To support Save The Children, students and staff wore their Christmas Jumpers on Friday 11 December and hosted various activities in the college.
Everyone enjoyed the carol singing, including solo performances from Music students, who sang 'Last Christmas' and 'It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas'. In addition to online donations, a festive bake sale contributed to raising money for Save the Children. Students and staff that were not onsite could even join the festivities via a live stream. In total, students and staff raised £164 for the charity.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the donations and we wish you a wonderful break and we’ll see you in 2021!
On Tuesday 8 December, RuTC’s Art and Design Level 2 students revealed their murals in the Colleges’ training restaurant; The View which is located on the top floor and offers stunning views of Twickenham Rugby Stadium, and across London.
The murals, commissioned by Sheila Fraser Whyte, Executive Director for Business Development and Innovation at RuTC, were painted under the very fitting theme ‘The View’. This could include the actual view from the restaurant or rather loose and abstract interpretations. Artwork ranged from depictions of the surrounding rugby stadiums, to a deer caught in the light, Google maps resembling street views, city and landscaped, paintings of eyes and a depiction of space. Students painted on a loose canvas, which most had never done before.
Toby Rye, Art and Design lecturer at RuTC, said, “I’m immensely proud of my students’ work - each painting reflects a personal approach and style, and is the culmination of weeks of research and development of ideas. These paintings truly show the diversity of Level 2 here at Richmond upon Thames College and are an indication of the fantastic potential of each and every student. This was just one of the many exciting projects we offer on the Level 2 course, and I’m pleased to say that every student completed the commission on time.”
Sheila Fraser Whyte said, “The View restaurant is a great place for students to showcase their artwork to staff and students, but especially to external stakeholders who will come to the restaurant. I am impressed by the students’ interpretations of the theme ‘The View’, which suits the facilities amazingly.”
The View restaurant gives Catering and Hospitality students the opportunity to experience real work in a restaurant through cooking varied bistro and fine dining menus as well as offering a full service to customers. Once the restaurant is fully operational, it will offer seating for up to 100 customers, which can also be booked for external events, as well as a Chef’s Table. The View is located on the same floor as the college’s new Art Gallery, where students and local artists can exhibit their work and external visitors to the restaurant will also be able to view the artwork.
Each year, Media students design Christmas animations which are posted on social media and sent out to all staff, students and external stakeholders to wish everyone Happy Holidays. This year, Music students supported the animations of the Media students by composing music for them.
The winning animation was produced by Rayyan Baqi, one of our talented Level 3 Creative Media students, and the music was composed by Jack Elkin, Level 3 Music Performance and Production student, giving the animation a festive voice.
We hope this Christmas Card will give you a calm and peaceful holiday feeling after this turbulent year. Have a wonderful break and we’ll see you in 2021!
This year, our A Level students took part again in the Debating Matters competition, for the first time ever virtually. In two rounds in November, students debated the topics “humanity should fear advances in artificial intelligence” and “unhealthy lifestyles are not the business of government” against Cirencester College and Sherborne Girls, who went on to the final and became second in the 2020 competition.
Debating Matters is a competition for sixth forms, launched by the Academy of Ideas in 2003 and taken over by the Battle of Ideas charity in 2019, presenting schools with an innovative and engaging approach to debating. RuTC has a long standing history in taking part in the competition, winning the Debating Matters London South Championship in 2018. Our students debated brilliantly, and even though they did not move on to the next round, they found the experience great.
Kai Broadbent, who debated the topic of artificial intelligence, said, “At first, I was really nervous as I had never done anything like this before. However, I knew that I needed to push forward and do it as it would help me become more confident in public speaking, since I want to become a lawyer. As the debate went on, I got really into it and enjoyed taking part as well as preparing all my notes for it. The experience is great and I would definitely do it again.”
Classmate Cindy Igeme added, “My experience with the Debating Matters competition was exciting to say the least, as my first time debating, taking it head-on was an amazing decision. I learned in the moment and got amazing feedback from a variety of judges.”
