December 2018 - Capital City College Group
Accessibility & Translation

Saving young women in rural Tanzania through maps

Kerry Vandersteen, Digital Education Coordinator at City & Islington College, recently hosted a Mapathon for a group of volunteer college students and staff to help to map areas in rural Tanzania, where girls who are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) need to get to a safe house.

Tanzania is roughly the same size as France and Germany combined and there are few accurate maps of its rural areas.

Janet Chapman, the project manager from Tanzania Development Trust explained: “In many cases, a girl is told she will be cut that evening or the next day, and she contacts local activists for help. To get the girl to a safe house, the local activists need to know where her village is and for that they need accurate maps.”

Almost all of Tanzania (an area roughly the same size as the whole of France and Germany combined) is rural and there are few accurate maps of rural areas. In response to this, Crowd2Map Tanzania is putting Rural Tanzania on the map. Since 2015, this volunteer programme has been adding schools, hospitals, roads, buildings and villages to OpenStreetMap, an open source map available to all.

As Janet Chapman explains: “These maps are crucial to government and humanitarian teams. Crowd2Map Tanzania are now asking people from across the world to help create maps of unmapped, rural areas so that activists can better protect girls who are at risk of FGM.”

The Mapathon helped map previously unmapped areas in rural Tanzania using OpenStreetMap. During the Mapathon, volunteers looked at satellite photos and effectively created a map of that area, by tracing the roads and buildings that they could see in zoomed-in satellite images.

Celebrating student success at 2018 awards ceremony

On Wednesday 12 December, our King’s Cross campus hosted its 2018 student awards ceremony, recognising and rewarding learners for their hard work. Hundreds of students and staff packed the atrium to watch the awards, which were opened by two student musical performances.

The ceremony was hosted by Jasbir Sondhi, Head of Learner Experience, who presented the students with prizes, depending on their position. Third place received an Amazon voucher, second place, an Amazon Kindle and first place winners recieved a tablet.

Principal Award
Marquis Coker

He has overcome great concerns and anxieties to make the transition from school to a large FE campus where he is now thriving. He truly is the original social butterfly and a true asset to the college with his wonderful humour and gifted personality.

Most Improved/Progress Made
1st Place – Carlos Becerra

He came from abroad and has been able to improve on his spoken and written English, as well as become a D* student.

2nd Place – Teklom Bahta

For continuing to work hard and remain ever-cheerful despite the uncertainty of his home-office application.

3rd Place – Vanesa Yordanova Kasabova 

She progressed from Level 2 to Level 3 and has made huge progress in closing her knowledge gap by working independently, contributing in class, meeting deadlines and asking questions and actually taking feedback on board and acting on it. She is on course to achieve a Distinction this year.

Student Volunteer & Community Contribution
1st Place – Angus Gardner

He has been involved in the Barclays Eagle project and has helped people enhance their IT knowledge and boost their confidence. In addition, he has been helping his colleagues by sharing knowledge and experience during their classes.

2nd Place – Eamonn Finn Butler

He has worked closely with our technicians team to help and support the running of the college workshops. He works one day a week to work with Jamie and Sam, our technicians.

3rd Place – Imogen Faulkner

She made the transition from Alexandra Centre to King’s Cross Centre this year and has settled into life at Kings Cross. Her contribution to college life is excellent as is her contribution at College Park School where she volunteers one day a week as a classroom assistant on her work placement.  

Overcoming Barriers (Learner Journey)
1st Place – Bailie Copley

She has care responsibilities at home but she does not let this impact on her contributions in class or the quality of work produced.  She will actively seek work that she has missed and will ensure she meets all her deadlines.

2nd Place – Jose Manuel Torres Sapeg

Despite being profoundly deaf, Jose has made great progress over the two semesters he has been with the college. His written work is on a par with and often better than that of his hearing classmates, and yet he has never heard English spoken. He rarely misses a class and is grateful for the support of his teachers and BSL interpreters. Jose acknowledges his progress and says he is now clear he wants to work with deaf children and is confident that he will be able to in the not too distant future.

