Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) is pleased to announce that Dr Elaine McMahon has been appointed as Interim Principal and CEO with effect from 1 September 2020, succeeding Diane Dimond. Elaine joins the College with a wealth of experience and a successful track record as a principal and CEO of several further education colleges.
Diane is leaving her role as Interim Principal and CEO later this year to take up a substantive role outside the further education sector following her work with the College since August 2019. Diane said, “Richmond upon Thames College is an excellent organisation with brilliant students, hard-working and committed staff, plus a strong network of stakeholders and employers. The College is well placed to support the education and training needs of young people and adults as we emerge from the COVID-19 situation. I will miss college life from September, but I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Elaine, a really experienced sector principal, and I know that the College will go from strength to strength under her leadership.”
During Diane’s time at RuTC, the College has opened its inspiring new campus for students in South West London. The new state of the art facilities brings together education, enterprise and the local community to deliver innovative curricula that use the latest technologies. Phase 2 includes the construction of a STEM Centre which will provide an environment for training in engineering, science and robotics.
Ian Valvona, Chair of Governors at RuTC, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Elaine McMahon to Richmond upon Thames College. Elaine is a respected senior leader in further education joining us at a time of growing student numbers and as we move into our brand new campus next to the home of English rugby in Twickenham. I would like to thank Diane Dimond for her excellent work for the College which leaves us well placed to rise to the challenges of the next academic year – the College wishes her all the very best for her future career.”
Elaine McMahon, incoming Interim Principal and CEO at RuTC, said, “I am looking forward to joining Richmond upon Thames College from 1 September, as Interim Principal and CEO. The College has a long, well-established history of delivering good education and training and of making a significant contribution to the communities it serves. During the current, extraordinary times, the College has successfully continued to operate thanks to the hard work of Diane Dimond, all staff and students. The new academic year sees a renewed strength of purpose as students are welcomed to their wonderful new building.”
At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, we ran a seven-day social media campaign around mental health and how to cope with the lockdown. We thought it would be useful to share this again now as it is Mental Health Awareness Week.
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness and is being hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, with the support of Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), Mind, Samaritans, Re-think Mental Health, NHS, and others.
Take a look at our tips and advice for getting through the lockdown – and of course, these tips can be applied to life in general too.
If you are an RuTC student and you are struggling with your mental health don’t forget you can speak to your tutor if you need to and you can find support services in the Wellbeing Support Services document.
#1 STAY CONNECTED
Keep in touch with people. Whether it's a video chat, a phone call, a message or an email. It's important that we all keep communicating and stay positive - we are all in this together!
You can find out more about taking care of your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus on the Mind website.
#2 PLAN A DAILY ROUTINE
It can be easy to fall into bad habits when your daily structure changes like this. It's important to keep some of your daily routines: get up, get washed, get dressed.
Break your day up with study/work, exercise and things you enjoy. It can be difficult to focus on study/work, so break this up and set yourself targets and rewards for when you complete your tasks.
Here's an example of how you could plan your day:
- Get up, washed, dressed and have breakfast
- Go for a walk/do some yoga/do some stretches
- Do some study/work
- Have a break and reward yourself with something you enjoy doing
- Have lunch
- Do some more work
- Have another break and reward yourself by chatting to a friend
- Have Dinner
- Chill out
It's important that you try and get outside when you can and keep active! Find out more tips and advice on the Mind website.
#3 KEEP ACTIVE
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Most of us don’t have the luxury of a home gym, but there are things that most of us can do which will keep you active, such as:
- Cleaning you bedroom/home
- Dancing to music
- Going up and down stairs
- Seated exercises
- Online exercise workouts that you can follow - like Joe Wicks
- Sitting less – if you’ve been sitting down for a while, just getting up or changing position can help.
Government guidelines say that you can leave your home once a day for exercise. For those who do not have gardens, this is quite important. If you can go for a walk or a run in nature this is not only good exercise but it is good for your mental health too. Sunshine will give you some much needed vitamin D and will make you feel happier. Find more advice on the Mind website.
