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Update from Ian Valvona, Chair of Governors at Richmond upon Thames College

Thursday 15 October 2020

Since my last newsletter in June, we continue to live in challenging times. In August, the College introduced online and in person enrolment for prospective students and 2,500 students are now immersed in College life. Our brand new campus is vibrant and it has been wonderful welcoming students back to classrooms. Now more than ever it is important that we reassure our students and staff that it is safe to come onto the College site.

 

We have ensured the safety of staff and students in two key ways:

1. We have implemented a set of protocols and safety measures at all our sites to ensure staff and students are safe when on campus. These measures include:

  • A ‘keep left’ system to keep people apart
  • Temperature checks for everyone entering one of the college buildings
  • Setting up an isolation room for anyone displaying Covid symptoms while on site
  • Regular cleaning throughout the day, particularly focussing on high traffic areas, door handles and stairwells
  • Strict social distancing precautions, including reduced class sizes and mandatory face coverings in all communal areas
  • PPE and screens provided in some circumstances
  • Our Library, ‘Classics’ canteen and ‘The View’ Restaurant having additional protocols to ensure the safety of those using these facilities.

2. We have implemented a robust process for identifying, escalating and managing Covid-19 cases. There is always an onsite point of contact for anyone displaying symptoms or for positive tests to be reported to. In liaison with our health and safety team we escalate the information, when necessary, to the Department for Education and Public Health England so that the latest information and national intelligence can guide us through the required next steps. Our local health team is on hand to support us too.

Should circumstances develop locally, with further safety measures required, we will inform all students and staff as soon as possible. Should there be a need to escalate to a formal closure of the campus we will ensure we safely switch to online delivery - if required - without impacting negatively on the student experience.

 

College Campus - What is new 

"The View" Restaurant

During the summer another new facility was completed: our training restaurant - “The View”. This new facility will be operated by students and we are eager to open the restaurant to customers. The restaurant is located on the 4th Floor of the Richmond building and has stunning views across London and the Twickenham rugby stadium.

Atrium Coffee Shop

Our Coffee shop on the ground floor is serving a range of coffees and snacks for all who come into the building and is a good meeting point for learners, visitors and staff.

Demolition

demolition1

Over the summer the college has also been demolishing some of our buildings to make way for the construction of our Phase 2 “state of the art” STEM building - due to commence building in March 2021,to be completed ready for students by the Autumn term 2022.

 

Open Events

virtual open events autumn2020

We are holding 3 Open Events during the autumn term. Due to the increase in coronavirus cases and London being on the Government’s ‘watch list’ we have taken the decision to run these events as ‘Virtual’ Open Events.

Students will be able to register for an event and then have access to our Virtual Open Event platform and the various online materials that we have produced, including: a video presentation by Jason Jones, Deputy Principal for Curriculum and a general overview of the College, its courses, facilities and student services. There will also be specific curriculum presentations focussing on each curriculum area. Students will be able to join live Q&A sessions throughout the event with curriculum staff.

The College’s application system for 2021 entry is now live and we will be directing all students who have registered for an Open Event to our application form.

 

Further Developments

Our STEM Centre plans will be submitted to Richmond Council this month. The building will deliver workshops for Engineering, Electrical installation, Fabrication and Welding, Plumbing and Carpentry and Joinery. There will be a range of labs for Science, Forensics, Digital Engineering and Prototyping with classroom and seminar rooms for our digital learners. Phase 2 is a brand new, cutting edge space for Science, Engineering and Technology and I look forward to keeping you updated on progress being made.

We continue to work with the Further Education Commissioner (FEC) on improving the College’s financial position and ensuring that we continue to deliver high quality teaching and learning that meets the needs of our employers and stakeholders. The Structure and Prospects Appraisal (SPA) process is due to conclude in November 2020 with a recommendation from the FEC to the College Board relating to how the College should structure its future delivery of education and training, including the option of merging with another London College. I will be offering a further update following the conclusion of the SPA.

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