Nia Videnova, who debated governments involvement in unhealthy lifestyles, said, “Debating Matters is a great experience for every student willing to learn, apply their knowledge and gain a lot of experience. Although this year the debate took place online and, I would say, made it a lot easier for the participants as they didn’t have to talk in front of a public, I really enjoyed it. Although this time our college didn’t win, I am very happy with my team performance, mainly because most of us hadn’t debated before but did our best. I would recommend the Debating Club to every student in our college.”
Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) is pleased to announce its involvement in the delivery of the newly launched Kickstart Scheme in collaboration with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
The Kickstart Scheme was announced in early July by the Chancellor as part of the Plan for Jobs, which outlines how the Government will boost job creation in the UK. The programme is a £2 billion fund, used to create high quality six-month work placements for people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit.
When announcing the programme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic. The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”
The Richmond Chamber of Commerce explains, “The Government will fund 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. In addition, businesses taking on a Kickstart candidate can apply for £1,500 per job placement, which is available for setup costs, support and training and most employers are electing to use this government funding for the wraparound training provided by Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Richmond upon Thames College, so that each young person receives comprehensive professional training provided by reputable UK bodies.”
If your business is looking to create Kickstart placements, please click here to complete a form on the Richmond Chamber of Commerce website. For every 30 applications received, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, together with RuTC, will be applying to the Government on your behalf.
On Wednesday 25 November, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Music students hosted their annual Winter Music Concert, for the first time ever live online on Facebook. As safety guidelines are currently challenging the usual ways of performances, Music students and staff came up with an alternative that made the concert available to a wider audience, who could enjoy the amazing skills of the students from the comfort of their own home.
Every year, students choose a charity to which the proceedings of the concert go to. This year’s choice was Dementia UK, who provide Admiral Nurses for families affected by dementia. Throughout the concert, streamed live on Facebook, informational clips of the charity were included to highlight the amazing work they are doing. As the concert was available to watch for free, an online donation page was set up. Not even halfway through the concert, the target of £100 was reached and by the end, the audience donated the incredible amount of £405.
Dementia UK commented, “This will make such a difference. All the money you’ve raised will help our dementia specialist nurses be a lifeline to families who are struggling to cope with the relentless pressures of caring for a loved one with dementia. Thank you so much. The more money wonderful supporters like you raise, the more nurses we’re able to fund and the more families we can help in their time of need.”
For the Music students, this was a completely new way of showing their skills. Although the feedback from an energetic in person audience was missing, viewers commented throughout the entire concert without pausing. Comments ranged from “an amazing performance” to “that was epic”, “some serious talent here”, “massive respect for the sound team, too” and much more. During the concert, two of the Music students not only sang, but also took over the role of hosts, introducing each musician and act. Music ranged from self-composed spoken words and songs to covers in contemporary pop, rap, 90s and 2000s hits, classical piano pieces and James Bond theme songs.
Music students commented that the concert was a unique experience as it was the first online event they have done without an in person audience. Some were more nervous than they would have been at a normal concert because of the unknown of how many people were watching. However, hosting a concert in this way enabled them to re-watch their performance which students found a positive benefit.
Peter Garvey, Performing Arts Lecturer at RuTC, said, “Students’ reactions to this online concert and what it did to their nerves was very different, but they all did brilliantly. Although the in person audience was missing, the concert opened up the possibility to be watched by so many people, I even heard from former Music students and staff that they watched and enjoyed it.”
Since my last newsletter in October, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) continues to successfully adapt to new delivery methods to ensure high quality teaching and learning whether in person or virtually. We continue to ensure that all students and staff are kept safe whilst at College and have continued to follow Government guidelines, including from Public Health England, during these challenging times.
Structure and Prospects Appraisal
In my last newsletter I mentioned that I would offer a further update on the Government led Structure and Prospects Appraisal (SPA), which has now been concluded. On 17 November we announced that – further to a recommendation from the FE Commissioner – that we would begin exploring the option of merger with Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC).
Subject to careful monitoring of the day to day impact on our College of managing Covid alongside progressing the work of merger it is anticipated that the proposed merger will be completed by August 2021 once a comprehensive independent due diligence process has been carried out. I believe that this proposed merger is a watershed moment in RuTC’s 80 year history. It will bring together three excellent colleges with complementary strengths to continue providing outstanding education and training to students across a large part of West London whilst ensuring financial stability for the long term.
