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On Friday 6 July 2018, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) hosted its first Teaching and Learning Conference in partnership with the External Quality Review (EQR), the largest peer review scheme in the post-16 education sector.

The day comprised over 20 different sessions, which were attended by over 100 teachers and other educational professionals from 22 different FE and 6th Form colleges all over the country.

The conference also featured keynote speeches from educational consultant, author and teacherhead.com blogger, Tom Sherrington, and Paul Hadjipieris, Instructional Designer from the University of California San Diego.

Clare Dignum, Teaching and Learning Manager at RuTC, said, “We wanted to share the great practice happening across colleges who are a part of the EQR scheme, whilst giving our own staff the opportunity to attend a full conference and be inspired by the likes of Tom Sherrington. The feedback from everyone has been extremely upbeat and I am delighted that the conference was such a success.”

Calista Francis, interim Quality and Improvement Manager at Westminster Adult Education Services added, “The teaching and learning team at RuTC organised an inspirational, thought provoking conference which has made me return to my institution enthused and totally energised.”

RuTC CEO and Principal, Robin Ghurbhurun, commented, “Our first Teaching and Learning Conference was very inspiring and made for a brilliant day. It was great to see so many outstanding practitioners attend from across the region.”

“I am proud of what my staff at Richmond upon Thames College have achieved and this conference will now be an annual feature on the post-16 education calendar”.

You can view coverage of the event on Twitter using the hashtag #RuTCEQR25

 

On Saturday 7 July 2018, a group of staff and students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) participated in the annual Pride in London Parade – London’s largest celebration of equality and diversity.

The group’s participation marked the fourth time that RuTC has participated in Pride in London celebrations. RuTC’s annual participation is organised by SHOUT (the college’s LGBTQ+ society) but students and staff from all areas of the college attend, with participation increasing year on year.

Earlier in the month, students attended a production of the London musical Kinky Boots at London’s Adelphi theatre. Kinky Boots tells the story of a shoemaker trying to save his business with the help from a drag queen.

Cait Orton, Safeguarding and Equalities Officer and Staff Governor at RuTC, said, “We are extremely committed to making sure our staff and students feel represented and fully support them in being themselves. Pride in London is just one of many events we participate in on an annual basis to help celebrate our diversity.”

You can view more of our Pride journeys using the hashtag #ProudToBeRuTC on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

First-time participants, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) sports students, came third out of 28 teams who entered the annual beach touch rugby tournament at West Wittering Beach in Chichester on Friday 22 June, in association with RFU Colleges and AoC Sport.

The tournament is in its seventh year, but for some of the RuTC team, this was their first experience of touch and beach rugby. Students saw this as an opportunity to have some fun trying a different sport, so coming third was an unexpected bonus.

Mark Brough, Commercial Facilities Manager at RuTC, says: “Although the atmosphere at the event were extremely relaxed, there was still an element of competition amongst the teams, however, it was all good natured and friendly. The weather and the location were fantastic and the students had a great time and were exceptional ambassadors for Richmond upon Thames College.”

Find out more about Sport courses at Richmond upon Thames College here. 

Each year Richmond upon Thames College’s Engineering department holds a special awards ceremony for apprentices on their first year of the Engineering Design and Draughtsperson Level 3 Apprenticeship.

This year our lecturers have found it difficult to select award winners as all apprentices performed to a very high standard with the highest possible predicted grades.

Dawn Thompson Regional Account Manager for ECITB presented certificates to seven apprentices for successful completion of the Smartplant 3D and PDMS training.

Student Cameron Bennett won the Mike Reynolds Apprentice of the Year Award, presented by Tim Smith Mechanical Department Manager from Jacobs.

The final award went to Lewis Cunningham for HNC Student of the Year, sponsored by KBR and presented by Chief Design Engineer, Terry Stone.

Curriculum Manager for Engineering and Technology, Mark Rogers says: “The apprentices have worked extremely hard in completing all the various elements and have been a credit to themselves and the employers that they work for.”

Find out more about Engineering Courses and Apprenticeships here.

 

On Friday 15 June, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) and its construction partner, ISG, marked a significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Twickenham college site with a ground breaking ceremony.

The ceremony celebrated the beginning of construction of the phase 1 building, a major part of RuTC’s new £80 million world class state of the art campus.

Over 70 people attended the event which was hosted by Robin Ghurbhurun, Principal and CEO of RuTC, Richard White, Project Director for ISG. Will Whitmore, RuTC construction crafts apprentice, was given the responsibility to officially break ground and mark the start of the building project.

