Lockdown Brainteaser – The Cat Burglar

As we build up to the weekend we have another computer coding style challenge from David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education.  This one is titled The Cat Burglar!

Send us your answers and we’ll reveal the solution on Monday.

The Cat Burglar

A cat burglar was planning to scale the outside of a tall building to gain access to the wealthy penthouse apartment. Dressed in black, she managed to silently climb up the outside and gain entry through a half-opened window. When inside, she was presented with a range of valuable items, but she knew that she could not take them all. Her rucksack was small and she estimated that she did not want to carry more than a kilogram of items as this might unbalance her on her climb down.

Item Weight / grams Value / £
Bronze Statue 600 1800
Antique Silver Platter 800 2200
Spider Brooch 50 300
Necklace 50 160
First Edition Book 500 750
Steiff Bear 150 3000
Rolex Watch 150 3000
Gold iphone 140 2000
Royal Mint Coins 100 3500
Perfume 400 1800
Bundle of Banknotes 50 2000
Platinum Bangle 60 3000


If she is to maximise the value of her loot, which items should she take, keeping the total weight below 1000 grams?

What is the total value of her items and how much did they all weigh?

Cultural Activities for Children

With just a couple of weeks left of the school summer holidays those parents among you may be looking for some final inspiration on how to keep children entertained.  If you’ve exhausted your jigsaw and board game cupboard in lockdown, and don’t want to venture out, here’s a few of our favourite arts and culture related resources we’ve come across that might fill a few hours, including storytelling and educational fun.

Poems and stories

  • Holiday poems and stories for your children? There are dozens of videos with Michael Rosen on this Youtube channel
  • Storyteller Peter Chand is a regular performer at the University’s Storytelling Festival. On his Youtube channel he has plenty of stories for families to enjoy.

Museum Activities

Black Country Museum

The museum has now re-opened, but if you can’t get there they have also come up with some educational fun activities for children to learn about the history of the Black Country.  This includes a section on mining in the Black Country and another on how children lived at that time.


Shakespeare’s Globe

It’s never too early to learn about the Bard’s works and this website has a host of workshops and storytelling sessions based around Shakespeare’s plays for ages 3 to 18.

Shakespeare’s birthplace museum

The venue’s Museum from Home webpage has Creative Challenges for Kids.  These include colouring sheets for Shakespeare’s family homes, a Romeo and Juliet colouring task and a challenge to illustrate a Shakespeare quote.  You can even create a mini Stratford-upon-Avon if you’re feeling ambitious!

The Natural History Museum

The Museum has a host of family activities, both and educational, for those who cannot get out in nature as much as they would like on their Try This at Home webpage.  This includes dinosaur themed resources, like how to draw a dinosaur, how to make a dinosaur out of origami, and a quiz to find out what dinosaur you are, but also how to make a volcano and how to grow a cress caterpillar.  There is also a chance to indulge in nature with a session on how to press flowers or make a bird feeder.  You can also create a nature journal and get tips on identifying various animals and trees.

Tate Kids

The Tate gallery has a special webpage dedicated to fun ideas to take part in for families, Tate Kids.  This includes games and puzzles, such as a quiz on which artist are you, craft activities, including using play dough to make sculptures and making marbled paper out of foam, make a robot or make a kaleidoscope and much more.  Special videos explain different types of artwork, from surrealism to impressionism.  You can even send in your own artwork to see if it makes the Tate Kids Gallery.

Severn Arts

Severn Arts has a whole wealth of music and arts based resources for children of all ages on their website, including how to create your own song, the chance to create a leavers song for middle and primary school leavers, mindfulness colouring in sheets, digital storytelling and a sketchbook diary of an artist’s time in lockdown.

Imperial War Museum

Check out the museum’s Home Learning Hub where you will find a variety of activities for families bringing history to life.  This includes the Adventures in History series of videos, a family mission every Friday, such as learning Morse Code, and quizzes.

Science Museum

There is heaps of informative fun to be had on this website – make bubbles to learn about materials, use bottle tops to learn about geometry, turn milk into ice cream to learn about states of matter.  There are also videos that bring different aspects of children’s learning together.

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim’s site for virtual activities for children and families features Sketch with Jeff every Wednesday and Saturday (there is an archive), in which Guggenheim teaching artist Jeff Hopkins sketches stories about the museum building and prompts viewers to create their own drawings at home.  There are also virtual programmes teach kids about the artists and works in the Guggenheim collection.




Dancefest has produced a number of videos with instructors during lockdown designed for all ages, introducing different styles of dance, such as basic ballet, Bollywood, jive, movement to words, warm ups and a rainbow themed number.

Staff Garden Party

We are delighted to invite you to the University’s Staff Garden Party on Friday 14 August, 2.30-5pm.

This annual occasion, normally held in June, was postponed due to the national coronavirus lockdown restrictions. This year’s event, which will take the form of a picnic-party, will offer colleagues and Governors an important opportunity to meet in person and to mark the many successes and extraordinary challenges of the year. Your family members are also invited to join you at this special ‘welcome back to campus’ celebration.

The event will take place outside, with ample space to follow social distancing guidelines. There will be live music and complimentary picnic boxes, with plenty of time to visit informally with friends and colleagues. We will also take the opportunity to acknowledge recently-retired and long-serving staff members.



From 2:30 to 3:30pm: arrival at the St. John’s campus

  • Colleagues should arrive through the Severn Gate, where you and your guests will be checked-in
  • Complimentary picnic boxes will be available for collection from outside the Students’ Union building
  • Live music will begin at 2:30pm, outside the Students’ Union
  • You are encouraged to visit with your colleagues and to take a good look around the site

4pm: Brief formalities, including presentation of long service awards

  • This will take place outside the Students’ Union building, weather permitting

5pm: Close

If you are working on-campus on Friday afternoon and unable to leave your post, please contact Chloe Diment on c.diment@worc.ac.uk, who will do her best to arrange for a picnic box to be delivered to you. We will also broadcast the speeches, so if you are not able to attend the event in-person, you can join us online. The link will be shared in a Daily Bulletin next week.



Please email rsvp@worc.ac.uk by the end of the day on Tuesday, 11 August to confirm your place. Please also let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

It is absolutely essential for us to know who is attending this event. Your name and the name of your guests will be included on a list, which will be used to check you on to campus. We will also reserve picnic boxes for you and your  guests.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us on rsvp@worc.ac.uk

Staff recommended local hidden gems

Staff have been in touch with us to share some of their favourite, independent shops from coffee houses to family farms, from gift shops to bookstores.  Now that regulations have eased, these independent businesses are going to need support more than ever in the wake of the pandemic.  Here are suggestions from staff for hidden gems in Worcester and the surrounding region.  No one has paid for the inclusion of a link here – these are all genuine tips.

Method Coffee – Worcester

“The Method Coffee Shop is next to our very own Jenny Lind building. They sell fully traceable single origin coffees, sustainably sourced and freshly roasted on site.

Their shop is now open, with temporary hours, but you can also subscribe to them online. They will deliver your coffee through your letterbox!”



Rock Follies Vintage – Worcester

“I really like ‘Rock Follies Vintage’ in Worcester city centre’s Reindeer Court.  Rock Follies Vintage offers an Aladdin’s cave of vintage clothing, jewellery, bags, sewing patterns and accessories. From costume brooches, to retro glassware this place is a gallery of curiosities and delights that plays timeless musical classics whilst you browse.”  The shop has re-opened Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm.



Paradiddles Music Café bar – Sidbury, Worcester

“They are an independent café and bar in Sidbury, Worcester and they do a brilliant job of supporting the Worcester music scene. They have recently started putting on gigs outside in their courtyard – all socially distanced and so carefully thought through. They also offer great food, including stone baked pizzas and vegan cakes from a local vegan bakers Rebel Rebel bakes (another independent business). The owners, Rachel and Kit, are so friendly and welcoming and they do so much for Worcester’s creative folk!!”

The venue is offering table service at the moment and you can either walk or book a table in advance.  The gigs are all being held outside in their courtyard and they have limited tickets which have to be bought in advance to manage social distancing.




Goodroots coffee shop – Diglis, Worcester

“An urban, modern cafe based in the Diglis area serving local produces tasty dishes from breakfast and lunch.  Their very own custom coffee blend is amazing and has a real sense of community with sustainability at it heart.  Lovely to stop there after a walk around the river.”



