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Editor Intro Welcome to the 6th edition of REACH! And a warm hello to new and returning readers alike. What’s it all about? It’s about you! Our productive, endlessly busy, boisterous and talented students. This is one of our favourite tasks, sharing your successes and trumpeting good news from OCVC far and wide. It’s a bumper issue too, crammed with award winners, charity fundraisers and achievements of all shapes and sizes. In these pages you’ll find people clambering through treetops, tuning race cars, publishing books: some are even in classrooms. We’ve also made space for a couple of our teachers, no shrinking violets themselves, who’ll complain loudly if we don’t include them. Thank you for all the contributions. Please keep them coming in. As Principal Sally always says “You make the college what it is!” Pretty lively.

Cid Carr Editor 01865 551856



Feeding hungry soldiers

Three Oxford & Cherwell Valley College Hospitality and Catering students were the only civilian competitors to take part in a recent Army catering competition, organised by the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) in early June. Liz Warlow, Sheree Colley and Rachel Barnes beat no less than sixteen military teams of trained chefs in a challenge to cook a three course menu in authentic field conditions, using real Operational Ration Packs, in two and a half hours.

The students found the whole experience exhilarating, “It was pretty daunting when we arrived on site to be greeted with rows of camouflage tents and soldiers hulking around huge back packs and it felt even more real after a night in a leaky tent followed by a field wash!” OCVC Programme Manager and Ex Army Captain, Mark Roberts, was delighted with the girls’ performance in Exercise Tigercat 2009, at the Old Carter Barracks in Wiltshire. “To prepare a meal of such quality, with army rations on an unfamiliar field cook set, surrounded by the military, was quite an achievement. I was really

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proud.” It seems the Warrant Officer judges were similarly impressed with the inventive menu, including Pork En Croute and Broccoli Mornay, awarding them fifth place out of the twenty one entries. The students wanted to thank their teachers and mentors, especially Chef Lecturer Richard Taylor. “He washed up everything we used - which was, literally, a small army load!”


WEARING NOTHING BUT A SMILE Our staff are always busy multi tasking it seems. Karen Williams, an Information and Learning Technology coordinator at our Banbury campus is a good example of the old adage, ‘if you want a job done, ask a busy woman!’ A keen photographer, she leapt at the chance when an old friend and Macmillan Cancer Support fundraiser, Hannah Dunn, asked if she wanted to help produce a Calendar Girls style calendar, featuring game mums of Oxfordshire schoolchildren. After persuading the friends to take part, the next challenge was getting them to relax on the shoot wearing nothing but a smile. “We used their hobbies and interests as a starting point. Putting the girls in environments they felt comfortable in was really helpful. So was the support of their friends and several glasses of bubbly!” With a different gorgeous mum for every month, the Yummy Mummy calendar is selling fast, both online at and at supportive retail outlets.



Early signs We love collaborations, especially when they harness the irrepressible enthusiasm of young school children. So when Ewelme Primary School and our Adult and Community Education team started chatting about a new enrichment club, OCVC teacher Chris Gould was quick to design a Basic Introduction to British Sigh Language programme that was suitable for their age.

Proving to be an extremely popular course, the ten year olds swiftly picked up the basics and ended up being able to spell their names, demonstrate their ages and birthdays and introduce family members by height, hair colour and emotions, like grumpy and happy! They did so well that everyone passed the official BSL Unit 101, awarded by Signature, and we hear that their rendition of Westlife’s The Rose at the school leaver’s service reduced even the governors to tears.

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Authorised success

OCVC English teacher Siân Hughes has been longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award, famous for rewarding the finest new English writing talent, with past winners that include Zadie Smith. Her collection of poetry, The Missing, deals poignantly with parenting, illness, loss and regret and was chosen, according to the judging panel, for “its direct and emotional style, refusing to hide behind imagery.”

As Siân expressed, “it’s particularly exciting because this is the only poetry amongst ten contenders. It’s strange and rewarding to compare the work with history and fiction and themes that range from high school sex to quantum mechanics!” Of course we’re just thrilled that one of our staff is being recognised for her unique talent. It confirms what we already know, that our teachers are our proudest asset.