Robin Ghurbhurun, said, “I’m delighted that we have now started the first phase of the new college campus. We’re working with regional and national employers and partners on this project and the building will be approx. 15,000 square metres, 5 stories and 20 metres in height”. He added, “I would like to thank everyone who has been on this journey with us and for your commitment and expertise in helping create, what will truly become, a world class post-16 centre of excellence”.

ISG Project Director, Richard White, added, “ISG is excited to be involved in the project which will be an inspirational development for many years to come”.

Barbara Gilgallon, Chair of RuTC governing body, said, “The breaking ground ceremony is symbolic for us in a crucial way. It is the start of a journey that represents a physical manifestation of what we truly believe to be a truly groundbreaking exercise. The new building with provide a state of the art facility responsive to the demand of a new style of teaching and learning suited to the modern world”.

Sir Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Twickenham and strong supporter of further education thanked everybody who had “helped steer a very tricky project through to the breaking ground stage. He acknowledged that in many ways the start of the new building was a great triumph for adversity, with many real challenges to the FE sector, and that he was delighted that Robin Ghurbhurun has been able to steer this project to completion”.

Other guests included staff and governors from RuTC, ISG personnel representatives from key organisations and partners that are involved in this major project which will benefit the local and regional community for many years to come.

The phase 1 building is due for completion at the end of 2019 and will provide an exciting and innovative new learning environment within the ground of the current college site. Around 3,000 students, employers, along with public and local community will be able to take advantage of the wide range of fantastic facilities that will be housed within the new building, these include TV studio, theatre, 3D prototyping FabLab, art gallery, 60 cover silver service Chef’s Academy with views over Twickenham, business incubation spaces, spa and wellness centre, sports centre and digital golf studio.

Whilst construction of the new building takes place, the college continues as business as usual with minimum disruption to current students who continue to receive excellent teaching and training in the original college buildings.

The redevelopment of the whole 22 acre site is a partnership between Richmond upon Thames College, Haymarket Media Group, Harlequins, Clarendon School, and Richmond Council.

 

Acting students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) produced and performed a powerful performance for their end of year show with Bohemia, an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s award winning musical, Rent, which focuses on themes and topics that have influenced the LGBT community and inspired the students to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.

This May, students studying the UAL Performing Arts (Acting) Extended Level 3 Diploma produced and performed the musical, raising over £60 in ticket sales for the Terrence Higgins Trust. This performance came before the start of Pride month, which the college’s LGBT group, SHOUT, will be supporting with both staff and students by attending the annual Pride parade in London on Saturday 7 July.

Mary Cassidy, Performing Arts lecturer said; “Well done to all the second year Performing Arts students for an excellent final show which is a celebration of all their hard work over the past two years. Most students are now heading off to either drama school or university to study drama. Best wishes and good luck to all of the students as they move on to the next stage of their careers."

Find out more about studying Performing Arts at RuTC.

 

At the end of May, catering students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) competed in the National Wessex Salon Culinaire competition at Brockenhurst College, New Forest.

Five students – three adult Patisserie NVQ Level 3 and two 16-18 NVQ Level 3 Professional Cookery students – attended the competition along with Catering Lecturer Neal Hook and Patisserie Lecturer Mitsie Butler, and were delighted to storm away with four gold medals and one silver medal. Patisserie Lecturer Mitsie commented, “I’m so proud of all the students who participated in the competition – they all did an amazing job.”

The Wessex Salon Culinaire is the largest live culinary competition in the UK and is organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs and offers participants the chance to show case their skills and expertise in front of a live audience of judges and food professionals.

Professional Cookery NVQ Level 3 student, Yun bi, walked away with a gold medal for Knife Skills after having 15 minutes to produce the French knife cuts Brunoise-Julienne-Paysanne and fine dice. Matthieu Haskins, another NVQ Level 3 student at RuTC, participated in the Live Hot competition, where chefs prepare a lamb main course in 30 minutes and won a silver for his dish.

RuTC adult students Renelle Ly-Pearce and Manza Sarpong, studying NVQ Level 3s in Patisserie, were the only two competitors to take home gold medals for preparing and decorating 12 cupcakes each. Their decorating and piping skills combined with their flavour combinations was described as “outstanding and faultless” by a team of judges considered the best in their industry - including head judge Corporal Ian Mark, who won the Bake off Crème de la Crème in 2017.

Part-time adult Patisserie student, Sherie Lam, was awarded the final gold medal for her prepared pastries which demonstrated a wide variety of techniques and skills, making her the only chef to win gold in her category.

CEO and Principal of RuTC, Robin Ghurbhurun, said, “The Catering Department at Richmond upon Thames College put in a lot of work with our students, and the success achieved at this prestigious competition is evidence of the outstanding teaching and learning that takes place on our catering courses”.

