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A First for the Country Disability Sports Degree Launched p.4-5

In this issue:

Global Headlines Research into smartphone anxiety attracts worldwide headlines p.8

Double Sushi Business students open city restaurant p.9

Downing Street Reception Paramedic graduates recognised for assistance during summer riots p.11

February 2012


RECORD DROP IN UNIVERSITY APPLICATIONS YET WORCESTER BUCKS THE TREND Vice Chancellor Professor David Green has urged the Government to take urgent action to address a record decline in UK university intakes, warning a reduction in places will prove damaging to the UK’s economic recovery and blight the longterm career prospects of tens of thousands of young people. Record numbers of well qualified prospective students will miss out on a university education, hit by a double whammy of reduced places at English universities and the sharp rise in tuition fees, says David Green.

levels, the situation still cries out for the Government to allow universities to recruit more students, David believes. Instead, the Government announced on January 25 that places for September 2012 would be cut by 15,000. This cut is on top of the reduction in nursing places which already totals over 2,500.

His comments are made in reaction to the latest figures from UCAS which show an 8.7 per cent fall in applications from UK students Youth unemployment aiming for a university place this September, Overall, tens of thousands of prospective UK and a drop of nearly 10 per cent in applications students – including many mature students – from students in England. have now “disappeared from higher education”, David predicts that unless the government adds David. “Unfortunately, they are not going takes action the number of applications will into productive work, but on to Jobseekers’ continue to decline compared with last year, Allowance. Universities are to be fined by dropping overall by around 10 per cent to £3,800 for each student they recruit above their 630,000 from 700,000 in 2011. control number in 2012 (£73.07 per week).”

Cutting places Despite this, there is still an undersupply of university places. The forecast is that this year well over 125,000 applicants will be unsuccessful in securing a university place and that many of these will be well qualified. Coupled with record youth unemployment

As Jobseekers’ Allowance for the Under 25s is £53.45, and unsuccessful UK university applicants are going straight on the dole, he argues that for just £19.60 a week the government could secure thousands more university places. “The young people upon whom the country’s

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future depends need opportunities to work and to study. Youth unemployment is at a record high, yet the number of university places is being cut across the board, and in nursing in particular where demand is very high and where our graduates achieve 100 per cent employment.” “By forcing English universities to charge much higher fees and at the same time cutting the number of places the Government is denying talented young people the opportunity to realise their potential. The tragedy is that for many of them the only alternative will be the dole queue,” David says.

Worcester bucks the national trend Despite the overall gloom some universities like Worcester, which have put greater emphasis on preparing students for the jobs market and developed a strong earn-as-youlearn programme to meet the needs of today’s students, are bucking the national trend. At Worcester, total UK applications have fallen by just 17 on a total of nearly 11,000, whilst applications to study computing are up by more than 15 per cent.




elcome to the February issue of News & Views, featuring a round-up of news, updates and milestones from the past month at the University of Worcester. The new year has certainly got off to a successful start as we report on a number of students who have received national accolades, achieved sporting bests and earned well-deserved scholarships. One of the feature articles in this issue reports on two Worcester Business School students who are putting their studies into practice and running a restaurant business in the City Centre. We wish them every success.

Psychology graduate Richard Balding made international headlines last month as his research into the stress levels associated with the use of smartphones went global. With reports concerning student applications making headline news (see feature opposite) we would like to thank all of our students and graduates for continuing to inspire us and for being great ambassadors of Worcester. Whether it’s helping out at a cookery demonstration or offering medical assistance during the summer riots; our students make us proud! Please continue sending your news and stories to us at

GO GREEN WEEK: 6 - 15 February MONDAY Make your pledge and pick up your free Go Green Badge. Speak to the Student Switch Off team at reception.

TUESDAY is Food Day: check out the Eco Food Fair at the SU, with veggie/ vegan tasting stall, cake sale and Worcester Produce veggie box scheme. 

