Floral designs for Arley Halls Christmas Extravaganza

By Reaseheath Level 3 Floristry students

We have been asked to decorate The Gallery at Arley Hall for their Christmas Extravaganza, which is taking place between Saturday 30th November to Friday 6th December.

Floristry students arley HallTo help us to decide what displays we would include in the Christmas Extravaganza we visited Arley Hall today and undertook an assessment.  We began by asking a member of staff multiple questions to help us to get an idea of what we could and couldn’t do, as well as find out key information such as budget, dates and room layout.

We then split into four groups and allocated each group a different section of the room. Firstly, the front section then the middle section and fire place, then the far end of the room and finally the Christmas tree. In our groups we analysed our own sections recording information such as size and space. With this information we can plan our designs effectively and make sure our final products are in proportion to The Gallery.

Once we were finished in The Gallery we took a brief walk into the gardens to look at their varied chose of foliage. This is to be included as a representation of the grounds and the hall.

We are now busy planning our designs and flowers to construct on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th November.

Reaseheath gets top marks for promoting pet care

Reaseheath College has won a national accolade for activities promoting responsible pet ownership during National Pet Month.

The Nantwich, Cheshire, college took the National Pet Month award for the best event in the educational category and was runner up for the best event overall. The activities, organised by Reaseheath’s animal management department, included a sponsored dog walk, rabbit enrichment workshops and educational displays. As well as informing the public and encouraging them to care for their pets, the events raised money for animal charities.

Animal Management Instructor and lead organiser Emma Hunt ran a ‘Go Walkies for Guide Dogs’ in Reaseheath’s grounds and farmland which raised £345 towards the training of guide dogs to support blind and partially sighted people. Each canine entrant enjoyed a tail wagging walk before receiving a doggy bag containing a commemorative dog tag and certificate. At the same time, pet owners were offered a micro chipping service by a qualified professional.

Reaseheath’s zoo was also open to the public, with Emma taking the opportunity to run rabbit enrichment workshops encouraging families to make toys for their pets from cardboard boxes and tubes. The activities raised £82 for the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund.

Other colleagues organised educational displays about responsible pet ownership, particularly the drawbacks of keeping exotic animals, demonstrated how to make garden bird feeders and gave talks on pet care.

Handing over a certificate and educational book on dog breeds, Phil Sketchley, chair of the Trustees of National Pet Month, said: “We liked the balance between fun and education in Reaseheath’s events. They helped promote responsible pet ownership while fitting in with our 2013 theme of ‘companionship’. We cannot wait to hear about Reaseheath’s plans for next year, when National Pet Month will celebrate its 25th anniversary.”

Emma Hunt said: “We were delighted to get this award, particularly as it was the first time we have taken part in National Pet Month. It was a great opportunity to inform the public about pet care – a subject that we are all very passionate about.”


Floristry students design wedding flowers for Mere Golf and Country Club

By Reaseheath Floristry students

During the first week of October, Level 3 Floristry students were asked to put together the flowers for a wedding at the prestigious Mere Golf and Country Club in Knutsford.

The bride had ordered six table top designs, a top table arrangement, two spray bouquets, two bridesmaid posies and buttonholes. Each student was allocated a task and the flowers were prepared in class on Wednesday afternoon. The students used an assortment of large and medium Rosa, purple Eustoma, Cymbidium orchid, Anthuriums and Cala lilies with Monstera and tropical foliage. The designs constructed on Wednesday were then stored in the cool room ready for the wedding on Friday afternoon.

Floristry students mere wedding flowers

On Friday morning a group of students came into college to make the final touches to the flowers, construct the buttonholes and package the bouquets. Everyone piled into the minibus with the flowers and drove to Mere to deliver the flowers. At the hotel the table top arrangements were set up first, sitting them on top of tall vases, then the cake was decorated with individual flowers.

The students were all really impressed with how their work looked in the grand dining room which they decorated. The fantastic result was down to their hard work and excellent team work.