3rd Place – Ghazal Formooli

Despite being a carer she has attained D* academic status. She is the main carer for her mother and she has always produced her assignments on time to a very high standard. She has a very proactive and mature attitude to her studies and she taken on A Level Chemistry in addition to her Science – Level 2 to be able to apply for Pharmacy.

Learners of the Term
1st Place – Patrik Hanti

Phenomenal 3D software skills, and a supporter of BAME & women in tech. He has overcome illness to achieve good grades and attendance. Supports his teachers and peers in class.

2nd Place – Connor McKenna

He has excelled on his supported internship taking on a new catering placement where he is proving to be a star. His all-round attitude to learning and beautiful manners would make any of us proud.  He is destined for a bright future which he thoroughly deserves.

3rd Place – Wengel Teklay

She is an extremely conscientious student who, from her first day in the class, has taken every opportunity to practise and improve her English and develop her skills.  She is always attentive and engaged. Her attendance is excellent and she always reviews classes and does her homework. Moreover, she always says when she doesn’t understand something or needs further clarification or practice.  As a result she has progressed with leaps and bounds. 

Work Placements
1st Place – Sanduni Bimasha Weerasuriya Mudiyanselage

Work placement at Chubb Insurance. Sanduni has received incredible feedback during her placement, all business areas she meets with are impressed by her enthusiasm to learn. They would love her to join the company after college.

2nd Place – Shyanne Sorolla

She was a student with very low self-confidence who has flourished during the employability programme and secured a work with Small Green Shoots.

3rd Place – Joseph Ayodeji Odukoya

From his work placement at Wilmott Dixon, he has received great feedback and has been encouraged to join the company through an apprenticeship after college.

Angus Gardner, Level 3 Computing student and winner of the Student Volunteer & Community Contribution category, has been involved in the Barclays Digital Eagles programme.

Angus said “It is nice to be able to help the community in a way that I believe isn’t done enough. I am really pleased with my prize and will continue to volunteer in any way I can.”

Westminster Kingsway College Principal Kim Caplin said: and said: “Congratulations to all those who were recognized today. It is fantastic that we can commend so many students for their wonderful achievements including volunteering and contributions to the community, and to hear the interesting stories of their learner journeys and progress made. Well done!”

Physics students work to improve our knowledge of the universe

On Monday 10 December, 10 A Level students from City & Islington’s Sixth Form College in Islington built a cosmic ray detector at the Institute of Physics (IOP), near King’s Cross.

The detector, the first of its kind in London, will help the students, and scientists around the world, understand more about cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays come from sources all across the universe – some from our sun, others from supernovae (exploding stars) and other sources outside our galaxy that have a million times more energy than the collisions produced in the Large Hadron Collider. Scientists want to learn more about these strange particles and cosmic ray detectors (which detect a specific type of particle called cosmic ray muons) are an excellent way to do this.

The IOP guided the students through the building process and have connected the detector to HiSPARC; a network of similar detectors installed in schools and universities in the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands.  This is the first detector in London to be linked to the HiSPARC network.

As well as building the detector, over the course of their studies, the students will analyse the streams of data that it collects and will conduct their own research using the results.

Sajib Al Rashid, A Level Physics teacher at City & Islington College said: “As a result of cosmic rays, billions of particles pass through each and every one of us every day, but to detect them you need specialist and sophisticated equipment. We are delighted to have partnered with the IOP on this project. Our students have been energised by the experience and the chance to do genuine cosmological research.”

Sally Colston, A Level Physics teacher added: “This is an amazing opportunity for the students to build apparatus that is contributing to our knowledge of the universe. They will be part of the network of students all working to analyse the data from many detectors. We expect that they will be publishing their original research within a year.”

An A Level in Physics is the gateway to studying the subject at university and can lead to a PhD or on to a well-paid job as a physicist, technician, coder or engineer. Physics graduates can work in health or research institutes, defence, robotics, aerospace, computing, electronics, power generation or gas and oil exploration, or government departments, like the Met Office.

