

Finn was one of many artists who submitted their work as part of the gallery’s biennial open submission exhibition. The gallery invited artists in the South of England to take inspiration from the changing nature of the seasons. Newbury College art and design course leaders set the exhibition brief as an assignment for the students to complete towards their Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design. Course leader Jacky Purtill and student Evelyn Pritchett also had work displayed at the exhibition.

Finn’s winning artwork was an intricate 3D printed model of trees and vines entitled ‘Seasons’. The gallery wrote to Finn describing his work as ‘a fine, complex, intriguing and beautiful sculpture’. His prize was a 12 month subscription to the National Art Pass, giving Finn free access to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses.

“I was shocked but very pleased to discover I had won,” said Finn. “I enjoy working in this media and like how much detail you can incorporate into the design. The lecturers at College were very good at encouraging and supporting me once I’d generated the idea and I was also happy to receive a distinction for this project as part of my course.”

“We are very proud of Finn,” said Sarah Whittham, art and design course leader at Newbury College. “It is such an achievement for him to be awarded first prize in such a prestigious gallery.”

The exhibition is open at Southampton City Art Gallery until 21 April, Monday to Friday 10am-3pm, Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Entry is free. Click here for more information visit.  

Newbury College offers full-time Art and Design courses from Level 2 to Higher National Diploma and many part-time painting and drawing leisure courses. To find out more, visit its Open Event on Saturday 12 May 10am to 1pm.

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As parents of teenagers at secondary school, you may have already heard about the government’s proposal to change the current vocational education system and introduce new T-level qualifications from 2020. You may also be wondering why the change was recommended and what impact it will have on your son or daughter when they go to a further education college?

In our handy guide for parents, we explain everything you need to know about the new qualifications and how they aim to increase your child’s skills and employability. 

What are T-levels?

Alongside apprenticeships and A-levels, T-levels will become one of the three main options for school leavers. T-levels are being introduced in the 2020/2021 academic year, and are designed to replace many of the vocational qualifications currently offered at level 3.

In a new two-year, level 3 technical study programme, T-levels will offer students:

  • Specific practical skills and knowledge in a chosen industry or occupation
  • 45 days’ work placement at a relevant employer
  • Core English, Maths and digital skills

Within the programmes, students can choose the occupational specialisms they wish to focus on either from the onset or during their course, for example Early Years Educator specialism within Childcare and Education T-level. After completing a T-level programme, students will have transferrable skills to use in the workplace, they may also continue their education at university or through an apprenticeship with an employer.

T-level qualifications will be offered in the following sector areas: agriculture, environmental and animal care, business and administration, catering and hospitality, childcare and education, construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, hair and beauty, health and science, legal, finance and accounting, protective services, sales, marketing and procurement, social care and transport and logistics.

How did they come about?

The reforms were announced by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2016 following an independent review of the further education market. Led by Lord Sainsbury, it became known as the ‘Sainsbury Review’.

In the review, the current system was deemed ‘outdated and confusing’ and the radical overhaul of post-16 technical education began. In the autumn budget of 2017 the government announced an additional £20m to help colleges prepare for the change. This is on top of the annual £500m investment announced at the previous budget in March.

How are the new qualifications being developed?

The qualifications are being ‘co-designed’ by the Department for Education, Institute for Apprenticeships, education providers and employers. The aims are set out by the Department for Education, and the content developed by the other three parties.

The structure of the new qualifications will be different from the current system. The number of hours a student will study increases significantly from the average 540 hours offered now to approximately 1,800 hours over the two years (including the work placement).

The work placement element increases to 45 days, but can last up to 60 working days, making it much more meaningful to the student and employer. The timing of the work placement may be different depending on the qualification, some may opt for a continuous block, and others will distribute the work placement across the programme.

The core qualifications will be graded on a 6-point scale from E to A*, with A* being the highest. Occupational specialisms are awarded on a pass, merit or distinction basis.

Need more info?

The government’s website,, has a more in-depth article about T-levels for those looking to know more, click here for details.

Newbury College is offering specific T-level talks to parents in the autumn term of 2018. Keep an eye on the events page on the website for more details!

Further reading:

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Before the holidays Newbury College Academy students were joined by local artists Jaime Jackson and Sally Payen to help them produce artwork based around the theme of ‘peaceful protest’.

Jaime and Sally have a special exhibition of artworks on display at West Berkshire Museum called The Knitted Fence. The exhibition explores the actions of the Greenham Common peace women’s non-violent protest during the 1980s, as well as eco activism, recycling, collaborative working and politics. Sally is a former Newbury College student, studying art at A Level when the College was based at its old site in town.

The pre-16 students learned about the peace camp, where protesters peacefully campaigned against nuclear warheads being stored at the Greenham airbase. They went on to develop images about causes important to them and stencilled or transfer-printed the images onto textiles before tying them onto a piece of fence with plaited ribbons.

The fence forms part of the special exhibition which is on show from 28 March to 29 April 2018. Entry to the exhibition is free. It is open Wed-Sun, 10am to 4pm.

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In an exclusive interview with the Newbury Weekly News, new Principal and CEO Iain Wolloff sets out a vision for the development of Newbury College.

During the interview, Iain talks about the future ambitions for the College that include opening a university centre to improve the higher education opportunities in Newbury and the surrounding areas. Newbury College already offers a Degree Apprenticeship in Engineering but would like to expand this offering to attract more degree-level students.

To read the full article, visit Newbury Weekly News website here.  

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