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Bracknell Town Centre is changing

bracknell m&sBracknell is surrounded by countryside and forest which is very different to the existing town centre. As part of the multimillion pound regeneration for Bracknell Town Centre some parts of the existing town centre will be demolished to create an inspirational new shopping and leisure complex for the people of Bracknell. This includes a large multi-screen cinema, restaurants and cafes as well as major new shops coming into Bracknell for the first time.

The plans also include the refurbishment to some of the existing areas of the town in order to modernise the look of the town centre, improve facilities for pedestrians as well as over 1300 new car parking spaces.

Work is due to start in spring 2013 on this exciting new phase.






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Bracknell Forest Art Project


Get your paintbrushes, paints and art materials ready for the Bracknell Forest art project

My Bracknell Forest is the theme of an exciting art project for 2013 which wants young people to reflect their life and living in Bracknell Forest.  Schools, Bracknell and Wokingham College and youth groups will be invited to record using any art media their view of ‘My Bracknell Forest’.  The competition will be open to all ages of young people from infants aged 5 years  to young adults, and they can seek inspiration from any aspect of life in Bracknell Forest – their local community and area.  This could include the twinning arrangements with Leverkusen.

The art project will culminate in an art display at South Hill Park for three weeks 29 June to 20 July, with the announcement of the winning categories on 20 July.

We look forward to reporting progress in the summer.

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GGS Im Steinfeld

Hello, we are the children of the community primary school ‘GGS In Steinfeld’ in Leverkusen and this is our first article. We now want to tell you a little of our school, so that you can get to know it a little. You need to know that our school used to be a fire station. We have two school play-grounds, one large and one small. We have a library in the building and a gym. Last week we had the first snow of the year. We have only female teachers. We can choose to use some afternoons for organised, after-school activities. Each playground has a climbing frame. We celebrate: St. Martins’ day, Carnival and Easter.

Next to our school is a kindergarten. We will soon celebrate Carnival. You can dress-up as anything, such as a joker, hamburgers, superman, spiderman, batman, the devil or a vampire. We are really looking forward to it.

Till later!

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Help a Christmas Child

Our shoeboxes ready for sending
Our shoeboxes ready for sending

Help a Christmas Child with the Shoe Box Appeal by Anna Harker, Year 6, pupil at St Michael’s Easthampstead CE Aided Primary school

The reason that we were asked to fill a Shoe Box is so that lots of people, not as fortunate as us, get a Christmas Shoe Box to open on Christmas Day.  This is the fourth year that I have filled a shoe box.

I fill shoe boxes to make other children happy at Christmas I put lots of exiting stuff that I might like so I know the special person will love their gift. My mum and I went shopping this year and got a flannel , soft toy, necklace  and bracelet.  I also put in a notebook, pencil, pen, post-it notes, rubber and sharpener for them to draw and write with.  In addition I added some sweets, a hat and mittens.  My shoebox was for a girl aged 10-13.

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Bracknell and Leverkusen twinning mural unveiled

A mural created by Bracknell & Wokingham College students to commemorate the twinning partnership between Bracknell and Leverkusen was unveiled on Monday 5 November 2012.

The students who created the mural were joined by visitors from Leverkusen, members of the Bracknell Twinning Association, the Mayor of Bracknell Town Council Shelagh Pile and other councillors for the unveiling at the Wick Hill site of the college in Bull Lane, Bracknell.

Harriet Price, 17, of Bracknell explained how students had been involved in the project:

“The project was part of our Community Art module – as part of our course we get to try out loads of different ways to use art. Two of our group did the main design, four of us painted it and we came back and added in some extra elements too.”

Ashley Charles, 17, of Crowthorne told what students had learned about the two places:

“We researched Leverkusen and Bracknell and found there were lots of things that were similar about them. There is even a Bracknell Square in Leverkusen that we included”.

Mayor Shelagh Pile was keen to praise the students for their efforts:

“Next year the twinning partnership will enter its 40th year. This mural is a great way of showing the similarities between the two places. The students should feel very proud of the work they have put in to producing it.”

Michael Gutbier, a visitor from Leverkusen said:

“I am very honoured to take part in this special moment. The mural shows how close the two places are and having the opportunity to be here makes me feel very at home.”

Louise Gigg, Coordinator of vocational courses for 14-16 year olds at the college was pleased with the outcomes of the project:

“We have students who come from across Bracknell to do a variety of practical courses and it is lovely for them to see the imagery linking Bracknell with its twin town of Leverkusen this mural provides on a daily basis.

Our College art students did a fantastic job and the mural adds to the vibrancy and colour of the Wick Hill centre. These kinds of practical projects help to provide the students with employability skills they can use in the future”.

Bracknell & Wokingham College Principal Campbell Christie explained the impact of the project on the college students:

“Part of our vision is to be in the heart of the community and this project has allowed students to be involved in this. This extends beyond our immediate locality and allows us to work with Leverkusen in a bright twinning future”.