Fuego Neapolitan Pizza & Grill – Worcester

“An amazing pizza restaurant.”

The restaurant has put in place a number of measures related to Covid-19 guidelines, such as hand sanitisers on the way in and out, updated cleaning procedures and temperature checks for staff.  Open for dine in or takeaway.



Jingo Clothing – Worcester

“A lovely small independent men’s clothes shop in Worcester.  Jingo is in the the heart of the high street and offers vintage fashion and streetwear for men as well as lots of different clotting accessories for all. Very friendly staff and always have new stock coming into store to keep up to date with trends.”



Checketts of Ombersley

Whether you’re looking for fresh meat & fish, local deli goods, homemade snack or sandwich to take away or a tranquil spot for breakfast brunch, lunch or afternoon tea Checketts has it all!  There are also some lovely walks around the local area of Ombersley so make sure to check them out.”  Checketts of Ombersley includes a butcher’s shop, bakery, fishmongers, deli, gift shop and coffee shop.  The name has been associated with the village since 1925.



Churchfields Farm – Droitwich

“Churchfields is a favourite as, in my opinion, you really can’t beat their ice cream!  In normal times there’s nothing better than a lunch in the restaurant, followed by your favourite scoops.  There’s always a wide variety of tempting flavours to try, with over 30 on offer – from bubblegum to jaffa cake!  You can also take home a tub afterwards.”  The fifth generation family farm is a working dairy farm, producing award-winning milk and ice cream.  It has managed to remain open in some capacity throughout the lockdown and is continuing to offer a call & collect service, bringing groceries out to people’s car boots.  But it is now able to offer a wider range of its normal services, including food and drink (all must be eaten outside), the fairy trail, maize trail, farm shop and ice cream counter.  Latest guidance for what is open and how they are operating is on the website.



Abbey Road Coffee – Malvern

“Hidden in plain sight, this coffee and tea shop just off the High Street is just a stone’s throw from the Abbey in Great Malvern.  It also offers plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options too.”  At present the venue is only open for takeaways, and the aim is to be open as much as possible, 10am-3pm.



Great Malvern Farmers Market

“One which immediately springs to mind is the Great Malvern Farmers Market – this runs on the third Saturday of every month so the next one will be August 15.  It’s small, friendly, with great value and local produce – bread, veg, cut flowers, chutneys, cheeses, cider, and all superbly organised and run by Steve and Becks Boffy.  There has been lots of lovely feedback on their Facebook page about how safe people felt shopping there.”


Hus and Hem – Ledbury

“Hus & Hem is on online Scandinavian design store where you will find a smörgåsbord of delicious furnishing, fabrics and gifts for the house and home. Their brick and mortar shop is elegant and full of interesting things, but you can also shop online. Their Nursem hand cream and Haan Hand sanitsers are terrific!”



Black Bough – Ludlow

“Black Bough sells vintage watches, household items, stationery, art, and books old and new. They say: ‘We stock items that we think are well made, well designed and… well priced. Some of the things that we stock are old, some are new, all are made with consideration and care’. All available to buy online.”



Isherwood and co. – Birmingham

“Isherwood is an independent neighbourhood florist in Stirchely, Birmingham. They have an amazing house plant selection, and happily share their knowledge and expertise. They have paused their mail order service while they concentrate on re-opening their bricks and mortar shop, but hope that their online offer will return soon!”



Bartrums – Hay on Wye

“Bartrums is lovely small stationery, fine pen and gift shop in Hay-on-Wye. Monty Don wrote that it’s a “pen shop that I love dropping into to feed my pen addiction. It smells right, with that inky, papery smell all good stationery shops should have and they are just as happy to sell you a pencil as a finely crafted 18 carat pen”. You can also order some of their products online. Although you could probably find most things on Amazon, they take the time to wrap everything and put it together so beautifully – a good old fashioned parcel.”



Booths bookshop – Hay on Wye

“After you’ve visited Bartrums, pop across the road to Booths Bookshop – a renowned 3-floor emporium for new and used books, in a striking tiled building. Keep an eye on their website and watch for the re-opening of their charming café and cinema.”



Meringue Girls

“Meringue Girls are your go to for sweet treats. They aren’t local to Worcestershire, but they are a small and independent bakery, with options to ship their products anywhere in the country. Their postable birthday boxes were very helpful for lockdown celebrations with faraway family.  They are also very generous with their recipes and tips, so you can make your own meringues.” You’ll find all the details on their website.


We want to hear about more of your favourite places, be that book shops, music venues or coffee houses.  Send us your suggestions and we’ll include as many as possible in a a future blog post.

Lockdown Puzzle – Word Ladder

Here’s another puzzle to get you thinking as we move into the weekend.  David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education, has this time devised a word ladder themed computer coding style challenge.

Word Ladder

A word ladder is a puzzle where you are trying to change one word into another, one letter at a time. The words you make at each stage must be valid entries in a dictionary.

For example, turning MAN into APE:-

MAN …. MAT …. OAT …. OPT …. APT …. APE


Can you change WORCS …. BOOKS …. LEARN













Grounds team keep campuses looking their best

As staff slowly begin to return to campus you will, I’m sure, notice how green and luscious it is looking. That’s thanks to our wonderful Grounds team who, throughout the past few months, have been working hard to keep the campuses looking their best.

Steve Gardner

“It has been a strange time with so few people on the campuses,” says Senior Groundsman Steve Gardner. “But there has been plenty to do still. Where we might usually spend a lot of time going around emptying bins, there’s been a lot less of that, so we’ve had more time to get to other jobs, like hedge trimming, particularly around the car parks, where it can be difficult to reach on days when campus is full of cars. Obviously that kind of work can also be quite noisy, so we’ve tried to get as much done before people start returning to campus.”

“I think people will really see a difference when they come back,” adds Steve. “The team have done a really good job and it’s all looking really well with lots of flowers out. We’ve got quite a lot of orchids, and the cherry blossom has been outstanding this year.”

And while the campuses might have been quieter of human traffic, there’s been no shortage of wildlife.

“The bird song has been wonderful,” says Steve. “We’ve really noticed it a lot more. I’ve even seen and heard a couple of woodpeckers in the area around the back of the science labs.

“There have also been lots of insects, including lots of butterflies, enjoying the wildflowers, which have really been thriving.”

“Campus cat has been looking a bit lonely though,” Steve jokes. “Although we have had another couple of domestic cats around the place too!”

The Grounds team are now busy preparing the artificial playing surfaces, as well as the football pitches over at Battenhall, for the forthcoming football activities.

A huge thanks to Steve and all the Grounds staff for all their efforts. We can’t wait to see the fruits of your labour.

Sian Hobday

Sian Hobday has been at the very core of the University of Worcester for the last 35 years – and 1 month to be precise.

Starting out fresh from Worcester Technical College (as it was then) having completed an RSA Diploma for Personal Assistants, Sian worked her way from a Clerk Typist to Secretary to the University Executive & Head of the Vice Chancellor’s Office. She is one of only a handful of remaining staff to have worked with the last three Principals/Vice Chancellors, David Shadbolt, Dorma Urwin and Professor David Green.

“I’ve been on a personal and professional journey,” she says. “I never imagined when I started out, on what was a temporary maternity cover post, all those years ago, that I would have come so far.”

Sian’s central position over so many years has seen her play pivotal roles in the development of the institution, something she is rightly very proud of.

“To know you have played a role in so many of the strategic decisions of the University and been so closely involved in its development and growth is very rewarding,” she said.

What many people might not know is that Sian is also a graduate of the University.

“I was given the opportunity to study for my undergraduate degree and graduated in 2004 with a BA (Hons) Psychology,” she said. “I studied part time while still working full time and raising a family. It was tough but I’m hugely grateful that I was given that opportunity. I would never have had that elsewhere.”

Sian’s degree clearly helped her to become an excellent judge of character and to allow her to work with a range of people both internally and externally. She was a key figure in the University’s success in gaining full university title and in its expansions both in terms of student numbers but also facilities and course development.

“I consider myself to have been really lucky to have spent my entire working life somewhere so wonderful,” she said. “And I know it sounds like a cliché but it is the people I have worked with over so many years that have really made it. We all talk about the University as a friendly and supportive community and that’s genuinely what it is.”