#4 KEEP YOUR MIND STIMULATED
Challenge your brain daily. Set aside time in your routine to read books and magazines, listen to podcasts and music, watch films and do puzzles.
There are plenty of apps that you can download that can help with this, plus you can access e-books from Moodle.
This could also be your perfect opportunity to learn something new and YouTube has thousands of videos that can help you start a new hobby from scratch! Find more advice on the Mind website.
#5 FIND WAYS TO RELAX
Making sure you relax is always important and there are lots of different ways that you can do this, such as:
- Arts and crafts - drawing, painting, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
- Playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
- Spending some time in nature - in the garden or during your daily exercise
Also make sure that you take a break from social media and the news as this can have the opposite effect. Find more advice on the Mind website.
#6 LIMIT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA USE
It can be easy to turn to social media when things are unsettled and you are bored, but it is important that you take breaks from social media as well as the news as this can have a negative effect.
Be mindful of fake news:
- Vet the publisher’s credibility
- Pay attention to quality and timeliness
- Check the sources and citations
- Ask the pros - use a fact checking website if you need to
Take a look at some of our previous tips and try something new and exciting to do instead! - you can always do some additional course work! Find more advice on the Mind website.
#7 BE KIND
Everyone is feeling something different right now, so be kind and considerate. Just remember that behind every computer is a person and every person has feelings.
If someone has a different opinion/idea/feeling to you, that is fine. It's what makes us individuals.
Also think about your family, friends and your local community. Reach out to people that may need help and look out for the elderly and vulnerable.
If you are looking for things to keep you active and would like to help your local community, look for Facebook groups that are actively helping your local community and get involved! Find more advice on the Mind website.
The innovative ideas and creativity that have come out of the COVID-19 lockdown have been truly inspirational. Staff and students at Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) have continued to subvert expectations with the work that they have been doing remotely, UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Art and Design students have created rainbows using household objects and photographed them to create a collection of beautiful images that represent the community spirt during the lockdown.
Julia Hembrow, Art and Design lecturer at RuTC, used the discoveries that Isaac Newton made during the Great Plague quarantine of 1666. Whilst in self-isolation Isaac Newton put a prism against a hole he made in a window shutter and undertook experiments that eventually led him to discover how white light is made up of the colours of the rainbow.
Julia said, “Our students have worked on some experimental image making whilst at home, based on photographing rainbows they created themselves. As the rainbow has become a symbol of positivity and appreciation for the NHS and key workers, this felt like a fitting activity for the students to explore. The result is a series of abstract and fleeting images that the students have created during lockdown.”
Students’ feedback was very positive, commenting on the fun and uplifting aspect of creating a rainbow using objects that can be found around the house, how interesting it was to replicate a concept first used in 1666 and that they liked the subtle outcome with colours blending from one to another seamlessly.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have had to adapt some of our processes so that they work for our staff, students and future students, while we work from home. We have created a slightly new process for new applicants that adhere to the social distancing and lockdown restrictions, which you can take a look at below.
We are accepting new applications, however the process after you have submitted your application will be slightly different. Once we have your application, you will be automatically be given a conditional offer for the course you have applied for.
To apply for a course, simply browse our courses by clicking here. When you find a course that you want to study, hit the apply button on the course page. If you're applying for A Levels, just apply for one course, we'll contact you to confirm your full A Level programme after you have submitted your application.
Instead of inviting you in for an interview this process will now happen remotely and will be held as follows for vocational and A Levels:
If you have applied for a vocational course (BTEC, UAL, NVQ, CACHE, City and Guilds), a teacher will call you to discuss your application and the course further.
If you have applied for A Levels, you will be sent a link with a presentation from our Head of Sixth Form with a form to complete with your A Level subject choices and predicted grades. Once you have submitted your choices and grades, a teacher will call you to discuss your application and your chosen subjects further.
Enrolment details are now availble on our website, please click here to find out more about how we will be enrolling this year.
