News & Press

Reading Ahead 2017 IMG 8706Fantasy author Marcus Alexander urged students to “read like a beast” and “not be boring” at the Uxbridge College Reading Ahead 2017 awards ceremonies. During his dynamic performances at the Uxbridge and Hayes Learning Resource Centres (LRC), The Keeper of the Realms series author talked about the many benefits of reading, and shared tales of his life including eating monkey brains and grasshoppers, travelling the world, taking part in extreme sports, and the painful experience of ruptured biceps and snapped pectoralis muscles through doing gymnastics.

The writer, who also presented books and awards to students and signed autographs for them, was joined by Reading Ahead Programme Manager Genevieve Clarke from the national charity The Reading Agency, who also congratulated students. Students from the Year 2 BTEC Extended Diploma in Music also took part in the two events, providing entertainment.

Marcus Alexander talked about his life and his love of reading, which he said began with Dr Seuss books and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and had recently alighted on the work of Machiavelli. Each of the students who had completed the Reading Ahead programme was presented with a book, chosen from among titles including one of the The Keeper Of The Realms trilogy books and the graphic novel Persepolis by Iranian author Marjane Satrapi, which was showcased at World Book Night, also run by the Reading Agency.

Shelley Cawley, Information and Learning Resources Manager at Uxbridge College, who co-ordinated Reading Ahead at Uxbridge College this year, said: “The students’ achievements this year have been amazing given that so many had to work so hard to improve their literacy skills in order to complete the programme. It was a real inspiration to have Marcus Alexander with us and to hear his views on literacy, which echo what we say here in the LRC about how reading supports mental health, means better pay and has many more benefits too. He also gave a valuable life lesson in taking risks and challenging yourself. A big thank you too to the Reading Agency for making it possible for us to participate in Reading Ahead again this year.”

Genevieve Clarke said: “We are delighted that Uxbridge College continues to support Reading Ahead so strongly. The College’s achievement proves that the programme can build confidence, increase skills and improve exam results. It’s brilliant to have such enthusiasm for reading from students and staff across the College.”
A total of around 600 Uxbridge College students are hoping to complete the national programme this year, which requires them to read six books and to write a review of each. They are then given feedback on each review by a member of staff - which will add up to more than 3,600 books and reviews if the College hits its target.

This year Reading Ahead at Uxbridge College has seen a higher proportion of participants from courses and teaching areas where literacy skills need to be improved. Last year ELT (English Language Teaching) students - whose first language is not English - made up 10% of the completers, but this year make up around 37% of completers. The majority of the remaining 63% were Functional Skills L1 and L2 - students improving basic literacy or numeracy - who have found that taking part has helped prepare them for their next level. A total of nine students from the Foundation School also completed.

Reading Ahead 2016/17 Awards were presented to:

Best Review STPS – Velecia Da Costa
Best Review Business – Elena Lacobuti-Halici
Best Review Academy – Jenifer Camarinha-Freire
Best Review Engineering – Tahmid Ahmed
Best Review Creative Studies - Kasey Owens
Best Review Health & Social Care – Anita Lawaowska
Best Review ELT – Shkelzin Prelezi
Best Review Computing – Vlad Pirvu
Best Overall Student – Wioletta Pinkowisc (ELT)
Best Group – ELT – ESOL Entry Level 1 (HYA) Emma Famodimu - Tutor
Best Group – ELT – ESOL Entry Level 1 (HYB) Sagal Jama - Tutor
Best Group – ELT – ESOL Pre Entry Level - David Biggs - Tutor

The Reading Agency is a charity supported with funding from Arts Council England. The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with partners, their aim is to make reading accessible to everyone. Reading Ahead, run through public libraries, colleges, prisons and workplaces, is one of a number of initiatives run by the charity to support this aim.

IMG 8654Uxbridge College Student President Eric Kim is celebrating a win in a film competition run by the National Association for Managers of Student Services.

Eric, Student President for Hayes Campus, scooped second prize in the British Values short film competition and was presented with a plaque for the College and an individual trophy during the NAMSS annual conference. The trophies and prize of £750 for the College and £750 vouchers for himself were presented by Mark Donkersley, Managing Director of event sponsors eSafe Systems Ltd.

A letter of congratulations from NAMSS Chair Polly Harrow to Laraine Smith, Uxbridge College Principal, said: “We had some fantastic entries and the competition was tough so I am sure you will be very proud of Eric’s achievement.”

Laraine said: “Congratulations to Eric on winning this prize and on the effort, creativity and commitment which went into him completing and entering his excellent film. This is a great result in a national competition and we are delighted to see the film being showcased as an example to other colleges.”

The winning films will be featured on the NAMSS website as examples of best practice. Please click below to view Eric's film:

NestleSEGRO and Barratt London have launched a heritage project with Uxbridge College, which will see film and media students reaching out to the local community and asking them to share their memories of the former Nestlé factory. The film will be shown at a community event and mark the beginning of the Our Hayes Our Heritage project which will involve the community of all ages, from primary school to senior citizens.

The £20,000 contribution from SEGRO and Barratt London donated to Uxbridge College, has enabled them to attract further funding from A New Direction, London’s flagship creative and cultural education agency, through the ‘London Cultural Education Challenge’, a programme designed to help build creative places for young people. Uxbridge College students will lead on the project to celebrate the importance of the former Nestlé site which is linked by the Grand Union Canal to another historic workplace, the former EMI factory. The students will work with community partners to create a community heritage resource which celebrates the past and looks to the future bringing the site to life once more through work, living and leisure spaces.

In 2015, SEGRO bought the 30 acre former Nestlé plant in Hayes, and partnered with Barratt London with the aim of delivering 230,000 sq. ft. of modern industrial and urban logistics warehouses as well as over 1,000 homes, subject to planning permission.

The regeneration will be a boost for the Capital as it faces the challenge of building more homes to meet population growth, coupled with creating up to 400 employment opportunities that underpin sustainable communities and business. The project with the college will uncover the importance of the former Nestlé factory site to the community and will aid SEGRO and Barratt London in their plans for the development of the site.

Alan Holland, SEGRO’s Business Unit Director for Greater London, said: “The former Nestlé factory site’s cultural heritage is very important to SEGRO and we have been consulting with the local community on its vision for the site since our plans were put in place, to ensure that it returns to being a vibrant hub of activity. This project will result in a wonderful film which will reinforce how important this site is for the community and will feed into our plans for the development.”

Matt Calladine, Head of Development for Barratt London said: “We are delighted to be working with Uxbridge College to connect with the community of Hayes to develop a film explaining the importance of the former Nestlé factory site. As developers, we understand the history of the site and want to ensure that the community is involved in the development and this project is an excellent way to this.”

Lorraine Collins, Executive Director Enterprise and Development, Uxbridge College said: “SEGRO is one of ‘Uxbridge College’s Employer Champions’ - an award given by the college in recognition of their help in providing students with work related opportunities. The latest contribution from SEGRO and Barratt London for £20,000 has enabled the college to attract further match funding from A New Direction. With this funding, the students will be able to create an enduring record celebrating the local heritage of the site and engage the community involvement in plans for the future.”

If you have any memories you would like to share or if you know someone who could be part of the film, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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