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Innovative, technology rich learning spaces engage students

Fri, 12/09/2014 - 14:08

Summary  Following a refurbishment of one of its campuses, staff at South Staffordshire College introduced new technology-rich learning spaces, featuring state of the art equipment. As a result, the college is benefitting from more engaged students, new assessment methods and ways of working, as well as making time and cost savings.               About South Staffordshire College  The college has four campuses, in Lichfield, Cannock, Tamworth and Rodbaston. The college attracts around 12000 learners each year and offers vocational courses, apprenticeships and higher education.South Staffordshire College has state-of-the-art facilities, using thin-client virtual desktop PCs, the latest projection technologies and immersive learning environments, using bespoke furniture. The college has also made significant investment in mobile devices to enrich the student learning experience, and its Cannock Campus has recently undergone refurbishment to include an immersive 4D environment.Chris Davies – Director of Curriculum & Support commented: “We are committed to harnessing the best technologies to support innovation and improvement in our curriculum delivery, enabling immersive learning and inspiring teaching.” The challenge  In 2013, South Staffordshire College completed a refurbishment of its Cannock Campus. Following a recent Ofsted inspection, which saw the college rated as “good”, senior managers wanted to continue pushing the boundaries of technology to create a flagship teaching and learning environment, that is dynamic and engaging and facilitates students using their own devices. The activity  Director of Strategy and Infrastructure, Jamie Smith, saw a 4D learning space in a school environment and identified similar opportunities for teaching and learning in FE. As a result, the college installed a 4D interactive space, created through LED lighting, giant projection and surround sound. The three elements of the space can be changed to alter the atmosphere, mood and location of the experience. Jamie says: “The benefits of an engaging, inspiring and immersive learning experience are at the heart of everything the college does, and the 4D learning space is a great example of this, where both teachers and learners can be in their element.” To facilitate group work and collaborative projects, the college also set up the ‘collaboration room’ – a model based on the University of Wolverhampton’s LaTTE (Learning and Teaching Test Environment), to facilitate small group work. The outcomes In January 2014, Steve and his colleague Ian Holt, carried out staff development, initially with technology innovators. As the new projectors proved so intuitive to use, sessions took just 20 minutes, whereas previously, staff development for the whiteboards took over an hour. Steve says, “Interactivity is focused and clear. The feedback from staff was immediately more positive and they were keen to get started with making lessons more engaging. Similarly, staff who have been trained so far on the 4D room have been enthusiastic and have found the software easy to use. All staff need to do is source relevant images, music and/or video and the software does the rest.”               The 4D room allows tutors to create a fully immersive environment so students can experience a situation, rather than sitting in a classroom trying to imagine it. By changing the lighting and content, the mood of the room can be changed to reflect the subject matter. It has facilitated role-play, debates and more engaging methods of assessment. Steve says, “We have used the room with Level 3 learners to explore a crime scene, carry out arrests and police interviews, and undertake news reports. It even works well with more traditional subjects such as government and politics. Students were able to visualise the inside of the Houses of Parliament ahead of a scheduled visit.” The new projector software is much more accessible than previously used whiteboard tools. Students can highlight items on a document that can then be saved as a pdf and put onto the Moodle VLE for later reference. There are no longer access issues of having created a mindmap, for example, and a student not being able to access it on a PC because the relevant software isn’t installed. The impact  Although the 4D and collaboration rooms have only been open for 6 months, there are early indications of impact for staff, learners, and the organisation: Time saved – the Epson Easy Interactive tools projector software is more intuitive and it has taken less time for staff to learn how to use. Cost savings – the collaboration room, and subsequent rooms that have been modelled on the room, have facilitated bring your own device which could negate the need to purchase as many desktop PCs in the future. Increased confidence amongst learners – those who typically lack confidence have become so immersed in the 4D room environment that they have lost some of their inhibitions and have become much more engaged. Faster paced lessons – the use of learners’ own devices to share content is quicker than using USB sticks and moves the lesson along at a faster pace. Re-assessment reduced – students are more prepared and interested in more engaging assessment methods such as video, resulting in virtually no re-assessments. Number of applications for 2014-15 increased – prospective learners at open days have been enthused by the new facilities and have heard from existing learners how the technology has made a difference to their learning. More use of flipped learning and independent learning – learners are taking more ownership of their learning by putting their own content together.   Steve says, “It’s still early days, however the impact that we have seen in such a short space of time is incredible. From September 2014, when more staff have been trained and seen the potential of the new technologies, we will look more at quizzes and other assessment methods that can be incorporated into the 4D room. The feedback that we have had so far from staff has been extremely positive.” The learner view from Ben Boothman, Level 3 Public Services: “The 4D room has allowed me to see my assignments come to life – we’ve done a number […]

