January 2015


To the Activate Learning Staff Bulletin, designed to keep team members informed of news and developments from across the group.

News shared via the bulletin aims to demonstrate how we are living our four guiding principles - Enterprise, Empowerment, Connectedness and Transformation.

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Business students from Banbury and Bicester College have been putting their money making skills to the test to raise more than £3,000 for Katharine House Hospice.

The students have been working since mid-September to plan and deliver a range of fundraising activities in aid of the Adderbury-based hospice.

Activities have included selling Christmas trees and gifts from Banbury Market, face painting in Castle Quay Shopping Centre, a FIFA football tournament, family portraits and a sponsored cycle ride on exercise bikes covering a distance equivalent to Banbury to Paris.

Among the biggest fundraisers was a 10-mile sponsored walk in fancy dress, which clocked up £1,000 and a posh frocks fashion show and auction, which raised £750.

A total of £3,147 has been raised by the group, which has been working together as part of a new project-based learning approach.

Helen Mariner, Head of Fundraising at Katharine House Hospice said: “The amount raised is incredible and really will make so much difference. It’s been wonderful working with Banbury and Bicester College and seeing how well the student teams have performed. They really should be so proud of what they’ve achieved.”


Young people embarking on careers in the performing arts are to benefit from a new partnership between Reading’s leading producing theatre and the town’s further education college.

On December 18 Reading Rep and Reading College launched the Reading Studio of Dramatic Art – an innovative approach to performing arts training in the South East.

The partnership will see Reading Rep operate from Reading Studio, at Reading College, and will provide students on performing arts courses access to all areas of professional theatre production.

The partnership will also be expanded to provide educational workshops and community outreach programmes.

Alan Stacey, chairman of Reading Rep, said: “By combining vocational training with outreach and professional productions, our vision is for Reading Studio to become a cultural hub for the city and wider region.

“We are excited about the opportunities this brings, both for young people starting out on their careers in the performing arts and for the community.”

Students studying performing arts courses at Reading College will now work alongside the team at Reading Rep to support live theatre performances. In doing so they will get experience of all aspects of theatre production, including staging, marketing and generating ticket sales.


Public Services students from City of Oxford College helped to light up Christmas in the city.

The students, working as part of the new Activate Learning company TeamworX, provided stewarding services for Oxford’s Light Night at both the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums. Together they managed more than 8,000 visitors who came to enjoy the big lights switch on.

The TeamworX learning company is continuing to provide stewarding services as well as team building activities for schools and businesses. In 2015 the company will launch a new website as it seeks to build its customer base.



A fashion student from Banbury and Bicester College has been chosen as one the country’s top young designers.

Amie Twiner, from Brackley, was one of 10 finalists in the Young Designer of the Year Award 2014, which is run by the Clothes Show Live and is open to students aged 17 to 25.

Entrants were invited to design an outfit that embodied the style of a city renowned for fashion, inspired by a new range of fragrances produced by So...?

Amie’s design was inspired by 1960s London, and featured a monochrome mini skirt and top designed, pattern-cut and made by the 17-year-old Extended Diploma in Fashion student.

Amie said: “This project has given me some really good experience, and is something I can add to my portfolio which will help me when it comes to taking my next steps in the industry.”

The Clothes Show Creative Awards Programme is designed to help students get involved with leading fashion brands and produce work suitable for their end of year course portfolios. It is the second year running that students from Banbury and Bicester College have been chosen as finalists in the competition.


A new scheme to help young people get ready for work is proving a success at City of Oxford College.

In December the first group of students completed their work placement as part of the Traineeship Programme in Customer Service for 16 to 23 year olds.

The scheme combines work experience with opportunities to improve English and maths skills and support to make the next step into full-time employment or an apprenticeship.

Tony El-Houly completed his placement at a local Mazda dealership based in Oxford. He went on to secure a customer service role at Argos over the Christmas period.

Another trainee, Anna Laurenson completed her placement at Oxfordshire County Council, assisting in the Youth and Engagement and Opportunities team.

Anna commented on her experience: “The placement gave me an insight into youth work and administration. The Traineeship programme has also helped me a lot with my maths and English skills. It has been brilliant.”