She added: “I’m hugely grateful to David for all his support and encouragement over the years. He really encouraged me to develop and grow in my role, to step outside my comfort zone and to see what I was really capable of.”

Sian is now looking forward to a well-earned rest, spending more time with her husband, children and grandchildren but will be keeping an interested eye on the University’s future developments.

“The University is like my second family,” she said. “And as you would want for your family, I want to see the University to continue to be successful, to flourish and to go from strength to strength. I look forward to seeing the Medical School come into being and the development of the Severn Campus. I’m going to miss it a lot.”

Staff Views in Lockdown

Whether it was paying more attention to wildlife or enjoying spectacular landscapes, one of the best aspects of the lockdown for many was finding a greater appreciation for and inspiration from the sights on our doorstep.  Here are some of the views our staff have been enjoying during lockdown.

Debbie Shotton, in the School of Psychology, took these stunning shots of the river and Cathedral in Worcester:


Mike Watts, in the Association for Dementia Studies, took these while on his daily walk through the Droitwich Spa Lido Park.

Kevin Brooke, in the Communications team, took the following images of nature during lockdown:

The stonechat on the foxglove is from the Malverns and just after the restrictions were lifted.


Cows were taken in a field in Northwick, alongside the River Seven during a lockdown walk


The forget me nots were taken in his garden and from underneath the apple tree

Forget me not

Teresa Nahajski, in the Academic Quality Unit, took this photo of her car parked up in Shelsley Beauchamp, Worcestershire, while visiting a friend after lockdown started to ease – slightly different to her work spot on Riverside car park!

Parking space

Lockdown Brainteaser – Custard Pie Clowns

Here’s another brainteaser to test staff over the weekend from David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education, This computer coding style puzzle is based around clowns!

The solution is now at the bottom of the page.

Custard Pie Clowns

There are 10 clowns sitting around a circular table for their annual dinner and they are numbered in a regular manner. At the end of their meal they have a ritual which involves throwing custard pies.

The 1st clown starts by splatting the 2nd clown. The 3rd clown now has his turn and splats the 4th clown. This continues around the circular table until only one clown remains. When there are 10 in attendance, the winning clown is in position number 5.


Who is the last clown standing if there are 100 attending the dinner?

Killer Question

Who is the last clown standing if there are 100 attending the dinner and this time, they throw the pie over their immediate neighbour, hitting the next one in line?

Bonus point – which clown has to splat himself?



Answer 1

Last clown standing out of 100 is number 73

Answer to Killer Question

Winning clown is 91 and clown number 58 splatted himself!

Missing Campus During Lockdown?

With most students having moved back home and the majority of staff still working virtually, the University’s campuses remain unusually quiet.  Whether it’s a trip to the bustling canteen or stretching your legs on the University Mile, many of us have been missing campus life, particularly in summertime when it is perhaps at its best.  Luckily a few of those on site have captured how the campus has looked in recent weeks, and even stumbled across Campus Cat!

Lockdown Puzzle – The Victorian Internet

The first Morse code message was sent in 1844. This is why Morse code sent over the telegraph is now known as the Victorian Internet, as it was the first system that allowed global communication.  

Dots and dashes were transmitted over the electric cables using a ‘key’ device that allowed the operator to send messages typically at 35 words per minute. This has been tested against modern teenagers using text on their mobile phones and found to be faster!  

· A ··· B ·−· C ·· D · E
··−· F −−· G ···· H ·· I ·−−− J
·− K ·−·· L −− M · N −−− O
·−−· P −−·− Q ·−· R ··· S T
·· U ··· V ·−− W ··− X ·−− Y
−−·· Z

The sequence of dots and dashes are sent with a short pause between each letter to allow a skilled listener to identify them individually using the above table. That short pause is essential, as without it the listener would not be able to tell which letter was being sent and the message would be ambiguous.  

The sequence for CAT would be ··   ·    

If the spaces are taken out ···−− it becomes very difficult to reconstruct the original message as there are many possibilities that it could be, depending on where you put the spaces. This is a hard problem to solve, even using the raw processing power of a computer! Here are some possible alternatives.

Chunk ·· · · ·· · ·· −−
Alphabet C A T T E X T K I M


Can you convert the following Morse codes with the spaces taken out into words that can make a phrase? (Clue: this is what you want your students to do).




Think hard


Lockdown Challenge – Fighting Ducks

David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education,has provided another puzzle for colleagues to grapple with over the weekend, based on a computer coding-style challenge.

The solution is at the bottom of the page.

Mr Anaso runs the ‘hook-a-duck’ stall at the fairground. In each new town he sets up the stall with inflatable paddling pools where the ducks can bob around happily waiting to be hooked. He finds his job a bit boring but he has a sharp mind, so he thinks up a challenge when placing the ducks in the pools. Each of the ducks has a number painted on its underside and he decides he cannot place a duck in a pool if it’s number can be made up from any two other duck numbers already in the pool (in his vivid imagination, he thinks they might start fighting). He is very organised and he takes the ducks in number order when setting them up. He looks at the duck number and starts by trying to place it in pool_1. If this is not possible, he goes to the next pool and tries again – the pools are very cheap to buy and he has plenty of spare ones to use. He tries to see if he can place his ‘fighting ducks’ in the pools using twenty ducks to start with.

He gets started: duck_1 and duck_2 can be placed in the first pool but duck_3 needs to be in a separate pool (because 3 = 1 +2)

Pool Number Duck Number
Pool_1 1, 2
Pool_2 3

Mr Anaso is very good at mental arithmetic and he can quickly work through the sums he has to calculate in order to see if he can place a duck in a pool. The problem occurs when he has a lot of ducks bobbing around in the water and he can quickly lose his place and forget which combinations of ducks he has already added up.


With each new duck, he tries to place them in the first pool. If that is not possible, he tries to see if it can work for the next pool. Once he has placed them, he doesn’t want to waste any time rearranging them, so they stay where they are. Starting with 20 ducks, can you calculate how many pools he needs to inflate, to ensure that none of his ducks get into a fight?

Killer Question

This time there must be a combination of three other ducks that add up to the same number as the one being placed for there to be a fight.

Clue: In this case, duck_4 could be placed with 1,2,3 but duck_6 could not.

If he is required to accommodate 100 ducks, how many will be placed in the first pool?



Answer = 4 pools 

Pool Number Duck Number
Pool_1 1,2,4,7,10,13,16,19
Pool_2 3,5,6,12,14
Pool_3 8,9,11,15,18
Pool_4 17,20

Answer to Killer Question = 26 in the first pool

Pool Number Duck Number
Pool_1 1,2,3,4,5,13,14,15,25,26,27,37,38,48,49,50,60,61,71,72,73,83,84,94,95,96
Pool_2 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,16,17,18,19,20,58,59,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70
Pool_3 21,22,23,24,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,51,52,53,


Pool_4 74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,97,98,99,100



Green Impact Awards

Continuing what has been an outstanding year for achievements in sustainability for the University, this year’s Green Impact awards ceremony has taken place celebrating the work of staff and students. There were 15 Green Impact teams across the University this year.  Each team worked on a specific project during the year, working alongside a student Green Impact Project assistant.  Students and teams were matched at a ‘Speed Dating’ event in October 2019.  Teams were audited by student volunteer auditors who were trained and supported in the process by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (the sustainability arm of NUS), and awards ranged from Bronze through to Platinum.

Here is a full list of this year’s awards.

NUS Green Impact Bronze Award:

Worcester Business School – Project on studying the commuting habits of students

School of Science and the Environment – An ambitious project in it’s first year on improving biodiversity of red-listed farmland birds with feeding and to improve bird populations

Communications & Participation – Focused on many different ideas such as purchasing an electric pool car for the team and installing composting bins in the department

NUS Green Impact Silver Award:

Cleaning Team – Successful ‘Ban the bin campaign’ to remove personal bins to improve recycling on campus

Campus Services, Waste – Sourcing new, ethical mattresses for the accommodation team

Lakeside Campus – Planted over 200 trees with staff and student volunteers

Student Services – Created a Carbon Footprint calculator for all staff to track their carbon emissions

The Hive – Provided an electric bike for the department to travel for meetings and replaced recycling bins to encourage better recycling.