WEDNESDAY is Travel Day: come along to the MOTIV8 bike sale outside Woodbury, have a drive in an electric car and take Trike rides. Join the Bus Party.

THURSDAY is Energy Day: Friends of the Earth will be joined at reception by Act On Energy’s energy stall. Come and see ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ for free - first film starting at 6.30pm, bring along some empty cans for entry - Urwin Lecture Theatre. FRIDAY is a Waste/Recycling Challenge:  Second hand clothes stall, free chilli plants for all at main reception. SATURDAY Plant an Orchard at Battenhall Fields, 10am.

contents FEATURE Student Applications


COVER STORY Disability Sport Degree


news Go Green Week 3 Primary School Teacher Scoops National Scholarship  6 Dancing at Riverside 6 The Key to Health and Wellbeing 6 Business Students Juggle Studies with Opening New Sushi Bar 7 Psychology Research Receives Global Attention 8 Javelin Thrower Launches His Way to Success 8 Funding awarded for Sustainability Projects 8 Lovatt Lecture puts Worcester on the map 9 Focus on Food Allergies 9 Stroke Survivors Sought for Research Project 9 Worcester Arena Race Night 10 Getting Scientific in Liverpool 10 Love Food Hate Waste 11 Assistance during the summer riots leads to date at Number 10 11 Open Afternoon 11 ‘Top Teacher’ Shares his Experience with Worcester Trainees 12 Head of Institute gives evidence to the Select Committee 12 Earth Heritage Trust: A Thousand Years of Building with Stone 13

sTAFF FEATURE Living a tranquil life: Catherine Hyde

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Country’s First Disability Sport Degree Launched in Run up to 2012 Paralympic Games AS THE 2012 LONDON PARALYMPICS GAMES DRAW CLOSER, A NEW NAMED DEGREE HAS BEEN LAUNCHED FOR THOSE WANTING TO STUDY AND ULTIMATELY WORK IN DISABILITY SPORT. Building on the University’s extensive experience in this field, the course is believed to be the country’s first degree dedicated to producing experts in disability sport. The degree is an extension of the University’s innovative sport disability modules on its popular BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Science pathway. Through exposure to cutting edge research in the performance analysis of disability sport, students will be in an ideal position to become the leading exponents in their field, perfectly equipped to develop the country’s next generation of Paralympians.

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Mick Donovan, Head of the Institute of Sport & Exercise Science, said: “What better time to be launching a new course in disability sport, than the year when the Paralympic Games come to Great Britain? It is anticipated that the Games will inspire large numbers of adults and children with a disability to want to get involved in sport and exercise and with that comes the need for more coaches, volunteers and teachers to work in the field. “Many of our staff and students are involved in the Paralympics this year and we have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with students interested in a career in this field.”


The University has an excellent reputation for supporting youngsters and athletes at all levels in a range of disability sports and, significantly, a growing number of students continue to find employment during and post study.

The University is home to the regional wheelchair basketball centre, the Worcester blind football team and several national blind football players and coaches, the innovative dyspraxia club and the Worcester Snoezelen Centre, an independent charity supporting people with disabilities.

Mick added: “The vision to inspire, include and innovate at all levels in disability sport is being realised as partnerships with disability sports governing bodies, special needs schools and universities from around the world continue to flourish. Additionally, there are several members of the staff and student body who have gained international recognition in numerous disciplines including blind football, deaf rugby and adapted rowing.� / FEBRUARY 2012 / 5


Primary School Teacher Scoops National Scholarship A primary school teacher has been awarded a prestigious national scholarship to further her education with a Masters degree. Sam Bates, who works at Haselor School near Alcester, Warwickshire, has received a TDA National Scholarship, which will fund her studies at the University of Worcester. Sam, who did her initial teacher training at Worcester, is currently undertaking the National SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) Award at the University. The scholarship will allow her to top up to a full Masters in Special and Inclusive Education. The 26-year-old mother-of-one from Stratford-upon-Avon, said: “I always wanted to complete a Masters and this scholarship will enable me to do that. Special educational needs is something that has always been important to me in my teaching career.”

at her school, is also hoping to complete courses with the British Dyslexia Association. Rachel Barrell, Course Leader BA (Hons) Primary Initial Teacher Education with QTS, said: “Sam has been a fantastic student, right from her undergraduate degree, where she completed a SEN teaching pathway, through to the National SENCO Award. “It is testament to her dedication and commitment to special educational needs that she has received this scholarship and we are all delighted.”

