This week in Student Services...

Student Services - Reading College

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Merry Christmas, one and all! It really is just around the corner now! Next week brings our Christmas party and secret santa...speaking of which...
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Secret Santa final reminder!

Here we are, folks - don't forget that this year's Secret Santa is being held on Thursday 18th December, so if you're joining in this year don't forget to bring your lovely gifts along on that day next week!
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It's Christmas Jumper day...

But...can anyone here in the office beat this man for sheer festive fashion?
Check out the link below to see how much has been raised so far:

And can donate yourselves! Simply text 'WOOLLY' to 70050 to make a £2.00 donation to the charity.


Oh come on..we HAD to!!


Sandra's looking festive today in a Red Rudolph number, complete with bobble hat and scarf. His poor nose is still red though!

P.S. no laughing today Sandra -you'll go the same colour as your jumper! :p

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Gingerbread men have feelings too! But...they're also really yummy...

Just like our lovely Gemma in her fab christmas jumper below :)

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With his amazing jumper made for him by his lovely Mum! And don't worry Stuart, we think you beat those lil light-up numbers hands down! :p
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And our runner up....

It has to be VANESSA, in her stylish nordic knit!
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This Monday saw the official "switching on of the lights" for BITE's LED Christmas tree.

The tree is being powered by the social media sites Twitter, Google+, & Facebook hash-tag #XmasPiLights.

Students from computing and engineering have worked on the project as part of the college Go Further week.

The tree has been manufactured by the college’s engineering department, with the IT department designing the programming using a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer.

Even the tree's star has been made from scratch, designed and produced using 3D printing technology.

recognise any familiar faces here...?

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Two familiar faces were involved in the project too; Jaber and Dan, who have worked for us as Student Crew over the past year.

They were both interviewed about the project, which they have loved being a part of:

Student Dan Willis said “It has been great working as a team and project managing it. Working with so many different departments has been a brilliant experience. It has been hard work but totally worth it.”

Student Jaber Al-Mahmood “This project has been absolutely amazing. We’ve had to use our problem solving, communication and team working skills. Working with people from all over the college has been a great experience – we have met so many new people.”​

Staff members got straight onto their phones and ipads to keep the lights flashing

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You can follow your hashtag and watch how you control the tree via:

Every time #XmasPiLights is used, the tree will light up and the aim is to keep it going over Christmas – we need as many people as possible to use the hashtag to make this happen.

Get tweeting guys!

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Vanessa's Tarot Teaser

Another week, another two cards. Here's this week's tarot feature!

The tower is a card that indicates change. Like death, this is a card that forces change. It shows ambition that has been built on false statements. The lightning is the brief glimpses of reality that seem to get through the false nature. One of the most important aspects of the Tower is that ,with any destruction, there comes creation. The Tower card represents an awakening, freedom, reality, inspiration and release from bondage. An honesty card that comes as a bolt of lightning which come in the form of a impacting life event. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and to excel in your potential. This can often be disorienting after the change. After this event you can grow stronger, wiser and more serene as you develop a new perspective on life.

The fool does not know what direction his life is going in. He represents the unlimited potential in everyone, as he wanders around trying to make sense of a world that keeps changing with every choice he makes. Appearing to be looking over a cliff, it represents that he is about to step into the unknown. The mountains are representative of the spirit world that he has left for the material world.

When he appears upright he represents a choice that must be made that is of a vital importance and encourages courage, creative expression and risk taking.

Upside-down he represents that you are acting without taking into account any potential risks.


Time to clean up for Christmas!

We've started getting applications in again and are all getting busy once more.

So...we need to make the most of the quiet next week and give the office a good clean up!

Then, we can all come back to a sparkling clean work-space in January, ready to go! :)

So everyone, get clearing out your cupboards and drawers - you might even find a pair of shoes in there, like I did! :p

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Shoe box success!

The student support team (and their volunteer santa's little helpers) had a great evening on Thursday packing the shoeboxes for our students.

Thank you to everyone who donated, and who helped out on the night.

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The team got through the packing and wrapping in record time, too, finishing by 6pm! Clearly they were all in the festive spirit!

Here's the team with all of the completed shoeboxes. Well done guys! A small idea with a big effect, making their Christmas special, and letting them know they're being thought of :)

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Maiden Erlegh Visits

Penny went into Maiden Erlegh School twice this week to talk to groups of Year 11 students. On Wednesday Lesley joined her as the 14-16s had exams at school.