HR – To establish a policy & procedure to encourage staff, as individuals and in teams, to volunteer in the community

NUS Green Impact Gold Award:

Finance Department – Had 3 projects on creating eco bricks, reducing paper use and engaging with local primary school with Go Green Week

Vice Chancellor’s Office – Raised funds for 3 toilets for international community charity through reselling books and charity bake sales

Security Team – When on their morning and night patrols, would leave notes on people’s desks across all campuses to encourage people to turn off equipment

Worcester Students’ Union – An enhanced outside space made from recycled materials for students to relax in

SSES Academic Support Unit – Health and Wellbeing campaign, with staff attending mindfulness training and developed ‘5 ways of wellbeing’ for all staff

NUS Green Impact Platinum Award:

Aramark – Eco to Go scheme – a new reusable food container in Aramark outlets on all campuses, with the aim of reducing single-use plastics used by 15% in the first year after its introduction. Allows alternative packaging to be available for those who would like to use it. The scheme comes with an app, allowing close monitoring of uptake

NUS Green Impact Special Award:

In addition, two students and one member of staff received special awards for their outstanding work.

Student Leadership Award

Georgie Sherrard – Green Impact Project Assistant

Student Sustainability Award

Gabija Svedaite – Green Impact Project Assistant

Environmental Hero

Remy Bentley – Communications and Participation Team


Palindrome Lockdown Puzzle

Was it a rat I saw

A nut for a jar of tuna

Never Odd Or Even

Step on no pets

Was it a rat I saw? If you read that sentence backwards, it is the same and is known as a palindrome – above are all examples of palindromes. It is also possible to have a palindromic number. Here is an example with its factors:

404  x  638  =  257752


What is the biggest palindromic number you can make by multiplying two 3 digit numbers together?



993 x 913 = 906609

Images beyond Worcester

As lockdown eases, some of us have been taking advantage of this to stretch our legs further afield, and capture spectacular views in the sunshine.  We share with you a few snaps of the Malverns and Croome Court taken by staff over recent weeks.  Send us the views you have been enjoying most in lockdown (with a brief description) and we’ll share them in future Updates.  Email communications@worc.ac.uk.

Croome Court:

Learning and Teaching Conference overview

‘Learning from Moving Online’ was the theme of this year’s annual University Learning and Teaching Conference.  The conference itself was run entirely online through the VLE and Microsoft Teams, there was fantastic participation by staff, much inspirational learning and a clear appetite for sharing experience and practice of online and remote working.

The conference was focused on providing colleagues with the opportunity to share their experiences from the move of teaching, learning and assessment online due to Covid-19, and the learning that we could take forward to September 2020.  There were three parallel strands:

  1. engaging students online;
  2. active online learning and teaching;
  3. and a wildcard strand which included presentations on student and staff wellbeing.

Scheduled over the morning of 11th June, all nine Schools provided a presentation.  These included topics such as:

  1. ‘Workshops at Home’ – looking at developing studio-based skills remotely through informal ‘Biscuit Clubs’;
  2. ‘Ready Paramedic One’ – online simulation for paramedic students creating the lifetime of a real-life ambulance call;
  3. ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ – an eight week programme within the School of Psychology to support student wellbeing alongside academic skills.

There was unprecedented participation from over 250 individuals on the day, including representatives from Partner Colleges. A full evaluation of the conference is underway but early feedback from the event indicated that colleagues had valued the opportunity to come together online as a community and hear about innovative and creative learning and teaching practice.  Initial feedback can be summed up from one participant: “Thanks so much for the event yesterday, it was indeed brilliant to see so many people engaged and it certainly achieved the goals of getting us all to think creatively about our learning design for the coming year”.

The conference presentations and recordings are available via the Conference MS Teams site

Lockdown Puzzle – Alphametics

If you enjoyed last week’s brainteaser, David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education, has set another computer coding style puzzle for staff to tackle over the weekend, this time based around alphametics.

The answers are at the bottom of the page.


An alphametic is a puzzle where individual letters are given a number and the words are added up. To solve the problem you need to find out which letters represent which numbers. 

The rules of the puzzle state that each letter should represent a different digit and the leading digit must not be zero. 





Clue: In this classic example of an alphametic, SEND + MORE = MONEY, we can use some basic maths to calculate the values. The length of the total is one letter longer than the longest word being summed, so a carry must have taken place when S and M were added. It must be true that M=1 as this is the only carry value possible from the sum of two single digit numbers. It is now easy to work out the value of S – what do you need to add to 1 to create a carry? 

Can you work out these examples ?



















Puzzle 1:

For PROF + GREEN = WORCS there are 44 possible ways to solve this:-





Puzzle 2:

SARAH + GREER = PROVC there are 8 possible solutions:-






Puzzle 3:

ROSS + WORCS + PROVC = RENTON has two solutions:-






Puzzle 4:

HIVE + BOOK = KNOW there were 224 possible solutions.

Here is one of them:-

Missing your dose of arts and culture?

Although technically from Saturday, English theatres and concerts halls will be able to open to the public under the new Government rules, live performances will not be permitted.  In response to the lockdown, many theatres have made material available in the meantime online, while galleries and museums have come up with new ways to share their exhibitions.  We share a few of our favourites, some free (or asking for donation), some paid.  Tell us what arts and cultural activities you have been enjoying or are looking forward to by emailing communications@worc.ac.uk and we’ll share these in a future update.


Woolf Works

The Royal Opera House is providing a Premiere streaming of the Royal Ballet performing Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works, featuring music by Max Richter and inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, until July 9.  It is available on youtube.

BBC iPlayer

There are a couple of BBC iPlayer programmes: Men at the Barre is an insight  behind the scenes of the Royal Ballet, which focuses on the men in the company as it explores what it takes to be a male ballet dancer.  Also, you can watch the new series of Danceworks, four artist-led films co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and the BBC which was recently shown on BBC Four.  This gives viewers a chance to follow dancers from a range of styles, including latin and ballroom dancing, flamenco and contemporary dance.

Northern Ballet’s Pay as You Feel season

Northern Ballet is doing a Pay as you Feel season.  Although the company is unable to perform at the moment, they are offering a range of interesting content through their website and asking for a small donation in return.  This includes a chance to watch Northern Ballet’s original dance film Ego, a free screening of their Little Red Riding Hood production for children, through BBC iPlayer, Dracula, also available through BBC iPlayer, exclusive Q and A and behind-the-scenes content and an exclusive excerpt from their new ballet.

Live from Covent Garden

While the Royal Opera House is closed to the public, it is bringing audiences three very special performances streamed live from the Royal Opera House as part of its #OurHouseToYourHouse series.  Live from Covent Garden will celebrate ballet and opera in programmes of dance and music, curated by artistic directors of the Royal Opera House: Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera, Oliver Mears, Director of Opera, and Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet.

The performances are available to watch or share for £4.99.


London Mozart Players

London Mozart Player has a special lockdown production of Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf available on youtube. Alexander Armstrong narrates this version of the classic tale, with London Mozart Players musicians, their families and pets all taking part.

Online Opera shows

The Royal Opera House is showing La bohème online, from July 3 to July 16.

Drive-In Opera

If you fancy going a bit further afield, with their regular performance venue, the London Coliseum, closed for the foreseeable, the English National Opera (ENO) is staging a drive-in opera in September. Held at London’s Alexandra Palace from September 19 – 27, these are thought to be the world’s first drive-in opera performances, which audiences can drive to and watch from their cars. It will feature a 90-minute version of Puccini’s La bohème.

Theatre / Drama

Birdsong online

Sebastien Faulks’ wartime classic, Birdsong, has been specially recreated in lockdown.  This adaptation features 14 actors and is told using video technology, live performance, sound design and music all woven together.  It will be raising money for The Royal British Legion.  It’s streaming until July 4 at birdsongonline.co.uk. It costs £15.

National Theatre – streaming live shows

The National Theatre is streaming a number of its recorded shows during lockdown through its YouTube channel, including Jane Eyre and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so it is worth checking regularly to see what is available.  The latest streamed production, Les Blancs, is streaming until 7pm on Thursday 29 July.

