Reading students will be backstage at Reading Festival this weekend, bringing big interviews and festival news live

Visit our Backstage Pass blog here.With less than a week to go until Reading Festival 2015, The University of Reading is delighted to announce its first-ever partnership with Bauer Media and Festival Republic. As part of this exciting collaboration, University of Reading students will be backstage at Reading Festival 2015 this bank holiday weekend, bringing fans the big interviews and festival news as it happens. During the three days the students will be part of Bauer’s team, creating content for Bauer channels alongside Kerrang! The partnership also gives our students exclusive behind the scenes access to some of the biggest names in music.

Melvin Benn, Festival Republic has said: “We’re extremely excited to be working both with Bauer and the University of Reading this year. It’s a great opportunity for this next generation of journalists and we’re proud to say they’re able to start their journey at Reading Festival 2015.”

Reading Festival with University of Reading
Reading Festival with University of Reading

Karen Smalley, Head of Brand and Campaigns at the University of Reading, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside a global publishing powerhouse like Bauer Media. For our students it’s an amazing opportunity to show their talents and represent the University. They’ll be gaining experience and contacts that could shape their future careers – interviewing some of the hottest bands and some of the music industry’s biggest hitters along the way at Reading Festival 2015.”

Neil Mcsteen, Head of Music at Bauer Media, said: “The stage is set for the best Reading Festival ever. Collaborating with the University of Reading at its famous hometown music festival was an opportunity not to be missed. By using ‘super-teams’ comprised of our renowned experts and hungry, talented students, Bauer will be providing its audience with the fastest and most complete coverage of the Reading Festival to date.”

The Reading Festival takes place between 28th-30th August. The University of Reading will be blogging and tweeting leading up to and over the festival weekend. As well as giving festival-goers updates on what they can expect weather-wise, Reading researchers will be providing expert commentary on subjects ranging from youth sub-cultures to how music can help us understand the causes of depression.


Royal Mail’s Stamp of Approval from Reading’s Bee Experts

University of Reading scientists have helped Royal Mail to create a new set of special stamps celebrating British bees.

Two of the new Royal Mail stamps featuring bees

Royal Mail worked closely with bee expert Simon Potts, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER) – part of the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

The stamps feature the Scabious Bee, Great Yellow Bumblebee, Northern Colletes Bee, Bilberry Bumblebee, Large Mason Bee and the Potter Flower Bee.

An additional miniature sheet includes four stamps showing the life and importance of the honeybee.

Royal Mail also commissioned new research that found that more than half of people questioned (53%) could not name any type of bee – despite nearly 87% saying they care about the bee population in the UK.

Findings also discovered that only 3% of people were aware there are around 250 species of bee living in the UK, with the majority (71%) believing there were fewer than 20.

Professor Potts said: “Scientists are learning more and more about the complex biology of bees, and this beautiful series of stamps captures the amazing diversity of bees and their lifestyles in the UK.

“It’s a chance for us to keep learning about the unique wildlife that surrounds us.”

Results 2015 Results 2015: if you have a Firm or Insurance offer for an undergraduate programme click here for more information.

sheildWhen you’ve received your results (and we have also received them) you can check the status of your application through the UCAS Track service using your Personal UCAS ID number and password. Alternatively, you can check the status of your application through the RISISweb Portal using your Reading ID number and password.

If you’re unsure whether you need to send your results to us, then check the UCAS website to see which results we receive automatically. If your qualification(s) aren’t on the list, you will need to scan and email them to us at

If your place is showing as unconditional on UCAS Track or the RISISweb Portal then your place at the University of Reading is confirmed. Congratulations! We will be contacting you via email in the next few weeks to provide more information about what will happen next as you join the University of Reading. In the meantime, why not explore our Welcome website?

If your offer is still conditional, then please do not worry. We have put together some frequently asked questions, which we hope will help answer any queries you may have. However please do feel free to contact us should you require anything further.