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South Staffordshire College Induction Days See a First in UK Education

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:10

South Staffordshire College induction days saw the introduction of a UK first with the rollout of WAMedu, the private social network that engages all learners, staff and faculty to connect, share and collaborate in a safe, secure environment. South Staffordshire College’s decision to make the system available is based on a trial with 300 learners and staff, which has produced overwhelmingly favourable results. “Our Chief Executive Principal, Graham Morley, has said that every student at South Staffordshire College should have a friend on day one”, comments Director of Strategy & Infrastructure Jamie Smith. “With the WAMedu platform it’s now likely that every student will be part of a group of friends after the first day.” WAMedu is the brainchild of Cannock entrepreneurs Harry Jawanda and Andrew West, whose company WAMBIZ is part of the new breed of successful businesses surfing the wave of digital technology breakthroughs. Aspiring students were reassured to see that the kind of social networking applications they use every day are not only acceptable at South Staffordshire College but positively welcomed and employed as part of the learning environment. All four campuses, at Cannock, Lichfield, Rodbaston and Tamworth are participating in the WAMedu programme.  Evidence from around the UK suggests that the system helps students to acclimatise to the College environment so well that dropout rates will be significantly reduced and that learner satisfaction and safeguarding levels will correspondingly improve. Visitors to the induction days were walked through the WAMedu platform and its associated benefits during their leaner journey talks and were also given specially enabled hi-tech wristbands which open the WAMedu YouTube awareness video on a student’s Android smartphone. They also heard about a competition with one of the new iPhone 6s as a prize, which South Staffordshire College is awarding to the student who builds the biggest network of contacts. “South Staffordshire College is fast establishing a reputation for innovative approaches to education which deliver real benefits to learners through the digital technologies” concludes Jamie Smith. “In the WAMBIZ organisation we have found kindred spirits, committed to the student community and we are delighted to be the first UK educational establishment to fully adopt this system in the interests of our learners.”

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More Than Just Bricks and Mortar For College Construction Students

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 13:11

Construction students studying at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus are to benefit from a generous donation of bricks and pavers. The College has taken delivery of 8400 facing bricks and over 1500 paving slabs generously supplied by Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC (MBH) that will be used by Construction students during their practical course work. Gary Vickers, Despatch Manager for MBH, explained why the company has contributed the materials. “Every student enrolled on an industry construction course requires a large quantity of materials during their diploma or apprenticeship. We think it’s important that educational facilities receive donations from local business to continue offering leading construction curriculums.” Rodbaston Campus is set in 180 hectares of Staffordshire countryside and specialises in providing further and higher education courses for construction-related industries and land-based activities such as fisheries and aquaculture, animal care and equestrian pursuits. It also offers a range of training services that support land-based businesses. Keith Ellis, Head of Curriculum at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus, said “We would like to thank MBH PLC for their generous donation of bricks and pavers for our Construction students to use. It’s fantastic support like this from businesses that enables us to provide the best possible practical opportunities to students from across our local area.”

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South Staffordshire College Quartet Make It Through To UK Skills Final

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 12:59

Four Beauty Therapy students from South Staffordshire College are set to represent the college at the National finals of the world’s biggest skills competition in November after being recognised as some of the most skilled learners in the UK. The students, from the College’s Cannock and Tamworth campuses, achieved outstanding results in the regional WorldSkills UK competition at Newcastle-under-Lyme in May, competing against hundreds of other talented learners. Stevie Sherlock from Tamworth, Emily Slater from Cannock, Nicole Newman from Lichfield and Jade Aspley from Rugeley took the top three places at Intermediate Level in Nail Enhancements, Nail Art and Beauty and second place in Nail Enhancements respectively. WorldSkills UK is a framework of regional and national skills competitions delivered each year across the UK for young people and adults. The competitions aim to showcase excellence and help lift standards of training and performance and culminate in a World Final every two years. South Staffordshire College is no stranger to success in WorldSkills competitions with many of its learners having won medals in regional and national events and ex-student Charlotte Burford getting bronze in the World Final in Calgary. Stevie, Emily, Nicole and Jade will continue the College’s success story, competing in the National Final of WorldSkills UK at NEC in Birmingham 13 – 15th November 2014 and hope to win places to represent the UK in future International WorldSkills competitions. All four students are establishing themselves in the Beauty industry. Jade and Emily have secured positions at established beauty centres, Stevie is studying at University and Nicole is completing further beauty related courses. The College’s Chief Executive Principal, Graham Morley, summarises, “South Staffordshire College has been recognised as the most successful College in Staffordshire by the Data Service and the Hair & Beauty courses have done much to establish our reputation for the quality of learner resources and teaching standards. The College’s ongoing participation in WorldSkills competitions provides tremendous opportunities for learners to further develop their skills and enhance their confidence.”