Outdoor Theatre

If you normally enjoy an outdoor play in the balmy summer months, Heartbreak Productions, which normally tours across the country (including Midlands venues) throughout the summer months, might provide the answer.  With their 2020 season cancelled tour, it is posting free new videos of their previous productions, which change every two weeks.  Currently its Dracula.

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company is doing a watch-along and see for a screening of its production of Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, set in a country house in the aftermath of the Second World War, which will be screened free on BBC Four this Sunday (5 July), from 9pm. You can watch along on twitter with @TheRSC and join the conversation online using #AlmostLiveFromtheRSC.  Each week the Company is also releasing a new short film, inspired by characters and stories from Shakespeare’s plays and filmed in lockdown.

Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London remains closed but has plenty to offer online.  This includes the chance to watch full productions online, supporting the theatre by downloading via Globe Player or it has links to free streams on YouTube & BBC iPlayer, and a 360 degree tour of the theatre.

Art / Galleries / Museums 

Titian: Love, Desire, Death

The National Gallery’s universally acclaimed Titian: Love, Desire, Death exhibition has been extended until January 17, 2021.

1551, Prince Philip of Spain, the future King Philip II, commissioned Titian, the most famous painter in Europe, to produce a group of paintings showing Classical myths primarily taken from the Roman poet Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. The exhibition reunites all six paintings in the series, from Boston, Madrid, and London, for the first time in over four centuries.

Although the gallery will be opening on July 8, if you can’t get there in person you can find out more about the exhibition through a series of videos and resources, which are freely available on the Gallery’s website. There you can also explore the 18 rooms of British and European artworks using a 360-degree tool. This tour also provides information about each painting as you look at it.

Shakespeare’s birthplace at home

While Shakespeare’s family homes and the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon are closed, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is offering a Museum from Home experience, with a variety of activities.  This includes a lecture series, a talk (and performance) about the music in Shakespeare’s plays, a poetry celebration, a Shakespeare quiz and the chance to transport yourself into Shakespeare’s birthplace on your next online meeting with a series of virtual backgrounds!

Getty Museum lockdown challenge

At the start of lockdown, the Getty Museum, based in Los Angeles, challenged the public to recreate famous artworks using three items they had in their home.  There have been some fantastic and creative entries.  Why not have a go yourself?  You can see them on Instagram by searching or following #gettymuseumchallenge

V & A online collection

While the V & A remains closed, it has put numerous collections online for people to enjoy, from hats, glasses and Alexander McQueen evening dresses, to illustration, architecture and theatre and performance.

Guggenheim Museum – tour

The Guggenheim Museum, in New York, is offering the chance to experience its architecture with a tour using photos while listening to an audio guide.  You can also take a virtual tour of the Guggenheim Museum on Google Arts & Culture.

Drive-in cinema near you?

Can’t wait to get back to the popcorn and trailers, but a little nervous about returning to the traditional screenings?  Look no further than the all-American experience of the drive-in cinema!  We have located some of the nearest outdoor venues.

Warwick Castle is offering films July 7-20.  You can even get food and drink delivered to your car.  Showing everything from recent films like Rocketman to classic cinema like Back to the Future and Footloose.

Drive and Dine Theatre will be in Warwick, July 21-26 – mixture of films and a live comedy show.

Himley Hall and Park, Dudley is showing films Saturday August 8 and Sunday 9 August.  Four family films will be shown across the weekend.  Films are being chosen via an online poll on Dudley Council’s Facebook page.  You will be able to book soon via the venue’s website.

@The Drive In will be in Birmingham, July 15-19 – films include Jaws and Grease, alongside modern Oscar winners like A Star is Born and Joker.  There are also six showings planned in Bristol.

Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol will host a series of family-friendly films over four nights of drive-in movie screenings in the car park on Friday July 24, Saturday July 25, Friday August 21 and Saturday August 22.

Library Services are (still) here for you 

Covid-19, Higher Education and shifting to online teaching and learning – we’ve reviewed the literature so you don’t have to!

Since the lockdown began, there have been countless useful resources to help us all get to grips with online delivery whilst maintaining a focus on accessibility, inclusivity and staff and student wellbeing.

To save you sifting through your inbox or raiding your ‘to read’ folder, we’ve collated an online resource list featuring some of our favourites.


Just Ask!

We are still here to help. We’ve extended our live chat service and, in April alone, we answered 841 chats from staff and students and we are still going strong.

You can get in touch with us via email askalibrarian@worc.ac.uk, Twitter @uwlibservices or contact a member of the team directly.


Eresources: more important than ever 

Even before lockdown, our students were amongst the most avid users of eresources in the country.

Access to high quality eresources is now even more important.  We’ve seen a 50% increase in online resource use since the start of April.  We’re doing everything we can to help you get the resources you need. We have:


Preparing resource lists for 2020/2021 

Throughout lockdown, resource lists have helped students access the resources they need to continue their studies.

Resource lists have now been rolled over for the 2020/2021 academic year. This year, we can bulk publish lists for your course or modules. Email us with your module codes and we will do the rest.

Find out more about resource lists and rollover on our rollover blog.


What about next year? 

We’re already looking ahead to ensure we continue to deliver an excellent service to staff and students, whether teaching remains fully or partially remote into next academic year.

We’re developing strategies for delivering teaching, providing reading resources, and offering enquiries support whatever the University environment looks like in the 2020/21 academic year. Get in touch with us now about embedding Library Services in your teaching.


Did we get it right? 

We’ve had some great feedback from staff and students about our response to the Covid-19 crisis through our blog but, if there is anything we could have done differently to improve your experience, please get in touch.

University’s Film experts’ Top Picks

Film Studies academics at the University have been sharing their top films they would recommend trying in these socially distanced times if you have some spare time on the sofa:

Mikel Koven, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Film Studies, recommends:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966): “While literally any film by master Sergio Leone is worth watching, this is my go-to film. The final three-way shoot out, accompanied by Ennio Morricone’s ‘Ecstasy of Gold’, is simply one the most beautiful moments in world cinema.”

Seven Samurai (1954): “Kurosawa Akira was one of the key directors who got me into film studies. And I remember the first time I saw the full-length version of this, at an art gallery in Toronto, and despite its four-hour running time, the film never lagged.”

Betty Blue (1986): “I was fortunate enough to interview director Jean-Jacques Beineix at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I recall asking him what, in his opinion, made for a great film. He thought for a moment and then said “any film which makes me dream”, which I thought was a lovely reply. Betty Blue is a film which makes me dream: erotic, passionate, tragic, funny, and beautifully shot French masterpiece!”

Carl Sweeney, Associate Lecturer in Film Studies, recommends:

Rear Window (1954) – “In Hitchcock’s classic, James Stewart spies on the activities of his neighbours during a long period indoors. You might be able to empathise.”

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – “At present, I’m really missing the familiar rhythms of family life. If you are too, this classic Judy Garland musical might provide some comfort in that regard.”

Atlantics (2019) – “This doesn’t necessarily have a lockdown connection, but I don’t think enough people have seen Mati Diop’s supernatural drama yet. It’s currently available on Netflix.”

Daniel Brookes, Associate Lecturer in Film Studies, recommends:

The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988) – “A great Dutch mystery film with the perfect ending (no spoiler!). You’ll never look at service stations the same way again.”

American Animals (Bart Layton, 2018) – “Both a drama and a documentary at the same time about a real-life heist. Not everything you’re seeing is true…but does it matter?”

Vip Artpradid, Associate Lecturer in Film Studies, recommends:

Shutter (Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, 2004) – “If you enjoyed Ringu (Hideo Nakata, 1998), you’ll love this work of contemporary Thai horror that just might redefine the relationship you have with the camera on your phone.”

Into Great Silence (German: ‘Die große Stille’, Philip Gröning, 2006) – “A painstakingly produced documentary that is perfect for quiet contemplation on life. Two and a half hours of life in a Carthusian monastery – what’s not to like?”

Lockdown Puzzle Challenge – The Wine Merchant

If you’re looking for a brain teaser over the weekend, David Hunt, PGCE Computer Science Subject Leader in the School of Education, has devised a computer coding style challenge, based on classic computing problems. This is similar to what he uses with his trainee computer science teachers.