Anna now hopes to pursue a career as a social worker.

City of Oxford College has since started working with a second group of Traineeship learners and a further course will start in mid-January 2015.


As part of an ongoing commitment to those managing apprentices, Activate Enterprise is offering two new dates for its coaching and mentoring workshop – 27 January and 25 March.

Coaching and Mentoring is a vital skill for managers, enabling them to provide the best possible support for their team members.

This full day, interactive workshop will provide managers with essential coaching and mentoring techniques to make an immediate impact. If you’re new to the concept of coaching and mentoring, this is the event for you. The workshop costs £95 (+VAT) per delegate and includes lunch and refreshments.

To find out more contact Jez Fernandez at Activate Enterprise.



UTC Reading has officially become the country’s first Fujitsu Ambassador at the launch of the school’s Innovation Hub.

Using the Innovation Hub as a base, the Fujitsu Ambassador programme aims to promote the use of digital technology across education for the benefit of students, teachers, parents, employers and the wider economy.

It is supported by the Education Technology Action Group (ETAG), whose mission is to promote the use of digital technology in schools, further education, higher education and Special Education Needs (SEN) sectors.

As part of the programme, Fujitsu has partnered with 10 educational institutions across the UK, including UTC Reading. All ambassadors have been selected based on their use of technology to enhance the learning experience and their work to develop digital skills for students and teachers.

The Innovation Hubs will feature Fujitsu technology to help students further develop their digital skills and promote the the use of digital technology more widely.


Reading College is in the running for a national award for outstanding use of technology.

The college has been announced as a finalist in the TES FE Awards for its use of a range of browser-based technologies to improve student’s learning.

The award shortlisting reflects Reading College’s development of Google Apps to help students learn anytime, anywhere.

By using platforms such as Google Docs and Google Communities the college has been able to improve collaboration between students and their teachers and increase the speed at which teachers can provide feedback on student work. It has also used Google sites to develop an interactive website, called Pass It On, where staff can access teaching resources and tips.

Six providers have been shortlisted in the outstanding use of technology in FE category at the TES FE Awards and the winner will be announced on Friday 27 February.


Experience Oxfordshire members and partners gathered at City of Oxford College on Thursday 27 November for the Oxfordshire Annual Tourism Forum.

The event comprised a number of guest speakers, including business and council leaders as well as tourism professionals brought together to brainstorm ideas to boost tourism in Oxfordshire.

After talks from the Experience Oxfordshire team, the City Council, the Westgate Alliance and the Country Houses Network the attendees moved into workshop groups to discuss the visitor experience and how it could be improved. Topics discussed included customer service, cultural tourism, travel and transport, the rural experience and industry recruitment.



Local people are being invited to have their say on proposals to re-launch Bicester Community College as an academy.

Activate Learning is the sponsor for BCC as it seeks approval to launch with new academy status later in the year.

In December the school launched a consultation period to give staff, parents and local residents a chance to have their say on the proposals.

The consultation closes on January 23 when all views will be collated into a report and submitted to the Department for Education to seek final approval.

Bicester Community College was removed from special measures in May 2014 having achieving a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted. The inspectors praised a “complete turnaround” in ethos and culture at the school in the last 18 months and recognised that pupils have made “rapid progress”.

Under the proposed academy agreement, BCC will form part of Activate Learning’s schools division which comprises UTC Reading, UTC Oxfordshire (due to open in September 2015) and Bicester Technology Studio (proposed to open in September 2016).


Social media helped to keep Reading College’s Christmas tree lights shining over the festive period, thanks to an innovative project.

The tree lights were powered by the social media hashtag #XmasPiLights and supported by some clever programming using a Raspberry Pi computer.

The project was developed by the computing and engineering department as part of Computer Science Education Week, with the star at the top of the tree created using 3D printing technology.

Sir John Madejski OBE, DL kicked off the social media campaign, tweeting from @ReadingFC “Sir John Madejski: “With this tweet, on behalf of Reading FC, I officially turn on the Christmas lights @ReadingCollege” #XmasPiLights

The students and staff tweeted celebrities and technology organisations to keep the lights shining all over Christmas. News of the project hit the technology media in France and Germany.

To see more pictures click here.