Skills leader gets training overview at Reaseheath College

Senior civil servant David Russell brought himself up to date with the industry ready skills offered by land based colleges during a fact finding tour of Reaseheath College last week.

Mr Russell, who is Director of ‘Closing the Gap’ within the Department for Education, chose to visit the Nantwich, Cheshire, college because of its outstanding reputation for skills development and engagement with industry.

David Russell visits Reaseheath’s dairy parlour with Vice Principal Dave Kynaston and head of Agriculture Martyn East

He toured the college’s £7.3million industry standard food centre and its commercial farm, which includes a cutting edge dairy parlour and welfare friendly commercial pig unit. During his visit, Mr Russell took the chance to join students being introduced to groundbreaking technology such as how to programme and drive tractors fitted with Global Positioning Systems (GPS), a space-based satellite navigation system.

He also toured the college’s new agricultural engineering academy and motor vehicle workshops and inspected  a state- of- the- art food engineering centre which has just been completed. The £3.6m project, developed in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food, uniquely combines training in engineering, food manufacturing and farming and is aimed at engineers who service and maintain large scale milk processing plants in factories across the country.

David Russell joins agriculture students looking at screen images of pregnancy testing in cattle

Reaseheath is attracting a growing number of national and regional clients who are benefitting their businesses through tailormade training for their staff. They are also employing graduates because they have the specific qualifications and practical skills they require. The growth has been particularly significant in the farming and food production industries, and in engineering, motor vehicle and land management.

Mr Russell said:  “My visit was truly inspiring.  I was impressed with everything I saw : the industry-standard facilities, the engagement of the students, the enthusiasm of the staff and the vision and energy of Reaseheath’s  Principal and team.

“Above all, it was extremely encouraging and inspiring to see a college which is delivering the Government’s vision for the sector. Reaseheath is  not only responsive to the needs of industry but is totally in partnership at all levels, from course design through teaching partnerships to the layout of facilities.

“It shows what can be done by an institution focussed on excellence and completely orientated towards successful employment outcomes and the skills needs of industry.  And as if that wasn’t enough, I got to drive a tractor too……”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David commented: “We were delighted to accommodate David Russell and took the opportunity to show him how we prepare our students for successful careers in industry and the exciting prospects awaiting  them.”

Can horses teach us a better way of doing things?

Our Entry and Foundation Department is successfully using natural horsemanship methods to help both learners and staff.

Taking elements from techniques used by Monty Roberts, Kelly Marks and other practitioners who specialise in non-verbal cues and body language, the department has developed an equine assisted learning programme in which horses have become the teachers.

Around 30 staff and over 100 students have already benefited from workshops which involve team work with an equine partner.

The initiative is being led by Foundation Instructor Lisa Brewitt, who was awarded the Innovation Award in Reaseheath’s Awards of Excellence 2012 for her work on the innovative teaching techniques. Very few UK centres offer this type of training.

The programme was initially aimed at Pre-Entry to Level 1 students with learning difficulties, particularly those with autism and anxiety behaviour. It can develop self confidence, self esteem, communication, problem solving and team work.

The workshops have been so successful that they have been taken up by students from visiting specialist schools. Lisa has also run seven staff workshops, which cover  scientific and theoretical aspects as well as practical activities. These have underlined the importance of non verbal communication and how this can promote more effective classroom management.

As well as the Foundation team, colleagues from our student welfare and train to gain teams have used the workshops for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A growing list of external professionals from specialist schools, colleges and secure units have also attended at full cost.

The equine trainers are ponies from our animal management department and equestrian centre and Lisa’s own retrained ex-racehorse. Our animal management department uses elements of the programme.

Lisa says: “Lots of our learners have difficulty with social interaction and in understanding eye and body language. Team work with an equine partner shows you how you can get over obstacles in life such as these.”

Workshops are offered mainly during college holidays. Demand is high, particularly for staff team building and problem solving.  If you want to know more, email lisab@reaseheath.ac.uk.