Sam Bates

Sam, who is currently the SEN co-ordinator

Get Your Dancing Shoes On and Get Down to Riverside. Cuban Rumba and Samba classes will start on Thursday 16 February for six weeks. Both are aimed at beginners of all ages, who are welcome with or without a partner. The Cuban Rumba session runs from 7.30-8.30pm. Rumba is the spirit and soul of Cuban music and dance.

Fascinating rhythms and bodily expressions make the Rumba one of the most popular Latin dances. Perfect for those looking for a slow wedding dance or if you just want more confidence on the dance floor. The Sizzling Samba Dance classes then run immediately after from 8.30-9.30pm. Originating in Brazil, Samba is a fun and festive Latin dance that is sure to lift your mood and give you plenty of exercise. University staff and students will receive a £1 discount by showing their University ID. Last chance to join will be 23 February. For more information phone Dance at 8 on 01386 556 665.

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The key to health and wellbeing A new initiative has been launched to help the people of Worcester get back into shape after Christmas and New Year festivities. The Wellness Key is the latest gadget to help motivate people in their training regime. It slots into any piece of equipment in the McClelland Health and Wellbeing Centre’s state-of-the-art exercise suite, and acts as your own personal digital trainer. Howard Skerry, McClelland Centre Manager, said: “When you do a workout using the key, everything you do is recorded – including your heart rate and the number of calories you’ve burnt. At the end of the session you can see how you’ve done and compare your performance with previous sessions to see if you’re making progress. “Not only that, you can also access all of this information later at home online if you want to, simply by logging on to the system’s website. “The key can be programmed to contain set workout programmes for you to follow, making sure you are motivated to complete your routine.” Use of the key is now available and costs £5 a month for old and new members of the McClelland Centre. Howard added: “We’re really excited about this new development. Our centre contains some of the best equipment I’ve ever seen – and the Wellness Key now makes it second to none. We’re convinced the key can help people stay more motivated, and help them keep fit and well for longer at a very reasonable price.”


Business Students Juggle Studies with Opening New Sushi Bar in Worcester TWO INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER ARE JUGGLING THEIR STUDIES WITH SETTING UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS IN THE CITY. Double Sushi in the Cornmarket is a brand new sushi takeaway set up by Lithuanian students Kristijonas Gedvilas and Kornelija Guzaite.

“Encouraging our graduates to go out and day. It serves European sushi, with a twist, introducing new ingredients such as duck and make an impact in the business world is chicken for those less keen on the fish options. what we are all about, and it is positive to see Kristijonas and Kornelija doing so well.” Twenty-year-old Kornelija under-

Both are in the second year of a business degree at the University and decided to put the skills they were learning in to practice.

took six months’ training from a top sushi chef to prepare the food.

“We decided that this would be a great opportunity as there was no sushi bar in Worcester at all ,” said 19-year-old Kristijonas. “ In Western Europe sushi is very popular, as it is in many other parts of the UK and we wanted to bring that to Worcester. We hope people will find that the look and feel of our establishment is very high quality as, of course, is the food.” The couple put forward a business plan to their parents, both of whom run successful businesses in Lithuania, and secured the investment to set up the takeaway. “The University has been very flexible and supportive,” said Kristijonas. “It has not been an easy process; we were not taken very seriously at first. But we have got there and now we are really starting to make an impact.”

For more information about Double Sushi visit or call 01905 20410.

