This Week In Student Services...

Student Services - Reading College

In general news...

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Can you hear sleighbells yet?

December approaches! Bad news for any Scrooges out there, but we're certainly getting excited for the festive season.

Next week will be the last week of November, and we can hardly believe the month has passed so quickly!

So...who's started their Christmas prep yet, or decided the date the tree's going up?

No? Not to worry...For now, just remember that it's time to don our Christmas jumpers on December 12th in aid of Save The Children and their annual Christmas Jumper day. Got yours yet?

If not, don't fear! - George at Asda are doing a great range, with proceeds going to the charity. We might all end up in the same jumper ... but we're helping a good cause so who cares! :)

It's World Hello Day!

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November 21, 2014 is the 42nd annual World Hello Day! Anyone can participate by simply greeting ten people. This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.

World Hello Day was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries.

People around the world use the occasion as an opportunity to express their concern for world peace.

Beginning with a simple greeting on World Hello Day, their activities send a message to leaders, encouraging them to use communication rather than force to settle conflicts.

Let's get involved, by saying hello to at least ten people today - which won't be a problem for those on the advice desk! :P

And don't forget to pick up a copy of Claire's quiz from reception. Can you guess all the languages hello is written in?

It's raining men!

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Big up the men of the department!

This Wednesday, 19th November, marked International Men's Day. Boys..I hope you made the most of it! :p

Objectives of International Men's Day include a focus on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion for men to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care while highlighting the discrimination against them.

The November IMD is a significant date as it interfaces the popular 'Movember' charity event and also with Universal Children's Day on Nov 20 .

Though Friday now, join us in celebrating the contribution men and boys make to those around them, to their family and friends, their work place and the community, the nations and the world :)

Advice & Admissions

Vanessa K's hidden talents...

Now we all knew that Vanessa is a whizz on the phones, but who knew that she reads tarot cards. Pretty cool, huh?

This week Vanessa wanted to introduce two cards, and explain the meaning behind them.

This is set to be a weekly feature, so we'll all be experts in no time ;)

Tarot reading is a traditional type of fortune telling and is often seen at fairs. There are 78 cards in total, like a standard pack of cards, and are split into the major arcana and the minor arcana. There are 4 suits included in the minor arcana; wands, pentacles, cups and swords. The pictures depict principles and ideals.

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The Death Card

This is the most misunderstood card in the whole tarot.

The death card does not mean death literally, but more of a metaphorical death; for example the death of a habit and the beginning of something new.

The reason this card strikes fear is because it represents the unknown and is often fought against to maintain a way of life. This card is the opposite of the hanged man as it represents a forced change, sometimes it is for the better, other times maybe not.

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The Paradox Card

Pictured above is the paradox card. It is the opposite of death because it represents voluntary change. The character has purposely hung himself upside down to change his perspective. It’s a difficult card to describe as there can be many meanings - it always makes people think long and hard about whether they are willing to make a change for themselves, rather than have it forced on them.

Student Support

Keeping children safe in education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges

Action required!!

Just a quick reminder that if you haven't read Part One of the guidance document that Gill emailed out to everyone on Monday, the deadline to read it and complete the Google form is Friday 28th November. Part One is only seven pages long and it includes some really important information about our duties in regards to keeping all our students safe, so please don't forget to read it and fill in the form below:

Your foodbank needs YOU!

Nearing the end of the term, the food bank is now running a little low..

They are in serious need of cupboard essentials; pasta, pasta sauces, rice, tinned food (fruit, beans etc.).

The bank is also running low on essential toiletries; shower gels, deodorant, so any of these donations would be greatly appreciated as well.

Anything you can spare, please do, so we can keep providing parcels for students who really need them.

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Successful first meet of the year for Safeguarding team

This Wednesday afternoon the lead Safeguarding officers conducted their first meeting of this academic year.

The meeting was a great opportunity to raise any concerns, discuss how to handle issues prevalent in the college and, of course, to share good practice.

Shawn delivered an excellent training session based on his recently completed Samaritans training, outlining what not to do when Safeguarding a learner. The training was very helpful, as many of these points to avoid were common mistakes that are incredibly easy to make (showing sympathy, self-disclosing, making comparisons etc.)

Shawn used the analogy of a person being like an iceberg, in that you will only ever see what is on the surface initially. We all have so much going on below the surface, and the training was about respecting this fact, and responding to it with empathy and genuineness when safeguarding learners.

Well done Shawn for a great session, and on completing your Samaritans training!

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Gill also had some very exciting news to share at the meeting - a childcare provider has asked her if we could deliver training to their staff, having heard such great things about the work our safeguarding officers do here at the College. Well done for this - everyone's good practice is obviously being recognised!