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My Olympic Memories

Memories of students past and present that took part in making London 2012 the great event we will all remember! Writes Nigel Pumffrey (Senior Lecturer & Bridging the Gap Trainer, Bracknell & Wokingham College.)

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have provided students at Bracknell & Wokingham College with a golden opportunity to take part in an event that will stay in their memories forever. London 2012 was the ‘Gamesmakers’ Games, and those that volunteered have created the success that we all witnessed. Students at Bracknell & Wokingham as well as some invited from Sandhurst School had the opportunity to take part in the Bridging the Gap training. This equipped them with the skills they needed to be employed by security solutions provider G4S to secure our Games. Here are some of their stories.




Fran McWade

My Summer at the Olympics

After a very long and stressful process I was deployed to The Lee Valley White Water Rafting Centre to finally become part of The London 2012 Olympic Games! Before I was employed by G4S I had to pass my Security Industry Authority (SIA) door supervision course that would give me a licence which would enable me to become part of a security team. After my success at passing with 85/91 I was given physical and theory training in PSA (Pedestrian Search Area), body search, bag search and patrolling. I was also chosen to use an X ray scanner so I was given further training, with many assessments which you had to gain high pass marks for you to precede to the next set of training and assessments. After all my training was completed and I had successfully passed I was able to control and identify images from a Rapiscan X – ray machine. I found this extremely interesting and exciting, especially as it has now given me another future career option in Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise. My first day was really nerve racking, I was put on to the screening area where all the officials came through, so I met the press, athletes, referees, coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and any other important people! After a couple of hours, I felt really comfortable and I loved scanning the bags, ensuring no one was bringing in any prohibited items. When I was on bag search I had to search the bags that had suspicious items in or were too cluttered to see clearly on the X ray screen. I had to search bags belonging to an athlete from Slovenia, so you have to ask ‘May I have permission to search your bag?, Do you have any prohibited items in your bag or anything that may harm me?’ He smiled at me and said ‘no but can I have your number!’ That was not what I was expecting, I said no whilst laughing with him and he gave me a Slovenian Olympic band and Olympic badge which was nice, this then started a craze with all the workers over how many badges they could collect from the athletes! On one of my shifts on X ray I came across a rubber duck in someone’s bag which was very amusing! There was also a programme on the X ray machine that tested our responses and image perception, buy planting fake images of threat items, such as bombs and guns into people’s bags. This kept us very alert and allowed us to practice the scenario if it was to happen for real. The first few times it happens, you get a very warm uncomfortable feeling flow through your body, but you have to press a button on the machine to say you have seen it and if it was planted the machine will congratulate you on finding it and remove the image so you can rescan the bag to ensure there are no real threats. On another occasion a blind man with his guide dog had to pass through the body metal detector. I was on body search at the time and his dog set off the machine! I was secretly glad because that meant I was able to search the dog and praise the dog for what a great job he was doing. We did have one scare, when someone put a huge sealed box on the machine and said it contained medals, we X rayed it and we could see all the individual boxes on the screen, but then a large dark mass in the middle. It was not what I was expecting to see and alarm bells started ringing with me! We were told in our training that if we saw anything suspicious or something that we did not expect to see to investigate it straight away. So I shouted ‘team leader support’ and suddenly everyone who was working stopped and rushed over to the screen, we were all very worried so decided to investigate. It turned out that the medals were not put inside their boxes and were in fact packed together in a bag in the middle of the box! We found the experience rather amusing, but it also gave us a chance to rehearse a real dangerous situation.

Lauran Baldwin

My time at the Olympics couldn’t have been better! When the games were on the atmosphere of the public as well as the athletes was amazing. The amount of different national flags, banners, tops and songs was really fun to enjoy an they made the days go extremely fast! But what made it mostly special was everyone that I worked alongside and the different jobs that I was given to do such as acting team leader and quick response. By working alongside such an amazing team meant that the days were fun and there were no arguments. I wish I could have stayed working there longer but with the venue being brought down we were unable to. It is an experience that I will never forget.







Michelle Mason

My experience at the Olympics was simply amazing. There is no other way to describe this once in a life time experience. I was also honoured enough to be given the team leader role. I did have a lot of extra responsibility to ensure everything went smoothly and that the search areas were operated as they should have been with the utmost professionalism at all times. As soon as the gates where open and the public arrived everything ran smoothly I was so proud! It also had its advantages working at the Olympics because of the people that I got to meet and greet. One of the areas which I was securing was the entrance to the royals seating/ viewing area which meant I got to see Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate, Camilla and Prince Charles up close!! I also got to meet Zara Phillips which was fantastic. The training which I received on behalf of G4S was for me absolutely life changing because I can now go and work in the security industry when I want to because I have now got my SIA licence and I am fully trained. I would not have been able to experience this if it was not for the help and support which I received from both my tutors and the college.