Only one of the students had made it along to the taster sessions last week. None of the other knew anything about them – even though the flyers were delivered by hand six weeks ago!

However, Penny has offered the opportunity for a tour and Taster session for the students in the New Year, and everyone seemed keen.

On Thursday evening Penny and Lesley attended the Careers Fair at Prospect School – our largest feeder school. They were joined by 9 staff from across the college as they allow us a large cordoned-off section where we are able to host our own mini Open Event.

Prospect Careers Fair

Penny and Lesley were joined by seven curriculum staff for this annual event hosted by our biggest feeder school.

Under pressure to increase their Sixth Form numbers, only selected students were invited to attend the event this year and so they saw far fewer people than usual. There were also considerably less exhibitors, with several classrooms unused this year.

It is a shame that so many students missed out on what is usually a fantastic opportunity to explore a wide range of careers and gain expert advice :(


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UCAS deadline approaches...

Yes, the UCAS deadline falls this year on Thursday 15th January. So then, for some, Christmas won't be the most relaxing holiday break!

If any students ask about UCAS on the phones or front desk, make sure to remind them of the deadline, and of course the 12-2pm daily drop-in held by Careers.

Pass it On with Sian

In the New Year, in the lead up to the UCAS deadline, Sian will be running some Pass it On sessions on UCAS Reference Writing, and how to us 'Adviser Apply'. Spread the word to students, guys!

UCAS Pass it On Session

Thursday, Jan. 8th 2015 at 11:45am-12:15pm

King's Road


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UCAS Pass it On Session

Monday, Jan. 12th 2015 at 3:30-4pm

King's Road


Language Corner

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Jenny's Japanese Corner

This week we're learning about Japanese table manners, ahead of the biggest family meal of the year! Here you go guys:


Itadakimasu! (i-tad-ak-i-mass)

"…Okay, the second most important word ahead of Christmas (second only to last week’s kanpai!) is the word Japanese people always say before they dig into every meal. It doesn't have an exact English equivalent, but it’s an expression of gratitude before receiving food. Other important food-related phrases are gochisousama deshita (goch-i-so-sama desh-ta) which is always said after finishing a meal, and expresses gratitude for the food you have just eaten, and the word oishii (oy-shee) which means “delicious” and is something you will hear a lot whenever Japanese people eat anything at all. Anything that tastes good will be met with multiple "oishii, oishii!" exclamations from everyone eating it, so don’t forget these if a Japanese person ever invites you to dinner!"

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Kristine's Latvian Corner

This week, Kristine is telling us about fire, what we all like snuggling up by after a blow-out Christmas dinner!

"kamīns = kamīns (kameens)

Winter can be really cold sometimes and fireplaces come in handy. Snuggling by the open fire, snacking on ginger bread cookies, sipping hot chilly chocolate – those are only few of my favourite things to do by the fireplace. Be it indoors or outdoors – it always makes me feel relaxed and take time to enjoy the moment. Life is so precious. Enjoying every moment is so important.

Fire is a powerful symbol for everything and it’s really amazing if you can have a fireplace in your home. I will definitely try to build one in my own home in the nearest future. :) Stay warm and have a cookie! Gluten-free one if you can…. :)"

Vanessa's Spanish Corner

This week, Vanessa is telling us a little more about how the Spanish celebrate the festive season:

"In Spain we start celebrating our Christmas festivities on the 22nd December with “EL GORDO”, our Christmas lottery. Learn a bit more about it in the link below.

By the way, if I’m not back in January, you'll know why :)"

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Mags' Sign Language Corner

This week, Mags is wishing us all a White Christmas with the video below :)
White Christmas ( British Sign Language)

Samina's Urdu Corner

This week Samina has given us Urdu translations from some of the words we most associate with Christmas. Here they are.. :)

Kelly's Albanian Corner

And...will your travels over the holidays be taking you to Albania? If so, here's a few phrases from Kelly to help you get by on your visit :)
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Cute Puppy Corner!!

Introducing...Rosie Bradshaw!

Now I've gotten a little carried away with puppy corner this week...but can you blame me with this little pickle??
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Rosie is a Lakeland Terrier. She's teeny weeny at the moment, but her long legs make us think she's going to be very tall soon!
Here she is zonked out under my fluffy dressing gown at the weekend, on her first day with us. The owners told us that classical music sends her to sleep...Here's what my piano playlist did to her...!
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