Congratulations to Gill, Zoe, and all of the other Safeguarding officers for creating such a fantastic team, helping learners across the college.

“Empathy not Sympathy” Pass It On Session.

Tuesday, Nov. 25th, 10:30am

King's Rd


Would you like to develop your confidence talking to a student who seems closed off and unresponsive.
Does your gut feeling say something might be wrong but it probably isn't a Safeguarding concern and so therefore you don’t know what to do next?
If the answer to the questions above is Yes then come to our Pass It on Session and learn some Top Tips on how to deal with this very scenario.

Bought any shoes recently?

Then we'll have the box please! And some stuff to put in it, too!

With Christmas approaching (5 weeks to go!) Zoe and Claire are starting to put out feelers for donations for the Shoe Box appeal.

This is a fantastic project that provides students with something special at Christmas. For many, it will be the only gift they receive.

There are a lot of people less fortunate than us, so have a dig around and see what you can bring in to donate. Maybe you have a bag ready for the charity shop that you could find some donations from..?

Donations should be anything that represents a gift; jewellery (no earrings or tatty stuff please!), make-up (unused), soaps and smellies (unused), scarves, hats, gloves, accessories, books, chocolates/christmas treats (please make sure there's a good amount of time on them).

Anything would be greatly appreciated, just please ensure it isn't used or in bad condition - we want to make these students feel good and appreciated by giving them the boxes, and not as if they have been given unwanted items.

Anything you can, guys. Make someone's Christmas!

And...if you really feel like helping out, you can volunteer to stay behind after work with Zoe and Claire on Thursday 11th December to put the shoe boxes together. It will be a fun evening of cheesy Christmas tunes, mince pies and team spirit, so let Zoe know if you're interested in joining! :)

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I dub thee.. Ambassadors!

The student ambassadors, both new and old, have been through rigorous training recently to help them in their roles.

This included an intense and jam-packed 3-hour session with Alistair Woodcock on Coaching and Mentoring, setting the ambassadors up with the skills needed to mentor other students under Claire's guidance.

The ambassadors also undertook their Safeguarding training this week, so are now ready to fully embrace their roles in helping their fellow students.

A big well done to all of our purple-lanyard-wearing friends! Keep up the good work, guys! :)

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School Partnership

This week Miriam and Penny attended the Careers Fair at Gillotts School, near Henley. They booked several students on tasters, and more are sure to follow. They also met a potential Plumbing apprentice with an employer keen to begin working with us - all in all a very successful night, then!

Thursday saw Painting & Decorating Lecturer Dave Johnson join Penny at Yateley School for another Careers Fair. Dave is a 14-16 Co-ordinator for Construction and, like Penny and Lesley, will be sad to lose the final groups this year.

It was great for Dave to visit Yateley School, as this is where both he and his sons went to School. It was also great for Penny, being round the corner from home in Sandhurst! :P

The evening was a great success, and I'm sure we'll be seeing many Yateley students coming through our doors in the future :)

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Sports & Enrichment

Gym Fit sessions for staff

Think you don't have the time to work and exercise?? Think again!

Every Monday from 5.15-6.15 the gym will be running a session for Staff, where one-to-one coaching, fitness advice and specially tailored fitness programmes will be available.

What better way to refresh yourself after a tiring Monday at the office? :)

Judo classes!

Ever fancied your hand at Judo? Then look no further!

Every Thursday from 5.15 there will be Judo classes running. If you're interested in attending please get in touch with Sagheer on :)

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Fitness Tips of the week from Sagheer

Now if you do still believe that you don't have the time to exercise, then Sagheer is happy to tell you that you can do it while at your desk!

When at your desk, sit up straight and crunch in your stomach in for ten seconds. It's a great way to work your core muscles without even breaking a sweat!

And, for all your Xmas bod's some other great ideas for "deskercise" :)

Language Corner

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Jenny's Japanese Corner


Ganbarimasu! (gan-bari-mass)

A useful word to know as our workloads ramp up here at Student Services: ganbarimasu is an all-purpose word that means “I won’t give up!” “I’ll try my best!” “I’ll fight on!” “I won’t let them get me down!” Unsurprisingly it’s a very popular word in Japan where people take pride in giving their all, so between now and the holidays ganbatte kudasai, or “please try your best!”

Culture note: After the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the whole country came together and started a movement known as Ganbatte Nippon!, or ‘pull together Japan!’ (ganbatte is the imperative form of ganbarimasu, while Nippon or sometimes Nihon is the word for Japan) and even nearly four years later you can see the familiar slogan plastered on posters in shop windows, on cars, and on t-shirts and plastic merchandise of all kinds. While not all proceeds of the sales go towards rebuilding the areas damaged by the earthquake, the slogan and images help foster a supportive ‘we’re all in it together’ mindset that is encouraging people to buy products from the affected areas or take their holidays in the regions struggling to rebuild.