A night at The Grand Fancy beautifying yourself? Don’t forget you can visit our salons at Oxford and Banbury campuses to sample a full palette of treatments from pedicures to massage and everything in between, at a fraction of the high street price. Call 01865 551 895 for the Oxford Salon and 01865 551 669 for the Banbury Salon.

Competitions are a big part of student life at OCVC. We could fill the whole of REACH with students grinning broadly and clutching awards. Sometimes the rewards are more glamorous than others. Carol Pollard, studying Beauty Therapy at Banbury enjoyed a luxurious awards evening at The Grand Hotel in Brighton recently after winning FIRST PRIZE in the national finals of SEBTA, the Student Electrotherapy Beauty Therapist Award. That’s a beauty therapy Oscar to you and me!

Together with her programme manager, Val Wood, Carol joined six other nominees and their tutors from across the UK and received £500 prize money, an Ultraderm machine and a magnificent trophy. As Val enthused, “The competition was tougher than ever and to attain First Prize at this level is really thrilling. Carol was interviewed by several beauty trade publications and I was proud to pick up a cup and £1000 cheque for the Oxford & Cherwell Valley College Hair and Beauty team.”

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The competition was tougher than ever and to attain First Prize at this level is really thrilling.


New Shop On Campus what we’ll sell and how the shop should look and the shop fitters have transformed an old classroom into a proper retail outlet!”

An exciting Social Enterprise Business run by students has just been launched at OCVC, with Councillor Dave Earle cutting the ribbon. The Foundation Studies Store is a great new shop on our Banbury campus, selling locally produced arts and crafts, cards and decorations, goods made by the students, bird boxes, hanging baskets, boxes for hibernating hedgehogs, carefully selected quality second hand items and heaps more...

Chris King, Project Officer, oversaw a flurry of activity in preparation for the launch. “Everyone’s getting involved. The students who’ll man the store have chipped in with lively contributions about

“In a nutshell, the students, many of whom are on Foundation Studies courses designed for people who need additional support with their learning, will pick up invaluable skills running a shop. Skills which they can transfer to real employment. And the people of Banbury will benefit from a great new source of seasonal goodies.” Opening hours: Monday & Tuesday 10.00 am to 2.00 pm during term



Future focused Now at Oxford Brookes, as planned, Nino is intending to do a post graduate degree at Oxford or the London School of Economics, before “returning home to work in politics, as Georgia struggles to become a secure democracy. “ It’s just the type of drive we witness regularly amongst our International students and we don’t imagine anything will get in her way. When Nino Sharashidze arrived with us from Tbilisi, Georgia, her goal was clear: to go to Oxford Brookes University and do a degree in Politics and International Relations. Like many of her colleagues on the International Studies Programme, she had left a home country in turmoil and progressed from an Oxford language school to OCVC, to study English and three academic options intensively over the course of a year, usually in order to access a Higher Education course. Pursuing European Studies, Law and Maths, Nino successfully completed her studies, making several International friends along the way and organising cross cultural events like ‘Our Future In Our Hands’, sharing stories about home and society from around the world.

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Responding to real needs Getting back into education was proving impossible for these young unemployed mums. So OCVC has taken the training to them. A partnership with Bicester Children’s Centre and Stonham Housing Project for single and very young parents means they can train at the centre, don’t have to travel to campus and can pursue their Health, Social and Childcare course, whilst their little ones are looked after in the next room!

Tutor, Jane Sharp is thrilled, “It’s been so heartening to see the group blossom throughout the Introduction to Care course. What started off quite tentatively is now a weekly fixture that they’re relishing. I’ve even been told our sessions have replaced shopping as the week’s favourite activity.” Better still, according to young parent coordinator, Jo Allen, “We know that these young parents would not have progressed so far

without this initiative. In their new Young Mums Care Group uniforms and with dedicated support of each other, they’re looking forward to Level 3 and stretching their skills into college, the care sector and beyond.” OCVC training is often tailor made, to meet real needs in the community.