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South Staffordshire College Skills Development Programme Ready to Meet Government Campaign

Tue, 02/09/2014 - 13:58

With more than 1300 candidates already undertaking apprenticeship programmes, South Staffordshire College is ideally placed to support the new National Apprenticeship Campaign announced by Government, says Deputy Principal Rob Boucherat. The scheme, heralded by a TV advertising campaign, will ‘demonstrate to young people … that apprenticeships can now be an equal choice to university.’ The Government’s approach is a message that the College has been promoting since it was founded in 2009.  In welcoming the initiative, Rob Boucherat commented  “The campaign slogan is ‘Get in – Go Far’ and that’s exactly what our track record on apprenticeships reveals.” Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club has been a very valued work provider of South Staffordshire College for many years.  Jack Hill, aged 18, has been serving his Level 2 Apprenticeship in Sports Turf at the club for 15 months and is now completing tasks on both the training ground and main Molineux pitch.  Head Groundsman Wayne Lumbard is delighted with his progress, saying “Jack has got to such a level now and is such an integral part of the team that I couldn’t do without him.” Stoke City Council is another respected employer working with South Staffordshire College.  Apprentice Charlotte Parkin works at Fenton Park and has already achieved her Level 2 apprenticeship in Horticulture and well on the way to achieving Level 3.  She has taken the initiative to introduce biodiversity at the Park, and leads regular walks and tours.  Michelle Tinsley, Human Resources Manager at Stoke City Council, comments “Charlotte is an inspiration to her colleagues and a fantastic team member.  Her apprenticeship has helped her confidence and knowledge of Horticulture that she now enthusiastically conveys to her colleagues and members of the public.” Helen Dean is another success story.  Helen has just completed a Level 3 apprenticeship in Hospitality at Somerford Hall in Brewood, Staffordshire and is due to start her Advanced Apprenticeship.  She has become a valuable part of the team and her strong work ethic ensures she gets jobs completed in time and to the high standard expected. Jenny Archer, Manager at Somerford Hall, says “Employing Helen has shown us that with the right training and development we gain a full-time member of staff who in multi-skilled and sees their job as important and worthwhile.” South Staffordshire College works with an impressive number of companies – over 700 – on apprenticeship schemes and believes the greatest asset of its approach is in its flexibility. A dedicated team of work-based training specialists provides a turnkey service that extends from a strategic evaluation of training needs, through advice on funding opportunities to establishing bespoke training plans with measurable outcomes and benefits.  Training programmes are created from a range of options including custom-built corporate learning and talent development with work-based training leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Feedback on apprenticeship programmes delivered by South Staffordshire College has been outstanding from both employers and apprentices, with 94% of the former confirming that the proposed business objectives were met while 98% of learners expressed satisfaction with the College. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recently highlighted that while youth unemployment has fallen from 20.9% to 17.8% over the past twelve months, there are still well over half a million young people out of work, with some estimates putting that figure much higher. Against this background Rob Boucherat says that South Staffordshire College will put the weight of its successful track record on apprenticeships behind the Government scheme. “We will be using our website, social media and range of marketing communications activities to promote the availability and value of apprenticeships to employers and learners alike”, he says. “We have a wide range of apprenticeships on offer, literally from Accounting, Agriculture and Animal Care to Warehousing and Veterinary Nursing, and encompassing some twenty-five professional, vocational, business and craft disciplines.” Employers and learners interested in finding out more can contact South Staffordshire College via its website on or by calling 01785 710529.

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South Staffordshire College’s Armoris Media Wins Top Podcasting Work

Fri, 22/08/2014 - 14:10

Armoris Media, the independent film and media business embedded on South Staffordshire College’s Lichfield Campus, has won the podcast business for a top international consultancy serving the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. The work is proving so successful that the first episode of the podcast went to number one in the iTunes chart in the Management and Marketing category. Armoris provides high quality video and film production services to a range of businesses from its base on the College campus and offers many of the students a practical grounding in the skills required for their courses, in addition to valuable project experience that employers value. The business also delivers an ‘in-house’ service to South Staffordshire College with work on major developments such as the recent redevelopment of the Cannock Campus, helping the College to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading exponents of digitally-based learning techniques. Coincidentally the podcast business also deals with the new technologies, in this case a service which scientifically optimises the profitability of companies’ online trading through what is known as Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). In 2012 the founder of the client business, having been impressed by the quality of an Armoris video, offered a limited project as a test.  The results were so impressive he immediately moved all the business into the organisation. The work entails setting up podcasts on the client’s website, establishing a presence in the appropriate directories, such as iTunes, Pocket Casts and Double Twist and editing the podcasts to the final content. Project Manager Eoin Edwards says that business success for Armoris is good news for South Staffordshire College students too. “Many of the courses run here on the Lichfield Campus use the Armoris set up as a fundamental element of the learning process.  We’re able to give students practical experience not just of the techniques, planning and equipment but also the invaluable lessons in dealing with customers, meeting deadlines and working as part of a team. Our success on the podcasts shows that we are more than capable of working in a competitive commercial environment.  For a prospective employer that’s a very persuasive element on a CV.”

