On 24th May, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) student, Khalil Assaf was awarded with a Jack Petchey Achievement Award for excelling in his studies and his continual hard work in class.
Khalil Assaf was nominated as his teacher felt that during his time at RuTC, he has excelled in his studies and has worked hard continually. His entire class voted that he was a worthy winner of the award. Khalil has excelled in his Level 3 Business course, due to his positive attitude towards learning, his want to help others and his regular positive contributions in class.
Khalil’s teacher, David Webb explains: “Khalil is a well-liked member of the group and demonstrates a positive attitude in and out of class and is a very proactive student. He is always seeking out opportunities to complete additional work to address gaps in his knowledge.”
Jack Petchey Awards are a peer recognition scheme which 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.
Award winners receive a £300 grant, which can be used for anything that will benefit their class.
Learn more about studying Business and Enterprise at Richmond upon Thames College here
The College has continually demonstrated a consistent and genuine desire to negotiate and reach agreement on the new annual leave and pay arrangements. Having invited UCU representatives into the College this afternoon for a formal meeting in an attempt to reach an agreement, we are again disappointed that negotiations broke down when UCU representatives refused to compromise in any way. It is therefore extremely frustrating that UCU have voted to take further strike action at this time. During the meeting it became apparent that agreement could not be reached on the proposal to reduce the current 64 days per year of annual leave to a total of 56 days of leave fully compensated, which is in line with other FE Colleges, by the beginning of the new academic year.
Our MP, Munira Wilson, has always been a great support to the college and understands the rationale for the proposals which will support the student experience and fundamentally recognise the work that teaching staff regularly carry out during holiday times, which is currently unpaid. We acknowledge Munira’s stance on so-called ‘fire and re-hire' and we have been clear from the outset, and have reiterated again, that the option to terminate old contracts and re-engage teaching staff on new terms and conditions would be a final, worst-case scenario which we had hoped to avoid through full, professional and genuine negotiation with UCU representatives. Sadly, UCU have not approached the negotiations in this spirit and in our view have let down their members.
No dismissal letters have been sent while we continue consulting with teaching staff and a significant number have already agreed to the new terms and conditions. Consultation will continue with all members of teaching staff in the hope of meeting a resolution.
At no point during the 45-day consultation period and the 18-day extension given by the College have UCU entered any reasonable negotiations with the College and this position still stands. We reject their latest inflammatory and inaccurate press statement.
The management and staff at Richmond upon Thames College, who have continued to support students throughout this critical exam period while this industrial action has taken place, will not be intimidated by tactics that seek to coerce by means of threat of further disruption to our students’ learning and assessment experience. There is still time for UCU to return to the table to find an appropriate way forward and the College urges UCU representatives to reconsider their own abrupt conclusion to the most recent negotiation meeting and make every professional effort to support the College in finding a solution that allows us to achieve the best outcome for our students and staff.
During May, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) students had various opportunities to meet with employers from different walks of life.
Simon Westgarth, CEO of the Richmond Furniture Scheme – a charity committed to recycling – met with Business Level 2 students and delved into the attitude necessary to work effectively in the Third Sector. There will also be an opportunity for some of the Business students to seek work experience with the Richmond Furniture Scheme in the coming academic year.
Alfredo Frassoni from ITA Airways met with Travel and Tourism students to talk about his career spanning over three decades with Alitalia. He conducted a masterclass with the Level 3 students to inform and enrich them on the dynamics of the sector which has been hugely affected by the pandemic.
Following this, Thorpe Park Resorts, a favourite destination for thrill seekers and young people, took advantage of the ‘Sightlines to Careers’ week to interact with various students by holding a recruitment drive for interested students. Recruitment Officers from Thorpe Park, Charlotte Pink and Phoebe McGrail explained the numerous benefits available to young recruits. This was an extremely popular event with 50 students enquiring about the employment opportunities on offer.
Lastly, a handful of aspiring journalists interacted with former BBC journalist Barnie Choudhury. The award-winning journalist, who now trains student journalists at the University of East Anglia, went through the highlights of his reporting career and the impact it made in lawmaking and social cohesion.
Work Experience Co-ordinator at RuTC, Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, was thrilled at the success of this ‘Sightline to Careers’ week, saying, “Author and writer of one of best-selling self-help books ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ written by Napoleon Hill who said that everyone enjoys doing the kind of work for which he is best suited.
“In an age when the apprehension of the pandemic is still alive in public imagination and many employers are wary of taking students for physical work experience, encounters with employers or employer engagement are an important way for the learners to recalibrate their employability skills and reinvigorate themselves to be work-ready.”
The monthly ‘Sightline to Careers’ engagement sessions help students find out about various career opportunities. The events also provide interaction with professionals to help inform the students about the skills required as well as providing insight into different companies and sectors.
Learn more about Work Experience and Industry Placements at RuTC here
Check out the gallery below for some images taken from the various employer talks.
Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) are hugely disappointed to see strike action go ahead at this time, when students across the country have already experienced a large amount of disruption due to the pandemic.
The College needs to have a new calendar in place for the new academic year to ensure that there is more time for teachers to have INSET days outside the teaching timetable to develop their practice, meet as teams and focus on the individual needs of the students and plan and organise their work. RuTC is currently a significant outlier within the FE sector, with the current very high levels of annual leave entitlement preventing us from being able to allocate specific non-teaching days for staff training, development, collaboration and support for students.