en lucky OCVC students tuned their Formula Renault in the pits at Silverstone recently, ready to compete in a National Circuit Testing event. Studying for a Foundation Degree in Motorsports – Performance and Automotive Technology – they’ve also been reaping the rewards of

a three year Sports Performance and Motorsport Driving degree at Loughborough University and already an occasional driver for the Jaguar team. In competition with fifteen other Open Wheel Single Seaters our Renault in Chris’s capable hands turned in a lap in under a minute which is almost Jenson Button standard! a greatly extended and upgraded Performance Engineering Centre at our Bicester campus, officially opened by motorsports legend, David Richards CBE, CEO of Prodrive and Chairman of Aston Martin. In the driving seat at Silverstone was Chris Dymond, a former OCVC student, currently finishing

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A Levels... Delighted OCVC A Level students were breathing sighs of relief and celebrating their success back in August. Now off studying for degrees in Primary Education are Jack Farrell, at Reading University and Karen Fuller, at Oxford Brookes. Leoni Merry is studying Law at De Montfort University; whilst Chris Dempsey is continuing on to do his NVQ Level 4 in Accounting here at the college.

Pictured too are Physics students, Kayode Adeoye-Akinde and Sanjeev Paudel, who won highly prized places through the Nuffield Science Bursary Scheme, to study particle acceleration – or atom busting – so topical thanks in part to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

the 4th year running, with 98 % of students taking A Level exams achieving a pass at Grades A to E. That’s a huge 6% increase on last year.

We simply have to boast that the percentage of students achieving A to C grades has increased for

...onwards and upwards

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WONDERFUL WOOD WINS More awards! Graduates of the BA Hons Furniture design course have been gathering prizes this year, including second and third in the New Forest Trust Fine Furniture competition. Armando Magnino’s piece is an elegant solution to a peculiarly modern design challenge. His Arts and Crafts inspired coffee table in brown and tiger oak extends to reveal an otherwise concealed laptop work space. The same seamless mix of form and function is evident in Eshan Shirini’s sleek drinks cabinet which, in rippled sycamore, has the allure of a bygone cocktail age.

They are pictured here at the college Creative Arts Show, with Eshan receiving Rycotewood’s Michaelis Cup from OCVC Principal Sally Dicketts who noted, “Each year the standard, already high,

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improves. It’s a real pleasure to reward such outstanding and professional craftsmanship.”

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Where The Wild Things Are

Tree trekking, raft building, treasure hunting ... just the kind of outward bound stuff that bonds teams together and exactly what twelve second year Travel and Tourism students underwent at Longleat Center Parcs recently. Their accompanying tutor, Fiona Laing and programme manager Ian Roberts were full of the benefits, “It was brilliant to see the group conquering fears of heights, rallying to help team mates and grappling with unfamiliar technology in the GPS Treasure Hunt. They did everything as a team, even all the cooking!”

Post script: It is with very sad regret that we mention here that Fiona, quite unexpectedly, passed away in December. Her colleagues have been left reeling at the loss but wanted to keep this piece, in small recognition of both Fiona’s invaluable enthusiasm and dedication to her job She will be greatly missed.



Charity begins at college How do you practise what you’re learning? By doing it! Developing their conference and event management skills, OCVC Business and Administration students organised the venue, Conference Centre Oxford, budgeted, negotiated menus, produced publicity, sold tickets and organised the 2nd Year National Diploma Business students to be guest speakers.

The Charity Event Launch was a component of the ILEX course and all its proceeds are going to Save the Children and Friends of Kennington Cancer Fund. Watch out for details of a Spring Fashion Show and Car Wash, the next fundraisers in the pipeline, on the College Portal.

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ISSUE 6 17

OCVC Vegetable Stir Fry Tasty and foolproof... Try this recipe from OCVC’s Hospitality and Catering Programme Manager, Mark Roberts. Eat enough of this and you’ll have your five a day in one sitting!

Ingredients Vegetable oil

3 tablespoons







Red pepper






Spring onions



Bean sprouts

150 g


150 g

small florets


3 cloves

finely sliced


1 inch

finely chopped/grated



de-seeded & sliced

Egg noodles

175 g

cooked and chilled

Soy sauce

3 to 4 tablespoons

Cooking instructions 1. Heat a wok until smoking. Add the oil and immediately add the vegetables, with the garlic, chilli, and ginger last. 2. Keeping the wok over the heat, gently move the vegetables around the wok until they have become flaccid (limp). 3. Add the noodles and heat through thoroughly. 4. Add the soy sauce and serve immediately.



