In July, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) received an award from Achieving for Children Virtual for being involved in the Attachment Aware Schools project over the past year - a partnership project between Bath Spa University, BANES council, the National College for Teaching and Leadership, and a range of organisations, specialists, and schools.
In September 2020, the Achieving for Children Virtual School, covering Richmond, Kingston, Windsor & Maidenhead, launched the Attachment Aware School Awards (AASA) for the schools and colleges in their boroughs, and Richmond upon Thames College signed up to take part.
The intended impact of the project was to raise awareness across the college about attachment and trauma informed practice, to improve learning and wellbeing outcomes for children in scope, for staff to develop new skills in emotion coaching to reduce pressures in classroom and behaviour management, reduced incidents of negative behaviour and persistent absence, and a whole college commitment to inclusivity.
The project was one academic year in duration, and in that time RuTC delivered a remote whole college training on attachment theory, child brain development and trauma informed practice, followed by an online workshop for 30 staff on Emotion Coaching techniques to be used directly with young people who are in emotional crisis.
As the AASA programme lead for the college, Cait Orton designed and implemented a ‘change project’ called Transition Days. In collaboration with colleagues from Admissions, Marketing and Student Services, ten sessions were organised across two days for prospective applicants who had declared an additional welfare need (eg looked after young people, young carers, those with allocated social workers etc). Applicants were invited into the college and were given a presentation designed to help them understand the differences between school and college, what to expect from their time at RuTC, how the curriculum works, and some top tips from past students. They were then given a tour of the building and shown all of the key support and resource areas, followed by a workshop to develop some skills for managing transitions and coping with change.
A celebration event held on the 6 July concluded the project and gave participants the opportunity to share ideas and best practice.
Speaking on the project, Safeguarding team leader Cait Orton said “What was clear from all of the providers involved in the project was that we all see this as the first step on our collective journey toward embedding attachment awareness in our settings, and that the legacy of this first year is a drive to continue developing and evolving our practice to ensure that attachment awareness becomes the pedagogical norm. It's been a wonderful experience to be involved in the project, and I know that we will continue working together to ensure the best outcomes for our students.”
In July, Wellbeing Week took place last week for Richmond upon Thames Staff, with each of the days having a different theme, which were ‘Give', 'Be Active’,’Connect’,’Take Notice’, ‘Keep Learning and some fantastic talks and workshops were hosted based on each theme.
Highlights of the week included workshops on building mental health and resilience, along with mindfulness workshops and 1:1 wellbeing discussions. A bakery workshop with James Unwin, pottery wheel workshop with Jane Harris, therapeutic art workshop with Educational Wellbeing Professional Emma Lowe, and a massage workshop also took place. Staff could take a while to relax from work with drop-in Icebreaker games and a movement and relaxation workshop.
Informative talks and virtual presentations also took place such as the Cycle to work scheme and a presentation giving financial advice and details on the employee assistance programme.
A fitness challenge began and has been extended through summer for staff to use the gym equipment in the atrium, and a quiz walk took place, with the prize for first place being a Fitbit.
On the Thursday, music teachers including, Peter Garvey on piano, Tony Chidgey on guitar and Henry Knudsen on saxophone, produced some wonderful sounds in the Atrium. This was followed by the staff awards with Sandra Ospina winning the award for Best Business Support Manager, Mark Brough collecting the CLT Award, and Charles Oulton awarded Best Teacher.
Assistant Principal Alison de Lord spoke of the success of the Wellbeing week saying, “Looking after our well-being has never been more important, and I am really proud of all the activities, resources and sessions that were available to all staff in this week. There was definitely something for everyone, even those like myself that were self-isolating, we could all join the webinars and a live Pilates session with Hannah was highlight for me”.
The wellbeing week was a wonderful opportunity for staff to take a breather and to take part in valuable workshops and talks, with 90 members of staff taking part in activities throughout the week.
Congratulations to Lee Bhagat, who is studying the Award in Progression in our Supported Learning department, for winning this year’s photography competition for his very impressive photo of the Diana Fountain in Bushy Park.
The competition was launched this year and is for all students across the college to enter, with the the theme for this competition being 'Nostalgia'. Students could take a photo about a place, item, or a person that evoked fond memories. The top 3 photos had their image printed on a canvas with the winning photo displayed in College.
Student Engagement and Equalities Lead Beth Pattison spoke about the competition saying, “All of the photos were superb and picking a winner was an extremely tough job.”
Well done also to Ahmed Faisal, Mya Gosal, Molly Mead, Scott Mulvaney and Noemi Kozak who were runners up in the competition.
This week, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) Government and Politics A Level students, China Corker, Nia Videnova, Kai Broadbent and Cindy Igeme, took part in the annual Debating Matters Competition. This competition is part of a project organised by the charity, Battle of Ideas, which aims ito get students debating issues from contemporary relevance to public policy issues in the UK today. The winners of the competition will be crowned Debating Matters July Public Policy Champions.
On Tuesday 6 July RuTC students, Nia and China debated on whether the UK should reduce foreign aid or not, given the recent controversy over cuts to UK spending on foreign aid.
The debate took place over Zoom and three judges, Olivia Utley - a political journalist and head of PR at The Sun, Joel Cohen - Sport England Senior Public Affairs Manager, and Austin Williams- senior lecturer in Architecture and Professional Practice at Kingston School of Art in London, judged the debate.
