Archive for the ‘All’ Category

Award-winning childcare student’s inspiring journey

A childcare student at Kensington and Chelsea College has been named as CACHE’s Learner of the Year.  Bethany Arthey, aged 19 from Croydon, received the award at CACHE’s national conference in London last week.  She is currently studying the Level 2 Certificate in Early Years Education and Care at the College’s Chelsea centre in Hortensia Road.

Before coming to College, Bethany had to cope with a challenging childhood, moving around the UK and being enrolled in a Pupil Referral Unit.  Despite being diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, she completed her GCSEs, but an unfulfilling job in retail prompted her to return to College.

“I had to re-do my Maths and English – and I come from a big family and really enjoy looking after children, so I chose this course,” says Bethany. “Some of the other girls on the course are younger than me, but they’ve been lovely and so are the tutors.”

The best thing about the course for Bethany is being able to study three days a week and then apply what she learns to a placement in a nursery in Hammersmith on the remaining two days.

“I probably wouldn’t have been ready for this course when I left school three years ago, but I’m ready now,” she comments.  The College is delighted with Bethany’s success. Tracie Fryer-Kanssen, Curriculum Manager, says she saw a “spark of fabulousness” in Bethany when interviewing her for a place at College, and Suzzanne Warwick-Barron, the course tutor, has praised her as a “caring, supportive and determined student”.

Bethany is planning to move on to Level 3 once she has completed her current course.  “After my studies, I’d like to work in something to do with family law and abused children,” she says.

Bethany Arthey, CACHE Learner of the Year

Bethany Arthey, CACHE Learner of the Year

Fine Art students follow in famous footsteps with mid-year Show

HNC Fine Art students at Kensington and Chelsea College take an important step in their artistic development this week, with a mid-year Show at the College’s Chelsea Centre.

Entitled Interim Exhibition, the show is a rich mix of artistic styles and media from a diverse group of artists.  Some hail from Croatia, China and Spain, and others from careers in arts management, interior design, graphic design, software design and journalism.

The HNC is one of the most successful fine art courses in London. Alumni include Turner Prize nominee Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Jerwood painting fellow Susan Sluglett. An increasing number of students now complete the College’s new BA Fine Art top-up, validated by London South Bank University. Many progress to BA and MA courses at the Royal College, Chelsea, Camberwell, Goldsmiths and other prestigious locations.

Course director Greg Rook said: “These courses deliver the highest standard of training, for lower fees than other similar courses. This year’s students are full of fresh ideas. We are proud to be showing work that is thoughtful, relevant and exciting.”

Interim Exhibition Thu and Fri 1-2 Mar and Mon – Wed 5-7 Mar (10am-4pm), Hortensia Gallery, Chelsea Building, Hortensia Road, London SW10 0QS.  Private view Wed 28 Feb 6-8pm.

Participating artists: Sophie Birkin, Charlotte Cooper, Amber Cousins, Atalanta Dickinson, Theo Hobson, Chris Jones, Daisy Kan, Chloe Lewis-Brady, Christine Low, Polly McDermott, Elizabeth Orlic, Tania Pereira, Eliza Plunkett, Olga Shkilna, Carole Thomson, Selva Martinez.

Appointment of New Principal

The appointment of a new Principal/CEO was made by representatives of the Board of Governors who were unanimous in their decision.

Andy Cole, Pricipal

Andy Cole will provide strong leadership to KCC over the coming months using his extensive relevant experience in the FE sector in London.

From his profile you will see that Andy has a degree in Fine Art and his background is in curriculum and quality with strong financial leadership and management and experience of how good MIS can help a college improve performance.



Please see the message sent from Andy:

I am delighted to be joining Kensington & Chelsea College and look forward to working with you all as we continue the quality improvement journey the college has been on and to secure the long-term future for education and training in both North Kensington and Chelsea.“

Amina wins Jack Petchey Award

One of OUR hard working young Childcare students has taken home the Jack Petchey Achievement Award after being nominated by her classmates in her Level 2 Introduction to Early Years Education and Care class.

Amina came to the College with no qualifications, but recently started on her Level 3 qualification in September following a successful work placement over the summer.

The Jack Petchey Achievement Award scheme is a reward and recognition initiative which enables schools and youth organisations to celebrate the achievements of their young people, something we’re always excited to do at KCC.

Tracie Fryer-Kanssen, Curriculum Manager, has been amazed by the progress made by Amina, saying:

“Amina has matured into a responsible and reflective learner who has excelled in her placement, successfully securing employment there over the summer. She achieved 100% attendance and punctuality over the year in college and on her placement.

“This was an impressive achievement, especially over the last half term of the course, as Amina lives directly underneath Grenfell Tower and her placement was in the tower itself.