“We are planning to employ more staff to help so we can concentrate on our studies,” said Kristijonas. “It’s quite difficult trying to establish a new business while studying, but we have thrown ourselves in to it completely. We don’t go out to clubs or pubs, we are very focussed on what we want.” In the future, the pair hope to be able to open more sushi bars and are already setting their sights on new locations. Mark Richardson, Head of Worcester Business School, said: “It is inspiring to see two young people with the drive and determination to start their own business. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do, particularly while still studying, but we will give them all the support we can to make it a success.

Double Sushi opened on December 2 and is attracting new and returning customers every / FEBRUARY 2012 / 7


Psychology Research Receives Global Attention A piece of research conducted by a University of Worcester MSc graduate went truly global last month when it hit the headlines of not only the UK’s national press but newspapers as far away as India and even Iran. The research, conducted by Psychology graduate Richard Balding, looked at how smartphones can increase stress levels among users when they don’t receive text messages. Some users report feeling phantom vibrations which convince them that they’ve received a call or text even when they haven’t, according to the research. Richard presented the research at a conference of the British Psychological Society, and as a result it attracted media attention around the world. The story was published in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail in the UK, along with publications such as The Times of India, the largest English-language

newspaper in the world, and USA Today, which boasts more than 3million readers a day. It was also published on numerous websites, including the International Business Times. Richard’s supervisor Matthew Jellis, Programme Director MSc Occupational/Business Psychology at the University, said: “We are just astounded at the amount of media coverage this piece of research received; it’s just fantastic for both Richard and the University.”

Richard Balding and Matthew Jellis

Javelin Thrower Launches His Way to Success


young javelin thrower with ambitions to compete at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games has received a scholarship from the University of Worcester. Jason Copsey, a third year Environmental Management student, is currently ranked second in his home nation, Wales, and 38th in Britain. His current personal best is 62m, achieved without any coaching. Now he has teamed up with a top coach in Cheltenham, Jason is hoping to increase his throw to at least 75m, the standard for the Commonwealth Games, within the next two years. The 20-year-old said: “I really think that next year I can achieve 70m and then hopefully the year after that 75m. I’m training six days a week most weeks and now have a really good coach, who used to coach Great Britain’s number two.”

Jason, who hails from Cwmbran in South Wales, has been awarded £500 from the Scholarship Panel to assist with his training costs. “I’m travelling to Cheltenham twice a week, which gets pretty expensive,” he said. “I was working part-time, but now that I’m in my final year of my degree it was getting really difficult to juggle my studies, training and a job, so this scholarship is a massive help.”

at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition to be held at the Olympic stadium in London. “Ultimately I would love to compete at the Commonwealth Games and then one day the Olympics,” Jason said. “It would be an absolute dream.”

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The University has been awarded more than £70,000 from HEFCE’s Revolving Green Fund 2 to pay for two major sustainability projects. The first project will be to upgrade cooling systems in the Cotswold Suite at St John’s Campus, which have a tendency to over-heat when in use. The second project will see improvements made to door and window seals across four of the University’s older buildings; Chandler Halls of Residence, Peirson, Woodbury and Bredon.

Jason started throwing the javelin while at school, but after an elbow injury in Year 10 he quit, returning to the sport while studying for his A-levels. Since then he has gone from strength to strength competing at various tournaments, including at the UK Athletics Loughborough International, where he came fifth. This May he will represent the University of Worcester

Funding awarded for Sustainability Projects

HEFCE has allocated the University £71,663 to carry out the works, following a successful bid by Katy Boom, Director of Environmental Sustainability. “Both of these projects will produce huge carbon and financial savings for the University, and we are delighted that we can now proceed,” said Katy. Jason Copsey


Stroke Survivors in Worcester Sought for Pioneering Research Project

Lovatt Lecture puts Worcester on the map Mike Parker delivered the 60th Lovatt lecture in Geography in November. This annual event is named after George Lovatt, the first geographer to be appointed to the then college.

