Activate Learning’s trio among sector’s top tweeters

A trio of Activate Learning staff have been named among the further education sector’s most influential social media users.

The competition to find leading social media practitioners was launched by JISC, which provides digital services for further and higher education.

Among the final line-up – taken from nominations and selected by a panel of social media experts – are:

Cheri Fletcher – Group Executive Director @penncheryl
Cheri’s campaign to promote digital learning in further education has resulted in Reading College becoming a beacon of good practice for using technology for learning. The college has been twice shortlisted in the outstanding use of digital technology category of the TES FE Awards.
Cheri was recognised by the judges for “using her position as a leader to model positive and effective use of social media through Twitter and Google Plus.” Cheri also contributes to the Pass It On blog, which contributed to Reading College winning the AoC Beacon Award for Staff Development in 2015.

James Kieft – Group Learning and Development Manager @james_kieft
James maintains a regular blog, with information on a wide range of digital and online learning tools for colleagues to explore. He’s an active user of Twitter to share new ideas and methodologies and employs Google Plus to share his knowledge and provide accessible, material about the new tools, software and ideas.

Neil Bardo, Course Leader for Hospitality and Catering @NeilBardo
Neil uses social media to promote Reading College’s industry standard training restaurant, The Kitchen. He regularly posts photographs of student work and shares his experiences with top chefs across Berkshire. Neil also contributes to The Kitchen’s dedicated blog and microsite.

The JISC top 50 list includes college managers and leaders, tutors and support staff, who are using social media to improve learning and teaching or to create positive change within their organisation.

To find out more search #jisc50social on Twitter.

Bicester Technology Studio officially opens

The Bicester Technology Studio building is officially open.

BTS1August has seen a huge transformation for our brand new building and we are delighted to announce that the official handover is complete. The first day of term was Monday 5 September, when we were extremely excited to welcome our new students.

We would be pleased to welcome interested students over the next few days who are still undecided on their Year 10 or Sixth Form choice for September. We have a very limited number of places remaining, so if you would like to come and see the building and discuss your options with us we recommend that you do so as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions you would like to ask.


BTS building


GCSE English among top performers for The Bicester School

The Bicester School celebrated a strong set of exam results for a second time in August as students received their GCSE grades.

An impressive 82% of the 167 students collecting their results achieved A*-C in English, beating the national average by 22%.

Headteacher Tony Rushworth commented: “We are delighted that 82% of our Year 11 cohort achieved A*-C in English. The overall result of 55% A*-C English and Maths matches the national average with a progress score which is 0.2 higher than 2015.”

A number of students achieved seven or more of the very top grades of A* and A. This included Amelia Ait-Tales (nine A*/As), Leah Stanley (ten A*/As), Rebecca Clamp (eight A*/As) William Hinton (seven A*/As) and Louis O’Connell (seven A*/As), to name a few of the exceptional performers.

Tony added: “The year group included an unusually high number of disadvantaged students and we were delighted that 58% of these students achieved the headline figure which is significantly above the national average.”

A-level success for students at The Bicester School

Students at The Bicester School were celebrating a strong set of A-level results this August.

A total of 56 students received their examination results – more than double the number receiving results last year. The school posted a figure of 97% achieving two or more A-level grades at A*-E, which is 5% above the current national average.

Tony Rushworth, Headteacher at The Bicester School, said: “We are extremely proud of our students’ achievements, which represents a great deal of hard work on their part. Having seen a major improvement in A-level grades last year, we are delighted to have held firm on these results for a second year running. This is particularly impressive given the increase in the number of students studying at our sixth form.

“Importantly, these results will enable our students to take their next steps with many taking up their first choice of university place.”

When combining A-level and level 3 vocational equivalents taken by students at The Bicester School, 100% achieved two or more Level 3 advanced qualifications.

Chris takes the Chair at Activate Learning

City & GuildsGroup Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, Chris Jones, has been announced as the new Chair of the corporation at Activate Learning.

Chris, who has been a member of the corporation since 2011, replaces Graham Blackburn, who steps down after nine years’ service, including four as Chair.

As Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, Chris plays a prominent role in driving the national skills agenda. The Group is a leader in global skills development, setting the standard for professional and technical education and corporate learning and development. The Group works with education providers, employers and goverments in over 100 countries across the world.

Speaking about his new role, Chris said: “I am excited to be taking up this new role with an organisation which is leading such innovative approaches to teaching and learning, as it seeks to increase opportunities for learners. Activate Learning has a strong governing body and I look forward to continuing to work with members of the corporation, the senior team, staff and students to realise our shared vision to transform lives through learning.”

Chris takes up the position at Activate Learning following a period of significant growth. The organisation, which operates across Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley and overseas, now comprises three UK further education colleges, four schools, two apprenticeship and training providers and four colleges in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Sally Dicketts, Group Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “I am extremely grafeful for the time, commitment and expertise that Graham has given the group during a period of considerable change. During his time as Chair, the organisation has transformed from a single college to a group of organisations designed to meet the needs of learners and employers. During this time he has helped us to remain focused on raising standards of teaching and learning.

“Chris joins us as Chair as we enter an exciting new chapter in our development. This includes launching a new faculty structure across our three group colleges, which will see us working much more closely with employers in key industries to design relevant learning programmes that offer learners a direct line of sight to employment.

“Chris’ considerable experience and expertise in vocational education, and a shared passion for empowering people to unleash their talents and achieve their full potential, will help to steer us forward into this next phase.”

Before joining the City & Guilds Group, Chris held several senior management positions in publishing and education. He is also a member of Business in the Community’s Talent and Skills Leadership Group.