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OHCAT showcase digital innovation in education

Special guests from Tech and Education gathered for the “Celebration of Digital Discovery” eagerly anticipating what the students had in store for them, and they weren’t disappointed. The event revealed some truly innovative digital thinking with products such as Contour (an e-learning portfolio enabling and empowering students to have autonomy over their learning journey and present their work independently through the portfolio).

The Digital School was set up as a student led enterprise in 2015 to develop innovative and engaging digital resources for students, staff and the wider community. They have come a long way in a short period of time with students leading the way, creating accessible digital products for both SEND and mainstream schools and colleges.

Students also demonstrated a series of augmented reality training cards which bring static items to life making their lessons even more engaging and interactive.

Simon Gale, Creative Director of the Digital School is driven by a passion for digital inclusion commented: “I am so proud of the students. This event provides the perfect platform for them to promote and showcase their innovations and hard work. Although we are developing digital tools and resources the skills learnt on this journey are far reaching and impact on all areas of their lives, from enhanced communication skills to developing skills for work.”

Visitors were also treated to a live podcast and a preview of a soon-to-be launched 3D game, “Road Sense”, designed to raise awareness of road safety and to promote travelling independently in a safe way. Students at the Digital School also publish a student e-zine that can be enjoyed by those with visual and hearing impairments and broadcast a weekly live radio podcast.

Attendees were encouraged to get interactive and try out the virtual reality headsets that can transport users to Egypt or even experience life on Mars, but more practical for students with SEND, it enables them to become familiar with places and environments before they visit them.

Dr Caroline Allen OBE, Principal & CEO of OHC&AT: “I am delighted to see so many people here to support the incredible work of our students, they continue to amaze me with their ideas, imagination and forward thinking. This is exactly why we set up the Digital School, to use and develop leading edge, innovative, assistive technology. It not only improves confidence and independence, it creates real opportunities for our young people as we prepare them for life after education.”

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Firefighters’ marathon effort for Grenfell survivors

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A group of 18 firefighters who attended the Grenfell Tower blaze are set to run the London Marathon in a bid to raise vital funds for groups supporting local people affected by the fire. They are also fundraising for the Fire Fighters Charity, which continues to provide physical and psychological support to the firefighters who attended the blaze.

The firefighters were amongst the first to arrive on the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire on 14th June 2017. Seventy one people are now known to have died and it is the worst residential fire we have ever dealt with.

Nine of the firefighters are from the Red Watch at North Kensington Fire Station and the other nine are from the Red Watch at Paddington Fire Station. The Paddington crew are taking part in the Marathon in full firefighting gear, including breathing apparatus, meaning they will be wearing an extra 30kgs of weight. In total there will be 53 London firefighters running the Marathon, that number includes the 18 running for Grenfell.

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Great plans for St Patrick’s Day festival

Event:  London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival

Dates: Friday 16 – Sunday 18 March (Parade and stage line-up on Sunday 18 March at 12pm)

Location: Across London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has revealed plans for this year’s London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival, which is set to be the biggest yet with festivities planned in all of London’s 33 boroughs over three days. As part of the Mayor’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign, this year’s festival will celebrate the achievements and success of London’s Irish women.

Sadiq Khan has pledged to make the festivities the most impressive showcase‎ of Irish culture, heritage, food‎ and talent the city has ever seen, bringing together Londoners from all communities and visitors to the capital for a celebration of the contribution Irish people have made to the city for centuries.

From open air Irish dance performances in Enfield and jazz in Hackney to music classes in Croydon and children’s art and crafts workshops in Haringey, Irish culture will pop up across the capital, all inspired by the Emerald Isle and energised by London’s large Irish community.

There will be specially-commissioned walking tours, providing a history of Irish London, and focusing on the lives of Irish women in the capital including Countess Markievicz, the first woman to be elected to Parliament. A line up of breakthrough Irish women artists will be entertaining the crowds with live open air gigs and intimate performances in locations throughout Camden Market on St Patrick’s Day itself (Saturday 17 March).

Cinemas around the West End will stage the latest Irish short films, including the UK premiere of an Irish feature film comedy, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

To top it all off, there will be well-known Irish names reciting their favourite poetry on the Tube and Irish musicians busking on the Underground.

The festival will culminate on Sunday with the world-renowned parade and stage line-up. The colourful procession of Irish marching bands, energetic dance troupes, including some from the US, and spectacular pageantry will begin at Green Park, passing some of the capital’s most iconic locations from Piccadilly to Whitehall.

Trafalgar Square will host the focal point of the festival on Sunday with a world-class line-up of Irish culture and community on the main stage. Holding the show together will be one of Ireland’s leading TV and radio presenters Eoghan McDermott from RTÉ 2FM, and the house band of RTÉ’s Late Late Show.