In Union

If you could describe our Students’ Union in just two words, they’d be sociable and helpful. The diary is packed with events, clubs and parties, like our first ever Eid party recently, to celebrate the traditional Islamic festival marking the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. A really vibrant mix of music, food and dance it turned out to be. Hosted at our base on the Oxford campus, The Pen, ninety students, staff and local community were thronging on the dance floor, coaxed by Asian DJ Kudos, Banghra drummers and Zumba teacher George Martini. Sampling delicious cooking and learning new greetings, student Caius Galliers enthused, “It’s great to see so many people coming together like this. I’ve had a fantastic time and can’t wait for next year!”

As student services manager, Viv Miles added, “Phrases like community cohesion are often bounced around but this is the real deal. To share some well loved aspects of a culture is not just really heartening but incredibly good fun.” But just as important is the help on offer. Support, guidance and confidential and impartial advice are available to every student in need of help.

Contact Queenie Goudie | or Katie Maryon-Wilson | | 01865 551 012

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ISSUE 6 19

Flower Power

All fashion students will tell you it’s a break through moment when their ideas make it into the real world for the public to admire. Which is exactly what happened to an Oxford & Cherwell Valley College student‘s inspired design for a prom dress recently. Responding to a challenge from the famous Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, to make something inspired by their Spring blooms, Alice Riley from Epwell near Banbury created a dress from dozens of pink and white rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. The five days of toil to make the dress and the four hours to sew on the flowers were rewarded with widespread publicity in the national press and television, which is after all what every designer is after...



Sharing what we learn Immersing students in the real world is actively encouraged at OCVC. And it doesn’t get much more active than this! Little ones at St Andrew’s Primary School were simply enthralled when a team of Music and Performing Arts students taught them dance routines on a recent visit. Not just a captive audience, as tutor Michelle Dyson describes, “The children really threw themselves into it. It was so rewarding to watch and, of course,

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invaluable experience for the fifteen National Diploma in Dance students, who devised the routines and put them through their paces.” The lovely thank you letters that came back to college were full of enthusiasm and we counted a dozen “It was fun!”

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Dragon’s Den pitches The chilly economic business climate is proving unexpectedly useful for some of us. With marketing and promotion budgets dwindling, companies are looking wider afield for inspiration, whilst attempting to spend less! Our National Diploma in Business students are taking full advantage of this, interacting with over thirty local businesses this year.

local school book bags.” Student Annabel Brown on the winning team for Wizz Kidz added, “It was inspiring to work with a real business and rewarding to know that some of our ideas are being used.”

A liaison between OCVC and childcare companies, Wizz Kidz and Smart Tots is typical of these initiatives. Briefed to create a marketing campaign for each company, students competed in small teams, each representing their own agencies, and pitched their ideas to the clients in a Dragon’s Den scenario. Business lecturer Andrea Andrews was delighted, “Both companies were impressed with the proposals, a whole raft of suggestions which included radio advertising, poster distribution, sponsorship and competition promotions that could be circulated in



Kicking off all over Sports Group, Justin Merritt and Curriculum Manager Carole Nyssen, our newly formed Oxford Football Partnership offers training at the grounds, allowing students to utilise all the facilities, play in a semi professional league and get a taste of real football club life. A particularly strong feature of the programme is the student coaching. George Taylor, enrolled on our BTEC National Diploma in Performance and Excellence was awarded the Oxfordshire Football Association’s Young Leader of the Year, thanks to his extraordinarily dedicated approach and the donation of over sixty hours of voluntary coaching to youngsters at the Summertown Stars junior club. Similar schemes are running with Brackley Town FC, Oxford Brookes Eagles basketball and Kirtlington Golf Club.

The ways to learn sport at OCVC are evolving faster than a penalty shoot out this year. Forging partnerships all over the region is already reaping great rewards for students of golf, football and basketball.

Teaming up with Oxford City Football Club, whose Chairman Brian Cox is pictured here with Manager and MD of Premier

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Reach Magazine  

Reach Magazine 6th edition