Government minister mentions Bath College in the House of Lords


Government minister Nick Boles has used careers advice provided through the Bath Education Trust as an example of the way forward for other schools and colleges.


The government’s Minister of State for Skills and Equalities was speaking in the House of Lords to the Select Committee on Social Mobility.


Appointed in June, the committee is considering how social mobility affects the transition from school to work for 14 to 24-year-olds.


During the session, Mr Boles mentioned careers advisers at Bath College, who visit all schools signed up to the Bath Education Trust (BET) to give students impartial information and guidance.


Speaking about careers advice, Mr Boles said “one of the most interesting models” available is the Bath Education Trust, which is run with “the active and willing participation of” schools and educational providers in Bath.


He said: “What we should be encouraging is different LEPs, different combined authorities to come forward and be more proactive.”


The BET Futures Careers Service is operating in Beechen Cliff School, Hayesfield School, Oldfield School and Ralph Allen School.


Louise Croft, head of the BET Future Careers Service, said: “It is good to hear ministers talking about the work we do with our BET partners.


“It is important that all young people have access to impartial advice about all of their options post 16 and post 18.


“Our work with the BET schools facilitates this.”


Mr Boles spoke alongside education secretary Nicky Morgan at the final evidence gathering session held by the Select Committee on Social Mobility.


He was asked about funding for further education, career pathways for young people who do not study for A-levels and the new apprenticeship levy.


The minister also talked about a local enterprise adviser network, through the new Careers and Enterprise Company, which aims to recruit volunteer enterprise advisers from large and small companies to offer schools and colleges an insight into business.


The committee will report on its findings by March 23.


New animals settle in at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus


Rescued rabbits Scooby and Velma have been given a new home at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.


The pair were adopted from Bath Bunny Rescue, based in Twerton, and are being used to teach students how to handle large rabbits.


They are settling in at the same time as a pair of rosella parakeets, a blue-tounged skink and a Syrian hamster named Oreo.




Students studying animal care at Bath College look after hundreds of animals every day, from rodents to chickens, fish and reptiles.


However, Scooby and Velma are the biggest rabbits at the college.


Supervisor Katie Parfitt said: “I saw that Scooby and Velma were larger rabbits, which we thought would be excellent for teaching correct restraints in animals.


“I like to help rescues as I believe it is very good for students to work with animals that may not have had the best start in life.


“They can see the progress made and the techniques used to gain an animal’s trust. This helps give them skills for careers in rescue centres.


“It’s lovely to see Scooby and Velma grooming each other’s faces and siting side by side eating hay together. They both really love food and can’t get enough carrots!


“As rabbits are such sociable animals it is always best if possible to keep two together.”


Scooby and Velma


The land-based department at Bath College was refurbished from September to October to include new animal tanks and cages.


Now the college has the space to home animals like Sidney, a three-year-old male skink, who likes to eat fruit, insects, small birds, eggs and dead mice.


Miss Parfitt said: “Due to the investment that has been made in upgrading the animal accommodation we had space and a lovely large vivarium, so we acquired him.


“We have lots of lizards and snakes, but the skink is a good link between these and is something different for the students to learn about.




“To prepare students for a career in the animal care industry they need to realise there is an awful lot of feeding and cleaning carried out every day of the year.


“All animal care courses, from entry level up to level 3, have both practical duties and practical handling sessions timetabled into every week.”


Deck the College competition winners announced


Staff at Bath College rose to the challenge when they were asked to decorate their departments for Christmas.


Teams in Bath and Somer Valley entered into the festive spirit of things for the annual Deck the College Competition.


They enjoyed some Christmas fun, transforming their offices into grottos, winter wonderlands and an exam centre for Santa.


At Santa’s Union, decorated by the student participation team, chaplain Rob Popejoy dressed up as an elf.


Learning support staff at Bath College also turned their office into Whoville, with a cardboard cut-out of the Grinch and Dr. Seuss quotes.


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Carole Stott, chair of the governing body at Bath College, judged the competition and announced the winners at the staff Christmas party.


The library team at Bath won second place for their German market and the IT team at Somer Valley fashioned a cosy log fire to win third place.


First place was awarded to the estates team at Somer Valley, who created Santa’s mission control centre.