A wine merchant (who was rather too fond of his job) ordered a very large consignment of wine from the most prestigious vineyard. He had an obsessive-compulsive personality and would not release any of his wine stocks unless he managed to sell exactly 25% of the bottles he held in store. If the number of bottles left did not divide equally by 4, he would stop trading!

The wine was so good that he managed to take orders for exactly 25% of his delivery on the first day, so that evening he opened a bottle and quaffed it all by himself.

On the second day, with a sore head, he sold a perfect 25% of his remaining stock, so foolishly opened another bottle.

On the third day, he sold precisely 25% more of the stock he had left and celebrated by sipping at another bottle that evening.

This pattern continued for the rest of the week. On the seventh day, it was not possible to sell exactly 25% of the bottles left, so the merchant stopped trading (and drinking).


What is the smallest consignment of wine bottles that he originally took delivery of and how many bottles was he left with at the end of day 6?



4092 with 725 left over

This  type of  problem can be solved by a computer using a ‘brute force’ approach, where the computer tries out  all the different answers until it finds the correct one.

lockdown puzzle answer

Images around Worcester

During lockdown and beyond, many of us have taken advantage of the beauty spots on our doorstep to lift our spirits or discovered new ones on daily walks.  We share with you a few snaps captured by staff around Worcester over the weeks of lockdown.

Send us the views you have been enjoying most in lockdown, whether Worcester or further afield (with a brief description) and we’ll share them in future Updates.  Email communications@worc.ac.uk.

Cripplegate Park

Fort Royal Park


Battle of Worcester site

Perry Wood

Tips for looking after your wellbeing

Looking after our wellbeing has never been so important. As we juggle our daily lives and changes in the global landscape, we must remember to take time for ourselves. To celebrate World Wellbeing Week, Psychology Lecturer, Laura Simmons has shared some tips for the coming months.

Take time to be creative

Whether it is up-cycling some furniture, starting a scrap-booking or painting, creativity is a useful outlet for our feelings and emotions. You don’t need to be good at art for this, you could use old magazines to create a collage with minimal skill.

Try to look for the positives

When something happens, our brains tend to think and interpret the situation negatively. Next time this happens, try and re-frame the event and consider the positive elements. For example, if you have an assignment due and feel unmotivated, think about what you will learn from doing the work. Think to yourself, what are the positives?

Savour the positive moments

As we transition out of lockdown, there are some things that you might have done before that were not possible over the past few months. As we re-introduce these into our lives, try to savour the positive moments.

Terracycle – recycling advice

During these strange socially distanced times, many of us have been tempted by comfort foods like chocolate bars and crisps, but, with our regular recycling bins unable to take such plastic wrappers and packets, it can be frustrating to have to throw them away.  However, one of our Student Wellbeing Ambassadors, Masters student Georgie Sherrard, has shared with us some advice about how the Terracycle scheme she is involved in could help with plastic items not taken by kerbside collections:

Terracycle is a global company that provides a recycling solution for hard-to-recycle items (mostly plastic) not usually accepted in a council kerbside collection. It washes, shreds and makes into pellets, or melts and re-moulds, the plastic sent, saving it from incineration or landfill.

It is not financially viable for councils to recycle all types of plastic, but Terracycle overcomes this by partnering with large companies, such as Hovis, Nestle, Garnier, Walkers, Colgate etc, who sponsor various recycling programmes. Businesses, schools or individuals can sign up to these programmes, collect waste from the local community and send it to Terracycle in exchange for points. Points equate to funds for the collector’s chosen charities.

Due to the partners’ investment in the process, they decide what is and what isn’t accepted in each waste programme, so the details of each are very specific. Recycling programmes include: crisp packets, confectionery wrappers, snack food packaging (including all plastic multi-pack outers), toothbrushes, pet and baby food pouches, writing instruments (pens, biros etc), and many more.

There are collection points all over the country.

How to get involved:

  • Go to the website: terracycle.co.uk
  • Click on the link to ‘See all of our free and purchasable recycling solutions’.
  • Then click on ‘Free Recycling Programmes’ (www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades)
  • Find the programme/s that accepts the waste that you want to recycle.
  • Click on the Accepted Waste Poster for that programme to find out exactly what can be accepted.
  • Click on the map within that programme to find a collector local to you.
  • Start collecting your waste. Make sure that all product remnants are emptied, but nothing requires washing apart from pet food pouches.
  • Drop recycling with your collector when it’s convenient for you (note, not all collectors collect for all waste programmes, so you may end up taking crisp packets to one and toothbrushes to another).
  • Feel satisfied that you are not only keeping plastic waste out of landfill, but you are also helping to raise money for charity!

Please note: Some collectors are specific about how they like you to collect for them, so it might be worth getting in touch with them before your first drop-off. For example, some like waste from the different streams to be separated, and some prefer crisp packets to be folded.

One local drop-off point, collecting a number of different waste streams, has a Facebook group, ‘Terracycle Worcester Recycling.’ You can join for information and advice if required.







George Sherrard 

Student Wellbeing Champion

Student Support & Wellbeing Service

Covid-prepared Carry Cases

As we begin to emerge from lockdown, it’s time to get ready for the ‘new normal’. Communications and Participation have been busy crafting little bags, handmade from stylish and sturdy raffia. They are just the right size to carry your hand sanitiser, a face mask and a packet of tissues.  Complete with a detachable strap, you can wear them over your shoulder or pop them into a larger bag, so you are never without your supplies. They also make a thoughtful gift and can be posted with an accompanying note.

Beyond the coronavirus, they are equally handy for carrying your mobile and a set of keys while out on a walk!



  • Available in a natural straw colour, or a deep indigo blue
  • They come with a detachable leather strap, but if you would prefer a vegan option, just let us know
  • Simple loop and button closure at the top of the bag
  • Approximately 13cm by 16cm in size
  • Raffia is water resistant and can be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe
  • The bag is supplied empty


How do I order?

Email us at communications@worc.ac.uk and let us know which colour you would like to order. We’ll advise on availability and timescales.

We’ll also need to know your postal address.

We will delete all addresses from our inbox once your order has been sent.


What does it cost and how do I pay?

All of the materials, time and even the postage are being donated by the Communications and Participation team. We’d be very grateful if you could make a small donation (suggested £10) on the University’s  Just Giving Page for Cure Leukaemia, our charity of the year. Let us know once you have donated to the page and we’ll dispatch your order via Royal Mail.

That’s it…you’ll be ready to join the queues at Primark now!


I can crochet. Can I make them myself?

The pattern is based on a mobile phone carry case (just make it a little bit bigger). The raffia is available through Wool and the Gang.

Happy crafting!

Midlands attractions re-opening

Many of the Midlands’ most well-known attractions have fallen silent for the last three months, but as restrictions lift many are now opening their doors.  If you’ve walked every local route more times than you care to think, here are a few ideas for attractions that are or soon will be open to visitors (from close by to Worcester to up to an hour’s drive) – they are going to need public support in the coming weeks.

Spetchley Park Gardens, near Worcester – now open, with new social distancing measures and less facilities; card payments only.

Croome Court, near Pershore – The parkland at Croome is now open, but tickets must be booked in advance and entry is timed.  Tickets are released every Friday.

Malvern Hills – the Malvern Hills are accessible and the car parks are open, though there is new guidance and pay machines in the car parks are card payment by phone only.

Clive’s Fruit Farm, Upton-upon-Severn – pick your own raspberries and strawberries!  Restrictions include a maximum number of people in the field at one time, three people per household, a one-way system, no eating the fruit on the way round and no dogs. The farm may have to close the pick your own fields at short notice, due to demand and the weather, however the website and social media will be updated, so you are advised to check beforehand.

Witley Court and Gardens, Droitwich – Plans are to open the attraction in early July.  There will be limits on visitor numbers and booking is required.  Tickets will be available in mid-June.

Hanbury Hall, Droitwich – The parkland and gardens (excluding the walled garden) is now open, but tickets must booked in advance and entry is timed.  Tickets are released every Friday.

West Midlands Safari Park, Kidderminster – The Park is partially back open but for Safari drive-thru only as  a temporary measure.  Booking is essential.

Brockhampton, near Bromyard – The grounds, estate, car park and toilets are open, but you’ll need to book tickets before you visit. Tickets are released every Friday.