You can call our confirmation hotline on +44 (0)118 378 8372 or email us at

We are open from 9.00am to 5.00pm on Monday to Friday, with extended opening hours on A Level results day: Thursday 13 August, 8.00am to 6.00pm.

We are offering free and extensive CPD for primary and secondary school language teachers

Modern foreign languages in the primary and secondary school: Teaching the new National Curriculum
For the second year, we are delighted to be able to offer free and extensive CPD for primary and secondary school language teachers through funding from the government, co-delivered by experienced local teachers and University tutors.

The programme will begin with a whole day of input and activities, followed by monthly twilight sessions and will end with a half-day event. French language upskilling sessions will be provided for primary teachers in addition, each month.

Government funding allows us to be able to make a substantial contribution to supply costs for teachers attending the first and last event plus some twilight sessions.

The programme will be of benefit for all those teaching languages, especially colleagues leading languages provision in schools, as well as those new to delivering primary languages.  The language of focus for primary colleagues will be French; for secondary colleagues, sessions will include examples in French, German and Spanish.  Much of the content for secondary colleagues will be very relevant for the new GCSE specifications, especially with regard to spontaneous speaking and literary texts.

Sessions will include:

  • Creating a joined up KS2-3 curriculum for languages
  • Developing core oral skills, including accurate pronunciation and spontaneous oral interaction
  • Literacy skills in the foreign language –including reading for comprehension, appreciation and vocabulary development
  • Developing grammatical competence across Key Stage 2 and 3
  • Developing learners’ listening skills
  • Assessment
  • Primary-secondary transition

As well as gaining a wealth of practical ideas, participants on the programme will also enhance their understanding of the principles that underpin effective language learning.

Last year there was a very high demand for places so please book early at:

sheildSession 1
Whole day, Friday 9 October, 09.30-15.30, Institute of Education: The new National Curriculum across Key Stages 2-3 and principles of effective teaching and learning; developing learners’ listening skills; assessment and evaluation; transition issues



Twilight Sessions – All held at the University of Reading, Institute of Education, London Road Campus

Session 2 (Speaking): Wednesday 4 November 2015, 16.30-18.30

Session 3 (Speaking): Thursday 3 December 2015, 16.30-18.30

Session 4 (Reading):  Wednesday 13 January 2016, 16.30-18.30,

Session 5 (Reading/writing): Thursday 4 February 2016,16.30-18.30,

Session 6 (Grammar/writing): Wednesday 2 March 2016, 16.30-18.30,

Session 7 (Sharing practice; transition): Half day, Wednesday 23 March, 13.30-16.30

If you are unable to attend the first whole day session, you will still be very welcome to come to the twilights.  We also welcome different teachers from the same school for different sessions, i.e. attendance can be ‘shared’ within a school, so that ideas can be cascaded across colleagues.

Additional French language tuition will be offered on the following dates for primary teachers, with all sessions held at the University.  There will be two levels of classes, one for beginners with little or no knowledge of French, one for ‘improvers’ or Intermediate learners

Beginners Intermediate/Improvers
Tuesday 20 October, 17.00-19.00 Thursday 22 October, 17.00-19.00
Tuesday 24 November, 17.00-19.00 Thursday 26 November, 17.00-19.00
Tuesday 8 December, 17.00-19.00 Thursday 10 December, 17.00-19.00
Tuesday 19 January, 17.00-19.00 Thursday 21 January, 17.00-19.00
Tuesday mid-February, 17.00-19.00 (date TBC) Thursday mid-February, 17.00-19.00 (date TBC)


We will pay for one day’s supply cover for teachers who attend the first and last event plus some twilight sessions, with schools asked to fund the remaining half-day.  There are no further costs for the CPD. Further details will be emailed out with joining instructions before the first event.

