Archive for the ‘All’ Category

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

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.”

College reaches higher with new chair of governors

ONE of the country’s most high-profile leaders and campaigners for inclusive education has been appointed as the next chair of governors at Kensington and Chelsea College.

Last month, Mary Curnock Cook OBE stepped down as chief executive of UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

During her seven years at the helm of UCAS, the organisation underwent a major transformation which included an increased focus on promoting access to higher education by people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Outside of her UCAS role, she has been an active campaigner for inclusion in education and training, working to help people from more deprived backgrounds to progress to university.

Kensington and Chelsea College has a wide range of Access courses which prepare people for higher education – including University degrees – and this week described her appointment as “exactly what the college needs” as it looks forward to potential merger.

Michele Sutton CBE – Interim Principal of Kensington and Chelsea College – said: “We couldn’t be more delighted to have as our chair of governors such a high-profile figure and someone who is so passionate about the idea that education at all levels is something that should be available to everyone based on their potential and not their background.

“Despite being busy with her illustrious career in public service, Mary has been generous with her time in acting as an ambassador for education, tirelessly making the case for widening participation.

“This combination of talent and enthusiasm is exactly what the college needs at this time.”

Ms Curnock Cook was made an OBE for her services to training in hospitality and tourism and, like many of the college’s Access students preparing to enter higher education, she got the learning bug later in life. It was not until her 40s that she graduated with an MSc from the London Business School.

Before joining UCAS, she was a director of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Ms Curnock Cook’s appointment was given unanimous support from Kensington and Chelsea College’s governing body.

She said: “I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to support the college in this very important period as it moves towards merger.

“One of our priorities in the merger process is that we secure quality provision in the borough for both school-leavers and adults, but combined with the efficiencies which will come from being part of a larger organisation.

“I left school at 16 with a clutch of O-levels and one A-level. I know very well that people return to education and training at different stages in their lives. There is no single route to success.

“The magic of colleges is that they are the part of the education system that likes to say ‘yes’ to people’s aspirations regardless of where they need to start and which study route they need to take to fulfil their ambition.

“I have always been interested in the way colleges fit in to the wider eco-system of education.”

Early in her career, Ms Curnock Cook did secretarial work before joining the biochemical industry and then going on to food and hospitality, including the licensed retail sector. During this period she became increasingly involved in vocational training and aware of its impact on individuals.

In an interview for the BBC’s Woman’s Hour, she said: “When you hand out a certificate to a grown man and see them with tears in their eyes that’s a very very moving experience and it’s also a big eye-opener about how important it is to validate somebody’s self-worth.”

Kensington and Chelsea College has campuses near Kings Road in Chelsea and near Portobello Road in North Kensington and is best known for its creative courses.

The college is currently evaluating potential merger partners, planning the modernisation of its facilities in North Kensington and strengthening its links with the local community.

It offers full-time and part-time courses to all ages up to and including higher education level.

Big plans for North Kensington

We’re expanding 

North Kensington community consultation day June 29. 3pm-6pm 

Kensington and Chelsea College plans to increase the number of students in North Kensington – with modern facilities for both school-leavers and adults.

The Wornington Road campus is a former school building which is too large for the college and lacks the high-quality accommodation enjoyed by many colleges around the country.

The plan is to have facilities on-site or nearby, still allowing space for increased student numbers and potentially more courses. The college will consider whether to add new courses as part of its ongoing consultation with local residents.

The college is making arrangements to ensure continuity for students during the transition to new accommodation. It has identified a number of options, including remaining on the Wornington Road site or a new home in the immediate neighbourhood.

The college remains committed to staying in North Kensington where demand remains strong for student places.

Michele Sutton CBE, Interim Principal of the college, said: “The building at Wornington Road has served the college well for many years but even the most nostalgic among us would agree that the facilities could be improved.

“We are staying put in the neighbourhood but we need to ensure that our students are enjoying the kind of environment they deserve when they come to college.”

The college also has a campus at Hortensia Road, Chelsea, and is well-known for its creative courses. It is the leading provider of 16-18 and adult education in the borough and draws students from across London and beyond – particularly from the surrounding boroughs.

It has courses in a range of subjects including art, design, fashion, millinery, photography, music production, humanities, hair and beauty, teacher training, child care, health, print and accounting.

These are taught from beginners’ level up to specialist access to higher education courses which allow students to progress to university. Other students progress directly from the college to employment in their chosen field, and many have gone on to work for famous brands.

The college has close ties with world-famous Portobello Market near its North Kensington campus while its Chelsea campus is very close to the Kings Road.

The college’s decision to improve its North Kensington facilities follows similar developments taking place around the country, including London, to improve the buildings used by further education colleges. Improved facilities, as well as proving popular with students, have also been linked to increased success rates.

Mrs Sutton, a former president of the Association of Colleges, said: “There’s been a lot of great work on improving the further education estate across the county.

“It’s really time that the community in North Kensington enjoyed facilities which match those we already have down in Chelsea.

“I know from my experience across the FE sector that, while its good teaching that counts most, everyone does better in good modern facilities that are inspirational not just to existing students but also those thinking of studying with us in the future.”

Key Messages

We are aware of some concerns in the community about the continuity of college provision in North Kensington following the sale of the Wornington Road Building to RKBC.

The sale of the property to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was a good deal which enables the college to reinvest in good study facilities in line with similar improvements in colleges across England.

The borough is supporting the college in seeking a property in to which to decant whilst the new building is constructed  – within 15 minutes’ walk of Ladbroke Grove tube 

The college will have the option to move back to the site.

The college will remain in the Wornington Road Building at least until July 2018 

The college is committed to ensuring that there will continue to be provision for the people of North Kensington – including after our anticipated merger.

The college has prioritised:

  • Improved disabled access

  • Modern teaching facilities

  • Improved communal areas

  • Greater environmental efficiency

The college will hold a community event at Wornington Road on June 29 from 3pm to 6pm to give people the opportunity to meet staff and share their views about the future of the college’s provision in North Kensington.

It will also be conducting a survey of people’s motivations for coming to college – to help inform decisions about which courses are provided –  and increasing its presence in the community more generally.