IOP Public Programmes Manager, Toby Shannon said: “We are excited to be installing this brand new piece of physics equipment in the heart of Islington, on the roof of our building. We hope that the students get an insight into what goes into the design and construction of physics experiments that allow us to answer some of the biggest questions about our world. 

“Data from the detector that these young people are building will be available online for anyone to access and download to use for research or teaching; this data not only connects Islington with our European counterparts, but with the wider universe as we detect signals from particles that originated beyond our galaxy!”

Destiny returns to WestKing after landing job at 4Music

Ex-student Destiny Taitts returned to Kings Cross on Friday 30 November after a college competition landed her a job at the Channel 4 music TV station, 4Music.

Destiny was studying her Film & Television – Level 3 Extended Diploma at Westminster Kingsway College’s King’s Cross centre last year when a visit from 4Music changed her life. Dominic Williams, Editor and Manager for 4Music, visited the college and spoke to a group of media students, including Destiny, about different careers in the Media industry. He also showed some of his work from when we’d been a student, inspiring the students and showing them what they could become.

At the end of his visit, Dominic encouraged students to submit a 1-minute on the topic of their choice; the best video would earn its maker a work experience placement with Dominic at 4Music. Destiny entered despite competing deadlines for college work and other commitments. Her video was judged the best, and she started her 4 weeks’ work experience in the summer. During her work experience, Destiny was exposed to a number of teams within 4Music, meaning she was able to try out different skills and see what she did and didn’t like in the world of media.

Destiny impressed her colleagues so much she was offered a full time role in the subtitling team, that writes subtitles for all the channel’s shows. Destiny said “My teachers pushed me to apply and helped me with all my other work at the time. 4Music has been really welcoming and I have been exposed to a lot of different aspects of the industry while I have been there. Experience is key and they value hard work and dedication.”

Dominic and Destiny returned to Kings Cross last week to once again promote the competition and showcase Destiny and her story to this year’sstudents. Dominic – who has worked with the likes of Jason Derulo, Young Bane and Jorja Smith – explained how working hard and gaining experience is the way into the industry.has.

CONEL Excellence Awards 2018

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London celebrated their staff, students and employers last night at the annual Excellence Awards, to recognise their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Almost 300 people attended the awards ceremony, at CONEL’s Tottenham Centre.

The ceremony began at 7pm with a performance from B2R, a group of The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London students, covering “Rude” by MAGIC!

Compere for the evening, Reverend Nims Obunge, invited CONEL’s Interim Principal, Kurt Hintz, on stage. Kurt delivered an encouraging recap of the year, congratulating award winners for “shining the brightest” in their discipline.

Kurt Hintz on stage

Nims then returned to stage, handing awards to employer partners, long service staff and staff excellence awards.

The interlude performance by Westminster Kingsway College student Paulo Reiss, who sung his own song – “Can’t Stop.”

Attendees were inspired by a speech from alum Pat Akwenuke about her journey from apprentice at CONEL to owner of a successful childcare business.

After the break, Rev. Obunge continued with the progression of the ceremony. Students received trophies to celebrate their achievements, coupled with short statements from the teachers and tutors who had made nominations.

The ceremony ended on a softer note, with the presentation of the Paul Head Award, taking its name from the late former Principal of the college. Potchu Mendes Calucane received the award for his efforts as an athlete, captaining the college’s football academy throughout the last academic year.

Potchu receiving his award

The ceremony was closed by a speech from Sarah Ebanja, Chair of the CONEL Local Advisory Board and a Capital City College Group Governor.

Kurt Hintz said: “The Excellence Awards is always my favourite night of the year where we get reminded of how brilliant our students really are! A wonderful evening oozing with talent and energy, congratulations to all the award winners.”

Why do people study arts courses? – Tim Chaundy responds

Following comments from Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Head, about arts courses, Curriculum Leader in Performing Arts, Tim Chaundy talks about the real reasons why people study Arts courses.

“There has been a lively debate recently following remarks made by Ofsted Head Amanda Spielman about the value of arts courses.

