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College installs mock Oxford don's study

South Cheshire College has created a mock University of Oxford study in a bid to encourage more students to apply to Oxbridge. After being chosen as the North West hub for Pembroke College, Oxford, the college has created a replica study in order to "help put students at ease". Visiting dons and students will also use the facility when at the college. Linda Buchanan, South Cheshire's honours programme coordinator, said: "Going for an interview at Oxford can be a daunting experience, but giving students the opportunity to use the don's study will help them enormously beforehand. If they are able to use the study for research and mock interviews, they will be much more able to cope at the actual interview without being thrown by an unfamiliar environment." A similar initiative is already in place at BSix College in Hackney, east London.

Manchester College Group appoints new chief

The Manchester College Group (MCG), one of the biggest FE organisations in the country, has appointed John Thornhill as its new chief executive. He will replace Peter Tavernor, who retires in October. Mr Thornhill has extensive experience of management in the private sector, and has also been a non-executive member of Manchester Metropolitan University. MCG has an income of #163;180 million and more than 5,500 staff across the country. It specialises in offender learning and sponsors academies, as well as a studio school in Manchester that opens in September. Sue Murphy, chair of the group's board of governors, said: "This is a tremendous appointment for the Manchester College Group and for Manchester. It comes at a time when the college has been safely set on a strategic direction for the next three years and is in an enviably secure financial position to make the right educational choices for the people of Manchester, the North West region and beyond."

City College Southampton studio school approved

City College Southampton's bid to sponsor a studio school has been approved by the Department for Education. The 14-19 school, due to open in September 2013, will have a capacity of 300 students and will specialise in the marine and cruise industries. Students will have access to City College's marine skills centre, as well as the facilities at its city centre campus. Students will be expected to spend a significant amount of time each week in unpaid and paid work placements, linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. City College principal Lindsey Noble said: "This new type of school will enable some young people to reach their potential in a way that helps them maintain their motivation. We are very excited to be part of this initiative, which will give the opportunity to gain GCSE qualifications while getting vital work experience and employability skills."

Dragon hands award to young entrepreneur

Rob Nunn, an 18-year-old student at Chichester College in West Sussex, has been named national entrepreneur of the year by the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. He was handed the award by Mr Jones, one of the Dragons from the BBC's Dragons' Den television series, during a ceremony at Birmingham's Symphony Hall. During his time at the academy, Mr Nunn impressed his course leaders by successfully securing mentoring and investment from local businesses to launch a social enterprise youth aviation fund, which provides opportunities for young people to learn how to fly and start their career as a pilot. Mr Jones said: "Rob was simply outstanding. He has the whole package that we were looking for in our candidate for national entrepreneur of the year. He has superb presence, an outstanding commitment to the academy and a driving ambition to succeed in his own entrepreneurial endeavours."

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