The packed schedule will include performances from some of London’s eminent female Irish performers and special guests, to be announced in due course. There will also be a medley performance in tribute to Dolores O’Riordan, the Cranberries frontwoman who tragically passed away in London earlier this year. The tribute will be led by Lisa Lambe, Orla Gartland and many more.

The stage line-up will be topped off with an electrifying traditional music performance from KÍLA, followed by the Big St. Patrick’s Céilí getting everyone on their feet for some jigs and reels.

As well as a special family zone with games, arts and crafts, there will be walkabout performances based on mythical stories from Ireland including characters like Pirate Queen Gráinne Mhaol and the giant Fionn MacChuaill. There will also be the best of Irish fare with fresh produce and traditional dishes on offer at the Irish Street Food Market.

London’s Irish community will be central to the celebrations with the Irish Cultural Centre, the London Irish LGBT+ Network, London Irish rugby and the GAA hosting stalls at Trafalgar Square.


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London’s Mayor announces extra £1 million for London Borough of Culture

With just days to go before the winning boroughs are crowned the capital’s first London Borough of Culture, the Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a further £1million boost to the hotly-contested scheme.

The London Borough of Culture award, a flagship manifesto commitment, is a major new initiative launched by Sadiq in June 2017 which offers more than £1million of funding to the winning boroughs to stage a programme of world-class cultural events and initiatives, and to develop a plan to make culture an integral part of the boroughs’ future.

The two winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 will now each receive an additional £250,000, specifically to help young people from diverse backgrounds get involved in creative projects.

This is on top of £1.1m already committed to each winning borough, to deliver a programme of ambitious cultural activities, placing culture at the heart of communities and celebrating the unique character of local areas. This brings the total award available to each winning borough to £1.35million1.

Twenty-two boroughs have applied to become the London Borough of Culture and the winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 will be announced on Tuesday 27 February by Sadiq Khan at a special ceremony at City Hall.


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Online advice and support to help deliver a healthier “you”

Interested in a healthier you in 2018?

One You can help realise your dreams offering free practical online advice and support covering everything from diet and exercise to alcohol consumption, stress, giving up smoking and getting enough sleep.

The award-winning website by Public Health England offers a host of self-assessment and tracking tools where you can measure your progress.

A quiz called How are you? provides a personalised health score based on your answers. You can then find lots of practical advice to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle.

A series of free apps also help monitor and track your progress on topics including alcohol consumption, smoking, easy meals and “couch to 5K” which offers a training programme.

It’s never too late to improve your health.  Small lifestyle changes such as eating well, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking or being more active can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond.

One You offers easy to follow advice and help to keep on the right track.

For more information, see

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London Assembly health committee calls for greater certainty for health workers

The London Assembly Health Committee wants the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union to give health workers greater certainty about their future. In its fourth Brexit Directive letter to the Mayor, the London Assembly urges him to discuss whether the Government could provide a sector-specific guarantee for the rights of EU healthcare workers.

“There are over 6,000 nurses from the European Union working in London’s health service.,” said a statement.

“The capital’s health service is twice as reliant on EU staff as the rest of the country.

“Reports that the number of EU nurses registering to work in Britain have fallen by 90 per cent compared to the year before are alarming, particularly at a time when nursing vacancies have hit an all-time high.

“It also recommends that the Mayor asks the Government to review what impact the removal of nursing bursaries has had on nursing applications.”

Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee said:

“Many of our hospitals and clinics simply could not function without EU citizens. There are consultants, GPs, surgeons and clerical staff from the EU, all working to keep Londoners healthy. EU nurses and doctors are skilled professionals and if they’re uncertain about their status in the UK, they leave the NHS.

Last summer, our EU Exit Working Group heard that continued uncertainty is having a significant effect on EU nationals’ quality of life and decisions about their future.

We welcome the Phase 1 Brexit agreement but it doesn’t provide enough reassurance for EU citizens. An agreement in principle is not the same as a guarantee.

We also question – in light of new evidence on the reduction in applications to study nursing – whether the time come to ask if the removal of nursing bursaries was the right decision for our NHS.”

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Carshalton College open event on March 6

The latest open event at Carshalton College has been announced. It is taking place on March 6.

Click here to pre register.

For our March open event we will be celebrating National Apprenticeship week with fun competitions and have-a-go activities such as:

• Mini manicures 
• Lay a brick 
• Plumb a pipe 
• Fuse a plug 
• Plane some wood 
• Fitness Testing/bike speed competition 
• Games competition 
• Childcare, virtual baby demos and interactive play equipment


  • Find out about the courses on offer
  • Meet our friendly and helpful tutors
  • Take a tour of our excellent facilities
  • Get Advice and Guidance on your study options
  • Complete an application form
  • Free refreshments available

Pre register and bring your ticket along for immediate entry to the event. Please note that anyone accompanying you on your visit is NOT required to register.

Carshalton College has been educating people and realising students’ ambitions for more than 60 years and boasts excellent facilities that are continuously evolving to provide an outstanding vocational learning environment.