“I’m delighted with the recognition of Amina and the success of all the students; they are a marvellous, eclectic class!”

Kensington & Chelsea College currently delivers a diverse portfolio of CACHE qualifications in a number of sectors including Children and Young People, Early Years Educator, Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, and Health and Social Care. Find out more at

Meet our new Corporate Governors

The Corporation of Kensington & Chelsea College is pleased to announce new appointments to the College’s Governing Body.

The new members come from a range of educational and commercial backgrounds and will work closely with senior leaders at the college to help ensure the smooth running of the organisation’s strategic objectives.

Ian ValvonaIan Valvona

A trained broadcast journalist, Ian is a civil servant at the Department for Education with strong experience in qualifications and curriculum policy, 14-19 education reform, and youth engagement and participation. Most recently he has worked in children’s social care where he has led interventions in several failing local authorities and established new children’s social care Trusts in Doncaster, Slough and Sunderland. He is currently working in a temporary role as Chief of Staff with the Birmingham Children’s Trust.

Suzanna RennieSuzanna Rennie

Suzanna is a Chartered Investment Manager who works for Santander Bank. She lives in North Kensington close to the Kensington campus and has worked in the Borough for a number of years. Suzanna will bring a strong local perspective to the Board of Governors, along with her understanding of finance, her analytical skills and a real commitment to helping other young people extract the maximum benefit from their education.


Thomas Woolf

Tom Woolf is the CEO of EdAid Limited and lives close to the Chelsea campus of Kensington & Chelsea College. An entrepreneur and former professional athlete, Tom’s  pioneering approach to frontier markets and technology has seen him build successful businesses in the UK, Middle East & Africa.

After launching JustGiving in 2011 (the world’s largest fundraising platform for charities), Tom launched in 2015 as a crowdfunding platform for students to finance their higher education, interest-free. EdAid’s sister company Qard Hasan is also the world’s first interest-free Islamic student funding platform and has already worked with over 1000 students.


Find out more about our other Governors on our Board of Governors Biography page.

Mehdi’s punt on Cambridge pays off

Mehdi Arif had everything going for him when he decided on a change of direction. So he studied Access to Law at Kensington and Chelsea College and is now on his way to Cambridge University.

Here he tells his story.

Growing up, I’ve always been told that there were some things that I could not do. But then again I’ve always challenged the limits that were set to me by other people.

I was born and raised in Morocco, where my friends had a defeatist mentality.

While in the United States the motto is “Yes we can”, in Morocco, I was told many times that I will not succeed. My Physics and Chemistry teacher in my final baccalaureate year affirmed in front of me and my whole class that I not only won’t pass my final exam, but I will never amount to anything. So did a previous high school principal. Just because I chose unorthodox ways of learning without caring about what other people thought. An uncle told me that I was too soft for combat sports. Former classmates told me that I will never make it to a top university.

To this day, I have fully pledged myself to focusing on one and only one priority. Proving everyone wrong. I have always and will forever be that kid who was stubborn enough to do what people told him he could not. In many instances I have been thinking about my old Physics and Chemistry teacher, wanting to show up and tell him that I’ve gone against his speculation and beat his odds, and passed my baccalaureate with a major in the same subject he taught. Many times I’ve wanted to have a sit-down with my uncle to tell him that I’m doing very well at martial arts. Many times I’ve wanted to see that principal that never believed in me to show him that I’ve become more successful than he could have imagined.

A few months after getting my baccalaureate, I have decided to leave Morocco and move to the United Kingdom. That was the biggest challenge of my life so far, given that my English was not that great and that I had little to no connections or friends in this country. I did not know what to expect, but one thing I was sure about was that the environment here is competitive and that I was going to have to grind in order to gain something significant out of this move.

The move happened in late 2012. At first it was nothing but confusion, not socialising due to my previously poor English, locking myself in. Later on I found a martial arts gym. That’s where I found all the support I needed, people that I could socialise with, great coaches and good friends. They saw the potential in me and the “want” factor. Once the time was right they’ve pushed me towards various competitions, locals at first, then regionals, onto nationals and internationals later on.

The competing process was packed with failure. However, as the motivational speaker Eric Thomas said: “Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour or a day, or even a year. But eventually, it will subside. And something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.”

If there is something I am not, it’s definitely a quitter. I am naturally stubborn, therefore the little bumps on the road were not enough to stop me. I kept grinding every day, Monday to Monday, until I started winning, then I wanted some more so the grind never stopped. Everyday I woke up with one and only one goal, and it’s to be the best at what I was going to do that day.

A few years later, my body had to take a break from the competitive aspect of sports due to several injuries. But I was not planning to stop there anyway. Being the hyperactive person I am, I had to find something else to do well at. After spending a few days trying to find myself again I have decided to take a step forward and hop back into education.

