West Thames College - Making Waves - Spring 2022

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2 ne Spring 202 zi a g a m e g e ll The co

Performing Arts Present: Heros, Villains and Fantasy Characters

cover story » Pages 12-13

Film Director Returns To Film at West Thames page 8

West Thames Student Captivates Vogue page 16

Welcome to West Thames College. Principal Tracy Aust welcomes you to the Spring edition of Making Waves. Dear Reader What a fantastic second term it’s been. We started the new year and new term well rested and still on a high after our ‘Good’ Ofsted result. The College continues to build on this going from strength to strength. We’ve been delighted to be able to welcome so many visitors back onto campus. These have included prospective students for some very busy Open Days; visiting teaching partners such as the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama who ran a masterclass for our performing arts students; and recording artist Hayley Ross who was fresh from recording at Abbey Road. The excellent relationships between our teaching staff and our students often lasts far beyond their time at the College. As a result, we have a wonderful resource in our successful alumni who return to pass on their success stories and knowledge to our current students. This term, students were able to work shadow film producer Simba Masaku who returned to West Thames to film scenes for his new movie, and hear from award winning photographer Jodie Bateman. These are just two of the talented alumni that we have featured in this issue. It’s also been great to see the new Student Parliament in action at the first meeting with Class Reps, the Executive Team and Governors. Discussions and feedback that take place in these meetings are what help to shape the student experience in the College. Throughout the term we have also seen a continued effort from our students to raise awareness or monies for causes that matter to them, from petitioning to save BTECs to baking biscuits for sensory equipment - it’s an indication of the conscientious and thoughtful community that we are nurturing. Please enjoy this issue of Making Waves and we look forward to sharing our successes with you again next term. Yours sincerely, Tracy Aust



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New Student Parliament meet Course Reps, Governors and the Executive Team

On Monday 29th November 2021 the West Thames College Student Parliament for 2021 - 2022 met with Course Reps across all subject areas of the college and members of the Executive Team. The meeting was an opportunity for this year’s new Student Parliament members to introduce themselves and talk about their roles at the college. We were introduced to several members of the new Student Parliament such as the President, the Vice President, the Director for Aviation; and Officers for the areas of Finance; Environment; Welfare & Safeguarding; Travel; Business & ICT; E-Learning; and Events & Campaigns. Vice Principal Marta Gajewska-Kopczyk, Director for Resources & Student Experience Michael Michaelides and college Governors Barinder Sandhu and Laura Weatherill were given the opportunity to hear from the Course Reps and Student Parliament members. Students voiced what they thought had improved within the



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College over the last year, gave an outline of what events they wanted to see in the future and outlined a few things they thought the college could improve on. Class Reps shared that the activities held at the college to celebrate events such as Interfaith Week and Freshers’ Fair were very much appreciated as well as the return to face-toface learning. Some students fed back that the college has been key in helping them improve their English language, and some mentioned that the feedback that they receive from teachers regarding their work was very good. Some of the things students thought could be improved upon were the wifi, slow computers and the temperature in some of the classrooms. Members of the Executive Team were able to answer and re-assure the Student Parliament regarding these concerns. The Student Parliament also spoke about some of the up-and-coming events that they are organising this year such as a Christmas musical, a Talent Show, a Staff Wellbeing Day and a cultural celebration. It was a very productive meeting and set the tone for the year ahead.

Girls in Aviation Day 2021 On the 15th October 2021, our female students from Level 3 Aviation were invited to the ‘Girls in Aviation Day’ event hosted by United Airlines at Heathrow Airport. This annual event was a fantastic opportunity for our girls and it gave them real insight and hands-on experience of the different career choices that are available in the Aviation industry. The event included a tour of Heathrow Airport where our students explored all areas in the industry including security, immigration and information on how to become a pilot.



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During the course of the day, students had the chance to board a working United Airlines aircraft where they had a great time practicing their PA announcements and practicing CPR on a baby doll. Look out on your next flight as the pilot may well be one of our students! We continue to have a long-standing relationship with Heathrow Airport.

