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Students win BFI Academy Awards

Friday 9 February 2018


Two media students from Richmond upon Thames College have received special commendations for their films at the annual Eastside BFI Film Academy Screening Awards, which took place in Bethnal Green in London at the Rich Mix Theatre and Community Arts Hub on Sunday 28th January 2018.

Chanelle Henry-Edwards received a Special Commendation for her editing on short film 'Greta’ and the film also received an Audience Award for Best Film. Jake Lizcano received a Special Commendation for directing 'Ready, Fight!’ Both students will receive a Silver Arts Level 2 Award.

Chanelle and Jake, both second year Level 3 Creative Media Production students, took part in the BFI Film Academy programme with the Eastside Educational Trust. The programme is designed for 16-19 year-old aspiring filmmakers and provides the opportunity to develop hands-on filmmaking experience while working alongside respected industry professionals.

Out of 80 applicants 24 students from colleges across London were selected to take part in the programme, which ran from 14 October 2017- 10 February 2018.

Chanelle said: “I’m still in shock about the whole thing and being chosen out of all of those applicants is amazing. I’m just feeling really proud of myself. Our media teacher, David Radcliffe, recommended that we enter as some past students have done it and really benefited from the experience.”

Click here to find out more about studying Media and Film at RuTC

You can watch the films on YouTube here:

Greta by Chanelle Henry-Edwards

Ready, Fight! by Jake Lizcano


In January 2018, Rosa Varlow, Art and Design UAL Level 3 Diploma student from Richmond upon Thames College, entered The Royal Opera House’s prestigious annual Design Challenge competition and won top prize in the costume design category.

Around 36 Further Education colleges participated in the competition, aiming to give students the opportunity to test and develop design skills based around an opera or ballet production. This year’s theme challenged students to design sets, costumes, make up and marketing strategies inspired by Strauss’s opera Salome.

Rosa commented, “A lot of inspiration for the costume came from the pre-task of listening to the soundtrack, and creating an abstract piece. I used shapes and colours to convey the opera and this became a significant part of my initial ideas and inspiration for the final piece.”

“I was quite shocked and surprised when my teacher announced in front of the class that I had won, especially as it was my first time making a dress - I honestly didn’t expect it.”

Competition judge Amanda Hall, Head of Thurrock Costume Workshop, said, "A lot of thought and hard work had gone into the Salome Design Challenge and I was impressed at the high standard of the entries. It was hard to pick a victor from our FE short-list of three, but Rosa Varlow, our eventual winner had answered the brief thoroughly and come up with a particularly inventive costume design."

Winners and highly commended entrants are exhibiting their work in the Prince Consort Gallery at the V&A museum on Friday 9 February 2018. The exhibition is free to attend and open to the public. Rosa added, “It feels weird but really cool that my work has been shown at the V&A, in front of so many industry professionals and visitors.”

Find out more about Art and Design courses at RuTC.


At the end of January, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) played host to 7 teachers from Klaipėda Tourism School in Lithuania. The visit was organised in association with the EU's Erasmus+ programme, a funding scheme to support activities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport and to find out how the UK delivers high quality vocational education.

The group came to the UK on a two-week development programme entitled Quality Assurance in Vocational Training, designed around visits to leading UK schools, vocational centres and businesses that offer vocational courses and look at methods used for quality assurance and general best practice within the vocational education sector. The teachers were keen to learn about how vocational education is carried out at RuTC and any challenges faced by the college in delivering an extensive vocational curriculum.

During the visit, Susan Pieterse, Head of RuTC’s employer engagement and apprenticeships centre, Training Solutions, showed the delegates a wide range of facilities and classrooms covering the arts, catering and construction. The group from Klaipėda commented on the college’s impressive facilities, assessment process and appreciated the warm welcome they received from college staff.

Read now: Richmond upon Thames College rated Ofsted GOOD in all areas, November 2017


Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) is delighted to have won this year’s Debating Matters London South Championship held at St Mary’s University, Twickenham on 24 January 2018. The RuTC team comprised of eight students studying a range of A level subjects and this year was the first time that the college had won the prestigious trophy.