The SPA process has highlighted a number of positive opportunities achievable from merger, which will provide a stronger and more sustainable curriculum offer, with benefits to learners, staff and businesses across the West London community through greater operational scale, sharing of expertise and resources.
Adapted Teaching and Learning Delivery
RuTC staff are continuously working on adapting delivery models – we are using a range of different teaching and learning strategies depending on the programmes being delivered.
The protocols and safety measures we implemented at the beginning of the term are still in place and the robust process for identifying, escalating and managing Covid-19 cases is also proving effective.
Performing Arts Shows
I am also excited to share the amazing efforts and developments that RuTC’s Performing Arts students and staff have made. In November, Acting Level 2 and 3 students hosted two adaptations of the fairy tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ through an immersive tour. The performance involved taking two people “socially distanced” around parks, woods and streets near the College and telling the story. This type of performance displays the innovation of staff and students to ensure that – as they say – the show must go on.
Music students have also hosted their first ever online concert live on Facebook on Wednesday 25 November at 6pm and raised over £400 for Dementia UK. Each year, our talented Music students put on a Music Winter Concert and this year was no exception with the audience having the opportunity to see the event from the comfort of their own home.
Dance students are also reinventing their way of performing and are currently creating three short films instead of their usual in-person performance and these will be on our website once editing has taken place.
The View Restaurant
RuTC’s training restaurant and bar, The View, is fully fitted and students have started to use it for their classes to gain professional experience working in a restaurant. Currently, The View is not open to the public due to Government guidelines, but students and staff are eager to open the restaurant and serve customers. Until you can visit it in person, you can have a look at the amazing facilities:
As part of the installation of the restaurant a wall was identified to be used to display students’ artwork. In October our Level 2 UAL Students were given the brief to design and paint a piece of art for a composite mural using a range of printmaking and art forms. This work is now completed and we will be completing the installation ready to welcome customers and students back to our restaurant.
STEM Centre update
Construction of our new STEM Centre is scheduled to commence as planned in early 2021. A main contractor has been appointed and planning on rooms and equipment is underway. The Centre is planned to be completed in the summer of 2022.
Events at RuTC
Colleges Week 2020
From 19 to 23 October, RuTC staff and students celebrated the brilliant things that colleges do every day during this year’s Colleges Week, an annual campaign by the Association of Colleges (AoC). This year’s theme was all about how colleges build communities, boost businesses and support people. Bringing the whole further education community together, the Week celebrated the impact of colleges on people, employers and the economy. RuTC is a member of the AoC which wants to see Colleges and funding for College prioritised nationally and locally in order to aid the recovery from the pandemic that will be vital to the future success of the country. Throughout the week, we hosted two Virtual Open Events, shared details about our new robotics course and STEM Centre, and every day on social media, we shared some of the many amazing activities undertaken by our college staff and students.
In addition, we gave details about our newly launched pre-employment course arranged through Job Centre Plus to give people the opportunity to gain employment in the Civil Service. The free programme is a two week intensive nationally accredited course, started every fortnight. Currently, we are on our third cohort, a total of 50 students have completed it and the programme has resulted in 40% of students moving towards gaining employment with a number of companies.
Feedback from students who completed the course was unanimously positive, with one participant saying that “the whole team have been so helpful and patient. The second week was really helpful specifically for Civil Service jobs and the minefield of applying, which gives me more confidence.” Others commented that it is a “very interesting course – it has given me more perspective and I also learned about myself” and that they “had never thought of considering the Civil Service but this course has given me some clear direction on a change of career using my transferable skills.”
Virtual Open Events
Over the autumn term, we hosted three Virtual Open Events for prospective students, for which we received positive feedback from visitors, one of whom said, “A very professional event which made the courses easier to understand and also get more of an idea about the college.” We will be hosting four more Virtual Open Events from March 2021 and are looking forward to meeting more prospective students.
Lastly, we are looking forward again to our yearly Christmas Card Animation, created by our Creative Media students, which we will share online later in December.
Until then, on behalf of our wonderful College, I wish you all the very best over the coming weeks and hope you and your family stay safe, happy and well over the festive season.