This Week In Student Services...

Reading College - Student Services

Riddle me this~

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100 Green-eyed Dragons: the hardest logic puzzle in the world...

((Answer is in the link below, but see if you can work it out yourself!))

You visit a remote desert island inhabited by one hundred very friendly dragons, all of whom have green eyes. They haven't seen a human for many centuries and are very excited about your visit. They show you around their island and tell you all about their dragon way of life (dragons can talk, of course).

They seem to be quite normal, as far as dragons go, but then you find out something rather odd. They have a rule on the island which states that if a dragon ever finds out that he/she has green eyes, then at precisely midnight on the day of this discovery, he/she must relinquish all dragon powers and transform into a long-tailed sparrow. However, there are no mirrors on the island, and they never talk about eye color, so the dragons have been living in blissful ignorance throughout the ages.

Upon your departure, all the dragons get together to see you off, and in a tearful farewell you thank them for being such hospitable dragons. Then you decide to tell them something that they all already know (for each can see the colors of the eyes of the other dragons). You tell them all that at least one of them has green eyes. Then you leave, not thinking of the consequences (if any). Assuming that the dragons are (of course) infallibly logical, what happens?

If something interesting does happen, what exactly is the new information that you gave the dragons?

Fabric Appeal -- Making coats for rescued Chihuahuas!!

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Penny's mother Moira is having an operation at the beginning of half-term and will be off work for six weeks. She makes doggie coats for the rescue centre Hound Aid, so plans to make a large batch, but is out of fabric and suitable clothing to utilise. She started with a knitted version but now makes smart fleece-lined coats with velcro that are easier to get on and less stressful for the dogs. These are specifically for the many Chihuahuas that they rescue after extensive breeding. Most of these little dogs have lived in cages in the dark and their little handmade coats are the first thing that is theirs alone, going with them when they are eventually able to be rehomed. The charity prefers to co-operate with the breeders rather than have them dispose of the dogs in the most economical way……

Do you have any suitable fabric to keep Moira busy whilst she is off? An old fleecy blanket for the lining? Something suitable for the outer layer? An old cushion cover perhaps?

Lexi is modelling her stripy knitted coat that she wears in the kennels and will add a fleecy coat when she is trained to walk on a lead, enabling her to eventually enjoy a new life. The leopard print jackets in the picture were particularly well-received, but most thicker fabrics are suitable. All donations gratefully received: please let Penny or Laura know if you have anything that might be suitable!

Student Services news!

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It's been a busy week for our Careers and Outreach teams, phew! Good job, guys!!

Monday 2 – Penny went to The Willink School to speak to 18 Year 11s and assist with applications.

Tuesday 3Careers Fair at Maiden Erlegh, joined by Fiona Taylor, Robert Parsons, Paul Stacey and Tim Ford. Reading Studio received a lot of enquiries from this school that is known for its creative subjects. We didn’t finish until 9.30pm, but they did feed us!

Wednesday 4Slough Careers Fair (schools across the borough arrive throughout the day by coach) and an evening event open to all: 14-16 Parents’ Evening.

Thursday 5 - Slough Careers Fair – the rest of the schools in Slough, Langley, Maidenhead attended. Pam and her Hair & Media Make-up students were very popular. In the evening Shawn and Sian attended the Careers Fair at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham.

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Jenny, signing off.... soon!

Wow, it seems like it was only last month that I was writing my introduction to all of you in the first post-summer newsletter, and now it's already time to say goodbye! I've been offered a job at a Japanese investment bank in London where I'll spend my days quietly going bonkers amidst financial gobbledegook, and I'll be finishing up my time here in Reading at the end of this month (My last day at work will be Monday, Feb 23rd - that feels like no time at all!)

I just wanted to say how lovely it's been to work with everyone here - I've met some really wonderful, friendly, funny people and I hope I can keep in touch with all of you once I go! Thanks for everything, everyone!

☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

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The week beginning Feb. 23rd begins National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Eating disorders destroy lives, and so many people suffer in silence..

On Tuesday 24th February there will be a table in the foyer with information on eating disorders, where to get help, and how to spot the signs (these could be useful resources for teachers/student coaches).

I am sure this is an issue that affects many of our students, and even staff - some may not even know, many thinking that you have to be painfully thin to be ill with an eating disorder. This is NOT the case – everyone who even thinks they may have an eating disorder, or are experiencing eating disordered thoughts, should be heard, helped and supported.

As well as raising awareness and reaching out to people who may be unwell however, we also want to fundraise to help leading eating disorder charity BEAT continue with the fantastic work they do.

For this reason, I would love the college to partake in their annual Sock it to Eating Disorders Day, where everyone wears a pair of silly socks to college and donates just £1 to BEAT.

C’mon…I’m sure you all got given a pair of rubbish socks from that awful relative at Christmas!

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This is a small donation that makes a big difference...have a look at where your £1 will go!