 

On Thursday 17th May 2018, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Carpentry and Bench Joinery student Will Whitmore received the Committee of South London Principals Best Learner Award at the House of Lords.

Will started on the Bench Joinery Level 2 diploma in September 2016 and has since become a true ambassador for the college and student body, participating in both the Students’ Union and serving as a student governor on the college’s board of governors. After obtaining a Merit grade on his Level 2 course, Will has progressed on to Level 3 and has now started his Level 3 Bench Joinery apprenticeship with a leading UK joinery employer.    

Outside of college, Will found part-time employment with a joinery company, which helped him to gain valuable work experience. In 2017, Will also entered the Carpenters Craft Competition, run by the Guild of Master Craftsmen, where he came 2nd place in the regional finals.

Will’s parents accompanied Will at the awards, along with his teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Student Services at RuTC, John O’Shea.

John said, "It is an absolute pleasure to be able to give this award to Will, a student who has given so much to the college and its students - thoroughly deserved. We look forward to seeing what Will achieves in the future.”

Will commented, “I wasn’t expecting to win the Best Learner Award, so it was a nice surprise. I took my parents with me to the House of Lords and was also joined by my teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal John O’Shea. They were all very proud of my achievements.”

After completing his apprenticeship, Will plans to stay on with his current employer before moving on to specialise in making bespoke staircases.

On Thursday 17th May 2018, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Carpentry and Bench Joinery student Will Whitmore received the Committee of South London Principals Best Learner Award at the House of Lords.

 

Will started on the Bench Joinery Level 2 diploma in September 2016 and has since become a true ambassador for the college and student body, participating in both the Students’ Union and serving as a student governor on the college’s board of governors. After obtaining a Merit grade on his Level 2 course, Will has progressed on to Level 3 and has now started his Level 3 Bench Joinery apprenticeship with a leading UK joinery employer.

 

Outside of college, Will found part-time employment with a joinery company, which helped him to gain valuable work experience. In 2017, Will also entered the Carpenters Craft Competition, run by the Guild of Master Craftsmen, where he came 2nd place in the regional finals.


Will’s parents accompanied Will at the awards, along with his teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Student Services at RuTC, John O’Shea.

John said, "It is an absolute pleasure to be able to give this award to Will, a student who has given so much to the college and its students - thoroughly deserved. We look forward to seeing what Will achieves in the future.”

Will commented, “I wasn’t expecting to win the Best Learner Award, so it was a nice surprise. I took my parents with me to the House of Lords and was also joined by my teacher Alan Rowley and Deputy Principal John O’Shea. They were all very proud of my achievements.”

 

After completing his apprenticeship, Will plans to stay on with his current employer before moving on to specialise in making bespoke staircases.


As part of the National Union of Students' Fair Vote campaign supporting a change to the voting age in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to 16 (as it is in Scotland), Richmond upon Thames College organised an event which took place on Friday 27 April 2017. To a room full of students, vice president of the college's students’ union, Rufus Irvine, spoke first about voting, democracy and what the vote would mean for young people.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats and serving MP for Twickenham, Sir Vince Cable, then came and delivered a highly engaging talk about the current state of UK politics and government. Topics included ‘Brexit’, housing prices, tuition fees, centralist government and the affect which lobbying and media ownership have on democracy in the UK.

The audience listened very intently as Sir Vince also spoke about his career and the history of UK politics. Students were able to ask a variety of questions. At the end of the session, Sir Vince, along with four RuTC students, spoke to our camera to give their views on voting age reform. You can view these videos on our YouTube channel below.

On 11 May 2018, the second reading of the Young People’s Enfranchisement Bill 2017-19 will be presented to Parliament. Click for more information on the Fair.Vote website.

 

Rosie McKeown, a former student of Richmond upon Thames College, was one of the champions from St John’s College, Cambridge, on this weeks’ University Challenge 2018 final aired on BBC2 23 April. Rosie, who lives in Kingston upon Thames, studied A Levels at Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham before studying at St Johns College, Cambridge where she reads French and German. She has been widely praised for an outstanding performance throughout the competition.

Whilst at Richmond upon Thames College, Rosie achieved an A grade in English Literature A Level and an A*s in both Spanish and French A Level. She was also the winner of the College’s Creative Writing 2016 competition for her poem, ‘On a Fallen Soldier’ and won a prestigious student award for languages at the college’s annual awards ceremony in 2016.

Rosie attracted much of the attention on the show and was hailed as the star performer throughout the competition where the St John’s College, Cambridge team beat Merton College, Oxford by 145-100.

Rosie said, “I’ve been watching University Challenge religiously since I was 11 and it was always my goal to get on a team when I got to university – although I wasn’t expecting it to be in my first year.”

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