Russian Group

A group of trainee teachers from Russia recently completed a ‘bespoke’ teacher training course at Sussex Coast College Hastings.

12 students made the 2,220 mile journey from Penza State University, in the Penza region of Russia, to Hastings to help them improve their English and learn a range of effective teaching methods and best practice techniques.

Russian group on West Hill

The students spent two weeks studying elements from the Cert TESOL course, which was tailored to give them a fast-track version of the course. Studying for 25-hours a week, the students were able to improve their English vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and learn a range of tips and techniques to help students get the most out of their lessons.

During their free time, the group had the opportunity to visit Rye, Bodiam Castle, and have a guided tour of London.

Russian group in Rye

Olga Kurtashkina has been teaching for two years and really enjoyed studying in Hastings. She said: “I learned a lot and really enjoyed the lessons. The teaching practice elements were really good and quite challenging. I thought that all of the teachers were really professional, helpful and really friendly and it was a pleasure to be part of their class.”

Nadezhda Proniakova has 15 years of teaching experience and really enjoyed working with the rest of her group to practice teaching methods. She said: “The course was great and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to teach an ESOL class at the college. I’ve been able to take a lot of things from this experience, such as new teaching techniques, ideas to decorate the classroom, and using ICT more frequently, and will adopt them when I return home to my classes.”

Russian group in London

The students were given the opportunity to study in Hastings thanks to a newly established partnership between the college and university, as the education faculty at the university looks to increase professional development and training opportunities abroad.

Hastings Scout Group

The sixth Hastings Scout Troop were given a taste of college last week when they visited the Engineering department at Sussex Coast College Hastings.

(1 minute read)

Led by engineering lecturer Keith Bull and Vocational Skills Practitioner Tony Bastin, the scouts were able to get hands on with a range of practical engineering workshop skills, at the Ore Valley campus last Tuesday (28th November) evening.

The scouts had a go at some bench work activities and made a brass key ring, learning engineering skills of marking out, cutting, filing and drilling.

Scouts in action

Scout Troop leader, Gavin Strachan said: “It was a great way for the troop to spend a Tuesday evening. It was something different to what we’ve have done before and it was good to see them fully engaged and enjoying themselves while learning some new skills”.

Engineering Lecturer, Keith Bull, said: “It was a pleasure to host the scouts and teach them some engineering techniques. It was a really enjoyable evening and a great way to engage with the local community. Hopefully the evening was an inspiration to them and they’ll strive to be the engineers of the future.”


There is less than a month until Christmas so surely that means we can start playing Christmas songs, right?

We all have our favourites, and probably know the words to most of the others, so it’s surprising to hear that some of our best loved festive tunes never actually topped the UK charts at Christmas.

So, to get you in the mood, we thought we’d round-up 5 of the best Christmas songs that never actually made it to number 1.

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas (1994)

Even if Mariah didn’t want a lot for Christmas in 1994, a number 1 hit single probably would have been on the list. But unfortunately for her, ‘All I want for Christmas’ never made it any higher than number two in the UK chart. East 17 held top position for 5 weeks with ‘Stay Another Day’.


Wham! - Last Christmas (1984)

30-odd years ago, Wham! were one of the hottest and most popular bands of the decade, but in 1984 they came up against Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. According to the official charts company, ‘Last Christmas’ is the biggest selling single of all time, never to make it to number one.


Wizzard - I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday (1973)

Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, was released in 1973 in a time where Christmas songs were proper Christmas songs. However, this classic not only missed out on the top stop, beaten by Slade and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’, but Wizzard had to settle for number four that year.


The Pogues - Fairytale of New York (1987)

It’s not the first song that springs to mind when we think about Christmas, but The Pogues and their ‘Fairytale of New York’ is said to be one of the UK’s most popular. Despites its popularity, The Pet Shop Boys kept Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, off top spot in 1987 with their version ‘Always On My Mind’.


Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time (1979)

Sir Paul McCartney, one of the biggest names in UK music, (if not world music) was simply having a wonderful Christmas time in 1979, but his catchy little tune only got to number 6 in the charts. It was in fact, Pink Floyd who held the top spot with ‘Another Brick In The Wall’.

 Miriam Fairbrother web

Earlier this month, a hairdressing student from Sussex Coast College Hastings finished third at a national hairdressing competition in Birmingham.