The dispute with University and Colleges Union (UCU) has arisen over the proposal to reduce the current 64 days per year of annual leave (including Bank Holidays and efficiency days) to a level in line with other Further Education (FE) colleges. The consultation and negotiation period (further extended by the College) has come to a close and the proposal is a net loss of 8 days of annual leave with full financial compensation, which equates to teaching staff having a total of 56 days of leave (including Bank Holidays and an increased number of efficiency days).
The College informed UCU on 22nd February 2022 that there would be proposals to change the terms and conditions of the teaching staff contract to see if agreement could be reached and individuals could voluntarily move to the revised contract. It was agreed that we would move to formal consultation on 8th March 2022. The 45-day formal consultation period was due to end on 22nd April 2022 and the College extended the timeline by a further 18 days until 10th May 2022 in the hope of reaching collective agreement. Consultation came to an end on that day when the UCU response made it clear that negotiations could go no further.
The College has demonstrated a consistent and genuine desire to negotiate on the overall package of benefits including pay and levels of annual leave and has confirmed the offer of 100% financial compensation (consolidated) for the net reduction in annual leave. This offer financially compensates and recognises the work that teaching staff regularly carry out during holiday times. In addition, it enables staff to take time back on designated non-teaching days in recognition of additional work carried out during term time.
UCU represent fewer than 50% of the College’s teaching staff, the ballot was not unanimously in favour of strike action and the College have been made aware that many of our teachers are equally disappointed in the union’s decision to strike. There have been no dismissal letters sent to date, as the College is in discussions with individual members of teaching staff, of whom a significant number are accepting the new contract terms on a voluntary basis.
The College notes the concerns raised by UCU around the tabling of the final option to dismiss and re-engage but is resolute that this is a ‘worst case scenario’ only to be pursued in the event that it is unable to reach an agreed compromise position with the unions. This is a standard element of the contract re-negotiation process, where, in the event that no agreement can be reached, the old contract is terminated and the same staff are re-engaged on the new contract. The College remained committed to reaching a collective agreement without having to implement the process set out in the Section 188 notice and it remained the College’s strong and stated preference to reach a negotiated position that would avoid the necessity of implementing this process. The new terms and conditions will then be in line with other Colleges in our sector.
It is disappointing that UCU representatives from the very start of the consultation chose to focus their attention so heavily on this element of the process, at the expense of engaging in meaningful negotiation, as we believe that this dispute could have been resolved without this disruption to our students’ learning and support experience during this extremely important formal examination and assessment period.
The College will be doing everything we can to minimise disruption to our students’ ongoing teaching, learning and assessment. The impact of strike action is likely to vary for different students, depending on the Union membership within different programmes; some students may notice little disruption, others may experience more. We are investigating a range of options to enable any lost learning to be recovered, wherever possible. The strike action will not impact on the operation of formal exams that will be taking place at RuTC during the week of the strike.
On Saturday 14 May, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) A Level student Bella Brown won 6th place at the IWF (International Weightlifting Foundation) World Junior Championships, in Athens, Greece taking part in the Womens 76kg category.
Bella smashed the U20 British records for her snatch, clean & jerk lift total.
In the snatch position, she lifted 86, 87 and 90kg and in the clean and jerk, Bella lifted 105 and 108kg – this gave her a total of 198kg, putting her 6th place overall in the competition.
She has been competing in weightlifting competitions since September 2019, during which, she immediately broke a British lifting record.
Bella was ecstatic to have done so well in the championships, explaining “The next international competition will be in October for the Junior European Championship, where I will be looking to take home a medal.
“I did not expect the result I achieved in Greece as my ranking going in was much lower, but I am so proud of how I managed to push myself up the leader board.
Since then, she has gone onto compete at various other competitions all around the country, continuing breaking several records including ‘Snatch, Clean and Jerk’ and ‘Total’ within her age group in the World Youth Championships.
Caroline Ludbrook, Head of Sixth Form at RuTC is impressed with Bella’s abilities both inside and out of the classroom explaining, “Bella is both a fantastic, dedicated student, as well as athlete. We at the College, are immensely proud of her accomplishments and we look forward to watching her progress within her weightlifting career.”
In addition, Bella is a British Champion, top-ranked under 17 female weightlifter, regardless of weight class.
Team GB entered only 6 athletes into the recent World Junior Championships and following the competition, Bella was declared as top-ranked finisher of the team.
Learn more about studying A Levels at RuTC here.
On 10th May, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) student Hannah Scott was awarded with a Jack Petchey Achievement Award.
The Award is a peer recognition scheme which 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.
Award winners receive a £300 grant, which can be used for anything that will benefit their class.
RuTC has been involved in the Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme for several years and this May, student Hannah Scott has been chosen as winner for the Award.
In the case of Hannah, her teachers and peers, across the board felt that she deserved to win the award. Hannah has endured and excelled in her course, in part due to her always positive attitude, willingness to help others and determination to excel in her studies.
Hannah’s classmates explain why she won the award, stating “She is really helpful, supportive and always willing to help us with practical and written assignments.
“She has a great work ethic, and she is always on time for lessons, Hannah’s positive attitude is an inspiration to all of us.”
Hannah’s teacher, Neal Hook added “Hannah is a hard-working, helpful, kind and knowledgeable student whose positive attitude and kindness towards others doesn’t go unnoticed. She deserves to win this award for these reasons and more, she is a pleasure to teach.”
Learn more about studying Catering and Hospitality at RuTC here.