Lidia Matusiak

During my summer time when I worked at the Olympics I had opportunity to meet new people and have really good experience to work in security which is really huge responsibility. As I worked there I worked in different places round London and outside London these are: Wimbledon, Earl’s Court, Olympic Village, North Greenwich O2, Horse Guards Parade, The Mall, and Eton Dorney. While working in all these places I had a chance to be involved in all the events and help so the people that were coming to watch the games were safe at the place. I also worked with Police, Army and others that were making sure that people can be safe while being at the games.

Working at the PSA sector at the gates where people were coming through was the biggest responsibility because when I had to search a female I had to make sure that I do it properly so they don’t have anything on the that is not allowed in so no one will get hurt. Also I had to make sure that no one was taking pictures in PSA sector because that was not allowed and when there was once this couple taking pictures I had to go up to them and ask them nicely to delete all the pictures while showing me that they are doing it. Working with different people at the Olympic was a great opportunity and you can learn a lot also it was a great time and I was happy to be there.

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Bracknell Forest Torch Relay

Bracknell Forest held its own torch relay in support of the London Olympics and Paralympic Games which take place in July and August.  All schools across the borough took part and the Bracknell Forest torch was run by a group of pupils from school to school.  Each school held a reception for the torch as it was passed to the next group of runners.

Before the torch relay competitions were held to select the design for a Bracknell Forest mascot and torch.  Primary schools took to the challenge of designing a mascot and the best entry was selected and to the delight of the winner was made up into an actual mascot.  Secondary schools submitted and made their design for the torch.  The winning entry was a superb design which was carefully crafted into a torch.

Parents and schools were all out in force celebrating the arrival and safe dispatch of the torch.  Events culminated at the Bracknell Forest Leisure Centre where the torch bearers took part in a range of games and fun activities led by our young sports ambassadors.

Running with the Torch
writes Yasmine

On 22nd and 23rd May 2012, all of the schools in Bracknell took part in an Olympic torch relay to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Starting off the relay was Whitegrove school. Finally, the torch was passed to us (St Michael’s Easthampstead school) by Wildridings. Then our runners – Lewis, Emma, Daniella and Yasmine – started to run with the torch.
First we ran round our school playground which was lined with the whole school cheering. Then we made our way slowly to Fox Hill school. When we arrived, we passed the torch to their runners. Next, we made our way to the Sports Centre where we participated in lots of fun games with other schools. These were organised by the young ambassadors from all the secondary schools.
We would like to say a big thank you to all the children and adults who made that amazing day happen.

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Bracknell student to carry olympic torch

Student’s Olympic effort

Bracknell Student to carry torch

College Sport student and Bracknell girl, Monica Petrosino, will be carrying the Olympic torch through Slough on July 10.

Her sister, Ricarda Petrosino, 24, who also works at the college nominated her, she said: “I nominated her on a whim – I never thought she’d be chosen. I didn’t tell her I’d put her forward though so the first she knew was when she got the call.

“I’m very proud of my little sister – she has overcome a lot of things in her life so far to be a top ice hockey player for England and Team GB – if anyone deserves this opportunity Monica does! She has really shown what dedication and passion for a sport can do to change someone’s life and I really hope that she is an inspiration to other young people.”

Monica, 18, said: “We heard the announcement and I said how awesome it would be to carry the torch and we spoke about it a lot. When I heard that I had been chosen I couldn’t believe it.

“Taking my place to carry the Olympic torch means so much to me and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity! I have to train so hard for my hockey but it means so much to me. I have sold my car, been supported by friends, family and the college to fund the travel to training and to fixtures abroad. My college tutors have been amazing in helping me to fit my college work around the training and competitions. Myself and my sister have always been so close, she is the best big sister and I have always looked up to her.”

Abseil 40m (130ft) from the stunning Bracknell & Wokingham College Prow on Sunday 17 June

Bracknell & Wokingham College have generously given permission to hold an abseil for the first time from the state-of-the-art Church Road building on Sunday 17 June.

Unlike other abseils, this offers a mix of abseil and free fall. The team running the abseil are amongst the most experienced and will ensure everyone has the confidence to step over the edge and abseil 40m for British Red Cross.

The funds raised on the day will help British Red Cross to offer some amazing services to vulnerable people in Berkshire. Places are limited in number but open to anyone. To secure a place, book online by paying £15 registration fee and commit to raising £100 sponsorship (payable on the day). Anybody raising over £150 will be presented with a souvenir photograph of their descent. To sign up go to

Several members of staff and students from Bracknell & Wokingham College will be taking part. Campbell Christie CBE, Principal said: “We are really pleased to be able to support this worthwhile cause and welcome local people in to our beautiful building. Our vision as a college is to be in the heart of our community – what better way to demonstrate this than to invite others to join our students and staff in raising money for a charity that is helping people locally as well as having a hugely positive impact globally.”