Eastnor Castle, Eastnor, Ledbury – parts of the Castle grounds are now open to visitors on selected days throughout June and July, with changes in place.  Tickets are limited and only available online.  The Castle remains closed.

Coughton Court, Alcester – The parkland and gardens (excluding the walled garden) are now open but you need to book tickets before you visit. Tickets are released every Friday.

Cotswold Lavender fields, Broadway – The lavender fields will open daily from June 22 – July 26 (possibly later if the lavender keeps flowering). This year it will be a totally outdoor experience. All of the benches will be placed out in the fields and visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnics. Card payments only.

Croft Castle and Parkland, Leominster – The gardens, parkland, car park and toilets are open but you need to book tickets before you visit. Tickets are released every Friday.

Goodrich Castle, Ross-on-Wye – opens early July, but with limits on visitor numbers.  Tickets must be booked in advance.

Warwick Castle – Grounds and Garden are now open. Tickets must be pre-booked; visitors are required to do a temperature check. “As part of a phased reopening, we expect to resume operations for the full Castle on 4th July 2020 with a number of activities and experiences open.”

Kenilworth Castle – now open to visit. You now need to book your timed tickets in advance. There are limits on visitor numbers.

Dudley Zoo – The zoo is open, but not all usual activities are on offer.  Visits must be pre-booked in advance.

If you know of any other exciting venues we’ve missed that are now open, or imminently open, do let us know and we’ll share the information in future Updates. Email communications@worc.ac.uk.


Plans to re-open The Hive in July

Plans are being put in place to re-open The Hive next month, with a limited number of services and opening hours to begin with.

The Hive is one of six libraries in Worcestershire planned to re-open on Saturday, July 4th, pending confirmation from Government, in line with phase three of Central Government’s relaxing of lockdown restrictions.

The re-opening will be carefully phased, managed and monitored. There will be a limited number of public computers available each day on a booking only basis. Meeting rooms and study spaces will not re-open to begin with and browsing the shelves for books will be replaced with a ‘Reserve & Collect’ service, where people can reserve items through Library Search and collect in person.

The Hive will initially be open from 10:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 16:00 on Saturdays.

All library items on loan can be returned to any of the County’s libraries that will be open – the return dates for all items on loan will be extended to 31 August 2020.

In addition, the University’s Library Services will be restarting the digitisation service and continuing with online enquiries support, as well as access to online resources, and hopes to reintroduce the Interlibrary service as soon as the British Library reopen.

For the most up-to-date information check the Library Services webpages.

Expert tips on learning a new language

Holiday cancelled? Travel on your mind!  Broaden your horizon by learning another language. Even a little knowledge of the language can make a difference in attitude when you meet people from other countries. Speaking another language helps to break down barriers.

Language Centre tips

  • There’s no single way to learn a language. Try different methods and use the one that works for you, or a combination. Popular free online platforms include DuolingoBabbel and Memrise. Free guided courses are available on e.g. FutureLearn and Coursera Language Learning.
  • Little and often is best. Ten minutes every day tends to be more effective and manageable than a longer session once a week. Set yourself a realistic target, e.g. 5 new words a day.
  • Watch TV and video online in the language you’re learning. You may not understand much of it but it will help you get used to how the language sounds. Switch on subtitles if available.
  • Repeat words/phrases out loud. If possible, record and compare yourself to the original.
  • Repeat activities to consolidate what you’ve learnt.
  • Find a learning partner on a language exchange platform, e.g. https://www.conversationexchange.com/

If you’d like more information about improving your English or foreign language skills, get in touch at languagecentre@worc.ac.uk.

Approach to the June Open Day

With social distancing, travel restrictions and other complications to consider, we will need to offer a virtual June Open Day. We will aim for the event to be informative, participative and accessible. With this in mind, we have developed a programme of online activity and will also offer carefully managed opportunities for students and their families to visit the campus, in-person. The event will comprise the following elements:

  • New, bespoke webpages, created specifically for the event and optimised for mobile access. They will host existing material, such as 360 tours, videos, images, links to useful documents etc.
  • Recorded course and other talks. We will aim to collect pre-recorded versions of all the talks that would normally happen on an Open Day and will make them available through the website. We will then upload the talks to a private YouTube channel, will ensure that they are captioned properly and will link to them from the Open Day webpages. If you would normally deliver a talk at an Open Day, we would be very grateful if you could please supply us a version of your talk. If you have already recorded one for another purpose, but you believe that it is suitable for this Open Day, you can send us the existing content. If you need to record a talk, you are welcome to use whatever software you are familiar with. If you are unsure about how to record a talk, we are recommending the use of Camtasia.
  • Live Q&A sessions. These sessions will operate after the talks have been published and will give prospective students an opportunity to ask questions in real time. We are currently planning to build chat areas for each of the Schools (replicating the concept of a ‘subject fair’) as well as an area for advice on matters such as Accommodation and Student Services.  We will also arrange for digital student ambassadors to participate in these chats
  • In-person campus tours and accommodation viewings: A small team of staff from Communications and Participation will work with Facilities and Accommodation to facilitate in-person visits to the campus. We will operate careful, socially distanced, outdoor, self-guided campus tours as well as accommodation viewings. Our visitors will need to book their tour place in advance, and we will manage the number of people on campus through timed entries. Students with disabilities, who would particularly benefit from the opportunity to visit in person, will be given priority booking
  • Email and text message campaigns: We will share bespoke programmes with prospective students, sending them detailed emails with links to talks and activities related to their area of interest, along with text message reminders to join the event

We have contacted all prospective students who have registered for the June Open Day and updated them on the new arrangements. We have also opened the bookings for the campus tours and updated our website to reflect the new format.

How will the day work?

Our current intention is to activate the pre-recorded video content for the event at 8am on Sunday, 28 June (with email programmes and reminders sent ahead of this). At 10am, we will activate a series of live chat sessions for courses, followed by other areas (such as accommodation and finance). We anticipate running live chat areas for about an hour. We will also have general live chat support, managed by members of the Communications team, available throughout the day. All of the material (other than live chat) will continue to be available after the event so that prospective students can return to re-watch material as often as they wish.

The on-campus tours will begin from 12 and will run throughout the afternoon. We will offer a new, outdoor-only, self-guided tour, which covers the St John’s Campus (including accommodation). Our team of Student Ambassadors will be stationed along the route, ready to speak to students and their families. The tour will also give a walking route to the City Campus, the Hive and into the City Centre. Although we will not be able to tour inside buildings, we will ensure that key facilities such as bathrooms and the campus shop are available.

If you have any questions about the event, please get in touch with communications@worc.ac.uk


Staff Development Sessions

Here are some upcoming sessions for staff development:


Advice and assistance for staff from care first- Various dates & courses

All colleagues can seek advice and assistance from this service, provided by Care first. It’s an ’employee assistance programme’, completely confidential and free. This EAP provides staff with easy access to counselling support and specialist advice on wide range of practical issues that may have an impact on health and wellbeing. During the current Covid19 period, Care first are providing a series of webinars. The links to join the webinars are shown for each of the sessions, copy and paste the link to join.


Appraiser Training- Part 1                    18/06/2020

Overview; this workshop will explain the appraisal process used at the University, look at some of the issues that can influence the success of conducting them, including exploring the challenges of conducting appraisals remotely. There will also be an opportunity to practice some of the skills required to make the process effective. Participants; colleagues who appraise others with direct or indirect line management responsibility will find this workshop invaluable. Also welcome to those who are aspiring to have management responsibilities.

Learning outcomes; to understand the objectives of appraisal; to consider the links with other policies and procedures; to explore the skills required for effective appraisal; to prepare for and practice an appraisal meeting.

Prior experience required; none required.

Preparation before the session; to complete the Diversity in the Workplace module in LearnUpon.

Future opportunities; Skills Gym – Working with others, Skills Gym – Difficult Conversations and how to approach them, team development opportunities can be explored. In addition, there are a range of workshops being planned for those who lead and manage others.


Appraiser Training- Part 2                     16/06/2020 & 24/06/2020

Overview; this workshop look at the feedback and listening skills linking with the skills developed in the Appraiser Training Part 1. The session will focus on exploring how to enhance the appraisal experience for both employee and line manager especially considering the challenges of conducting appraisals remotely. There will also be an opportunity to practise setting effective objectives, linking with the University’s strategic/departmental plans.

