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

Monday 8 November 2021

It is with enormous sadness that my first update of the new academic year contains the news that one of our students, Hazrat Wali, lost his life in a knife related incident last month. Hazrat, his family and friends are in the thoughts of our whole College community: our students, their parents and our staff. The entire College community has been shocked by this incident and the Principal and his senior team are working very closely with the police, Local Authority and wider community groups at this time. Later this year the Board of the College will discuss what additional measures may need to be taken to provide reassurance that our College community - including our wider local community – is safe. Right now, however, we remember Hazrat: a hardworking, conscientious student who was well liked by his fellow students.

Merger

You may recall in my last newsletter (June 2021) that we took the decision to delay the completion of the merger between HCUC (Harrow College & Uxbridge College) and RuTC.

Richmond upon Thames College continues to work with all relevant stakeholders on the planning/development issues that need to be resolved before completion of the merger. Good progress is being made and it is our continued hope that these matters will be resolved as swiftly as possible this academic year and that the delay to merger will therefore only be a short one. HCUC and RuTC continue to work very closely together and remain committed to the merger.

Enrolment

Due to the early release of GCSE results, enrolment at RuTC started a week earlier than in previous years. The College welcomed over 2,000 students to face to face classroom learning on a wide range of courses. Feedback from learners is that they are excited by the opportunities and on-site facilities available to them at the College.

The College is still focusing on keeping all our students and staff safe whilst with us in the College. We continue with our Covid regulations:

  • Wearing face masks in communal areas (unless exempt)
  • Regular cleaning of communal areas and equipment
  • An on-site pop-up vaccination hub for students (organised through the NHS)
  • Maintaining social distancing where possible
  • Lateral flow kits being available for testing
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers located at key points

College News and Events

Freshers’ Fair

Our annual Freshers’ Fair took place on Wednesday 22 September. Students were able to browse a range of stands hosted by local services which included: Off the Record, Mind Richmond, Metro Charity, National Citizen Service (NCS), Nuffield Health, Anthony Nolan Foundation and Heatham House. Fun activities that the college made available for students included: racing each other on an inflatable obstacle course, battling it out with glow in the dark table tennis and meeting other students from different curriculum areas. The day’s highlights were perhaps the musical performances and these included one given by a member of the College teaching team - Henry Knudsen - who played some wonderful songs on his saxophone. Our students, Nia Videnova and Okan Kosanoglu, bravely took to the mic to sing and rap to a large audience of students and staff.

Parents Welcomed to Richmond events

Our Parents’ Welcome to Richmond sessions was a great success. Dr Jason Jones, our Acting Principal spoke about student life at RuTC and how to access information using the Parents’ Portal. Parents had a tour of various curriculum areas and facilities. Curriculum staff were on hand to take questions. Feedback was very positive, and parents enjoyed the opportunity to visit the new building and find out more about how we support students and the learner journey.

The View

The View restaurant is our new training restaurant and kitchen. Due to government restrictions, there has been a delay to the opening of this wonderful facility. The View restaurant is located on the top floor of our new building and affords a spectacular panorama that stretches across the London skyline, with an exclusive vista of Twickenham Rugby Stadium.

Whilst The View offers an incredible and unique learning opportunity to our students, it is also an important amenity within our local community. The restaurant can accommodate up to 80 customers who will be served by our hospitality students. Food is created by our student chefs and offered at reasonable prices and we look forward to welcoming you to our restaurant.

The View is open to the public on the following days and times:

Mondays- 12-2pm
Tuesdays 12pm -2pm
Wednesdays 12pm-2pm & 5.30pm-9pm (Themed Events)
Thursdays 12pm-2pm
Fridays 12-2pm

Upcoming Themed Evenings

24 November - Beaujolais Dinner
7, 8, 14, and 15 December - Christmas Dinner

Bookings can be made by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Richmond Business Awards

On Friday 24 September 2021 at Twickenham Stadium RuTC was the proud winner of the ‘Best Training and Development’ award. RuTC won the award, sponsored by St Mary’s University, for its quick response to teaching and learning during the pandemic. The College was commended on how swiftly it moved to fully remote delivery at short notice.

 World Mental Health Day

On Friday 8 October, RuTC supported the Young Minds campaign #HelloYellow to raise funds and awareness for young people and their mental health. Students baked cakes which were sold to staff and students. A total of £225 was raised to support this worthwhile campaign.

Black History Month – October 2021

RuTC is involved in the latest campaign launched by Black History Month UK. Inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter events, the campaign is called ‘Proud to Be’. The campaign aims to make Black History Month 2021 personal and unique to individuals, families and communities, focusing on the contributions and achievements of black people throughout history. Students are being asked to share their stories and experiences which will then be shared across the College.

Dig Day

In September, seven of Richmond upon Thames College’s Supported Learning students spent a day volunteering at the Dig Day organised by Age UK Richmond which took place at the charity’s allotments in Shacklegate Lane, Teddington. On this occasion, the students helped with preparing vegetable plots for mulching over the winter.

In September, RuTC also launched its ‘Veg to Fork’ project which gives Supported Learning students the exciting opportunity to create a Learning Garden in an area of London near the entrance to the Richmond building. The garden’s unique shape will be a place for learning and growing produce to be used by the students to cook at the College’s Apple Tree Café or restaurant, The View. The area is also being created for all staff and students (and local wildlife!) to take quiet reflection.

The Learning Garden project was given to our First Year Level 3 Art and Design students last year and the winning entry was created by Bruno Lo Giudice who is supporting on the implementation of his plan.

Community Activator Coach Apprenticeship Programme

Earlier this term, RuTC introduced a new apprenticeship programme, Community Activator Coach. This is a unique apprenticeship programme being delivered by the College in partnership with Harlequins Foundation. On the first day, the apprentices had a tour of the Harlequins grounds and the opportunity to see and pose with the Gallagher Premiership trophy which Harlequins won in June this year and the Allianz Premier trophy won by their women’s team. This special apprenticeship ensures that young people understand the benefits of sport and adopt an active and healthy lifestyle.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the latest news about Richmond upon Thames College. 

Ian Valvona

 

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