Kasim Agpak, Politics Lecturer said, “Richmond upon Thames College became involved with Debating Matters as it provides an excellent platform for students to improve a wide range of skills including public speaking and leadership. The competition allows students to engage about current issues with the ultimate aim for individual personal development and growth.”

RuTC’s team debated on a number of issues including whether controversial historical monuments should remain and whether a universal basic income is a possible solution to the UK’s problems. The final round involved RuTC debating with Godalming College on the topic of populism and after some deliberation, the judges returned announced Richmond upon Thames College the winners and were awarded the trophy, £500 worth of books or resources from the current Hodder Education Catalogue, a special Debating Matters Champion mug and a ‘Lost in Thought’ notebook for each student.

Student Isaac Skye studying Sociology, Psychology and Religious Studies A-Levels said, “Although at times the competition was stressful and difficult, overall, I found it challenging and engaging and am grateful for the experience it gave me – it was definitely worth being involved.”

Other teams that participated in the event were from Ravensbourne School, Harris Westminster Sixth Form, Invicta Grammar School, Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, Putney High School, DLD College, Godalming College, Stationer’s Crown Woods Academy, Riddlesdown Collegiate, Ursuline High School and St John’s School.

Debating Matters is a competition organised and run by the Academy of Ideas to establish and create a public space where ideas can be ‘contested without constraint’. The competition provides a platform for sixth formers and college students throughout the UK to engage in rigorous, well researched and well thought through public debate.

Robin Ghurbhurun, Principal and CEO of RuTC (third from left), Helen Upfield, Kasim Agpak with some students from the winning team



On the 18th January 2018, business students from Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) presented a new marketing strategy to Richmond Council for Café Sunshine on Twickenham Riverside.

The popular local café first opened in 2009 and is staffed by people with learning disabilities and catering staff. As part of the project, 15 students devised a series of marketing plans which were then presented to the café’s stakeholders.

RuTC students spent time with the staff and customers and then designed creative ideas for improving its future marketing strategy. Ideas included new flyers and posters, social media, giving out free tasters at community events and a loyalty card.

Richmond Council members will now review the proposals and consider which ones to implement. Cllr David Marlow, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, said:

“We are keen to further promote the café, to enable us to reach new audiences and draw people to the Riverside. This project with Richmond upon Thames College students enables us to do that. I would like to thank the students for their work and I look forward to seeing their plans in action.”

Chris Pegler, business lecturer at RuTC, commented, “we are proud of the ideas and effort that our students put into supporting this project and would like to thank the staff of the Sunshine Café and Richmond Council for giving our students the opportunity to use their talents. We hope that this will be the first of many opportunities to do so.”

If this sounds like the kind of thing you would like to be involved with from September, find out more about business courses at Richmond upon Thames College now. 

In December, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) hosted a range of charity and sports events in the Richmond upon Thames College Community Sports Centre and facilities, in association with The Change Foundation and the Bryan Habana Foundation

The Change Foundation engages with marginalised and at-risk young people, facing some of the world’s toughest challenges through the power of sport and dance. The foundation’s newest programme, Team Habana, develops the next generation of young leaders through the values of rugby, using the philosophies and support of Rugby World Cup winning Springbok legend Bryan Habana.

The ‘Team Habana London Cohort Residential’, brought together 7 young leaders to take part in the programme - which started with a 3 day residential run at Harlequins Rugby Club in Twickenham. The organisation focuses upon group leadership training, one to one project development support, mentoring and leadership residential retreats. South African rugby union player, Bryan Habana, who founded the organisation, also made a personal appearance.

Mark Brough, Richmond upon Thames College Sports Centre Manager, said “The Change Foundation and the Bryan Habana Foundation chose RuTC as one of their hosts for their London Cohort Residential because of RuTC’s close proximity to Harlequins. We often support Harlequins bookings and events, as well as offering external organisations the use and hire of our sports facilities.”

70% of the Team Habana leaders are young women who have become role models for 100s of children in their communities, breaking down stereotypes of women in leadership positions in sport.