Kristine's Latvian Corner

The word for today is…

eco-cosmetics = eko-kosmētika [eh-co-cos-meh-tika]

"Latvians definitely know a lot about the beauty of nature and its health benefits. Latvia is famous for its eco-products. Knowledge about herbs and traditional medicine runs in our blood. I am fortunate to know a lot of things about plants and their beneficial properties and thought it would be nice for you to learn about one of Latvian eco-brands.

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I wanted to introduce you to Madara Cosmetics.

“MADARA Cosmetics is a Latvian manufacturer of organic skin care products. The ingredients include biologically certified blossoms and herbal extracts from the Baltic region.

The brand name MADARA is the Latvian name for a common inhabitant of Baltic meadows - Galium mollugo, commonly known as bedstraw or wild madder. Its spatial pattern or fractal is also depicted in logo of MADARA Cosmetics .

“Award winning American actress Gwyneth Paltrow has tested and positively rated MÁDARA organic cosmetics, and is one of many celebrities to rate the brand; American celebrity fashion stylist Rachel Zoe recommends MÁDARA Flower Dust shimmering lotion, English model Ruth Crilly prefers MÁDARA tinting fluid, but leading international make-up artist Attracta Courtney uses MÁDARA moonkissed tinting lipgloss.”


- Kristine x

Vanessa's Spanish Corner

"Vale" - Okay.

This is one of the most frequently used words in Spanish, and takes on several meanings in conversation. It can be used to mean 'okay', 'sure', 'cool', or just to convey that you have understood someone. It is a word frequently used in day-to-day conversation and, I'm sure if you listen out to Vanessa on advice desk when she is speaking Spanish, you'll hear it lots! :)

This week Vanessa has also given us a great link to other frequently used Spanish words, enabling us all to speak like a local! ;)

Kelly's Albanian Corner

This week we're introducing another language to your corner.

Kelly is from Albania, a country in south eastern Europe, Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan.

As we haven't had Kelly's corner before, she's decided to teach us how to say Hello in her native language.

Pershendetje (pronounced perchendet je ...) = Hello

Certainly the prettiest sounding hello I've come across! :)

Big image continue your Albanian education, here's some facts about the country:

* In Albania, nodding the head means no, and shaking the head means yes. Confusing, huh!

* The local name of Albania is ‘Shqiperia’, which can be translated to ‘Land of the Eagles’ (reflected in their flag below). The red stands for bravery, strength and valor, while the double-headed eagle represents the sovereign state of Albania located in the Balkans.

* Albania served as an outpost for NATO troops and took in approximately 440,000 Kosovan refugees, about half the total number of ethnic Albanians who were driven from their homes in Kosovo.

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Mags' Sign-Language Corner

As it's World Hello Day, we thought that we'd link you all to a video on how to sign commonly used phrases this week.

Here you go! :)

Basic Greetings in BSL

Cute Puppy Corner!


This week we're introducing Mags' adorable dog, Whiskey..

"One day in June 2011, my friend took me to go and see some puppies in a store called Ladds along the A4. It was probably a bad thing to do, as before I knew it, I was carrying a cross breed Jack Russell/Yorkshire Terrier home with me in a cardboard box.

Her name came from 2 different places. At first I racked my brain for the perfect name. For a while I thought maybe paws (as she has some white socks on her feet) but didn’t really feel that was suitable. Then after one night of watching her, I looked to my left and saw a bottle of Jack Daniels on the side.

Suddenly the name Whiskey came to me. I was forever calling her a Jack Daniels instead of a Jack Russell, plus her colouring was the same as the whiskey bottle.

I have given her to my parents to care for as, unfortunately, due to living in rented accommodation with other professionals it is not viable and a bit cruel to have kept her with me where she would not receive the attention that she deserves.

She has now been in my life for 3 years and I wouldn’t change it for a thing (Although she does have slight weight issues due to my parents loving attention).

About a year and a half ago we found out that she has a heart murmur, an extra leaf in her heart valve and also an enlarged heart. She will be on medication for the rest of her life. It does not affect her and she is still a doting dog, ready to chase anything that moves.

She is always ready for belly rubs and won’t leave you alone if you have food of any description. Her favourite pass time is curling up on someone’s lap /bed and constantly re-opening the back door whenever it is closed.

She is also a terrible licker and will use any opportunity to lick the skin off your bones (this is made worse by my parents teaching her that ‘Kiss’ means she can lick *sigh*)

Although she is with my parents, she is still my baby!"

And here's Gemma's adorable dog Frosty....

Looking how we're all feeling after a long old week. An early night for me tonight I think! :p
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That's all folks!

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Have a great weekend, everyone -- not long 'til the holidays now!
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