Participants; this workshop would be beneficial for colleagues who appraise others. Also welcome to those who are aspiring to have management responsibilities.

Learning outcomes; to consider some of the skills and techniques that help to make the appraisal process effective; to understand the benefit of setting objectives and linking them with wider team, departmental and organisational objectives; to prepare for and practise an appraisal meeting.

Prior experience required; you need to have attended Appraiser Training Part 1.

Preparation before the session; to complete the Diversity in the Workplace Online training module in LearnUpon. Future opportunities; Skills Gym – Working with Others; Skills Gym – Difficult Conversations and how to approach them; Becoming a Mentor. In addition, team development opportunities that can be tailored to training needs.


Being a mentor- online & face to face                           23/06/2020

Description: Mentoring is a valuable form of support for people who are new to the University, moving into a new role or returning from a period of absence. This session will consider ways to provide mentoring while many of us are away from the campus. If you are currently mentoring a colleague, come and share your experiences and ideas about what makes mentoring effective, on-line and face to face. This session is essential for those new to the role of mentor, and valuable if you want to join the mentor register; join us and find out more about it and how to adapt the process for the virtual world.


How to get the best results from your appraisal and probation                    17/06/2020

Overview; this workshop will help you develop a clear understanding of the nature of Appraisal and Probation and support you in getting the best possible results from these in relation to your personal development at the University, also exploring the challenges of attending virtual appraisals conversations.

Participants; although this workshop is not mandatory, we recommend it to all new staff who will experience the Appraisal and Probation scheme procedures during their Induction. Learning outcomes; to understand what an Appraisal and Probationary Period is; to help you effectively prepare for your Appraisal and Probation meeting; and to become familiar with the University’s Appraisal and Probation schemes.

Prior experience required; none required. Preparation before the session; none required. Future opportunities; Skills Gym – Working with others, Skills Gym – Difficult Conversations, team development opportunities can also be explored.


Using the coaching approach- Online & face to face                           16/06/2020

In this workshop we explore some of the models and skills used in coaching and ways they can enhance our interactions with colleagues, students, and others. Working on-line requires adapting how we relate to others and this practical workshop will consider aspects of this change. Coaching is ‘The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another’ (Downey, 2003). Colleagues with an interest in applying coaching skills with others are welcome to attend, and also those aspiring to take on management responsibilities at some stage in their career. There is no prior experience required to join this session. As this will run in Microsoft Teams it is beneficial to have a camera, audio and microphone/headset available.


Wellbeing at Work Workshop                           19/06/2020

This workshop will provide strategies to increase emotional resilience and take positive steps towards your own well-being, especially in the current circumstances where we’re working differently and adapting to new situations. We will explore resilience, values, self-compassion, mindful awareness, physical wellbeing, and peer support.

This session is open to all staff.  In order to prepare for the session participants will be invited to complete an i-resilience questionnaire prior to the event, it can be found here https://www.robertsoncooper.com/iresilience/ . There will be a short follow up session in a few weeks time to discuss what worked, what got in the way and what next.

Academic’s tips to prevent exercise-related injury

Many people have been inspired to emerge from lockdown several pounds lighter or at least fitter, as evidenced by the numbers of joggers and cyclists out and the tens of thousands taking part in online workouts.  However, those ambitions if not approached with the right preparation and equipment can be a recipe for injury.  Dr Darren Cooper, Principal Lecturer in Sports Therapy, has some helpful hints in this piece about how best to up your exercise while lowering the risk of injury:

Prevention is best

Exercising is extremely beneficial for a healthy body and mind.  Everyone is well aware of that and one thing we should look to address is preventing injury wherever possible.

Lots of people will be dusting off running shoes, bikes and helmets and getting back outside which is great, but it is worth considering that everything has a ‘use by date’ and whilst we don’t want to put anyone off undertaking exercise, if you are running in trainers that are too old you could be putting yourself at a far greater risk of injury, this video Youtube video explains more. Here is another video from Global Triathlon Network that is useful for guiding you through the myriad of options around new running shoes. Whilst cost is a key consideration for us all, there are some things that are well worth investing in and I believe running shoes is definitely one of them.

As cycling is booming everyone should be undertaking the basic safety checks before every ride. The Global Cycling Network have a handy Youtube video and others to aid with simple repair jobs, and taking a simple repair kit (puncture kit or inner tube, tyre levers, pump and multi-tool) as a puncture or brake failure can be incredibly frustrating and cause significant injury if you are unfortunate enough to crash as said component fails. However, there are further aspects to consider such as ‘how old is your helmet?’ it is recommended that you change your helmet every two-three years (guidance). Over the past week whilst riding around the Malvern’s I have seen some 1990’s specials and even one person wearing the helmet back to front! If you are unfortunate enough to crash then you need your helmet to do it’s job and if it is 10 years old, it will not be able to do it, as well as it should and your head is well worth protecting properly.

Finally, something that is not equipment related – stretching and mobility work, we all know we should do it, we never do enough of it and it’s something that only ‘costs’ time. A warm-up, including a pulse raiser and some dynamic stretching before a work out and a cool down with static stretching after a workout is a well-accepted method to reduce the likelihood of injury. The specifics all depend on what exercise you are undertaking and your fitness level, many professional endurance athletes for example, don’t ‘feel warm’ until the second hour, but not everyone is an elite athlete and as such there is no binding commitment to exercise every day, so if one day your body just doesn’t feel like it, but you force it to and a few minutes in it is really struggling then feel free to stop, listen to your body, stretch, hydrate and recover ready for the next day.

Remote working guidance

Our Human Resources department has helpfully prepared the following information which brings together sources of information on remote working.

Have you got Remote working – SORTED?

Space – creating the space and conditions to make it work

Organisation – planning what can be done



Relationships – keeping in touch with friends and colleagues at work


Time – balancing work and home life, setting working hours, taking breaks from the screen


Energy – being aware of our own health and wellbeing and making use of the resources we have


Employee Assistance programme https://www2.worc.ac.uk/personnel/658.htm

Development – using the many learning resources we have to navigate new systems and think about our own personal development





Learning and Teaching Conference 2020

Learning and Teaching Conference, Thursday 11 June 2020, 9.30-12.30 Online

The University of Worcester annual Learning and Teaching conference is a forum where innovation and creative teaching practice is explored and shared. In what has been a truly exceptional period for everyone involved in Higher Education and in particular learning and teaching, we are truly pleased to be able to host this years’ event online.  You can sign-up via Staff Development Workshops.

Learning and Teaching has, due to COVID19, seen a significant transition into our digital online spaces.  The conference aims to showcase examples of effective and innovative practice in moving learning and teaching online from March 2020, and to stimulate thinking about strategies for learning and teaching within a more blended mode for September 2020.

The conference will be opened by Professor Sarah Greer, (Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost), Dr Marie Stowell (Director of Quality and Educational Development) and Dr Elaine Swift (Head of Digital Learning and Teaching) who will update on plans for September and outline principles for successful learning design in the ‘new normal’.

The conference will be split into three themed strands around the main theme of moving online:

Student Engagement Online

Colleagues will be presenting on their experiences with engaging students online and designing inclusive approaches to engaging students online

Active Online learning and teaching

How colleague have approached the rapid adaptation or re-design of learning and teaching to deliver active learning and teaching online and design digitally accessible online learning activities.

Wild card

Colleagues will be presenting on a variety of topics related to moving online including online assessments, personal academic tutoring, student and staff wellbeing, or working as remote course teams.


Registration for the conference is online via the Staff Development website.

Once registered, conference participants will be provided with access to the Conference Microsoft Teams site where there are opportunities to network with colleagues online, ask queries and continue conversations beyond the conference itself. Information about the conference and the conference presentations slides will also be made available on the site.

All of the conference will be presented via Blackboard Collaborate. The links to the relevant webinars are included below within the programme schedule. All sessions will have a Chair and in addition a moderator will be present to manage queries and questions arising in the Chat facility in Blackboard Collaborate.

Conference participants do not have to register for a particular strand of the conference, but we ask that participants stay in a particular strand until after the question and answer section to help both the presenters, chair and moderators.

Please note that all webinar sessions will be recorded.

Check out the full Conference programme for more details.