V Mike Parker

Mike is the author of the bestselling Map Addict, described by The Daily Telegraph as an “excellent book on the pleasures of maps and navigation … a withering attack on the infantilisation of the satnav age”. His follow-up book The Wild Rover is a passionate celebration of Britain’s rights of way network, and an examination of its chequered history. Mike grew up in Kidderminster but has written and presented numerous TV programmes on his adopted home territory of Wales including the popular Great Welsh Roads. He also wrote the cult book Neighbours From Hell?, a passionate polemic about the history of English attitudes to their nearest neighbours. He has also written and co-written ten guide books, including five editions of the Rough Guide to Wales, and he occasionally performs as an actor and stand-up comedian. His lecture was entitled ‘Worcestershire: an England in miniature’ where Mike reflected on both local and national perceptions of the county. He argued that the county is not one of Britain’s better known; there will never be a TV series called The Only Way is Worcestershire! Many people would struggle to place it accurately on the map, and might mumble something, if pushed, about sauce and porcelain, or cricket, pears and Elgar if they think really hard. However, he suggested that, with its post-industrial north and plumper, wealthier south, Worcestershire can be seen as something of a microcosm of England itself.

Focus on food allergies A free one day course focusing on food allergies took place at the end of January. The course, led by Dr Laurence Trueman and Dr Denise Mortimore from the Institute of Science and the Environment, was free to anyone interested in the subject. The morning session looked at the underpinning mechanisms, including intolerance and chemical sensitivity, oral allergy syndrome and signs

and symptoms of intolerance. The afternoon session showed participants some of the steps that can be taken to identify and minimise contact with the allergen including how to keep a food intolerance journal, elimination diets, functional testing and improving digestion. The course was held in conjunction with the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.

olunteers from Worcester are invited to take part in a research project looking at how a metronome can be used to aid stroke survivors’ walking.

Following a stroke, many stroke survivors experience paralysis or difficulties with movement or walking. Consequently, avoiding objects (such as tables and chairs) can be difficult. A collaborative project between the University of Worcester and the University of Birmingham, funded by the Stroke Association, is investigating whether a metronome will help stroke survivors to improve their walking and ability to avoid obstructions. The assessment will involve a visit to the Motion & Performance Centre at the University of Worcester. A metronome will be used, along with motion analysis equipment, to analyse walking patterns and how timing corrections are achieved. Dr Rachel Wright, Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, said: “Using a metronome allows us to investigate walking adjustments, such as those that might be used to avoid obstacles, in a safe and controlled manner. By having a better understanding of how people with one-sided muscle weakness after a stroke make these adjustments, we can provide additional useful information for walking rehabilitation.” According to the Department of Health, every year approximately 110,000 people in England have a stroke, which is the most common cause of severe adult disability. The ability to walk after a stroke is a high priority for the majority of people. Heather Webber, Head of Operations for the Stroke Association in the West Midlands, said: “Stroke survivors from Worcester will have a great opportunity to participate in this research supported by leaders in the stroke research community. We are committed to the improvement of life after a stroke, which is why we are delighted to fund research which we hope will further increase our knowledge of the best treatment for strokes.” If you live in the Worcester area, and have one-sided muscle weakness as a result of a stroke but regularly walk without a walking stick please contact Rachel Wright Email: or telephone 07528732764 for further details about taking part in the study. / FEBRUARY 2012 / 9


Worcester Arena Race Night Friday 24th February 2012 7 – 11pm at the University of Worcester Tickets are £15 which includes a fish & chip supper Save 10% if you book a table for 10 people at £135 To book your place or find out more call our events team on: 01905 542294 email: or visit Sponsored by:

