Biomass & Sustainable Energy Event in partnership with IEMA.

On Tuesday evening, we held an IEMA sponsored talk on the campus regarding our growing of SRC willow for biomass heat energy. After walking through the willow fields themselves, the hosts and attendees discussed the practical realities of not only using biomass for heat energy but also of using land space for biomass growing.

The environmental case for replacing fossil fuel heating systems is clear cut. However, the offset of combustion emissions stemming from biomass burning only occurs if the biomass is sustainably grown. A significant part of the evening was dedicated to discussing the justification for growing an area of willow.

The second part of the evening saw us discuss the use of biomass from the perspective of an organisation with heating and hot water requirements. The true values of using renewable energy for the College’s facilities lie not just in offsetting the environmental impact of the campus, but also in providing an on-site learning resource for staff, students and the local community. Whilst a large portion of our energy demand is now met with biomass, we still have to prioritise efficiency in our systems and teaching users to not be wasteful. Environmentally and financially, the cheapest heating energy will always be the energy we never have to use.

Enrolment Shuttle Bus Information

Important Enrolment Shuttle Bus Information
A minibus will be available to transport you from Maidenhead train station (Shoppenhangers Road side) on the hour from 9am until 3pm every day from 21/8/19 until 29/8/19. The only exception to this is Friday 23rd August when the last pick up from the station will be at 2pm and Monday 27th August, as this is a Bank Holiday.
The return journey will leave campus at quarter to the hour from 9.45am until 2.45pm (1.45pm on Friday 23rd).

Public Services Student Swims the Channel for the Alzheimer’s Society

Towards the end of term, one of our Public Services students, Henry, completed his swim of the English Channel as part of a relay team raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

They completed the crossing in just under 13 hours, battling strong winds and big waves towards the end which consequently meant they drifted north of the first beach they were meant to reach.

Henry swam two legs at great speed and was clearly at home in the ocean. Each leg was an hour long and he covered approximately 2.5 miles each time. They have so far raised nearly £8,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society – Incredible!

A huge well done to Henry and the rest of his team!

Breeding Success for Critically Endangered Arachnid at BCA.

Our Animal Management Centre and students have successfully bred one of the world’s most endangered spiders, the Critically Endangered Desertas Wolf Spider.

The Desertas wolf spider is regarded as being the largest wolf spider in the world and is one of the top predators on the island of Desertas, Portugal. The decline of the species called for a captive breeding programme to be created to aid the preservation of this rare arachnid.

Back in September 2017, we became the home to 50 juvenile wolf spiders. For the next year and a half, the College worked with the other zoological institutions to create best practice guidelines for this species, which has been integral in producing a population of thriving adult Desertas wolf spiders across UK zoos. With a population of healthy spiders doing well, breeding trials were able to begin. The successful pairing of the wolf spiders was observed by students in March of this year, an event that has only been witnessed by a handful of people around the world. 

On the 29th of May, over 200 wolf ‘spiderlings’ were found on the back of the female Desertas wolf spider. This made BCA only the third institute in the world to successfully breed this species in captivity and the first to give this rare experience to students. With the successful breeding of this species, we are now able to offer our students the experience of raising and caring for this Critically Endangered spider for years to come. 

Exotics House Technician, Jack Boultwood, explains “Being able to provide this rare opportunity for our students is brilliant, it helps us show that not all conservation efforts are for the big charismatic species and hopefully will inspire them to work with underrepresented species in their futures. The Desertas wolf spiders have been a brilliant species to work with alongside our students, improving our industry links and reputation not just for the College as a whole, but for our students as well.”

Apprentice Greenkeeper Awards Success

We’re delighted to announce that we have an incredible five BCA apprentices who have made it to the Regional Finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards this year.

They each have the opportunity to be one of only six to make it to the National Final to potentially win the Toro Scholarship, which includes a six-week residential Turf Management course at the University of Massachusetts, a trip to the Golf Industry Show and a visit to the Toro factory.

Wishing our brilliant greenkeeping apprentices Sophie, Gemma, Jonathon, Ross and Aaron, the best of luck in this fantastic competition:

GCSE English – ‘Perfect Piece’ Awards

Recently, our GCSE English students had their second opportunity to enter a fantastic College-led creative writing competition called the ‘Perfect Piece’

Huge congratulations must go to the three winners; Johnathan, Megan and Keira, whose judge’s comments are below:

1st Place: Johnathan North

Johnathan’s article called “Game Over for Video Games? Are they really that bad for you? “ is fluent, controlled and sophisticated. It contains an impressive range of ideas and persuasive techniques which explore the topic beyond a student’s perspective. He considered the impact imagery and font has on the reader and as a result, created a highly engaging piece. A very worthy winner!

Read Johnathan’s winning piece here.


2nd Place: Megan McMahon

Megan’s article on Animal Trophy Hunting has considered both the points for and against the argument topic and developed a sustained and emotional piece in support of banning hunting animals for the purposes of sport.

3rd Place: Keira Chambers 

Chosen because her piece on Social Media offered a cohesive structure and it is clear that Kiera has applied her revision and editing skills during lessons.

Well done to everyone who entered!

FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare Awards Day

Last week, our second-year degree students studying our FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare programme, presented their animal behaviour and welfare research at our 4th Annual Student Animal Welfare Higher Education Conference. Guest speakers also attended the event from the University of Sussex and the University of Southampton to showcase their own research.

We would like to thank all presenters in enriching staff and student knowledge about the behaviour and welfare of different species of captive and wild animals and huge congratulations to all our HE students that were winners of our in house ‘Centre for Animal Welfare Research’ awards. All demonstrated passion in the discipline of animal behaviour and welfare, achievement and Higher Education academic development.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our FdSc in Animal Welfare and Behaviour, amongst our other HE courses, please visit:

Students’ Protest for Climate Change Awareness

Last Wednesday, a number of our students joined a peaceful protest on campus, organised by staff members from across the College. With a planned march and demonstration on the agenda, it was clear that a large number of the young adults who attended are no longer willing to sit back and say nothing on a subject close to their hearts, many saying they were inspired to join in by the recent climate change demonstrations taking place in London and across the globe.

It was a real team effort, with the staff and students from our Creative Media departments helping
to make placards and props to go along with those produced by the protesting students themselves. It created quite the spectacle on campus.

Louis Wright, Sustainability Officer at BCA explains “Recent polling of our students demonstrates a
growing climate conscience. Overall, our students viewed climate change as a priority, with 61%
saying it was a highly important topic for them. 59% of our students want to do more recycling and produce less waste. Wednesday’s student protest against climate change proves how important it is and why colleges and schools, like ourselves, need to help raise the profile of the debate and ensure we also reduce our own environmental impacts, where possible. As a College, we are already hard at work reviewing our recycling programme, engaging with our catering and waste partners and listening to our students to eliminate waste and improve our environmental performance.

As a College, we purchase the majority of our electricity from a wind energy supplier and also grow and use our own biomass fuel on site, to avoid the use of fossil fuels wherever possible but we’re always looking to the next solution.”

One of the key protest organisers was Animal Management Lecturer, Dr Richard Sands. Reflecting on the success of the day he noted: “It’s great to see the student community coming together to express their concern for the environment and raising awareness of some of the environmental issues they would like resolved”.

All in all, a great experience for all involved.