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South Staffordshire College Offers Showcase for Local Enterprise at Induction Fayres

Mon, 18/08/2014 - 10:59

South Staffordshire College is offering local businesses and organisations an opportunity to showcase their products and services to over 1500 new students free of charge. The most successful College in Staffordshire is holding a series of Induction Fayres in September to help the new intake of students settle in to college both academically and socially. Events are planned across the College’s four campuses at Tamworth, Lichfield, Rodbaston and Cannock. Lichfield Campus       Monday, 1st September Tamworth Campus    Tuesday, 2nd September Cannock Campus      Wednesday, 3rd September Rodbaston Campus   Thursday, 4th September As well as practical advice on course information, progression routes and finances, local businesses and organisations will be exhibiting their products and services, promoting student discounts and giving careers advice. With expected numbers around 1,500 across the four days, it’s a great opportunity to build company profiles and boost product awareness. Its free to exhibit at South Staffordshire College’s Induction Fayre – just call Helen Pettit on 01543 301198 or email to reserve a place.

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South Staffordshire College Launches New Apprenticeship Programme in Veterinary Care

Mon, 18/08/2014 - 10:31

South Staffordshire College has launched a new Veterinary Care apprenticeship programme at its Rodbaston Campus. The Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants programme is being introduced in September to meet demand from veterinary practices to provide practical and theoretical training for staff.  The programme runs over a 12-18 month period, with a minimum of 30 hours per week required, to include one day a week at College in addition to workplace mentoring and practical work at their place of employment. Subjects covered include basic veterinary terminology, introduction to anaesthesia, surgical equipment and radiography, health and safety, animal handling and restraint. To qualify, students must be working full time in a veterinary practice and have GSCEs Grade E and above in Maths, English and Science.  Once completed, students can progress to Level 3 in Veterinary Nursing or Level 3 diploma in Animal Management. Sally Baker, Workforce Development Veterinary Nursing assessor at South Staffordshire College, said  “Veterinary Care students studying at the Rodbaston Campus have the unique opportunity of handling and working with many different species of animals housed at our Animal Zone that they may not encounter in general practice, giving them the added advantage when competing in the veterinary industry.” Veterinary practices wishing to find out more can contact South Staffordshire College’s Veterinary Nursing team on 01785 710565.

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College Fish Hatchery Sales Reach The 5 Million Mark

Wed, 06/08/2014 - 11:02

South Staffordshire College’s unique Aquaculture resources, which combine student experience with a commercial business, has hit a milestone with sales from the Rodbaston Aquaculture Centre reaching the 5 million fish mark. The business is located on an idyllic 180-hectare Staffordshire parkland estate which forms the College’s Rodbaston Campus and is home to a wide range of land-based activities that will shape the next generation of young farmers and rural entrepreneurs. Within the Aquaculture fish hatchery carp production facilities take the process from the development of high quality eggs, with the parent fish kept in the College’s own natural still-water pond, through spawning, larvae-hatch and growth from the fry stage through to a 3-month old fish of about 2” – 3” in size. While some are retained on site the majority are then moved on to other fish farms or fisheries. Simon Marvin runs the operation, which has provided over 5 million young carp, tench and ornamental fish including Shubunkin, Goldfish and various Koi varieties, for growing-on to major customers across the UK. “We operate a totally enclosed biosecure site with regular fish health inspections and viral screening from CEFAS. We actively encourage visits to our fish hatchery and this is something which gives our customers a real sense of confidence, when they are looking to buy for their stock ponds.” Roy Marlow, Owner of Mallory Park Fisheries, is one of those satisfied customers and says, “The quality of these fish is outstanding and the appearance of them is stunning. I don’t give out recommendations very often but in the case of Rodbaston I have no hesitation in doing so.” The high level of Biosecurity on the site is one of the major factors in guaranteeing buyers the right quality of stock and very high survival rates, which are paramount in commercial operations. Simon Marvin continues, “We are fully CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture Science) registered. Students can learn most of what they need to know about brood-stock conditioning, egg incubating, early rearing, growing and holding. Perhaps most important of all they can see how to make a business run in this sector with both the carp and the ornamental fish. Aquaculture is a fully integrated part of South Staffordshire College and we are a functioning business enterprise with profits to generate and customers to please.” Tours of the Aquaculture Fish Hatchery at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus are available on request and anyone interested can contact Simon Marvin on either 01785 711063 or 07875 302716.