For further information about any aspect of the CPD, please contact:  or  phone 0118 378 2612


This CPD is being delivered as a consortium led by the University of Reading and involves the following partners:

  • Bartholomew School, Eynsham
  • Fair Oak Junior School
  • Keep Hatch Primary School
  • Oxford University Department of Education
  • Radstock Primary School
  • The Willink School, Burghfield Common
  • Wellington College Teaching School Partnership
  • Wokingham Secondary Federation


“Highly encouraging” research into the effects of outdoor learning drawing to a close, says IoE’s Dr Carol Fuller.

Over the past three years, the John Madejski Academy has been supporting Dr Carol Fuller, Deputy Director of Research at the University of Reading, carry out a study into the effects of outdoor learning and exposure to outdoor education on students’ social, character and academic development.carol's research

Whilst many people agree that there are positive benefits, very little hard evidence exists and through working with Ufton Court, a small focus group of students, now in Year 11, have been making regular visits to engage in an outdoor learning programme. The Academy and University have also been tracking their academic progress data and regularly taking student voice feedback via interviews and questionnaires.

The focus group made their final visit to Ufton Court this week as the research period now draws to a close. Students have been challenged each visit to undertake more adventurous activities and develop their skills in leadership, team work and communication. This visit saw some of the most difficult activities yet with students building a medieval slingshot, designing and building a chair from resources found in a woodland and putting their team work skills to the test on the low rope challenge.

The initial research findings are highly encouraging and Dr Fuller will now conduct further analysis before writing up the study for publication in academic journals.  The University would like to thank the Academy as well as Ufton Court for their support of this programme and also the group of students who have willingly engaged in all aspects of this research with energy and enthusiasm.

Famed ‘Father of the Internet’ visits TAEDS and the Learning Hub after receiving Honorary Degree

The University of Reading recently presented Internet pioneer Dr Vinton G Cerf with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science. Dr Cerf is widely known as one of the ‘fathers of the internet’, co-designing its protocols and architecture. Today he is Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, contributing to global policy development and the continued spread of the Internet.

Dr Cerf has received numerous awards including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Charles Stark Draper award and Officer of the Legion d’Honneur. In 2012 President Obama appointed him to the National Science Board.

Dr Cerf is a hearing aid user and together with his wife, Sigrid Cerf, who has a cochlear implant, is a strong role-model for deaf people and innovative forms of communication. After the degree ceremony, Vinton and his wife Sigrid met Cathy Wardale, Programme Director of Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies. This unique course is offered nowhere else in the world and offers the chance to study theatre arts, education and deaf studies together, with a focus on Sign Theatre.

Vint Cerf with TAEDS director, Cathy Wardell
Vint Cerf with TAEDS director, Cathy Wardell

Dr Cerf then visited the IoE’s Learning Hub where he discovered a unique innovative learning tool – a talking pen pal book which allows children who speak different languages to learn together in one classroom.

Vint Cerf at the Learning Hub
Vint Cerf at the Learning Hub

He met Ken Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Decibels, a charitable company with the aim of promoting the arts-based education and training of disabled children and young people. Ken is also Director of the Deafax Research and Development Unit, of which Dr Cerf is Honorary President. Both charities are based at the University’s London Road Campus and work closely with the Institute of Education.

Dr Cerf said: “The University of Reading has a well-earned reputation in the academic world. The award of this degree honoris causa means a great deal to me, personally and professionally. I hope I can continue to earn this distinction in the future.”

Vint Cerf, receiving his honorary degree at the University of Reading
Vint Cerf, receiving his honorary degree at the University of Reading


Vint Cerf (pictured left) shared the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
Vint Cerf (pictured far left) shared the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

IoE academic set to reignite ancient art form

In a thought-provoking take on a genre traditionally associated with the 17th century, a group of ultra-modern international artists, including the IoE’s John Mitchell, is reinvigorating the ancient art of still-life. Their exhibition, Nature Morte is now set to tour Sweden, Norway, Belgium and the UK.