Getting Scientific in Liverpool The Institute of Education’s Sue Howarth recently attended the Association for Science Education Annual Conference (ASE Conference) at the University of Liverpool. The conference provides the focus for a global network to share good ideas, tackle challenges in science teaching, develop resources and foster high quality continuing professional development. Here’s an extract from Sue’s conference report: “With over 400 talks, workshops, seminars and booked courses over four inspiring days, choosing an itinerary can prove a taxing job! There were also ‘big’ names in Science education and the Olympics to look forward to,

including: Adam Hart-Davis, Steve Jones, Robin Millar, Steve Redgrave and Mike Tomlinson. Christine Harrison, Institute of Education, London, gave a thought-provoking talk on assessment practices and perceptions of secondary science trainee teachers, some of which has now been put to use in our programme at Worcester. The ‘Physics Made Fun’ workshop, on Friday had engaging presenters using simple materials: a bulb, a cell, and a piece of foil and novel materials - a voice operated Frankenstein hand. The workshop was excellent fun and useful for future teaching.

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Saturday morning allowed time to finish going round the exhibitors and to hand in a competition entry to Sigma Science. Finally, it was time to give our research presentation on ‘Improving Retention in Science Student Teachers’ (P. Collins, L. Scott and S.Howarth). The useful comments from the audience were much appreciated and are likely to help move our ideas forward. And the conference? Thumbs up. Great to meet old friends and learn new things.”

For a bit of fun at the ASE Annual Conference 2011 at the University of Liverpool, Sigma Science asked entrants to design their own alien creature and identify its adaptations. Sue won £100 for herself and £100 for the University with her original Plantolumpus. Well done Sue!


Love Food Hate Waste

project in St. John’s receives national recognition

A successful link-up between Worcestershire County Council, the University of Worcester and Worcester City Council helping residents in the St John’s area reduce the amount of food they waste, has won national recognition. The targeted ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ scheme that took place between February and May 2011 impressed judges at the 2011 LARAC (Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee) Awards and won the Best Waste Minimisation Prevention Project award. A series of community roadshows, cookery classes and information events were organised at supermarkets, schools and children’s centres in the area by the council’s Waste Prevention Team, with support from University of Worcester students. The sessions showed

how small changes can make a big difference when it comes to cutting food waste and saving money. In addition, a communication campaign in the area helped inform people what they could do to start loving food and hating waste. Feedback gathered from those that took advantage of the offer was very positive and the hard work paid off, with results showing that the amount of avoidable food waste ending up in bins had reduced by almost 15% after the campaign when compared to figures before the

Pictured with the LARAC Award won by the successful Love Food Hate Waste scheme are (left to right) Councillor Anthony Blagg, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Environment and Waste Management; Viktoria Salisbury, County Coucil Waste Prevention Officer; Zoe Shaw, Nutrition Student; Dr Denise Mortimore and Dr Laurence Trueman, both Senior Lecturers in Human Nutrition.

project kicked off. Multiplied across the target areas (County Council divisions of Riverside area west of the city; Bewardine; and St. John’s) this represented a decrease of 111 tonnes per annum of food waste ending up in bins. Research from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that the average family in the UK throws away

Assistance during the summer riots leads to date at Number 10

approximately £50 worth of perfectly good food each month. To find out more about how you can save up to £50 per month and reduce the amount of food waste you produce, log on to The website is packed with tips and recipe ideas to help you make the most of the food you buy.

Open Afternoon

Two paramedic graduates who responded to a fatal incident in Birmingham during the 2011 summer riots were invited to a special reception with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

The first Open Afternoon of 2012 will take place on:

Wednesday 15 February 12-4pm

Ruth Hodgson and Catherine Hall were among a group of West Midlands paramedics who had received commendations for their responses to the riots. The reception at Ruth Hodgson and Catherine Hall receiving The Special Incident Award Downing Street was held to mark the ambulance, police, fire, prisons and court services’ response to the public disorder last summer.

For further details call the Events Team on 01905 542276 Thank you for supporting our Open Events.