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A Taste Of Life At The Most Successful College In The County

Mon, 04/08/2014 - 10:36

South Staffordshire College has hosted a series of Taster Days at its Rodbaston Campus to give prospective students a taste of what life is like at Staffordshire’s most successful college. During July, students from Cheslyn Hay High School, Landau Forte Academy and Thomas Alleyne’s High School spent a day at the Rodbaston Campus learning about the Agriculture, Equine and Animal Care courses available at the College and joining in various activities to get hands-on experience. Gerard Proudman, Land-based Industry Liaison Manager and his team also spent a day at Ormiston Horizon Academy, providing schoolchildren with taster sessions in Horticulture, Animal Care and Floristry. Taster Days offer students and parents an opportunity to find out more about the wide selection of land-based courses available at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus, including Agriculture, Animal Care, Construction, Countryside Management, Equine, Floristry, Horticulture and Veterinary Nursing. Experienced staff and students are also on hand to give advice and discuss the positive support services available to learners. Ormiston Horizon Academy’s Assistant Principal, Mrs Oakes, commented on the success of the Taster Day her pupils enjoyed. “The students and staff haven’t shut up about it. They had an amazing time and the visit has generated lots of interest in Animal Care.” It’s not too late to sign up for a wide variety of academic and industry-recognised courses, both full and part-time. You can make the smart choice and sign up on-line at in just 25 seconds! With an extensive range of industry related courses on offer and Apprenticeships for those who want to learn whilst in employment, there is something for everyone at South Staffordshire College. Taster Days offer a relaxed and friendly environment in which to find out more.

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College gets the Green Light To Restore Historic Signal Box

Mon, 04/08/2014 - 10:32

South Staffordshire College is assisting in the restoration of a historic signal box as part of the Hednesford Park and War Memorial project. The ‘Hednesford – No 1′ signal box has been removed from its original location to Hednesford Park to be restored and transformed into a classroom for park community activities. A major redevelopment of Hednesford Park and war memorial is currently under way after a successful £2.2 million bid by Cannock Chase Council to the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012. As well as new facilities – including an extended pavilion, new play areas and outdoor gym – there will be enhanced community and education opportunities for the local community. The Hednesford No 1 signal box will be the base for these activities, led by the Council’s community and education officer. South Staffordshire College’s David Dew will oversee the restoration of the signal box, leading a team of skilled construction students who will be taking on projects including painting, decorating, repairing woodwork / joinery, installing flooring, installing guttering, removing UPVC windows and replacing with wooden frames and polycarbonate. The work will be undertaken in partnership with Cannock Chase Council, the local Community of Hednesford and Friends of Hednesford Park. Work is due to start in September and David and his team are looking forward to the challenge. “The repair and general maintenance work, including restoring the windows to their original feature, will to be done by the College’s multi-skill Level 1 and Level 2 Construction students, who will gain real work experience during the project and be able to give something back to the community at the same time,” he commented. Cllr Christine Mitchell, Cannock Chase Council’s Culture & Sport Portfolio Leader, added: “We’re delighted to have the support of the College and look forward to the students carrying out the work to bring the signal box back to its former glory. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the community and education activities at Hednesford Park, as well as volunteering opportunities, should call Lynn Evans on 07855 099353.” Gerard Proudman, South Staffordshire College’s Land-based Industry Liaison Manager, concludes, “It’s not too late to sign up for our multi skills and construction courses, you can make the smart choice by signing up on the College’s website – – all it takes is just 25 seconds.”

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Host Families Required

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 16:22

The College is looking to increase its number of Host Families to provide a comfortable living environment for our cohort of HND Electronic Engineering students who are being sponsored by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates from September 2014 – July 2016. Below are the key requirements of becoming a host: INFORMATION FOR HOST FAMILIES  To ensure a comfortable living environment throughout their stay the college requires that the below be made available to the student in any Home accommodation: • A key(s) to the house • a proper state of cleanliness and repair • adequate heating and lighting • a sufficiently spacious bedroom with natural light, equipped with an adequately sized bed (no futons/sofa beds) and adequate hanging and drawer space for clothes • appropriate privacy from members of the opposite sex • a table for private study (desk/dining table) • sufficient washing facilities and access to a bathroom, with baths or showers available daily • a change of towels and bed linen each week and an adequate supply of duvets or blankets • a laundry service or clearly explained laundry arrangements. Code of Practice for Host Families: • To encourage the student to speak English as much as possible in your home • To encourage the student to feel at home and to treat him/her as a member of the family rather than a paying guest • To provide a clean and comfortable student room, meeting the requirements as above • To provide a home environment in which it is possible for the student to carry on his/her Studies properly • To provide the student with a balanced and appropriate diet • To show due concern for the welfare, safety and security of the student during his/her stay • To give the student reasonable and regular access to bathroom and laundry facilities • To maintain a close liaison with the college and so be in a position to help resolve any problems that the student may encounter during his/her stay • To respect the student’s different cultural background and to be sensitive to the needs of the student Host families will be paid £100 per week of the students stay following the term dates given to us by the Embassy. If you live in Tamworth and would like to be considered as a host, please email or call 01827 310202 who will arrange for us to come and visit you at your home to discuss your application to become a host family.  