The exhibition is based on Michael Petry’s recent book of the same name for publishers Thames & Hudson. A distinguished lecturer in art at the IoE, John was invited to participate first in the book, then the exhibition. John has been exhibiting to international acclaim since 1979 in private and public galleries and has been inspiring students at the IoE since 1989.

Nature Morte will bring together historic still-life paintings with completely contemporary artworks that nevertheless use the language of the past for modern concerns. The show explores the eternal human themes; life, death and the irrevocable passing of time. In observing these new works for our modern world, we are forced to stop and reconsider what it means to be human.



john pic 1john pic 3

Norway (June 6 – August 30, 2015)
Hå gamle prestegard

Sweden (May – August, 2016)
Konsthallen- Bohuslän

Dates to follow:



Guest blog from Karen Goulding of The Hub: “Oh Wow”

“Oh Wow!”

I received this email recently:

“I am the Subject Librarian for Classroom Resources at the University of Chichester so I would be really interested to hear how you select, display and promote your stock.  I can bring some photos of our collection and hopefully we could share ideas.  I asked to visit Reading because I was particularly impressed with the way that the collection was promoted on the website”

What struck me was the line: “I was particularly impressed with the way that the collection was promoted on the website”

It got me thinking about how The Learning Hub had impressed someone who had not visited and also how, upon entering the building many visitors utter the phrase: “Oh Wow!” or its equivalent.

How did The Learning Hub create the ‘Oh Wow!’ factor? Firstly by involving the stakeholders; during the first meeting of key stakeholders in June 2014, I asked the group to write a letter addressed: ‘wishes and worries’. These are some of the responses


  • To reinvigorate and extend provision and opening hours.
  • Greater student, school & teacher use.
  • External & internal courses running in the space.
  • Expanded lending stock.
  • Increased marketing of student services.
  • See the space used in a more dynamic way.
  • Having a more visible presence on social media.


  • Important to distinguish between resources that can be loaned and those that cannot.
  • Ensure we maintain and improve flexible cross-curricular resources.
  • Ensure the space will fulfil different functions, with different separate entities.

Upon reviewing these statements a year later, all agreed their ‘wishes’ had been realised and the worries had not materialised.

It appears that by involving key individuals in the change process at the earliest stages of repurposing gives the change driver an insight into not only the obstacles which could impede the very change that is envisaged, but also provides clear areas of action that will drive the change forward. The wished changes are not the sole reserve of the change driver, change has already occurred even if it is only in the expressed wishes of statement makers. These key statements can be adhered to, revisited and used as a framework for the journey ahead.

The email I referred to contained the phrase “I wanted to visit Reading because I was particularly impressed with the way that the collection was promoted”. It appears that she is intrigued by the images of the space that made The Learning Hub ‘stand out’ from other resource centres. Could this be due to the blurring of lines between The Learning Hub’s purpose and its image?

As already mentioned most new visitors expressed an ‘Oh Wow!’ response upon entering the building and sometimes asked what the space was for; some asked whether it was a library or a shop. It is neither and this blurring of the purpose of the building is an element that perhaps gives the space an unique and distinctive edge; it has moved away from the ordinary to the extraordinary by adjusting the expectations of what a resource centre should look like; it is a resource centre but this isn’t immediately obvious and it therefore surprises the visitor by blurring the expectations of what it should look like. Hence the “Wow” factor.

It could be argued that the building should have a clear purpose for its users but if that was the case then the Subject Librarian would not be visiting: the space wouldn’t stand out and it wouldn’t inform or develop beyond the confines of its building. One could argue that to create extraordinary teachers, one needs extraordinary teaching spaces, not just in the conventional sense, within a classroom, but also through all the spaces they engage with. By blurring the lines and modelling a different type of environment, that is not obvious to the visitor, The Learning Hub provides a model for the future development of other spaces. Visitors to The Learning Hub at the Institute of Education will perhaps create extraordinary elements within their own spaces and hopefully we will all benefit: “Oh Wow!” Indeed.










