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Unity 2018 1200 DSC 0168Students from Afghanistan, Eritrea, ‘Kurdistan’, Somalia, Syria, Egypt and Vietnam gave compelling presentations about their countries of origin to peers who have grown up in the UK, as part of the Unity 2018 event.

They talked about the unique histories and cultures of their homelands, from human rights issues such as fair elections and whether girls as well as boys are allowed to go to school, to the right to free speech and the consequences of civil conflict, to religious festivals, and the most beautiful scenery and tastiest dishes. They also shared that despite there being an estimated 35 million Kurds living on the borders of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey where the countries meet, Kurdistan is not recognised as a permanent nation state.

The ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students also proved they could teach as well as learn by getting the audience to say words such as ‘hello’ in their own languages.

The group gave their speeches using the information boards they had created, which featured important landmarks, food and facts, and were displayed in the LRC at Uxbridge College in Hayes.

Unity at Uxbridge College is an annual event which brings together students from all backgrounds to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences of life, and to promote British values. This year Unity ran for four days with a series of class groups visiting the exhibition to hear the talks.

Claire Beale, Course Team Leader - ELT - Young Learners, said: “Unity is a fantastic opportunity for both students and staff to find out more about each other’s cultures - I certainly learned a lot! For those who have been raised in the UK and grown up in peacetime with rights like a democratic vote, access to education regardless of gender, and laws to protect everyone’s human rights, it can be a real eye-opener to find out that there are so many people of their age who have not been able to take these things for granted. And it was great to see English speakers learning foreign languages as well as the reverse!”

Ofsted, which requires British values to be promoted as part of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education at schools and colleges, defines them as relating to: democratic process; the rule of law; separation of power between the executive and the judiciary; freedom to choose a faith and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs, and combatting discrimination.

For more photos from the event see https://bit.ly/2IZSVdL

Richard Taylor with photo IMG 9120A powerful talk by Damilola Taylor’s father Richard on the tragic consequences of knife crime was part of a hard-hitting awareness week held at Uxbridge College in response to the Mayor of London’s ‘London Needs You Alive’ campaign.

Richard (pictured giving his talk to Uxbridge College students) began campaigning to combat violence amongst young people after his 10-year-old son was tragically killed in Peckham in 2000. He spoke to students about the personal and community impact of Damilola’s untimely death.

Richard’s charity, the Damilola Taylor Trust, is committed to supporting young people to lead safe and healthy lives, and to reach high to fulfil their potential. A donation was made to the charity through student fundraising.

Richard’s talk was attended by around 500 learners, with another 1,000 watching on live stream. The event was one of a number held during the awareness week at College, which also included a first aid workshop from the charity StreetDoctors, and a range of other talks, workshops, exhibitions and tutorials. The week was inspired by Sadiq Khan’s campaign to educate young people about the risks of knife crime.

Liam Plumridge, Course Team Leader for Employability, Progress and Review, who organised the event as part of his work supporting tutorials and student development activities said: “This series of events gave our students an important insight into what are unfortunately becoming increasingly serious issues for all young people, not just in London but all over the country and worldwide. It is a top priority at Uxbridge College to do everything we can to help our learners to stay safe and make well-informed decisions in every area of their lives, and I have no doubt that this week of events will support them in doing so.”

This Girl Can 2018 Kat group P1070246Ex-England rugby player Kat Merchant and former Uxbridge College student and Millwall Lionesses player Rianna Dean inspired girls from west London schools as part of This Girl Can 2018.

The visits by the World Cup rugby winner and Lionesses footballer backed the national campaign to encourage more women to take part in sport and physical activity.

Ex-England rugby player Kat Merchant (pictured with the girls) gave an inspirational talk and training session to girls from west London schools to mark the This Girl Can 2018 campaign at Uxbridge College, organised by Eloise Newman, Course Team Leader and Sports Lecturer. Kat shared her triumphs and challenges with the group, as well as talking to Uxbridge College students. Starting her sporting career as a gymnast before transitioning into rugby, Kat found the strength and skillset developed in gymnastics helped her to progress quickly in the sport and was invited to England trials early on. She was unsuccessful in her first attempt at selection but used this to motivate herself to succeed further.

She told the girls: “I’m really pleased to be here as part of the This Girl Can campaign, it’s such an important campaign. You girls, you can do anything you want to, any sport you set your sights on go for it and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t, because you can. Find your thing and go for it.”

Kat earned her first international cap during the 2005 Six Nations, and after several unfortunate injuries she worked hard to once again represent her country at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens; 2010, 2014 Women's Rugby World Cups and coached a Women's rugby team from Sri Lanka in 2015. Overall she earned 58 caps, scored 44 tries and was part of the World Cup winning team in 2014. Now she is working hard to grow her own successful personal training business and coaches Chesham Stags RFC Men’s teams.

There was also a talk by former Uxbridge College Sports student and international footballer Rianna Dean, now with Millwall Lionnesses, having previously played for Arsenal Ladies.

Rianna spoke about how education played a big part in her achievements and highlighted how Uxbridge College allowed her to study and train at the same time, working with her to help her meet her deadlines. She emphasised to the girls, “It was only right that I gave my lecturers the same respect back, by putting in the hard work and producing good quality work. You can do that in your life too, you are in control of the hard work you put in to whatever you do.”

Martina Ashton, Section Manager for Sport at Uxbridge College, said: “It was brilliant to have Kat Merchant and Rianna Dean here for Uxbridge College’s annual This Girl Can event and just as good to see the girls from a total of seven West London schools learning new skills and gaining inspiration. Many of them knew very little about rugby, so it was a great chance for them to try out some basic skills, and also get a flavour about how success at the highest level is simply about hard work and commitment.”

Uxbridge College’s This Girl Can event also involved Zuu training - a style of training using movements from the animal kingdom - as well as pilates, boxing, handball, netball and an educational workshop focusing around sports development and the different career opportunities available to the girls in the sports and leisure industry.

Schools taking part in the event were: The Harefield Academy; Dormers Wells High School; Nower Hill High School; Ruislip High School; Haydon School; Wembley High Technology College; Vyners School.

For more pictures from the day go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/uxbridgecollege/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155945961970283

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