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South Staffordshire College Welcomes Graduation Of Special Students

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 11:38

South Staffordshire College has hosted graduation ceremonies for 80 students who have learning difficulties and disabilities. The ceremonies took place at the College’s recently refurbished Rodbaston Hall, a unique event and wedding venue at the heart of the magnificent 180-hectare Staffordshire Country Estate. Each student was welcomed on stage by Chief Executive Principal Graham Morley and Director of Curriculum & Support Chris Davies to receive their certificates amidst rapturous applause from family and friends. South Staffordshire College has a highly skilled dedicated team of tutors who work with the Special Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (SLDD) students to ensure that they receive personalised learning to suit their individual needs, helping them develop their independence and achieve their goals and aspirations. The programmes, delivered across the Rodbaston, Tamworth and Cannock Campuses, cater for learners with a variety of moderate and profound learning difficulties and disabilities and are designed to allow them to progress at their own pace. Graham Morley commented, “We put students at the heart of everything we do and our mission is to provide them with the best route to academic excellence and career development. South Staffordshire College has recently joined with Lincolnshire-based Linkage Community Trust to provide the best specialist education, care and employment support services to people with a disability in the area and we look forward to seeing many more students graduate in the coming years.”

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Glascote Heath School has its own farm with a little help from South Staffordshire College

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 09:39

There can’t be many children who at one time or another haven’t imagined what it would be like to have a farm of their own, and thanks to a little help from South Staffordshire College the children at Tamworth’s Glascote Heath Primary School have had their dream come true. The school farm was officially opened earlier this month by the Deputy Mayor of Tamworth, Councillor Maureen Gant, who cut the ribbon to declare the new venture open to an audience of parents, children, staff and local residents eager to catch a first glance at the facilities.  A visit to the website at reveals a lively and thriving community school with news about charity events and a dedicated section entitled “Farm School’ provides visitors with detailed information and a selection of images. Gerard Proudman is the Land-Based Industry Liaison Manager at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus, where there is an emphasis on the rural economy and he is leading the project co-ordination. The College’s Rodbaston Campus farm has provided young pigs, lambs, calves and some smaller animals too and pupils at Glascote Heath will be able to help rear the animals, learning at first hand how to handle and care for them before they are returned to the College. Their studies will help with academic work too, for example weighing, measuring and charting the growth of the farm animals will be incorporated into Maths lessons. Speaking on behalf of the College, Mr Proudman said “South Staffordshire College is proud to be associated with such an enthusiastic and energetic team, led by Sharon Jeffries, who are bringing the countryside into the town. Every day is a learning experience and it is great to hear how the school farm is developing; how Sharon, her team and the children are coping the pitfalls of animal husbandry, and how they are embracing the immense satisfaction in seeing their animals thrive and grow.  We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Glascote Heath Primary School, and will take delight in watching the school farm develop and grow over the coming years.”

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South Staffordshire College Website Offers Great New Resource For Students

Mon, 28/07/2014 - 09:08

South Staffordshire College has given its website a facelift to provide students with the very best of resources when making key decisions about their future. In the latest innovation on the website, Prospectus links are now available to prospective students who can select the various subjects they are interested in and download a bespoke document, saving time and providing vital information about course content, duration and location. For those students wishing to enroll the ‘Sign up in 25 seconds’ link will allow them to complete the basic contact details and courses they are interested in, whilst a useful ‘Apprentice Vacancies’ link goes straight through to a list of current vacancies. An ‘Upcoming Events shortcut completes the new range of site functionality. The home page offers a much clearer, refreshed look and feel to the site, with larger, more impactful rotating images reflecting the College’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the 4D Immersive Learning Space at its newly refurbished Cannock Campus. Site visitors can also keep up-to-date with the many success stories and activities taking place across all four Campuses at Tamworth, Lichfield, Rodbaston and Cannock via the rotating News stories on the Home Page, with major events promoted by large images at the bottom of the page and a click-through for more information. Director of Strategy and Infrastructure, Jamie Smith, commented “South Staffordshire College is at the forefront of education technology and the latest update to the website provides students, staff, potential students and parents with a great platform to see the entire offering at South Staffordshire College and the opportunities available to set them on a successful career path.”

