News & Press

Lord McFall IMG 6368Business students at Uxbridge College found out more about the role of the UK’s House of Lords in a video-call session with its Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith.

The live Skype Q&A, part of a programme of activities for schools and colleges organised by the Parliamentary Education Centre to raise awareness of the UK parliament’s work, gave the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma students a chance to learn more about topics including the impact of the House of Lords on democracy and the part it plays in legislative process.

They also quizzed Lord McFall on his opinions on a range of subjects including whether he thought the House of Lords should have more power (no!) and if representation was diverse enough (he answered that greater efforts were needed to increase diversity in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, including the number of women, people with disabilities and members from a wider range of social backgrounds).

Suba Dickerson, Head of Business at Uxbridge College, said: “It was a terrific opportunity for Business students to learn more about the ways in which our parliamentary processes impact on our national economy and how this links to the works of its members. A big thank you to Lord McFall for taking the time to talk to our students in this live question and answer session - it was a real eye opener and a great way for them to broaden their horizons.”

As Senior Deputy Speaker, Lord McFall deputises for the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, carrying out various responsibilities in his absence. In particular he presides over business in the Lords’ Chamber from the Woolsack, although unlike in the House of Commons he does not call the House to order as the House of Lords is self-regulating. One of the Speaker’s other roles is participating in an outreach programme to engage the public in the work and role of the Lords, central to which is the Peers in Schools programme, which as a former teacher Lord McFall has a particular interest in.

Lord McFall’s roles in the UK Parliament currently also include chairmanship of committees including the Liaison Committee, Procedure Committee and the Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee.

SAM 6694Artistic Uxbridge College students have created two beautiful murals in an A&E cubicle for patients with dementia.

The art has been designed to be calming and reassuring to patients who may be confused and therefore difficult to treat.

The two scenes - a countryside scene complete with the forget-me-not flowers used as a symbol of support for dementia awareness, and a seascape - were created by eight first year students on the Level 3 course in Art and Design.

The eight students developed designs based on the hospital’s brief to create calming, relaxing and reassuring images, including creating mock-ups which were then scaled up to the size of the walls. They also sourced materials and suppliers and calculated costings for everything from paint and brushes to masking tape and overalls.

Clara Clark, Art and Design Lecturer, said: “This has been a very valuable experience for our students about how art can be used to transform environments for the good of other people.

“They have gained many important professional skills from working on this and it has been a great opportunity and really interesting working with Hillingdon Hospital.”

Kim Pendergast, Senior Sister in the A&E Department, said: "We are so grateful to the Uxbridge College students for creating these gorgeous murals, which really enhance the dementia-friendly area of our Emergency Department.

"Beautiful, pastoral scenes like this have a calming effect on patients with dementia, so this generous donation of time and talent is so appreciated."

One of the team of students, Yaminah Arbibey (18), said: "This was a great experience, especially putting in images of forget-me-nots, which are symbolic of dementia awareness and bring a little bit of the British countryside into A&E."

The work complements other dementia-friendly items in the A&E department at Hillingdon Hospital including its mock-up ‘bus stop’, which includes a bus sign mounted on a wall indoors, seats and timetable. The idea, originally from Germany, is based on studies showing that dementia patients often feel they want to get home when they are somewhere unfamiliar, and find ‘bus stops’ such as these calming.

Harrow prospectus 2018 266Harrow College and Uxbridge College have joined every general further education college in England in an unprecedented move to urge action following a major review of post-18 education.

The 203 leaders of the colleges and merged college groups have joined forces to write an open letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education calling on them to “answer the calls from business” and respond to the “challenges of technological change and Brexit” by urgently investing in the country’s technical and vocational education system by implementing the main recommendations of the Government’s recent Post-18 Education Review (the Augar Review).

The leaders, including Laraine Smith OBE who has signed the letter as Principal of Harrow College Uxbridge College (the merged college group, HCUC), and Pat Carvalho, Principal of Harrow College, are responsible for institutions that educate and train 2 million people each year, employing 180,000 staff and with a combined turnover of £6 billion per annum.

The Augar Review has called for, amongst other things, an end to the 17.5% cut in education funding for 18-year-olds, so that everybody, regardless of age, could be supported to achieve to at least level three (A Levels or equivalent qualifications), and a rebalancing of the traditional post-18 educational landscape.

Laraine Smith, Principal of HCUC said: “At Harrow College and Uxbridge College we are proud to be joining every other further education college and merged college group in the UK in adding our support to this letter, which rightly promotes the case for increased recognition of the work of FE colleges as captured in the Augar Report.

“This includes the more-than-justified case for improved funding for colleges which unfairly receive less funding than both schools and higher education institutions for providing equivalent education and training. We very much hope the Government will take this national call for action seriously and finally start giving FE colleges, their students and the employers they are training on behalf of the support that they rightly deserve.”

Key extracts from the letter:

“[The Post-18 Review] understands that employers and communities need more high quality technical and professional education and training, industry standard facilities, expert staff and the unique curriculum that colleges already provide. It sees colleges as the key vehicle for the flexible, local delivery of national strategies, supporting industrial policy, productivity, skills development and genuine social equity. It clearly acknowledges that all this requires real investment.”

“In many respects the Augar Review represents a wider emerging consensus across England. We are sure that you will agree with us and other key stakeholders that further education colleges have been neglected, and that there is now a growing appreciation of their unique role, value and potential. What we now need are decisions and commitments: with your political leadership, support and resolve, colleges will be able to build on what they already do to reach more employers and more adults and make the differences our economy and society need.“

Bev Robinson OBE, member of the Independent Panel and co-author of the Augar Review said: “The Government’s response to the outcomes of the well-received Augar Review is arguably a watershed moment for the British Government. Choosing to enact the recommendations would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the much-needed skills revolution which our country needs, which industry is crying out for and which will promote social equity for all adults, not just the 50% as it is now.”

Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive, Oldham College, who led the campaign to get every college to sign the letter, said: “The technical and professional education which our colleges specialise in is a hidden strength of this country. There is some astonishingly good provision, but the system overall has been held back by a clear view of its role backed by a serious investment plan. Implementing the Augar Review will genuinely change lives, communities and the economy for a generation. Now is the time to act.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: “It is extraordinary to have every leader in every general further education college in the country collaborate like this. But then these are extraordinary times. These college leaders are uniquely placed at the hearts of their communities, working closely with local, national and international business, supporting individuals to get on in life, and driving the social mobility agenda. Government needs to listen to them if they’ve got any chance of tackling the major issues this country faces, now and in the future.*

For the full letter and signatories list go to


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