Adults studying at Newbury College joined others from across the county at the annual West Berkshire Learner Achievement Awards, on the 7 June.

The West Berkshire Learner Achievement Awards celebrates the successes of adults learning in an array of study options, from apprenticeships and professional qualifications to health and wellbeing courses. The event is held as part of the Festival of Learning and aims to highlight the benefits of learning, celebrate the achievements of adults using learning to transform their lives and encourage lifelong learning.

As a proud sponsor of the event, Newbury College is also delighted to congratulate three of its students; Charlotte Little, winning the Outstanding Achievement Award, Christine Caldaralo, joint winner of the Determination Award, and Xenia Bellis, presented with the Inspiring Others Award. They have all worked incredibly hard and overcome diversity in their attainments.

A full list of winners and further details of the awards can be found on the West Berkshire Council website 

If you are feeling inspired to take the next step in your learning journey, click here to find your next opportunity. Who knows you could be on the award list next year!


Charlotte Little Outstanding Achievement Award 300

Charlotte Little - Outstanding Achievement Award

Newbury College Principal and Chief Executive, Iain Wolloff, presents Charlotte Little with her award for Outstanding Achievement


Karen Winter and Christine Caldaralo Determi 300

Christina Caldaralo (right) - Determination Award

Christina Caldaralo receives the Determination Award. This was jointly awarded to Karen Winter (pictured to the left)


Xenia Bellis Inspiring Others Award 300

Xenia Bellis - Inspiring Others Award

Xenia Bellis receives her Inspiring Others Award for her achievements and progression.

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The question “what is an advanced learner loan?” is one we hear quite often. The scheme is targeted at helping adult learners (i.e. those aged 19 and over) manage the cost of further education at Level 3 and above. You can apply for a loan to study BTECs, NVQs, Access to HE courses and professional qualifications. The loans are similar to that available in Higher Education and are administered by Student Finance England.

So if you are aged 19 or over, live in England and are thinking about further education or training, you may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for all or part of the course tuition fee.

About the loan

The loans themselves have been designed to be completely transparent and accessible to as many people as possible. Here are the key facts:

• The loans are not means-tested

• There are no credit checks

• You can be unemployed and still apply

• Loans are suitable for most Level 3 courses* (and above)

• You can have up to four loans either at the same time or one after the other

• You can either take out the full cost of the tuition fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself

• Additional fees, such as registration and exam fees are not covered by the loan

• A Newbury College bursary is still available for transport and childcare costs, and exam and registration fees – speak to a member of the Information Services team

• Money is paid directly to Newbury College

• Loan repayments only begin once you earn £21,000 or more.

*Check with Information Services when applying for your course.

How to apply

The loans are administered by Student Finance England. All applications need to be completed online or by post (if you can’t apply online). You will need a copy of your ‘Learning and Funding Information Letter’ that we give eligible students before they apply – speak to the Information Services team for more information. You will also need your National Insurance number to complete your application.

NB – Make sure, when you apply online, you click on the purple 'Further education' box on the right-hand side as per the image below.


Apply for student finance button

If you apply online, your confirmation is usually sent out within a couple of weeks. You can usually apply from May onwards if you are starting a course in September of the same year. 

Who is eligible*?

• Anyone aged 19 or older on the first day of your course

• Students must have been in the UK for three years prior to the course start date

• Students must be UK nationals or have ‘settled’ status

*Please note that eligibility is determined by criteria set by Student Finance England not by Newbury College. Discuss your eligibility with our Information Services team before you apply to a course.

How is the loan repaid?

The loan is repaid when you finish your course and earn more than £21,000 per year. The monthly repayments are based on how much you earn, not the amount you’ve borrowed. It is set at 9% of any income over £21,000. For example, if you earn £22,000 the repayments would be £7.50 per month (£1,000*0.09=£90, £90/12 months=£7.50) or £30 per month if you earned £25,000 (£4,000*0.09=£360, £360/12 months=£30).

Level 3 entitlement for 19-23 year olds

If you are aged 19-23 and do not currently have a first full Level 3 qualification, you may be eligible for entitlement. This scheme entitles you to remission on the cost of your tuition fees. Contact Information Services team for further clarification.

Need further assistance?

Make an appointment with the Information Services team on 01635 845000 or visit some of the following websites:


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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.

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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.”

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