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Former Apple Guru Alan Greenberg Leads Inspirational Day on the Power and Potential of Digital Technology in Education

Mon, 21/07/2014 - 16:58

Around 50 South Staffordshire College staff from both teaching and non-teaching roles have taken part in a development day dedicated to the increasing role of the digital technologies in the education sector, including a session explaining how the College is pioneering WAMEDU, an open, safe and secure social networking platform for students and staff.  The day was introduced by Alan Greenberg, formerly Head of Apple Education first in Europe, then Asia, whose contribution to the online use of education content has had global impact.  In Asia he managed the launch, deployment and adoption of Apple iTunes and while in Europe he masterminded the ‘Beyond Campus’ initiative. In his opening remarks, he said “I’m excited to be involved with this; seeing South Staffordshire College’s senior management daring to be innovative and aspirational, developing solutions that don’t yet fully exist in FE. For both teachers and students this is all about empowerment and for staff to share their IP on a digital framework.  The College has embraced the technology and enabled us to understand how the system can best be used, applied and made to deliver its benefits.” Outlining the transformational potential of the digital techniques being pioneered by South Staffordshire College, Director of Strategy and Infrastructure Jamie Smith described the guest speakers as “thought leaders whose insights will help us establish innovatory techniques designed to radically improve the learning experience.  Partnering with major players such as WAMBIZ and IBM will provide a template for Further Education that we hope all colleges will follow.  At South Staffordshire College we’ve embraced the digital world because it helps us to pioneer, challenge and innovate – that’s what education is for.” The core presentation from Harry Jawanda provided an in-depth look at the workings and benefits of the WAMEDU system.  Melanie Wilkes, Public Service Lecturer at South Staffordshire College, commented “There’s huge potential for this, we’ve used it in the pilot study in our area this year and the students love it.  It’s really easy to use and the app will mean the kind of instant communication to an entire group that is so effective.”  Trish Bolas, from the Hairdressing department of the College, added “I’ve really enjoyed today, I found it inspiring and for anyone who couldn’t be here today I’d say make sure you get involved.  WAMEDU is going to help learners socialize from day one of College and help us to engage with them at every stage of their course.” Jamie Smith summed up the day. “Digital provides one-to-one learning that is delivered to many, with each student progressing at his or her own pace.  It reshapes where learning takes place and enriches the experience.  As today showed, South Staffordshire College has now secured a place in this education revolution.”

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South Staffordshire College Link Breaks New Ground in More Ways Than One

Fri, 18/07/2014 - 09:21

South Staffordshire College is joining with Lincolnshire-based Linkage Community Trust to provide the best specialist education, care and employment support services to disabled people in the area.  An historic moment in the campaign for the rights and opportunities of the disabled was marked by a turf-cutting ceremony at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus. Chair of Governors Ray Faulkner and Chief Executive Principal Graham Morley were joined by Michael Oliver, Chair of Trustees at Linkage, the Trust’s Director of Education and Principal of Linkage College, Matthew Orford, and Luke Ford from the main contractor, Fords of Blythe Bridge. The development centres around a 750 square metre single-storey, timber-framed building, supplied by Fords, as part of a fully Government-funded £1.4 million project.  It will provide superb facilities for the students, including classrooms, a skills kitchen, chill-out zone, IT room and  drama area, in addition to administration, toilets and a medical room. Welcoming the co-operation on behalf of the College, Graham Morley said “We are delighted to be working alongside Linkage in this innovative project which extends South Staffordshire College’s pioneering approach further into the area of provision for the disabled.” For Luke Ford, the Rodbaston development has a special significance in that his grandfather studied agriculture on the same site in the 1920s and was the College’s Head Boy.  He says, “This is a project we are all delighted to be involved with and the direct family connection adds even further to our commitment.  We are working to a completion date later this year and with our headquarters in the Staffordshire Moorlands we look forward to playing our part in delivering this resource for the people of the area.” For Linkage, whose college is rated by Ofsted as ‘good with outstanding outcomes for students’, this is its first project outside its traditional Lincolnshire heartland.  Director of Education at Linkage and Principal of Linkage College,  Matthew Orford commented, “We couldn’t have wished for a better partner to provide this state-of-the-art, purpose-built joint venture.  Together with South Staffordshire College, we will be delivering personalised study programmes to meet the complex needs of the 16–25 year olds who come here, in a safe, secure and beautiful setting.  South Staffordshire College has made us feel instantly at home here and it will be the same for students.”  Programmes at the centre will cover a range of content including mobility, communications, speech and language therapy, personal social and health education.  Students will get work experience and qualifications in academic and vocational subjects as diverse as Animal and Equine Care, Business Administration, Catering & Hospitality, Construction, Customer Service, Horticulture, Maths, English and ICT. For anyone wanting to find out more about the best provision of education for  16–25 year olds with disabilities, contact either 01785 710505 or email