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Staff put up a map tracking Santa’s journey across the globe to deliver presents, surrounded by clocks set at different time zones in the world.


They decorated a Christmas tree with keys and laid out a diary to record sleigh and vehicle bookings, as well as Rudolph’s trophy for the reddest nose.


Mike Drewitt, from the estates team, said: “We just couldn’t believe it when we found out we’d won.


“We put it together from things we found, we didn’t spend a penny. We were all involved, it was a team effort. We’ve got to defend our title next year now!”


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Football Academy, News

Sports student Ollie Bassett signs professional contract with Yeovil Town


Bath College student Ollie Bassett has signed a professional contract with Yeovil Town just three months after making his debut with the first team.


The 17-year-old became Yeovil’s youngest ever football league player when he played for the team against Crawley Town in September.


He has secured a future with Yeovil Town until June 2017 and will also continue studying for a BTEC Level 3 sports qualification at Bath College.


Bath College lecturer Paul Blenkinsopp said: “It’s really good for him and it’s really good that we can say we have a professional player studying with us.


“I would say he’s very focused as a player. With Ollie, he’s a down to earth kid – there’s no airs or graces about him.


“He comes in to work hard and the staff get on well with him. He’s one of those boys where you’re happy it’s happened to him.”


Bath College runs two football academies in partnership with Southampton and Bath City FC, giving students the chance to play against top teams.


Players at the Southampton academy train with Yeovil two days a week and play for the Yeovil under 18s team on Saturday.


The signing signals a bright future for Ollie, from Packington, Leicestershire, who came to Bath after playing at Aston Villa’s academy.


He said: “After the Crawley game I didn’t know it was coming, but I thought there was a good chance.


“I played the following week against Hartlepool and I was just hoping they would offer me something.


“It’s a good opportunity. I didn’t get a scholarship at Aston Villa so I might have just packed it in, but Southampton gave me a second chance.


“It’s good to get a college course behind you in case it doesn’t work out. I have something to fall back on.


“I’m excited to start full-time next year. I’m looking forward to playing football five days a week.”


Ollie’s signing has created a buzz in the sports department at Bath College and has been an inspiration for other students there.


Mr Blenkinsopp said: “He could at the end of that, if he does well, get offered a three to four year deal. Or another club might see him and want to offer him something.


“As well as educating them, hopefully football-wise we’re giving them some good opportunities to progress. Obviously we want to get players back into football.


“Originally Ollie came from the Aston Villa Academy. He’s technically a very good player. He probably didn’t make it at Aston Villa because of his size, but over the next few years he will develop that.


“It’s good for our students here. It shows that it can be done for the ones that work hard there is an opportunity to get back into the game.”


Got Ya Back team create Christmas advent calendar to help students stay safe


Students behind the Got Ya Back campaign have created a Christmas advent calendar encouraging people to stay safe during the festive season.


The online advent calendar features Santa with his reindeers and behind each door is a safety message for students enjoying a night out with friends.


Got Ya Back is a partnership between Bath College, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Bath Spa University and the University of Bath.


IT students at Bath College helped kickstart the campaign in May after a number of river deaths involving young people last year.


Got Ya Back encourages students to carry ICE (in case of emergency) cards and is looking at ways of working with taxi operators and licensed premises to help get people home safely.


The campaign has been used at university fresher’s fairs and in January, Bath College students will be going into schools to talk to pupils about river safety.


Tips on the advent calendar include letting someone know what time you’re going to be back and leaving a club or pub with a group of friends.


Campaign manager and Bath College student Sam Maggs said: “We’re hoping the calendar can help spread safety tips that we all know and use to help others out.


“We want people to share their own tips with us and others, so the community of Bath can be safer. t’s also just some fun to get us all in the Christmas spirit. We want to be fun and engaging, not boring.


“We’d love for everyone to share our calendar with friends and family.”


Click on the calendar here.


Students organise sale in aid of the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal


Students studying life and independent living skills teamed together to raise money for the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal.


A group of students collected £78 after holding a cake and hand-made Christmas card sale in the Roper Building at Bath College.


The Hope 4 Harmonie appeal is raising money for Bath toddler Harmonie-Rose, who fell ill with a deadly form of meningitis just before her first birthday.