Bringing army skills into the classroom: Euan’s story

A new Government programme is offering army-leavers a route into a classroom career, bringing their invaluable skills and experience with them. In the latest expansion of this “Troops to Teachers” scheme, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced the University of Reading as one of seven partner Universities to roll-out the programme across the country.

A soldier for 24 years, Euan Andrews’ whole working life was spent serving with the airborne forces in the UK, which included operational tours of Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. Originally trained as an Army chef, over the years Euan rose through the ranks, finally being put in charge of catering for all soldiers in the UK.

By 2014, Euan was ready for his next move – life after the Army. He faced this equipped with a unique skill set and a drive to serve others, a legacy of a life devoted to the Services and one that would stand him in good stead in his chosen new career of teaching.

Teaching had always been an aspiration of Euan’s during his Army days, but the sheer level of other commitments meant that it was one he never achieved then. It became the obvious next step as his service neared its end, so during his last few years in the Army, Euan paved the way for his dream by studying with the Open University. There, fired with a renewed passion for education and mathematics, he set himself firmly on the road to his new career as a maths teacher.

Euan’s change of career was enabled by the Government’s “Troops to Teachers” programme that targets service-leavers with the potential to become outstanding teachers. The prestigious two‐year, employment‐based ‘advanced standing’ programme leads to an honours degree with Qualified Teacher Status.

From the beginning of his Troops to Teachers training, Euan has been supported in both mathematical and teaching skills by the University of Reading.   He started his new life equipped with a “link tutor” from the University’s renowned Institute of Education, who became both his principal point of contact and a source of support and advice.

Like other trainee teachers enrolled on the programme, Euan will spend four days a week in his school over a two year training period. During this time, he will also engage in degree-level scheduled learning activities on ‘Study Fridays’ and attend intensive residential study weeks.

As a teacher, Euan points to his years of Army training as a huge resource. He sees many similarities between the Services and teaching:

“A teacher works extremely hard, often putting others before themselves. They are extremely loyal to their students and devote their time to achieving goals and targets. This has huge similarities. My confidence and people skills have also been extremely useful.”

When asked what skills translate most helpfully from the Services to schools, Euan is humorously quick to dispel any myths of parade-ground sternness spilling into the classroom:

“Soldiers are not the autocratic disciplinarians that some stereotypes portray! For instance, I am a family man who can play many parts; a good actor when required and very capable of using my judgment to determine which part I need to be playing in order to achieve the desired effect.”

A skill that is key to classroom success, as every teacher in classroom 2

IoE leaps up Complete University Guide 2016

The Institute of Education has further strengthened its national and international standing through its excellent results in the recently published Complete University Guide 2016. The IoE is now ranked as 14th nationally, up 18 places from the 2015 table.

Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, commented: “This significant jump up the table demonstrates how hard we are working to ensure our students are successful, secure excellent jobs and are studying in truly supportive and exciting environment.”

The University of Reading as a whole is listed among the top 25% of universities nationally, higher than several Russell Group institutions, including Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool. It is now ranked as 29th nationally, up eight places from 2015.

Other news from the Guide reveals that UK universities have increased their spending on facilities during the last five years, while there has also been a sustained rise in the percentage of graduates in professional employment or engaged in further study six months after graduation.

The Complete University Guide, published since 2007, uses nine criteria in its assessment, including:

  • Academic services spend
  • Completion rate of students
  • Average UCAS tariff score of new students under the age of 21
  • Expenditure per student on staff and student facilities
  • Proportion of firsts and upper seconds
  • Graduate prospects – or the employability of graduates
  • Average quality of research
  • Student satisfaction (from the National Student Survey)
  • Student to staff ratio.

Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said:

“We are making good, steady progress thanks to the hard work of our staff and students. Reading is a university with international reach, so I am encouraged by our continuing strong global reputation in the latest subject rankings. I am also pleased that our strong REF 2014 results, which reflect our world-class research, have helped to boost our profile in these new national rankings.”

london rod tower