(2 minute read)

Miriam Fairbrother, who studied Level 2 Hairdressing at the college last year, finished third in the ‘Open to all’ Female Fashion Look – Cut and Finish category at the National Hairdressers Federation competition at the VOX Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Miriam travelled to the midlands on Sunday 19th November to compete against contestants from across the country, and had to create an inspirational style to impress a panel of eight expert judges. The style Miriam took on was a grunge look, which included two different colours and shaving some of the hair.

Miriam in action web

“I was shocked and couldn’t believe it when they announced that I had finished third,” said Miriam. “I was so proud of third place, and to compete against some of the best stylists from across the country was a brilliant experience.”

“We were given 45 minutes to create our style, before the judges walked around the floor to critique and mark our work. I was really pleased with my finished style, and the judges were really impressed too.”

Miriam, who has recently started a Level 3 Apprenticeship at Emma Hellier, in Bexhill, competed in the advanced category that featured fully-qualified and experienced stylists. She arrived at the competition expecting to compete in the student and trainee category, but soon found out that she was the only person to apply, so the organisers asked Miriam if she would like to compete in the Open to all section.

“When they asked if I would like to compete in the Open to all category, I thought that there was no chance of me winning, but as I had travelled up to Birmingham, I had nothing to lose so just go for it.

Competing against such a strong field of stylists has really given me a lot of confidence. I’m now looking forward to my career in hairdressing even more.”

Children in Need

Students and staff from Sussex Coast College Hastings raised £110 for Children in Need last Friday (17th November).

The Student President and her team set their classmates and tutors the goal of cycling and rowing a combined distance of 81.5 miles on exercise machines to raise money for the charity.

The 81.5 mile target is the distance from the college to Calais, and includes the 25 mile channel crossing.

Children in Need cycling

Student President, Lucy Head, said: “We set ourselves the target of cycling to Calais. We thought that we could cycle to Dover and row across the channel, and if each person was able to cycle one mile and donate one pound then we would easily reach our target.”

“It was hard work at times, especially on the rowing machine, but everyone did their bit so we could make it across the line.”

“We reached our distance target in less than 6 hours, and thanks to the generosity of other students and members of staff, we were able to raise a total of £110.”

BBC Children in Need has been running since 1980 and has raised over £600 million for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

Sophie Barber with her painting Phil

A Fine Art degree student from University Centre Hastings at Sussex Coast College has been shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award 2017.

(3 minute read)

Sophie Barber, 21, finished her BA (Hons) Fine Art Practice degree in the summer and was selected to take part in the Platform Graduate Award.

The Platform Graduate Award, which is led by CVAN South East (Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East), is an initiative to support emerging graduates with their art practice after they finish university.

This year, 41 graduates were chosen from 16 universities in the South East to compete for the prize of £2,500 and bespoke mentoring from professional artist Jonathan Parsons.

Sophie was selected by the De La Warr Pavilion, one of five partner galleries supporting the initiative, while she was exhibiting her final year project during the college’s annual end of year degree show.

Sophie, who is a painter, likes to work on large canvases and draws inspiration from her encounters with art history and everyday life.

“My passion for painting developed during my degree,” said Sophie. “I like to work with oil paint on large, un-stretched canvas. I paint intuitively, exploring figurative language, without really planning what I’m going to paint. I go to the canvas and explore images from my mind or things that I have absorbed from the everyday.”

Sophie exhibited her work at the De La Warr Pavillion in an exhibition between 16th September and 5th November which included graduates from University of Brighton and fellow Sussex Coast College student Amy Wilson.

After the exhibition, Sophie was then chosen by the De Le Warr to go through to the final stage of the competition. Sophie travelled to the Gas Works in London, where she had to present her work and rationale to a panel of six judges, five from each of the partner galleries and a guest judge, Rosalind Nashashibi, who is a Turner Prize 2017 nominated artist.

“I have recently started renting my own studio space in Hastings, where I have been able to continue my painting. Taking part in Platform has been a wonderful experience and I have learnt a lot from having the chance to exhibit at such an important gallery as the De La Warr Pavilion.”

Sophie will find out if she has won the award when Rosalind Nashashibi will present the award on 9th December at the host gallery, Modern Art Oxford.

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