The project helps increase young people’s confidence and competence in a range of leadership behaviours for them to fully discover their leadership potential through volunteering within their local communities.

Find out more about our Community Sports and Private Hire facilities here

On Wednesday 13th December (2017), the Richmond upon Thames Girls’ Football team played in the Surrey FA Futsal Tournament at Woking Leisure Centre. The team won the tournament, conceding only 1 goal and losing just 1 game out of 6 teams.

Sports Centre Manager, Mark Borough, spoke about the development of the Girls’ Football team and their introduction to the world of Futsal. “We’ve always had a boys’ football academy team which is always very popular - and alongside this has had a girls’ football development team. But for the last 4-5 years, we have struggled to have enough girls to be able to play full sided games - so this year we took the view to focus on 5-a-side games and futsal this year rather than 11 a-side leagues as with the boys’ teams.”

The tournament comprised of local Further Education colleges including; John Ruskin College, Reigate College, Strodes College, Woking College & Brooklands College.

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced, five-a-side indoor football game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

The next tournament will be taking place at Woking Leisure Centre on the 31st January and Mark has high hopes for the year ahead and sports at the college in general. “Our plan for 2018 is to continue playing futsal as it has proved popular and is growing in popularity across the country.”

The Richmond upon Thames Girls’ Football Team train and meet every Wednesday between 12.50pm-1.50pm, in the Sports Hall.

Find out more about studying Sport and Exercise at RuTC


On Wednesday 20 December 2017, Art and Design students at Richmond upon Thames College studying the UAL Level 3 (Pre BA) Foundation Diploma hosted an exhibition titled ‘COLLECT & CREATE'.

RuTC Collect and Create Student Talks To Robin

Students identified an issue or agenda they were interested in and collated research in sketchbooks. This research was a starting point for experimental art and design work in a wide range of specialist areas such as fashion and painting. As an integral part of the project, students had to display their work in an exhibition. One student stated, “Throughout the project I had to think about the audience and what they would think of my work, and I found that really useful when it came to developing my work”.

RuTC Collect and Create Hands Print

The exhibition was a huge success and was attended by staff at the college and visitors from the local community. Students now plan to use their work and photography as part of their university interview portfolios.

Photo credit: Rocio Rey Aloe, Art and Design Level 3 Foundation Diploma student

Learn more about studying Art and Design at RuTC



On Tuesday 5 December, Spanish A-Level students went on a trip to see Federico García Lorca’s play at the Cervantes Institute theatre in London. La Casa de Bernarda Alba is an interesting play which the students are currently studying as part of their A Level Spanish course. The theatre trip helped not only with the visualisation of characters but also with understanding the intensity of the play. The raw emotions conveyed by the actors and their roles allowed students to see things they would not necessarily grasp by simply reading the play from a book.

A memorable moment for the delighted students was when Maria Josefa appeared for the first time. It is a shocking yet funny moment in the play because the character was used as a comic relief within the serious context of the play.

This class trip allowed our students to enhance their knowledge of the play and will benefit them for their essays and their exam. Hopefully this will help them achieve the best they can.

Written by students Samir Parada & Zoe Rubio.

Find out more about studying Spanish at Richmond upon Thames College.


During the Autumn term Supported Learning students on the Lifeskills course have been working together to create a garden trellis, which is temporarily being used as an abstract Christmas tree until it is ready to move to the garden in the Spring term.

christmas supported learning trellis tree

The students created this as part of their course where they learn skills for everyday life. They spend one hour a week in Carpentry, which is where they created the trellis for the Supported Learning garden. They used recycled timber that was donated to the department by a local film set organisation. During the Spring term they will erect the trellis in the gardens where they currently grow flowers, plants and vegetables and use this to grow climbing plants.

Each student scribed their name onto the trellis as well as the names of their teachers. They then created a star for the top of the trellis and added lights, turning it into the perfect seasonal addition to the college entrance.

Read now: RuTC's November 2017 Ofsted report says the college is GOOD in all areas including excellent support for all students. 

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