Both Ruth and Catherine were given the Special Incident Award, one of the Chief Office Commendations, along with a number of their colleagues, during a celebratory evening held by West Midlands Ambulance Service last year. They were among a team of paramedics who responded to an incident in Winson Green in which three young men died during the riots in August 2011. / FEBRUARY 2012 / 11


‘Top Teacher’ Shares his Experience with Worcester Trainees A leading educationalist delivered an inspiring workshop to trainee teachers. Phil Beadle, described by The Times as ‘the country’s most inspirational teacher’, and the UK’s Secondary School Teacher of the Year in 2004, spent the day with secondary PGCE students sharing best practice and enthusing them about the profession. Mr Beadle, an alumnus of the University of Worcester, who having achieved his undergraduate degree in English at Worcester, delivered a session on ‘How can you challenge, motivate and engage all pupils’. Simon Butler, PGCE Professional Studies programme co-ordinator, said: “Our students found it very useful and inspiring to hear from Phil about his experiences in the classroom. “He shared many anecdotes from his time in inner city schools in London and led workshops exploring how, as a teacher, to best enthuse and motivate pupils.” Mr Beadle has written a column for the Guardian newspaper for several years. He has written bestselling books including ‘Could do Better’, which was serialised in the Telegraph and “How to Teach”. He is currently working on ‘How to be a Great Teacher: a Handbook for NQTs’ [Newly Qualified Teachers]. He is an award winning broadcaster (Royal Television Society Best on-screen newcomer 2005), having starred in Channel 4’s ‘The Unteachables’, where he worked his magic on a group of difficult to engage pupils, and presented the series ‘Can’t Read, Can’t Write’, in which he taught a group of illiterate adults to read in six months. For Teachers’ TV he has produced the ‘Phil Beadle Masterclasses’, ‘A Lesson from the Best’ and ‘White Working Class Achievement’.

Phil Beadle delivering a masterclass

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‘Attracting, training and retaining the best teachers’. Head of Institute gives evidence to the Select Committee

Professor Chris Robertson, Head of the Institute of Education, was invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee last month. The focus of the committee’s current inquiry is ‘Attracting, training and retaining the best teachers’. Professor Robertson was asked to give evidence on the professional development of teachers and related models, including the Chartered teacher scheme. She said: “It was an honour for me to be invited to give evidence to the Select Committee at the House of Commons and to be able to have a voice in influencing future national policy and practice. My responses to the challenging questions being posed by the Members of Parliament on the committee also enabled me, through my evidence, to showcase some of the excellent work we do here at Worcester.” Professor Robertson gave her evidence alongside Dr Alison Kitson, from the University of London’s Institute of Education, to a cross party Panel of MPs. Members of the public were in attendance in the public gallery. As with the proceedings of all Select Committee hearings, the session was filmed and streamed live on to the parliamentary website as part of the democratic process. The questions from the Panel were wide ranging and detailed, exploring aspects relating to the continuing professional development of teachers and its impact and effectiveness on making a real difference to children in the classroom. Both Professor Robertson and Dr Kitson strongly agreed that high quality professional development should be an entitlement for all teachers and that the government should invest in a Masters level teaching profession. Professor Robertson advised that the withdrawal of government funding for postgraduate profession development in 2011 will have a detrimental long-term effect on teacher performance and achievement as teachers will have to selffund access to such programmes in the future. Professor Robertson stressed that from the experiences and evidence at Worcester in facilitating funded Masters level study for its newly qualified teachers, the University’s outstanding and effective teachers then go on to demonstrate their commitment to their own continuing professional development throughout their careers. This has resulted in the very highest retention rates of Worcester teachers, 89% for primary and 84% for secondary after 5 years of teaching, putting us as one of the top providers nationally with significantly higher outcomes for teacher retention in the profession than the national average.


Earth Heritage Trust Welcome to the second guest article supplied by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust. If you would like to find out more about the work carried out by the Trust, contact Natalie at or pop into the Geological Records Centre in Woodbury.

A Thousand Years of Building with Stone The Earth Heritage Trust has received a grant of £60,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop plans for a three-year project that aims to investigate heritage stone buildings and their ‘lost’ quarries. Across Herefordshire and Worcestershire there are many fascinating structures including castles, churches and cathedrals, bridges, monuments, villages and even walls and quaysides. If the development phase is successful, these will then be studied in the main delivery phase, which will be about identifying the stone, where it came from and how it was quarried and transported. Active participation of local communities and organisations is planned with training to provide communities with the skills and knowledge to help undertake research.