“The responses from the BFI, ScreenSkills and others are very interesting, but, like Amanda Spielman’s remarks, they are rather missing the point about why many students take a Level 2 arts course.  At City & Islington College, we have a vibrant performing arts faculty and run a range of acting and performing arts courses.  And, in our experience, in many cases, Level 2 arts students are not looking for a job in the industry at all.

“To assume, as Amanda Spielman and others seem to be doing, that a Level 2 arts course must translate into a job in an arts field, misses the fundamental reason why many learners opt for a Level 2 arts subject in the first place. In my experience, Level 2 arts subjects are seldom a direct route into work in their own right, but are a stepping stone into a Level 3 course for those who – for whatever reason – didn’t achieve the GCSE grades they needed. In fact, almost all our learners who do a Level 2 arts course, also do English and Maths GCSE resits.

“For many of our Level 2 students therefore, college represents a second chance at education. And doing an arts course alongside their GCSE resits, develops students’ life skills and massively improves their confidence and prepares them for further study.  It also suits the creative way that the students like to learn, in that the arts simultaneously improve both practical and theoretical skills. Over 90% of our learners progress from Level 2 to a Level 3 course at City & Islington College, and onwards to work or university – not necessarily in a performing arts field. Indeed, one of our recent arts students is now studying a BSc in Paediatric Nursing at Middlesex University.”

CONEL Tackles Knife Crime Crisis Through Education Programme

Knife crime is in the news seemingly every day and London’s young people are bearing the brunt of knife-related crime. Tottenham MP David Lammy has repeatedly called for more to be done to tackle the crisis and it is a key priority for London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan too. The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London recognises that knife and serious crime is increasing in London and more needs to be done in regard to prevention activity. The fact is you are three times more likely to be stabbed if you carry a knife.

On Wednesday 28 November 2018, we hosted a ‘Question Time’-style event focusing on issues of knife crime and gang violence. It brought students, staff and local organisations together and aimed to facilitate open discussion over the issues, hear the facts about knife crime and how to stay safe.

Learners posed questions to the expert panel and shared their experiences with them. The panel chaired by Reverend Nims Obunge, outlined the threats, influences and ways the community could take direct action and preventative measures to address the awful waste of life and serious life changing injuries inflicted almost daily on the streets of London. Yvonne Lawson gave a heart breaking account of her experience as a mother losing her son to a fatal stabbing in 2010 and the impact of knife crime on families.

CONEL student Syed Salam said: “This was an excellent event for us as young people to hear about the effects of knife-crime on families and the wider community.

“Also, hearing from various organisations that are involved in tackling knife crime at a grassroots level was good, as I now know what they are doing, and how I can get involved in helping to reduce knife crime in my community.”

In spring 2018, the college supported Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s campaign to clamp down on knife crime, educating students about the risks and consequences associated with carrying a knife.

Back in March, CONEL students shared their views with the Godwin Lawson Foundation, which helps young people find opportunities away from crime. The charity was set up by Yvonne Lawson, the mother of 17 year-old Godwin Lawson, who grew up in Tottenham and was killed in a knife attack in 2010.

Yvonne Lawson returned as a panellist at our ‘Question Time’ event in November 2018, alongside Chairperson Reverend Nims Obunge (College Governor), DI Timothy Tubbs (British Transport Police), Franklyn Addo (Homerton Hospital), Kwabz Oduro Ayim (CEO, Mixtape Madness), Royston John (CEO, National Coalition-Building Institute), Junior Smart (Founder, SOS Project) and Dr Angela Hervet MBE (Vice Chair, Knife and Violent Crime Prevention Group).

Anthony Robinson, Head of Learner Experience Manager at CONEL, said: “Giving students the opportunities to discuss their views and opinions of the issues of knife and gang crime is key to developing solutions for this growing problem.

“At CONEL we are passionate about ensuring that our students have a strong voice to effect change. We have received funding from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund to help us develop activities for our students that will deter them away from getting involved in criminal activities and make better life choices.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise