Highbury has IT!

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Highbury has IT

Highbury College Portsmouth’s ongoing commitment to investing in the latest technology has been recognised in a prestigious national award programme.

The College is among only eight in the UK to have been shortlisted for the 2016 Times Educational Supplement Further Education Award for ‘outstanding use of technology for improving teaching and learning.’

“This is the first time we have entered for this national award following many years of sustained and significant investment in technology across the College and our relentless focus on the continuous improvement in teaching and learning,” said delighted Principal Stella Mbubaegbu.
“Congratulations to all our dedicated teachers, trainers and assessors and to the Digital Futures team for this well-deserved achievement.”

Cathy Ellis, the College’s Director of Research & Development said the Highbury Digital Futures team facilitates creativity and innovation at all levels, encouraging staff and students to think differently.

Recent innovations include the launch of a digital maths academy to make maths more accessible.

“We made it available for free on the internet and attracted – without any promotion beyond a few tweets – visitors from over 15 countries in the first seven days,” said Cathy. “This is just one example of taking to scale the power of technology to transform and enrich lives.”

Highbury is also among the first FE colleges in the UK to have introduced Canvas, a leading-edge virtual learning environment for students and staff to further support new ways of learning and working.

More than 100 providers, individuals and teams are in the running for a total of 14 TES FE awards. The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on 22 April.


Portsmouth College Shortlisted for Two National Awards

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Portsmouth College Logo web

Staff and students at Portsmouth College are absolutely delighted with the outstanding news that Portsmouth College has been shortlisted for not one but two national awards!

Portsmouth College are on the shortlist of eight Colleges nationally for ‘Marketing and Communications Team of the Year’ and for the very prestigious ‘Sixth Form College of the Year’!

The highly acclaimed Times Educational Supplement Awards are awarded each year to the most creative, successful and innovative Colleges across the Sixth Form and Further Education sectors. It is testament to the fantastic work of all our dedicated staff and students that we have received these very significant accolades.

A thrilled Portsmouth College Principal, Steve Frampton, said:
“I am overjoyed with these nominations. All our brilliant staff and students have been working so hard over a number of years now to get us into a position where we are serious contenders to be crowned the Sixth Form College of the Year. I would also like to thank all our community partners for their role in this; the support we receive from everyone right across the city and beyond is second to none. This is a very proud day for myself, the College and for Portsmouth.”

Staff member Susan Churches was equally as proud:
“I am delighted by this news! All the staff at Portsmouth College work so well together to get the best possible outcomes for our great students. We are passionate about giving them the best possible life chances and these nominations feel like a great reward for all that hard work and dedication.”

Student Governor Megan Wade felt the shortlisting for the awards was richly deserved:
“There are so many great things to say about Portsmouth College that it’s hard to sum it up in a couple of sentences! Being a Student Governor has given me a great insight into how hard the staff work to make it an exceptional place to learn.”

Portsmouth College has built its success on creativity and innovation. Their unique structure of the day, their ‘Curious and Creative Learning’ project which sees all students and front-line staff using iPad Mini’s, and their consistently strong results have helped them arrive at this position.

With record numbers of students this year and record application numbers for September, they are facing the future with confidence.

The award winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Friday 22nd April. This will be the second year in a row that Portsmouth College will be in attendance.


Aspex secures Capital Grant from Arts Council England

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Aspex Grant webAspex, Portsmouth’s contemporary art gallery, is delighted to announce it has been awarded £158,504 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded capital programme, to finance the further development of its stunning historic building at Gunwharf Quays, and extend its reach to a wider audience. 

The improvement of its facilities will enable Aspex to continue delivering high quality arts education, workshops and events for all.

Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex, said:

"As Aspex celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, we are thrilled to have received this significant support from Arts Council England and our small capital project will be an excellent way of starting our celebrations.

“It will enable us to develop our building to improve its facilities for audiences and artists, while also reducing our environmental impact and improving our sustainability.

“Two key new features will be an artists studio, accessible to all of our visitors, who will be invited to engage directly with artists while they work, and a mobile participation studio which will help us to reach out to local communities in and around Portsmouth who do not currently visit the gallery.

“A really big thank you to Arts Council England for helping Aspex to achieve our ambition."

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting Aspex with an award of £158,504 through our National Lottery funded Capital programme.

“The investment will help Aspex to align their physical space with their business needs to become more resilient and support increased participation in contemporary visual arts in Portsmouth.”

The project will include the development of a larger space for Aspex’s award-winning programme of participation workshop and events, which in turn will also improve the gallery’s hire facilities.

The former education space will be transformed into a new artists studio, enabling the hosting of regular residencies by local and international artists.

A mobile participation studio will also be created, to allow the gallery to take its work out into the community increasing the number of people who are able to get involved in arts activities.

Further improvements will be made to the building's environmental sustainability and Aspex’s digital capabilities will be upgraded. The build element of this project is scheduled to start in April 2016, and Aspex are currently working to raise the necessary match-funding required to release Arts Council England’s support.


Hotwalls Studios feeding creativity with announcement of 'The Canteen'

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Studio impression web

Portsmouth's exciting creative quarter Hotwalls Studios welcomes new waterfront eatery The Canteen, from the team behind one of Southsea's best loved tea-rooms The Tenth Hole.

With applications also open for artists looking for studio space in an inspirational setting and new eatery owners on board, Hotwalls Studios is taking shape to open in July 2016.

Dating back to the 15th Century, Hotwalls Studios were previously artillery barracks. Creatively bringing this historic site back to life has been the aim of the £1.75m development from the government's coastal communities fund, and an additional £40k from PUSH and £100K from the council, which will secure the future of this historic monument.

Lucy Branson co-owner said: "We were blown away by the prestigious location and unique opportunity at the Hotwalls. Having established ourselves in the city we were looking to expand, but with a new offer. The Canteen at Hotwalls Studios will be a deli style café, with high quality coffee and freshly baked breakfasts and lunches. In the summer we'll stay open slightly later till 9pm and serve small plates. We're Portsmouth born and bred and what keeps us here is the vibrancy, there's plenty going on but there's also room to grow."

The 13 studios have been created for both new and established artists and offer competitive rates, an enviable position in the heart of Old Portsmouth, as well as nearby eatery The Canteen.

The studios can be used from 7am - 11pm and are available from three months up to three years leases. They vary in size and there is an opportunity to share spaces.

With completely glazed fronts, the studios aren't for shy and retiring types as it is expected the new creative quarter will attract visitors to the area.

Artists who are looking for spaces to create physical pieces are encouraged to apply, and will also be able to sell direct to customers from their studios, applications close on 25 March.

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Lucy Branson, Cllr Linda Symes, Bev Lucas (council officer) and Bill Branson

Cllr Linda Symes Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport said: "We're at an exciting stage of the development where artists can apply for studio space and we've secured a fantastic deli-style café. The studios are a great opportunity if you're either starting out in your career, or already established, and are looking for a place to work from. There isn't another creative quarter quite like Hotwalls Studios, with the unique historic setting combined with fantastic waterfront views. Portsmouth has a thriving creative industry and affordable studios are in demand. It's important to invest in our local talent and make sure this continues to grow. I'm looking forward to this summer's opening."

The studios are within walking distance of Gunwharf Quays and Southsea, and have close transport links nearby.

Local businesses, contractors Mountjoy and architects ERMC, are behind the historic development.

Deniz Beck, project architect at ERMC said: "It is the aspiration of both Portsmouth City Council and Historic England to reinvigorate this landmark location as a vibrant arts and crafts quarter and rescue the structure from further dilapidation. The project has been developed to achieve a harmonious mix of old and new."

Andy Flambard, director of Mountjoy said: “To get the chance to work on the Hotwalls, such an iconic part of Portsmouth’s history, really cements Mountjoy as a local expert and contractor of choice. Working on a scheduled monument and Grade I listed building, within a conservation area and within an intertidal zone is not without its challenges, however with over 25 years’ experience and a specialist project management team, Mountjoy is more than capable. We are also proud to be involved with a project which will be instrumental in creating new jobs within Portsmouth and supporting emerging creative industries.”

To find out more about the studios visit Invest in Portsmouth at

You can also chat to someone involved in the project during the Crafts in the Tower at the Square Tower on Sunday 21 February and Sunday 20 March.


Nature week at Cumberland House

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Cumberland House web

Cumberland House Natural History Museum is offering a trio of nature-themed activities this half-term for all the family to enjoy.

It's all about bees from Wednesday to Friday (17-19 February) as children and adults can learn more about the bee hive, how the bees live and try on beekeeper’s clothing from 10.30am - 12.30pm.

Enjoy art and craft activities inspired by the amazing creatures that live in the sea as the nature theme continues with a Creation Station workshop on Thursday (18 February) from 11am - 3pm. This workshop is suitable for 2-11 year olds and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets cost £3 per child or £1.75 with a leisure card.

Concluding the museum's week of events, visitors can join the Portsdown Hill countryside officer on Friday (19 February) for activities that reveal how plants, insects and birds get through the winter. This is a free drop-in session from 11am - 2pm, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information on any of the events visit

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