This time it wasn’t to study a science, but an art. I chose to become a Law student – and there can be no doubt that effective advocacy in a court of law is an art. I decided to put my heart and soul into it.

Following that decision I have started to do some research. However holding an International Baccalaureate with a major of Physics was not opening many doors to me, therefore I took the decision to take two steps back in order to create momentum and leap forward.

I started researching foundation courses in Law, and that’s when I landed on the Access to Higher Education course in Law offered by the Kensington and Chelsea College. Without an ounce of hesitation, I filled out the application form and waited impatiently for an answer and an invitation to enrol myself into the course. An invitation received a couple of weeks later marked the beginning of a whole new journey, with the sole goal of a bright career in Law.

Being a student with little to no legal knowledge at the beginning of the course, I did not have any high expectations. The end goal was simply to make it to university. My law tutor saw the potential in me and pushed me to apply to a top university amongst my more average choices. I was sceptical at first but I did it. After all it was just one choice wasted out of five.

I did not think much of it. All I was focused on was performing well at my assignments and writing satisfying essays in order to achieve flawless marks, therefore my daily life was mainly waking up, training, heading to college, going back home, doing my own independent studies and research before going to sleep. Rinse and repeat.

Following application, I ended up receiving an invitation for interviews and a law test at Cambridge. I had spent the days leading up to it being extremely nervous. However that did not hold me back from showing up. I showed up and performed. Following the interviews and the exam I decided to clear my mind completely from what has happened and focus entirely on getting the perfect score of 45 credits at Distinction in order to fill in the university’s requirements which I eventually got at the end of the year, securing myself a place at a university no one has ever thought I’d get into.

After graduating I would like to keep studying and learning. I’d also like to study other legal systems such as the American legal system, and possibly move onto political science. Following this course and the support offered by my tutors, I have finally discovered my true potential. Thanks to them, I am not going to stop at a Bachelors degree in law. The sky is the limit and I am planning to test those limits.


Don’t miss out. Come and enrol at the following campuses.

KENSINGTON: Accounting, Bookkeeping, Access to Humanities and Social Sciences, Childcare, Design, ESOL, maths and English, Teacher Training

CHELSEA:  Fine Art and Photography, Fashion and Millinery, Access to health/ paramedic studies/ radiography/ midwifery/ nursing/ sports science/ law, health and social care, childcare, ESOL, maths and English


Term has started!

The new term is here but there’s still time to change your life, start a new career or develop a new interest with us at Kensington and Chelsea College.

College is different from school. You will learn from expert tutors with real expertise in the subject and you will be studying alongside people who share your passions and interests.

You can browse our website for courses, full and part-time.

Find the answers to frequently asked questions here:

How do I get finance for an adult course?

How can I get to university?

How can I learn English?

How can I become a Teacher?

What’s college like if you’re under-19?

Have more questions? Ring our course enquiry team on 020 7573 5333

New Principal announced

Experienced college principal Dr Elaine McMahon CBE has been appointed to take the helm at Kensington and Chelsea College.

McMahon becomes interim principal and chief executive as the college continues merger talks with neighbouring Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College, of which she has also been a previous interim principal.

Her long career in further education also includes being interim principal at City College Coventry, Edinburgh College and Harlow College.  Prior to undertaking interim roles she was Principal/CEO at the Hull College Group and Salford College.

Mary Curnock Cook OBE, chair of governors at the college, said:

“Elaine is an extremely experienced college principal who is well-regarded in the further education sector and we’re delighted that she will be bringing her talents to Kensington and Chelsea.

“I’d like to thank the previous principal Michele Sutton CBE for her excellent work at the college. We are very sad to lose her after her husband recently suffered a serious stroke and we fully understand her need to be with her family at this difficult time and send our good wishes for a full recovery.

Dr McMahon has more than 30 years’ experience in further and higher education in the UK and the USA, and previously worked in the legal profession.

She was made a CBE in 2009 for services to local and national education.

Dr McMahon said: “I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities at KCC.  Given the important changes underway at the College I will be emphasising the importance of the views of staff, students and the community as I get started.”

Kensington and Chelsea College provides education and training to 16 to 18 year-olds and adults at two centres in Chelsea and North Kensington, with a range of full-time and part-time courses.

Fashion award for our Kacey


Our Level 1 fashion student Kacey Amoo walked off with a national award at a prestigious London arts event.

His work “wouldn’t look out of place in any contemporary fashion editorial” according to Matt Moseley, of the University of the Arts London.

Kacey’s work was selected for outstanding achievement at the university’s Origins exhibition at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

UAL’s praise is particularly special given that Kacey is a Level 1 student with no previous training.