Student Renee Adu-Poku wins Jack Petchey Foundation Award A very big congratulations to Renee Adu-Poku, one of our supported learning students, for winning a Jack Petchey Award. Renee has inspired all at West Thames with her resilience and determination. An exceptional student, she is predicted to finish all her classes with a Merit, the highest grade in the department. She has shown her dedication to her learning by staying behind to put in extra hours for homework and to work on additional projects. A keen performer, Renee has also competed in the Supported Learning talent show, coming second in the grand finale. She has already secured a job at her old primary school, working in one of her favourite subjects, sports. Renee describes aiding young learners with Special Educational Needs in the P.E. department as her dream job, because she gets to help pupils like herself increase their confidence through physical activity, just like she did at West Thames College.

The Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme recognises outstanding young people aged 1125 across London and Essex. It celebrates the achievements of students who have contributed to the college, or the local community in a significant way. This could be through overcoming personal adversity, volunteering to help others or showing great dedication. As part of the award scheme, Renee received a certificate, a medal and a £300 grant which she will use to take her classmates on a trip and purchase sensory gadgets to assist students with learning difficulties. Any additional monies will be used to buy equipment for the three primary curriculum areas of; Business and administration; horticulture; and catering and hospitality. Shelby Styles-Graham, Renee’s current Teaching Assistant says, “It has been an incredible pleasure working with such a great girl, her determination and work ethic is outstanding not to mention her amazing dance skills.”

phone 020 8326 2020 web west-thames.ac.uk


West Thames Students Petition to Save BTECs The students of West Thames College came out in force on the 20th and 21st January 2022 where they gathered to sign the petition in the hope of saving the future of BTEC courses. In July 2021, the Department of Education confirmed plans to replace the current three route model (A Level, Technical Qualification and BTEC) with a two-route model consisting of only A Level and T Level. As a result, funding for the majority of BTEC qualifications would be removed. We knew that something needed to be done as a vocational college that predominantly offers BTEC courses, so we gathered all the resources we could from the #ProtectStudentChoice website and set up a stall in the College Atrium where some of our Student Ambassadors helped their fellow students sign the petition that thousands of others were also signing, up and down the country.

“BTECs are an important diploma for many students so it is important that we get as many students as we can to sign the petition!” Student Ambassador and Level 3 Mechanical Engineering student Zayd Haulkhory said, “I was really shocked and surprised to hear that the Government wanted to scrap BTECs. BTECs are an important diploma for many students so it is important that we get as many students as we can to sign the petition!” In order for Parliament to consider this petition for debate, 100,000 signatures were needed by the 23rd January 2022 and that goal was successfully reached with the petition receiving 108,352 signatures in total. A huge well done to our West Thames College students for adding their voice and being part of this campaign.

L ip ore am sit dolo sum m et r

Happy LGBTQI+ History Month

Left to Right: Melissa Ann Shoesmith, Sophie Marrable-Forster, Hilda Halada

Say hello to a few members of our LGBTQI+ committee. A diverse group that provides a fun, safe and supportive atmosphere for all LGBTQI+ students. Weekly activities/discussions are held in the common room, a safe space where students can be themselves.

Supported Learning Food Enterprise Learners in supported learning have started a food enterprise to raise money for additional resources. Students have been making dahl and rice with salad, shortbread, cakes and muffins to sell to staff and students in the department. Students take part in the whole process including taking the orders, packing and delivering the food. The monies raised will also be used to buy sensory items, ingredients for cooking projects with any money left over at the end of the academic year going towards a treat such as a meal at Nandos. It has been a successful project with news travelling to other parts of the college and staff outside of the department putting in orders. phone 020 8326 2020 web west-thames.ac.uk


Former Student Simba Masaku Returns to West Thames to Film New Movie Former Media and Performing Arts student Simba Masaku, returned to West Thames to work with Media Production and Specialist Make-Up students on his new movie O.I.N.K.

On the set of creating O.I.N.K, several students shadowed and assisted Simba, giving them an in-depth insight into what it takes to be behind the scenes within such a fast-paced artistic environment.

Born and raised in Hounslow, Simba Masaku is now a film director, actor, screenwriter and is already on his second film production. His first featured film Hound has already been snapped up by Amazon Prime. It is a violent thriller about an introverted alcoholic who seeks revenge on a local gang after they killed his best friend, his dog. The movie was also chosen to appear at London Comicon in 2017. O.I.N.K, his latest project, is a short horror film showcasing an experiment gone horribly wrong within a massive corrupt corporation. The outcome being a biological beast being created in a lab which then escapes.

Current Creative Media Production student, Dylan Curtis Steward was asked by Director Simba to film and take stills for the social media account. Dylan stated that “working with Simba and the crew on O.I.N.K was phenomenal. To think that he was a student here at West Thames gives me hope for the future. The quality of production was insane, and the standard of work was even better. To work with like-minded people on set in a professional setting is a surreal experience that I am and will be forever grateful to Simba and West Thames for allowing me to have.” Simba has generously credited West Thames with some of his success and has been keen to give back saying, “I want to get as many students and local people on board as possible, because that’s something that I would have liked to have access to growing up.” Simba has spoken highly of his teachers saying “They have always supported and believed in my dreams, even after I left West Thames. They have continued to believe in me and for that I am grateful.”

phone 020 8326 2020 web west-thames.ac.uk


Students Benefit from Acting Masterclass from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama Level 3 Performing Arts students received a masterclass in acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The workshops were an ‘Introduction to Devising’- a playful approach which allows time to experiment with ideas first rather than being in a hurry to fix scenes and storylines. This encourages improvisation rather than discussion, creating a real chance for students to think outside the box. The theme for one of the roleplays was ‘Londoners dragging a double-decker bus off an injured unicyclist’. Students were first asked to act without incorporating any sound, they were then asked to add some sound effects bringing the performance to life even further. In the final stage, sentences were introduced. By creating a range of layers the students were able to explore the level of detail needed to create an in depth performance. These strong links with partner organisations continue to add to and enhance our students learning experience.



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Performing Arts Students Present:

‘Different Similarities’ Congratulations to our Level 3, Year 2 Performing Arts students who did two end of term performances of Different Similarities to live audiences in our Endeavour Theatre. The students have been working on a collection of duologue pieces throughout the term which explored the complexities of relationships, and the joys and sorrows of personal interaction. The performance captured the lives of twentytwo characters where we see both the chaos and tranquillity of their worlds. The pieces were rehearsed as part of their University of the Arts London submission and will also form the basis of a collaborative project with West Thames College Media students who will adapt some of the pieces for film.

Our students were able to cast the monologues themselves which gave them the chance to debate who was the right fit for each role and also to explore the motives behind each character. One of the duologues featured, “Two” presents a slice of working-class life in a Northern local pub. Charlotte Beavan and Daniel de la Perrelle who take the lead in this duologue told us that they had spent a lot of time analysing the script, the characters and even their own personal relationships in order to capture the audience. Charlotte Beavan said, “We weren’t able to do any live performances last year due to covid so to be able to finally showcase what we have been working on is very exciting for us all!” Our previous Performing Arts students have gone on to star in shows such as EastEnders, Britain’s Got Talent and The Secret Life of Boys.



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West Thames Performing Arts present:

“Heros, Villains & Fantasy Characters” There was certainly magic in the air when our Level 3 Year 1 Performing Arts students collaborated with our HE Specialist Make-Up studies group to present Heros, Villains and Fantasy Characters. Lights, sound and choreography was shared with an enthusiastic and very full audience in our Endeavour Theatre in February 2022. Our Performing Arts students developed the brief of creating Heros, Villains and Fantasy Characters. By looking at the stimulus of Marvel Comics, DC Comics and films which focused on



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fantasy characters. Their creativity was unleashed, however, no one expected the weird and wonderful variety of characters that would emerge. Our Specialist Make-Up students began a dialogue with the Performing Arts students and their skill and creativity has taken the work to a new dimension. Both our performers and creative team embraced the challenge of creating the performance that would be something different and something very special. This project was a true collaboration with our Performing Arts students gaining a real insight in to the work of the Specialist Make-Up industry. The make-up artists were also able to develop an understanding of how performers create and convey fantasy character work. Each character who performed on the night featured a unique make-up design and each character spoke about their unique Super Human Power. Some even demonstrated their powers. Tai Wadley who was the main liaison person between the Performing Arts students and the Make-Up students said, “The whole show was so fun to do and the performing arts students own ideas, for their characters, inspired my creativity. I would love to do it again!” Our previous students have gone on to appear in a huge variety of stage, film and television productions.



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Recording Artist Hayley Ross visits West Thames

On Thursday 18th November 2021 our Level 1 Music students were treated to a live intimate performance by British singer and songwriter Hayley Ross.