Richmond students argued that Britain should not increase foreign aid, while their opponents from John Hampden Grammar School argued that it would be wrong to cut the foreign aid budget. Both sides went in with an open mind to listen to the other party’s arguments.
In an extremely close contest where both teams demonstrated a broad range of talking points and facts and figures, the John Hampden students were chosen as victors to move onto the next round of debating.
On Thursday 8 July, RuTC students, Kai and Cindy took part in a debate against Springwood High School. Their topic was ‘universal basic income is not a solution to our social and economic problems’. Kai and Cindy argued that universal basic income can solve problems whereas Springwood students debated the opposing view.
The debate was judged by Anne Ferguson - Angel Investor, Tom Collyer - University of Southampton politics student and Ed Rennie - political analyst and strategist. In another closely contested debate with very valid arguments from both sides, Springwood High School successfully progressed to the next round.
Politics teacher Kasim spoke of the benefits debating has had on the students saying, “It benefits the students in many ways, they are gaining knowledge about social and economic issues, about real-life issues, continuously improving their research and communication skills and engaging in issues in a proactive way”.
Student Kai said, “debating is very helpful as it will benefit me in the future as I will be studying law. I’m happy knowing I’m improving every time and realising my potential”. While Cindy Igeme who hopes to become a barrister also spoke of the benefits “I’ve found an increase in my confidence through debating and the judge's feedback to improve my skills.”
For information on Government and Politics A Level, please click here.
As part of their final project, Business Level 3 students completed a Dragon’s Den style pitch, where they designed their own original business ideas and presented them to a panel of teachers.
In groups, students were given a brief to follow, where they were tasked with thinking of an original business idea, developing a business proposal and then pitching their ideas to a panel of four teachers. Following this, an award ceremony was held for students that participated and they were given a certificate and a One4all voucher as a prize.
Sam Nicoll - Assistant Head of School for Business and Service Industries, spoke of the benefits the project had for the students; “the Enterprise Project provided students the opportunity to showcase the skills they had developed during their Business courses this year. They applied their entrepreneurial ideas, knowledge of business planning, marketing, and finance, and utilised their teamworking and communication skills.
“This has been one of the most challenging years for both students and staff alike, this project provided a welcome break from the pressures of completing courses in a timely manner. The staff panel were extremely impressed with all presentations”.
Business teacher, Eche Egbuonu, said; "the enterprise project provided an excellent platform for the students to develop essential planning, teamwork and communication skills. They effortlessly applied the knowledge they gained during their studies and delivered fantastic business proposals."
Business students spoke about how the project gave them a chance to work on their presentation skills, with student Sara Burtenshaw commenting, “it helped me with team building skills and increased my skills of public speaking.
Marija Gjorgieva spoke about her ambitions of launching her own business, "I found the course really interesting and looking forward to opening my own business one day.”
Chloe Carter said; “this project helped me with speaking in front of people and helped me face my social anxiety. I had great fun working together with my team”
For more information on Business and Enterprise courses at RuTC click here
Congratulations to Martha Robinson who won a Jack Petchey achievement award this week for her contributions to the Health and Social Care Level 3 course.
The Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme recognises the positive contributions, efforts and endeavours of young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex. These achievements include being a great role model, volunteering, overcoming personal challenges and supporting others over and above expectations. For the Award, the winner will receive a £250 grant, which can be used for anything that will benefit their class.
Martha’s teacher Emily Sieminski-Haydar spoke of her achievement in saying “Martha did not come from a conventional educational background. However, her determination to succeed in education has meant that she has continually enhanced her understanding of subject matter and academic writing skills to the level of a university student”.
She also spoke about how Martha uses teacher’s feedback and how she assists her classmates - “She keenly incorporates teacher feedback to great success. Martha has shown herself to be kind and compassionate member of the class, aiding others with improving their work and taking on a teaching assistant role to support students to complete their qualifications this term. She has shown maturity beyond her years and overcome many obstacles with a drive to succeed. I know she will continue to achieve great things.”
Her fellow classmates also had some great things to say about Martha’s well-deserved achievement, her classmate Gianfrano Panga said “She is very kind, caring and helpful. She is supportive and very friendly, and another classmate Abi Whitacker saying “Martha is responsible and works hard. She thinks about others not just herself”.
Well done to Martha on a great achievement!
For information on our Health and Social Care courses please click here
Congratulations to Rayna Sheridanmalik for winning the Jack Petchey achievement award this week for her remarkable commitment to improving learner experiences in the UAL Level 2 Diploma in Creative Media & Technology. She is hoping to continue her studies and progress onto the UAL Level 3 Diploma in Moving Image.
The Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme recognises the positive contributions, efforts and endeavors of young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex. These achievements include being a great role model, volunteering, overcoming personal challenges and supporting others over and above expectations. For the Award, the winner will receive a £250 grant, which can be used for anything that will benefit their class.
Each term, outstanding RuTC students are nominated by their classmates for a Jack Petchey Award and this week Rayna received the award for her contributions and commitment to her course.
Rayna’s teacher Gordon Chin-Martin spoke of her recent achievement saying “Rayna is a very worthy winner of the Jack Petchey Award. From day one, she has always been helpful, kind, and willing to help everyone in the Level 2 Creative Media group. Rayna is approachable to all, and always has time to listen, help, explain, and show a way through both personal and practical elements of the course.
She treats her peers with respect and with a genuine ‘can do’ attitude. Rayna is a real asset to the group and the College - I sincerely wish her well with this fantastic commendation”.
For more information on our Creative Arts and Media courses please click here