Mr Moseley added: “This was a fantastically well-developed experimental fashion piece that really showed the level attainable by Level 1 students who are challenged and supported to achieve.  

“What I liked about Kasey’s project was that he had not only produced great fashion outcomes, but had also realised some wonderful photographic images that wouldn’t look out of place in any contemporary fashion editorial.”

Kacey used his new-found skills gained during the UAL Level 1 fashion course at KCC to create a piece that could be styled and photographed. He worked hard on a simple ruffle technique and managed to create pieces that were unique and bold.  

Kacey will be staying at KCC and was thrilled to receive a place on the Level 3 Styling and Promotion course, which has continuing successful progression to top universities.

Sam’s life of learning

samWhen Sam Muradi arrived in the UK and claimed asylum he had travelled over land through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium.

The prospect of such a journey would have proved intimidating to most people, but for Sam the life he was leaving behind was far more onerous than the odyssey ahead. He was fleeing Kabul – the Afghan capital – a city torn apart by war.

Exhausted, hungry and alone, he disembarked from the ferry at Dover, unsure at that stage whether he was in fact in the UK. His English was limited to three words – “bread”, “water” and “thank you”.

He was 24, with no friends or family in England.

Today, as the owner of Rainbow News, a newsagent on Golborne Road, he is well-known to the locals as a familiar and friendly face in their daily routine – but behind the jovial exterior is a story of self-improvement in which he says adult education has played an enormous part.

He still keeps every certificate has been awarded since arriving in the UK.

“I am very fond of the college,” he said. “The teachers are very good and I have been back there, and elsewhere, to study many times.”

In his previous life, he had travelled very little outside Kabul, the provinces of Afghanistan being too dangerous during the fighting which led to and followed the invasion by Soviet forces in 1979.

His cousin was killed during infighting between different factions in the conflict, and Sam was to witness the effect of the carnage first-hand many times, having trained as a nurse when he was a teenager and tended to many of the wounded.

As he reflects on his life, Sam says any adult who thinks they’ve missed their chance to get qualified and improve their life is simply mistaken.

“People come in to the shop sometimes and tell me there are no opportunities,” he said. “I tell them this is rubbish. Just rubbish. There are always opportunities if you’re prepared to work hard. But you have to find those opportunities. They won’t come and just knock on your door.”

When he was admitted into the UK, after five nights of detention in Dover, he was told by immigration officials that he would struggle in London. “London is a big place,” he was told. “You will be lost”.

Luckily, during his detention, he made contact with an Afghan community leader in Harlesden whose name he had been given by another migrant.

When he was released, it was this solitary contact who met him from the coach station at Victoria and got him in to temporary accommodation from where he was able to find English language training in Warwick Avenue.

This training was the start of a long journey to mastering a language extremely different from his native Farsi and the only secondary language he had learned at home – Russian.

He went on to study at Kensington and Chelsea College and Westminster Kingsway College.

He knew lack of English was his biggest obstacle and focused on English lessons for a few years. His longer-term goal was a degree and, having the appropriate A-levels, he followed in the footsteps of thousands of English students by taking on an Access to Higher Education course in social science and humanities.

This enabled him to progress on to and complete a full degree in politics – the intention at that time being that he would return to Afghanistan and work in Government.

By this time, he had become – by his own admission – a habitual student. He took the opportunity to study further, completing a computer course and gaining a qualification in health and social care, having at one point considered a career as a social worker.

As the studying continued, his confidence grew.

He spent several years running a market stall on the Portobello Road.

As well as getting on in his working life, Sam devoted much of his time to helping others, giving up his time as a volunteer for the charity Sixty Plus, which helps older people to live independently.

He acted as a home visitor, relishing the chance to use his new-found English language skills by keeping them company in their homes to alleviate boredom and accompanying them out and about in the community – as well as turning his hand to gardening.

The charity described him as a “very caring, empathetic person.”

As he became more immersed in the local community, he decided to take over a newsagent. It was a big undertaking.  He had to find the equivalent of six months’ rent up front to take over the rental of the shop itself and a further much larger sum to take over the existing newsagent business and stock.

He said: “I borrowed from friends, family and the bank. It was a big commitment but it has paid off. It is hard work but successful.

“Now I have many students from the college who come to the shop. So after doing all those courses, I am actually running a business round the corner from the college. Things have come full circle.

“If I can be a success, anybody can. People who are born in this country speak English. English is all you need – not just here but around the world.

“I did find it hard to learn English – it is so different from the languages I know – but once you have the language you just have so many opportunities to learn more.

“You just need to keep going back. Learn the next thing. And the next thing. You just have to work hard and you will succeed.

“Kensington and Chelsea College was the beginning of everything.”