How your donations help at Beat

· £5 helps to send an eating disorders information pack to a sufferer or carer

· £10 helps a Beat Helpline suport worker reply to an email

· £35 helps to run the Beat Helpline for half an hour

· £50 helps to run an online support sessions for carers

· £100 helps to fund a trained Beat Helpline support worker for a day

· £300 helps Beat to train a Young Ambassador to talk to the media and raise awareness

· of eating disorders

· £600 helps Beat to run the Helpline for a day

· £700 helps Beat to print 1,000 information leaflets for carers

· £3,000 helps Beat to train 10 Young Ambassadors to reduce the stigma of mental health

· and campaign for better healthcare services

· £4,000 helps Beat to set up two support groups to provide support and advice to both

· sufferers and their families

· £12,000 helps Beat to run the helpline for a month

So…on Friday 27th February please join us in donning your silliest socks and stamping down on eating disorders!

Language Corner

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Jenny's Japanese Corner

鬼は外! 福は

Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! (On-i wa so-to! Fu-ku wa u-chi!)

What a shame we aren’t in Japan this week! If we were, we’d be throwing beans around our homes to chase away demons and bad spirits. Confused? You shouldn’t be: it’s the festival of setsubun, which Japanese people celebrate every year on February 3rd.

So where do the beans come in? During setsubun the male head of the household will throw roasted soybeans out of the door (or alternatively at a member of the family who is wearing an oni, or demon, mask) Apparently misfortune quails at the sight of a simple soybean, since this is thought to symbolically drive out all the bad luck and demons that have crept into the house over the course of the year. Then, to seal the deal and invite good luck into the home, members of the family eat more roasted soybeans: generally one bean for each year of a person’s life. The traditional repeated cry during the festival is oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! Or “demons outside! Good fortune inside!”

Shrines and temples also take part in the bean-tossing, demon-chasing extravaganza and decorations line the streets wherever you look. While in more recent times these decorations tend to be bright and cheerful and made of plastic or paper, you can still find more traditional areas of Japan where people put holly leaves and fish heads up outside their homes instead. Just what you want with your roasted beans, don’t you think?

Birdwatching with Vanessa!

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Kingfisher fact file

Common Name: Kingfisher

Latin Name: Alcedo atthis

Brief Description: Kingfishers are easily recognisable by their short stature, bright electric blue and orange plumage and sharp beak.


Kingfishers breed at a year old, and mating usually starts in February. If the male and the female live in neighbouring territories might merge for the breeding season. Both birds excavate the burrow into stone-free sandy soil of a low stream bank, about 0.5m from the top. The birds select a vertical bank clear of vegetation, as this provides a reasonable degree of protection from predators.

The tunnel is usually 60-90 cm long, is only a little wider than the bird. The nest chamber at the end has a slight dip to prevent eggs rolling out, but no material is brought to the nest. 2-3 broods can be raised in quick succession, generally in the same nest.

The first clutch is laid late in March or early in April and consists of 6-7 eggs. Both adults will incubate the eggs, and chicks hatch 19-21 days later. Each chick is able to eat 12-18 fish a day, and is fed in rotation once a chick is fed, it moves to the back of the nest to digest its meal, triggering the others to move forward. Chicks are normally ready to leave the nest when they are 24-25 days old, but if the fish supply is poor, they can take up to 37 days. Once out of the nest, the young stay for only four days before the parents drive them out of the territory and start their next family.


Kingfishers eat mainly fish, primarily minnows and sticklebacks, but they can also catch tadpoles, freshwater shrimps and aquatic insects to replenish their diet. They prefer fish that reach about 23 mm in length, but can also handle something up to 80mm long. Ideal fishing spots are firm perches overlooking a clear, shallow pool of water. When the bird has found suitable prey it assesses its depth and dives. When it enters the water, its beak is opened and its eyes closed by the third eyelid. The bird is efficiently blindfolded as it catches the fish. If the strike is effective and accurate Kingfishers continually strikes the fish against its perch to kill it. Then the spines in the fins of some species like sticklebacks relax enough to allow the bird swallow it, head first. Each kingfisher must eat at least its own bodyweight of fish each day.

Legal status:

As these birds are fairly rare and easily disturbed kingfishers are afforded the highest grade of legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Like with the robin it a criminal offence to knowingly destroy nests, take eggs, injure or kill the bird while the nest is in use. Abuse of the law can attract fines up to £5,000 per offence and may also include a prison sentence of up to six months. Kingfishers are high up in the food chain. Therefore are extremely vulnerable to build-up of chemicals. Industrial pollution and contamination by agricultural run-off kills the fish birds rely on, effectively excluding the birds from many stretches of river that would otherwise be suitable habitats. Long-term populations have declined since 1970 and are generally attributed to river pollution. They are also vulnerable to harsh winters, human interference and heavy machinery that compromise the security and structure of nesting sites.

Random fact:

Fishermen use these birds sighting to find good fishing spots. The more there are in an area the more successful the fishing.

Cute Puppy Corner!

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Here's Gemma's Frosty looking absolutely adorable (not creepy, as Gemma insists!) Clearly he has a flavour, and he's enjoying it immensely!
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And just because I can, I'm spamming Miki before I leave. He turned two years old on the 16th January, so that weekend I took him to a photo studio here in Reading and had some professional pictures taken of the little worm. This is one of my favourites <3
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