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Former Floristry Student Heading for Worldskills Euro Finals

Tue, 08/07/2014 - 13:04

Louisa Cooper, 20 from Burntwood, who recently completed her Level 3 Diploma in Floristry at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston Campus, is heading to the European finals of WorldSkills later this year as one of Team GB’s representatives.  Continuing a proud record of South Staffordshire College success in WorldSkills – the global competition created especially for vocational students – Louisa won her place in the team over three days of competition at regional finals held in Northern Ireland, at the CAFRE Greenmount Campus. More than 160 of the UK’s most talented learners and apprentices battled for selection.  Supported by the presence of South Staffordshire College’s Chief Executive Principal, Graham Morley and Head of Marketing & PR, Alison Gallagher-Hughes, Louisa completed nine tasks under the watchful eyes of the judges, including hand-tied bouquets, table arrangements and wedding pieces. Her success in joining the national squad for the EuroSkills event, which will be held in France later this year, is the next stage in Louisa’s ultimate ambition, to represent Team GB at the WorldSkills finals in Sao Paulo 2015. Louisa says her success is down to the support she has received from many people, but in particular her Mum, her employers the School Farm Shop in Shelfield, Walsall and, of course, her tutors at South Staffordshire College. “If they hadn’t been so supportive and encouraging I might never had entered the regional heats last May.  I’m so proud to be representing South Staffordshire College and hopefully Great Britain too.  I’ve already won a Bronze medal in the UK nationals and I’ll be looking to improve on that in France.” Graham Morley says Louisa’s achievements are a tribute to her skills and determination with tremendous backing from her lecturers. “Alison Gallagher-Hughes and I were delighted to get the opportunity to support Louisa in person.  I know her Floristry lecturer, Jayne Bannister, has been a huge source of inspiration and all the hard work they have put in together has certainly paid off.  At South Staffordshire College we have a fine reputation for our Floristry courses and Louisa will continue to be a great ambassador for her college and her country.” Anyone eager to learn more about South Staffordshire College’s Floristry courses can make contact on 0300 456 2424.

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Find Your Ticket to a Golden Future at Staffordshire’s Most Successful College

Thu, 03/07/2014 - 13:02

South Staffordshire College is holding a series of Taster Days, showcasing the breadth of courses available across its Tamworth, Rodbaston, Lichfield and Cannock Campuses.  For students already enrolled to start College in September, the Taster Days will provide an ideal opportunity to experience College life, and in particular give them a chance to try their hand as various activities within their chosen career path.  For students still making up their minds, it’s a perfect way to see what’s involved, speak to students already studying at the College and take tours to see the facilities at the most successful College in the county. Join us at the Tamworth, Lichfield or Cannock Campuses from 10.00am – 3.00pm any day from Monday 7 July to Wednesday 9 July, with a host of activities taking place. The Rodbaston Campus events will also be running from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 July. You’ll be in good company – South Staffordshire College students are achieving outstanding results in regional and national competitions across a range of subjects. In the WorldSkills arena, students representing beauty, horticulture, accounting, cookery and floristry have competed at the top level and learners from the College have represented Team UK at the international final of WorldSkills for two years running. South Staffordshire College continues to grow and expand its role as a major seat of learning in the West Midlands.  Figures released by the Data Service revealed that the College was the most successful in Staffordshire for the third year running and this comes hot on the heels of the launch of the£3.5 million Foster Centre at Rodbaston Campus together with the opening of the £6million newly refurbished Cannock Campus. With a wide range of industry related courses on offer there is something for everyone at South Staffordshire College.  Taster Days offer a relaxed and friendly environment in which to find out more. Click here to register your attendance

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Lithuanian Student Honoured in College Awards

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:45

A Lithuanian student studying at South Staffordshire College has received a Student of the Year Award after completing an IMI Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Principles. Svajunas Makonis, aged 20, moved to Tamworth from Lithuania with his family four years ago.  He initially enrolled at South Staffordshire College on an Activate Course and despite English being his second language, moved on to complete GCSEs in English, Mathematics and IT.  Svajunas continued with his studies at the College and is now a fully qualified Vehicle Technician. Senior Lecturer and Department Co-ordinator, Tony Meeney, said, “Svajunas worked very hard to overcome language barriers and has required no extra support with exams. He has achieved his goal through sheer hard work and determination. We have recognised Svajunas’ hard work and awarded him ‘Student of the Year.’ We are all very proud of him.” Svajunas added: “South Staffordshire College has helped me get to where I am today. All of the staff are very supportive and we have good equipment to work with. I really enjoy my time here.”

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