Doctors at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children saved her life, but were forced to amputate.


The fund will help the brave youngster adapt to life as a quadruple amputee, paying for special equipment, prosthetics and home modifications.


Foundation learning lecturer Charlotte Henley said: “This is the first time these students have raised money for the Hope 4 Harmonie appeal.


“This is part of an enterprise project they are part of – they have to decide what they want to sell. They did a survey to see what was popular, so that’s why they’re selling Christmas cards and cakes.


“They made everything from scratch.”


Bath College students volunteering for new green website Ecojam Bath


Bath College students will be volunteering for a new website launched to showcase green living in Bath and create an eco-friendly online community.


The new website, Ecojam Bath, allows visitors to look up green businesses, search for ethical jobs and tune into local news, events and discussions.


Two students will offer their help with the business as part of Bath College’s new innovation and enterprise strategy – to help students build connections with organisations in the city.


Media student Neve Fear-Smith plans to study journalism at university and will be writing news articles and blog entries for the website.


Marketing hopeful Issy Briggs has signed up to assist with promotional campaigns and events, raising the profile of Ecojam Bath.


Darren Rogers, enterprise and innovation manager at Bath College, said: “The intention is that we deepen the learning experience even further through engagement with start-ups, local businesses and inspirational entrepreneurs.


“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Our students are embedded in local businesses, working in the industry they are training for, and the start-up businesses get support from our students to help them grow and become successful.”


The new Ecojam Bath website is a hub where people can connect with each other, share ideas and find out how to get involved in Bath’s green scene.


Visitors to the website can track down their local farmers’ market, give away or collect unwanted items and find restaurants with green credentials.


Rebecca Fox, Ecojam Bath’s project manager, said: “Bath has a vibrant green and ethical scene, and visitors to the site may be surprised by the diversity of what’s going on in their city.


“Ecojam Bath is run by volunteers and since our website launched a few weeks ago, I have been on the lookout for more volunteers who can help develop Ecojam’s presence in the community.


“By working with Bath College I can recruit volunteers with the right set of skills. Ecojam is all about supporting the local community, which is why I am delighted to be offering valuable work experience to Neve and Issy. I can’t wait for us to get started.”


Bath College is currently building up its portfolio of businesses and organisations that would be interested in offering work experience.


To find out more about the enterprise scheme contact Mr Rogers on (01225) 328673. Click here to visit the Ecojam Bath website.


You can also connect with Ecojam Bath on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Bath College students hold Christmas market at Green Park Station


Students brought a buzz to Green Park Station at the Bath College Christmas market, filling the old station with music, gift stalls and festive fun.


The market involved students from across the college, who worked hard to make and sell hand-made gifts, food and flower arrangements.


Art and design students created their own products in class, producing cushions, mugs, bags, jewellery and t-shirts.




Visitors also stopped to listen to first year music students perform and watch bricklaying students build a Christmas chimney.


The college’s student participation team and childcare students manned a stall where people could make their own Christmas decorations.


There were robots, food and floristry stalls and face-painting sessions.


Students were encouraged to take part in the market to make sure they develop business skills early on in their careers.




Bath resident Jill Hodgson said: “I think it’s very good. It’ gets them out in the real world. I love the bricklaying. That’s really good to show what they are doing as apprentices going into industry.”


Garry Manning, managing director at The Self-Publishing Partnership, popped out of his Green Park Station office to buy some cushions.


To make the cushions, students created darkroom photographic cyanotypes, which were screen-printed onto hand-made cushions.


Mr Manning said: “I just thought I would see what was going on. I quite like a lot of stuff that’s here. I like good modern design.”


Technician Katie Dyer helped to run the floristry stall, selling poinsettias, lilies, table decorations and Christmas wreaths.


She said: “It’s actually gone really well. Because of the amount of glitter we have got, I think it’s attracting a lot of attention.


“It’s nice for the students to make something and bring it out, to be able to sell it and see how much interest they get in what they have made.


“They do the wreaths as part of their assessment in class and wrapping is something they learn so we can sell flowers in the college shop.”




Dave Merriman, Head of Art and Design, said: “This is providing an excellent opportunity to see the development of young entrepreneurs. Some of the products the students have designed have been flying of the shelves.