Its courses suit everyone aged from 16 years. It offers Full Time, Part Time, Apprenticeships, Access, Undergraduate and Supported Learning courses in a wide range of subjects. These include

  • Accounting
  • Beauty
  • Art & Design
  • Digital Media
  • Games Development
  • IT
  • Childcare
  • Health & Social Care
  • Construction
  • Brickwork
  • Plastering
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Sport
  • Public Services
  • Supported Learning

For more details and course enquiries, please contact our Admissions Team on 020 8544 4501 or via email:

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Mayor of London’s £16 billion budget plans considered

Tomorrow, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will present his £16 billion Final Draft Budget for 2018/19 to London Assembly Members.The Final Draft Budget includes the following component budgets:

  • Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (including the Metropolitan Police Service budget)
  • Transport for London
  • London Fire Commission
  • London Legacy Development Corporation
  • Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation
  • Mayor of London
  • London Assembly


After questioning the Mayor, the Assembly will consider the budget and approve it, with or without amendment.  Amendments are subject to securing the support of at least two-thirds of the Assembly Members present and voting.


The meeting will take place on Thursday, 22 February from 10am in The Chamber at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

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MP Tom backs establishment of Children’s Funeral Fund

Following the successful establishment of a Children’s Funeral Fund in Wales for bereaved parents, Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake and over 150 fellow MPs have called for the Fund to be introduced UK-wide.

Around 5,000 children die in the UK each year, leaving their families with unimaginable grief and unexpected funeral expenses. In March of 2017, the Welsh Government established a Children’s Funeral Fund to relieve low income parents of the financial strain funerals can have on families.

Tom said:

“I support and sympathise with parents who have lost their children to tragic accidents, birth complications, or life-limiting incidents. I am backing the creation of a UK-wide fund that will lift the financial burden for parents who are already struggling to cope with the death of their child. For a relatively modest amount of money and additional support from national and independent undertakers, parents could grieve without the added uncertainty of debt.”


Members of Parliament have written to Prime Minister Theresa May, asking her to set aside funds in the 2018 budget for a UK-wide Children’s Funeral Fund.


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Heather Small – Voice of M People to play London concert

HEATHER SMALL – The Voice of M PEOPLE plays LONDON – ULU (London University) on Friday 20th April!

Heather Small, born 20th January 1965, grew up on a West London council estate. From going to Sunday school and attending the ‘Good News Club’, religion and faith became an important aspect of Heather’s life. Growing up in 70’s Britain and not wanting to be stereotyped or treated differently, Heather knew that she wanted to make something of herself.

Even though Heather battled with shyness and severe nerves, she joined her first band Hot!House who released two albums in the late 80’s.

As Part of M People, hits such as ‘Moving On Up’, ‘One Night In Heaven’ and ‘Search For The Hero’ and albums like Elegant Slumming, Bizarre Fruit and Fresco achieving massive worldwide success, Heather became one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s, with the band winning the Best British Dance Act Award at the Brits in 1994 and 1995, as well as the Mercury Music Prize for Elegant Slumming.

Heather has since had great successes with two solo albums – the title track of her ‘Proud’ album has gone on to become the soundtrack to a whole host of very special events including London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square, the launch of Queen Mary 2, the Tsunami Relief Concert, England’s victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations, and the official ceremony marking the handover of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London.

And when Oprah Winfrey was looking for a song to sum up the work she’d been striving to achieve over her twenty-year career, she got in touch with Heather, who somehow managed to squeeze in a trip across the Atlantic to perform on the show right in the middle of her last UK tour with M People (‘If Oprah calls, you go!’ she laughs, adding that the first lady of chat was ‘very sweet to me’).

In 2008, Heather embarked on a journey that would see her dance her way into the public’s affection as she became a contestant in Series 6 of the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Heather’s infectious personality and her trademark sense of humour earned her appearances on a number of TV news and chat shows including Paul O’Grady, Alan Titchmarsh, GMTV, BBC Breakfast, The Wright Stuff, Newsnight, as well as special appearances on The Weakest Link and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

2009 was another busy year for Heather as she took to the road again with her band completing two highly successful UK tours in May and November, performing at over 30 venues nationwide to sell-out crowds. She also continued her TV work with regular slots on music, entertainment, and politics shows, including ‘Dancing On Wheels’, a wheelchair dancing competition-come-documentary airing on BBC Three in early 2010.

In the Autumn, Heather teamed up with singing sensations Anastacia and Lulu for the critically acclaimed ‘Here Come The Girls’ – an unforgettable night of feel-good party music and dance, touring arenas across the UK and Ireland during November and December 2010.

Well known for her charitable work, Heather was recently made an ambassador for the children’s charity Barnardo’s and is continually involved with fundraising and helping lend her valuable support to projects around the country.

So what gives Heather the impetus to keep moving forward, to keep challenging herself, to keep trying new things and not resting on her laurels? ‘If you got the feeling I do when I sing’ she smiles, ‘you’d understand’.