You can also find out more about our usual application, interview and enrolment procss on our How to Apply page.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, staff and students at Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) have quickly evolved to remote teaching and learning. Over the past few weeks the college has seen some truly inspirational examples of this, including Media student Oscar Aron Minango, who adapted his original final project script to a highly relatable short film called 'Quarantine 2020'.
The short satirical film depicts the challenges that people all over the world are facing right now, due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Being in lockdown, Oscar filmed the production at home with his family as the stars, which gives the film a really personable approach. He uses comedic aspects to create a light-hearted, heart-warming film that we can all relate to during this time.
Oscar, who studies Creative Media Production and Technology (Moving Image) Level 3, said, “I had trouble thinking of a comedy idea inside my home, but I then thought of what was currently happening in today’s world, COVID-19. This this is a serious problem and has affected many people but then I thought if there could be some sort of comedy or positivity about. You can tell that there are problems in the house such as food shortage and boredom. What occurs in this short film is quite sad, but I brought comedy into it, so it changes the whole mood and perspective on this virus.”
The opening of Oscar’s short film is the announcement of the Prime Minister to stay at home, followed by the consequences this had on a family. Oscar created an entire shot list and script before filming and editing it.
Matthew Chattle, Media lecturer at RuTC, said, “Students were originally working on the final major projects and had been since mid-January. The lockdown meant that students couldn’t finish their final major project as this would have involved filming and photographing outside. We have encouraged students to carry on working – either to finish their project if they could or to do something based around the lockdown experience, and Oscar had decided to use his time at home to make his film. I didn't know he had been doing this, so it was a great surprise to see it.”
Have a look at Oscar’s short movie below and find out more about studying Media at RuTC.
When the switch to remote teaching and learning took place in March, it was a big change for everyone, including Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) staff and students, who have risen to the challenge and embraced this new way of working.
Dawn Thompson, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Senior Account Manager, said, “I’d like to congratulate Richmond upon Thames College for their rapid response to the chaotic world we find ourselves in. We know from talking to other employers and training providers that they have experienced challenges in delivering certain apprenticeships during lockdown and in some cases, apprentices are being furloughed in these challenging circumstances. So to hear that Richmond upon Thames College switched almost immediately to virtual delivery to ensure that the apprentices continued to be trained, is fantastic news.”
Ashok Joshi, Engineering Course Coordinator and Lecturer at RuTC, discussed how the lessons would be held remotely with his students and apprentices a week before colleges closed. For Ashok, the main priority was that the teaching and learning would continue in a similar way to how it would have been in the college – the schedule, course content and assignments would continue as normal.
RuTC’s Level 3 Engineering Construction Design & Draughting apprentices usually attend college daily with second and third years coming in once a week for a full day, so Ashok continued with this schedule. The class now uses video calls for their lesson to discuss course work and share their screens for presentations and material. Ashok said, “When teaching remotely, preparation is everything. The lesson needs to be structured well and all the material needs to be accessible online. I found that lessons are very interactive, and students behave professionally.”
Jordi Clancy, apprentice working at global engineering company, Worley, has found the transition to learning from home to be very smooth, with online sessions available as soon as the lockdown was announced. He said, “The appropriate learning resources were made available via Moodle [the college’s virtual learning environment] in good time, with lecturers offering consistent support to supplement the material. Remote learning has provided the same quality of teaching as in-class learning, but from the comfort of my own home, with no need for travel.”
George Stocker is an apprentice, working at engineering, procurement and construction company, KBR. He said, “I think before attending online sessions everyone would have been slightly worried about how to produce the same effect as being in college, but credit to Richmond upon Thames College lecturers, the lessons have been electronically shown on the screen allowing us to have similar experience as we would have being in college. In addition to having numerous videos and theory presented, the learning has been to a high standard and this has been reflected in assignments still being handed in on time.”
Once the college reopens, Ashok is considering continuing online meetings, especially for one to one feedback as he finds this more efficient and can support students easily. He plans to use a lot of the material that he created for remote teaching when the college reopens.