To help with the application for further funding in the delivery phase of the project a major public consultation is underway to establish the level of awareness, understanding and appreciation of the stone built environment. If you have time please complete the survey online – go to and select ‘Building Stones Survey’ from the menu. If you would like to know more about the project or if you wish to get involved contact Natalie Watkins in the Geological Records Centre in Woodbury (

In the meantime much preliminary work is underway including the preparation of a modification specification to the Trust’s geoconservation database and the determination of the appropriate analytical methods to enable the rocks to be matched with their original quarries. Organisations and individuals interested in providing expertise and advice are being sought. Of particular interest at this early stage is the study of possible buildings, villages and other structures leading to the production of a shortlist for further study. To whet your appetite did you know that one of the main building materials of Worcester Cathedral is a sandstone that was quarried at Highley in Shropshire? It was transported down the River Severn as long ago as the 11th Century and for many centuries after that. Just as important is the tufa used in the vaulted roof and from not far away in the valley of the River Teme.

Vaulted ceiling in the North Porch of Worcester cathedral showing blocks of tufa between sandstone ribs / FEBRUARY 2012 / 13


This month we step back into the gentle world of Tai Ji with instructor Catherine Hyde, International Development Officer at the University.

Living a tranquil life: Silhouetted against the rising sun, a soldier stands on a Madagascan beach practicing the ancient martial art of Tai Ji. Unbeknown to him, watching from a hotel terrace is a young British graduate, mesmerised by his every move. That young graduate was Catherine Hyde, whose first encounter of Tai Ji was a magical experience which inspired the rest of her life. “It was the most extraordinary, romantic and intriguing sight,” she recalls. On her return to the UK, in about 1993, Catherine joined a Tai Ji class. Having been an Aerobics instructor, she was initially sceptical but soon found that the tranquil and serene moves were providing untold benefits. “I discovered that I was changing and becoming more patient, less angry, more flexible and more able to concentrate,” she says. She said that the practice has also helped her to overcome two serious illnesses. Catherine went on to become an instructor herself and has run her own class in Worcester for about 12 years, with the Tai Ji Quan Dao group, which means ‘The Way of Tai Ji Quan’. Catherine explains that Tai Ji is the modern ‘Pinyin’ way of writing “T’ai Chi or Tai Chi.

“You learn to defend yourself against all manner of ills and respond appropriately to threats. In Tai Ji Quan we say, ‘The fight you win is the fight you walk away from’…” “The Chinese recognise that there is an energy system running through our bodies. If this energy is sluggish or ‘blocked’ then illness can occur. The Tai Ji way of moving gradually frees this energy thus allowing our other systems to function to their full capacity. Acupuncture and Shiatsu massage work on the same system. In China, Tai Ji is used for prevention and cure of ill health. It is essentially a martial art with the power to defend yourself from every sort of ill; so you are likely to feel more confident, optimistic and creative.” Catherine has recently moved to Malvern and is planning to start an additional class there on Monday evenings. “Anyone can take part in Tai Ji; it’s very accessible,” said Catherine. “I think what attracts people is that there is always something new to learn and you never become an expert.” Catherine’s love of Tai Ji has also inspired her to begin to learn Mandarin. To find out more about Catherine’s classes visit, or contact Catherine on c.hyde@worc. or ext 5288.

She said: “‘Quan’ means ‘martial’ or ‘fist’. Tai Ji Quan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan) means “The Supreme Ultimate Fist”, an internal martial art based on the workings of the universe and the principles of Yin and Yang.

What do you get up to when you leave the Campus? Email Sally Jones with your interesting stories at / FEBRUARY 2012 / 14

News and Views February 2012  
News and Views February 2012  

University of Worcester magazine