Hayley performed 5 of her beautiful songs to a small group in our TV studio and after her performance, Hayley delivered a presentation and Q&A session to students about her journey to becoming a professional musician. Students learnt all about how Hayley got to record her own album, the challenges and rewards in the process, what it’s like working with a record label and what it takes to promote your own music. Hayley also showed students the vibrant artwork for her album covers, which she designed herself. Hayley studied music at Goldsmiths college in London and had massive success with her debut album ‘The Weight of Hope’ in February 2020. The album went on to be mixed by John Leckie (from Stone Roses and Radiohead) and was mastered at Abbey Road studios. Hayley has been given air time on Lauren Laverne’s BBC6 music show, talking about lockdown during 2020 with several tracks aired and a number of her songs successfully synced on popular TV shows, including Orange Is The New Black, The Blacklist and Riverdale. Students were really inspired after meeting and hearing all about Hayley’s journey to the top.



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Apprenticeship Week The 7th – 11th February 2022 marked ‘National Apprenticeship Week’ across the nation. National Apprenticeship week is a week-long celebration of apprenticeships and brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 was ‘Build The Future’ and reflected on how apprenticeships can help individuals develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career to create a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills. The careers team at West Thames College held a CV Surgery workshop every day during lunchtime at both Isleworth and Feltham campuses and encouraged students to bring their CVs along so that they could be proof read and edited to make themselves ‘apprenticeship ready’. On social media, the College highlighted the importance of apprenticeships for companies that took part and also shone a spotlight on some of our own students who continue their time here after study to work as apprentices. Mollie Mackrill is one of our case studies. After gaining a BTEC at West Thames, she went to work for Marks and Spencer in customer care before returning in 2021 to work as a Marketing Apprentice. As part of her job, she visits schools to talk about her first-hand experience of studying at the college and what life is like as an apprentice.



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“This journey has been a major achievement to me as a former student now apprentice. The support I’ve been given and my new working environment has been so welcoming and I feel I’m learning daily. I’ve already done things that I never thought I would do such as speaking in public. It’s been a real boost to my confidence. Being paid whilst learning is just an added plus.” Mollie Mackrill Marketing Assistant Apprentice

West Thames College Student Captivates Former Art & Design student, Jodie Bateman, has gone on to make waves in the world of photography with her My Hijab Has a Voice series. Not only has the series been showcased in the Photo Vogue Festival 2021 Reframing History, but in November she won the Female in Focus 2021 award in the stories category - part of The British Journal of Photography. My Hijab Has a Voice: Revisted seeks to explore the experience of Muslim women within the religion, and within society as a whole. Through her work, Jodie wants to break the stereotypes that the media has perpetuated of the Muslim woman, instead giving her an authentic voice and a modern outlook. Jodie started at West Thames in 2011 where she studied BTEC Level 2 Art & Design, and moved onto Level 3 Art & Design the following year where she chose photography as the focus for her work. Since West Thames, Jodie has gone on to graduate with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography at the University for the Creative Arts and continues to create her own personal art and photography. Jodie told us that West Thames inspired and taught her everything she needed to know about photography. She felt she developed her love



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for the camera at college and received lots of valuable support here - ‘I had the freedom to express myself and even had access to the studio and dark rooms after hours which helped with my projects’. The teachers also taught Jodie all about the history of photography, the design cycle and sketchbook presentation skills. Jodie has been so inspired by her teachers at West Thames, that she now wants to teach photography herself and is hoping to start a PGCE course soon. We wish Jodie all the best – who knows, we may see her teaching at the college in the future!

Celebrating Diversity at West Thames The Student Experience Team hosted a remarkable Cultural Day event which took place on Wednesday 30th March 2022. It was a special day where our students and staff were able to celebrate each other’s cultures and traditions. During the lunchtime event, students showcased their traditional attire in a spectacular fashion show which was accompanied with vibrant dancing and tasty food from across the globe. One of the students said: “Events like this make us feel part of the wider community and a day dedicated to celebrating our differences and similarities like this brings us all closer together.” A fantasitc end to the term.


phone 020 8326 2020 web west-thames.ac.uk

020 8326 2020 west-thames.ac.uk An electronic version of this publication can be found on our website or contact marketing@west-thames.ac.uk

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