“It’s great to see them taking a collective responsibility for the market, as well as learning about things other than creativity – for example, financial recording, keeping sales and communicating with the public.”


Former student shows IT group around Somer Valley FM radio station


Former student Luke Barnes showed a group from Bath College around Somer Valley FM.


Students studying Level 3 IT visited the radio station in Midsomer Norton to take a look at IT facilities.


They listened to a presentation about running a radio station and the legal requirements of broadcasting.


Students tested software used to program broadcasts and learnt how the radio station backs up its programmes every day.


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Mr Barnes, the radio station’s production and systems manager, also introduced students to station manager Dom Chambers.


Somer Valley FM is a non-profit organisation and all income is invested back into the radio station to keep it running.


Students talked about volunteering at the radio station, which only has two full-time members of staff and relies on hundreds of volunteers.


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Lecturer David Wills said: “This trip demonstrated to students the high degree of enterprise needed by staff to found and run a local SME company on a non-profit basis.


“The experience was appreciated by students as it gave them an insight into different range of possibilities for work placements and a chance to talk to enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are local and accessible.”


Catering students host imaginative 80th birthday party


Students at Bath College threw writer and former lecturer Richard Ingham an 80th birthday party to remember at The Shrubbery Restaurant.


The restaurant, on James Street West, is run by catering and hospitality students at Bath College.


Seventy guests tucked into an eight-course menu inspired by popular dishes through the decades and sang for their supper between each course.


During the evening, guests donated £750 to the charity Dream Big Ghana, which builds compostable toilets in villages in Ghana.




The evening started in the 1930s with Martini cocktails and finished in the year 2000 with coffee and cupcakes.


Students prepared a modern twist on 1940s rabbit pie, 1950s Brown Windsor Soup, and 1970s boil in the bag cod.


Mr Ingham, of Devonshire Place, Bath, taught at Chippenham Technical College and his wife Jacqui Buffton served as vice-chair of Bath College’s governing body for many years.


The 80-year-old plays in a blues band, The Amazing Street Band, and was keen to get everyone singing songs by Vera Lynn, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.


Matt Finch, teaching and learning manager at Bath College, led the singing and provided musical accompaniment.


Mr Ingham said: “The evening was absolutely magical.


“We’ve had a few birthday parties at the college over the years, because we’re interested in further education and because the college has provided such a great service.


“College staff were integral to the planning of this extraordinary event and the students were better than good – really skillfull and caring.


“The food was wonderful. We gave them a challenge and they were all up for it.”


Chris and Sally Croudace collected the cheque for £750 on behalf of their son Dougal, who set up the charity Dream Big Ghana in 2009.




The former Frome College pupil went on a gap year to Ghana and fell in love with the fishing villages of Dzita and Agbledomi.


He founded Dream Big Ghana to give villagers somewhere safe and hygienic to go to the toilet. After a year, the compost can be used to fertilise crops grown by the villagers.


Dougal also runs a not-for-profit eco-lodge, which attracts volunteers and placement students from around the world.


His dad Chris said: “The birthday bash held at Bath College was such good fun.


“The icing on the cake was the wonderful sum of £750 raised by Richard and his friends for another compostable toilet.


“It’s only through the active support of people like them that villagers in Dzita and Agbledomi have access to a proper loo and the hand washing facilities they need to be healthy.”


Bridget Halford, head of hospitality and catering at Bath College, said: “It was a pleasure to cater for Richard and his family.


“They have a strong connection with the college – we also catered for Richard’s 70th birthday party. The students worked hard and did themselves proud.”

Students Union




It’s the month of Christmas and almost the end of term!  Wow hasn’t it gone quickly! It has been crazy, I’m sure we are all looking forward to a break. This month hasn’t been as busy. The Student’s Union attended the employability X-mas fest, it was great to see so many students get involved and showing their work off.


I have done a big promotion on NUS Student discount cards. The look on student’s faces was a picture when they found out about the crazy deals they could get with this new card! 80% of students rated their NUS Extra card 8 or more out of 10!! Get yours here www.nus.org.uk


It’s the end of term and everyone is heading home for Christmas. I am about to go out and wish students a very merry Christmas with a candy cane from their Students’ Union.


Have a lovey Christmas



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