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News from Ruskin

10/04/2018 - 12/04/2018: After 70 years of NHS, why is Health in Crisis?

Ruskin College held a three day health symposium at the beginning of April. The event was both to celebrate 70 years of the National Health Service and timed to coincide with World Health Day, April 7. The book, Global Health Watch (5) was also launched at the event. Held in the Ruskin Annex at Exeter College, Walton Street, Oxford, the symposium was a tremendous success drawing in over 70 people during the course of the three days. Those attending included students from the college, local health workers and health activists, local social care leaders and many others.
Read more and download the powerpoint presentations from the conference here.


Dr Ed Rooksby, Tutor in Politics at Ruskin College, was recently interviewed about his research on the US political podcast show 'Dead Pundits Society'. You can listen to it here:

21/11/2017 - College partnership puts veterans on path to further education

Two organisations dedicated to opening doors for people trying to start a new life have reaffirmed their partnership.
Veterans Aid and Ruskin College are committed to providing opportunities for men and women who need a second chance. Both are registered charities with a proven track record in making dreams come true.

 Dr Hugh Milroy, CEO of Veterans Aid, said: “The relationship is important because we are both dedicated to giving adults an alternative way of accessing higher education. Many of our clients either missed the opportunity to follow traditional routes or simply weren’t at a stage in life where they were ready for it. We sent our first student to Ruskin in 2011; it restored his confidence and set him on the career path that he enjoys today.”

Paul Di Felice, Principal of Ruskin College, said, “Ruskin College remains true to its mission of providing educational opportunities for adults who face significant barriers to accessing education. The progression routes that we provide for Veterans Aid have an immeasurable impact upon the students’ educational development, well-being and that of their friends and families.

The VA/Ruskin partnership is underpinned by a shared understanding that education is an important survival tool. 
Dr Hugh Milroy added “People come to VA in crisis and we address their immediate needs. But recovery is only the beginning; they need the means to sustain themselves and often education is the key.”

 In 2016 Veterans Aid put 72 ex-servicemen and women into training courses and 62 into work or on training placements.

Paul Di Felice  commented, “Our relationship with VA is a real partnership based upon a shared vision of doing all we can to nurture the potential and growth of our students. We do this through a highly supportive tutorial process that guides and enables individuals to make a lasting change to their lives and develop new skills that will allow for lifelong learning.”

VETERANS AID: Veterans Aid, founded in 1932, provides immediate, practical support for veterans in crisis regardless of age, ethnicity, rank, gender, orientation or length of service. For more information about the charity and its work please contact Glyn Strong on 07806 920087. 

RUSKIN COLLEGE: Ruskin College, founded in Oxford in 1899, providing vocational degrees, apprenticeships, and access programmes with a social purpose that transforms the lives of individuals. For more information please contact Ajla Duckollari on or see

06/10/2017 - A message from Paul Di Felice, Principal Ruskin College:

On behalf of all at Ruskin College I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Rodney’s family and everyone at Unison who knew him.

Rodney was so popular with Ruskin College that we got him to open the same building twice! Not even a Labour Prime Minister has had that honour! It was appropriate that he opened Stoke House in 1990, and then again when it was refurbished in 2006 as it has long been a key centre and space for teaching and accommodating trade unionists.

All staff and students, past and present, are very proud of Rodney’s historic place in our collective past memorialised in the commemorative plaques at Stoke House.

Read UNISON's tribute to Rodney.

27/06/2017 - Further Education Prospectus 2017/18

Ruskin College is a small college with big ideas providing learning opportunities for the local community and for students from across the UK and beyond. It is committed to delivering equality of opportunity for students and staff, providing a learning environment where both can achieve their maximum potential.

Ruskin College is excited to announce the launch of its Further Education Prospectus for 2017/18.

The prospectus offers a wide range of courses supporting access to employment and higher education, personal development, vocational skills at accredited levels and courses for interest.

New this year is a range of certificates and awards in bookkeeping, customer service, business administration, teaching support, youth work, counselling, emergency first at aid work, and health and safety in the workplace. These courses will help either progress students in their current work place to develop their skills or to enable them to start a new career.

The College also offers English and Maths qualifications at a range of different levels: from ESOL to GSCE.

The Access to Higher Education Diplomas in Health Professions and Social Sciences are always extremely popular due to the blend of preparing for further academic study and vocational relevance.

A residential programme is offered that will give insight into some of the issues faced by today’s society. The programme covers topics such as drug or alcohol awareness, coping with stress, understanding mental health, an introduction to counselling, and getting savvy with social media.

For more information on the Further Education prospectus and Ruskin College, please visit: Printed copies of the Further Education Prospectus 2017/18 will be available on request. Please email the College to request a copy

Financial Support
Paying for tuition can be a barrier to further education. To counter this, the college offers ways of accessing financial support.

If you are 19 or over starting a full time level 3 or 4 course you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan. The loan is not means tested and most students will be eligible, this will cover the cost of the tuition fees. You do not need to make any repayments until you are earning over £21,000 per year.

Advanced Learner Loans for Access to Higher Education courses are automatically cleared if you go on to complete a higher education course, with support of a higher education student loan. For more information, visit  

The College will support students from a variety of financial backgrounds and personal circumstances with their studies. It offers student bursaries to cover the cost of studying. Financial support schemes are also available to help students with living costs (maintenance). There is more information available on the College website:

All Maths and English courses are free for learners who do not have a GCSE qualification in these subjects. Also if you are in receipt of benefits other courses may also be free.

Open Day and Events
The College runs a number of Open Days and events throughout the year. These events are an ideal opportunity for you to gain an insight in to what Ruskin College has to offer you and how we can help you take the next step on your learning journey. We are hosting our last Ruskin College Open Day for September 2017 entry on Saturday 19th August from 11am to 2pm. For more information and to register visit our Open Day booking page.

About Ruskin College
Ruskin is an adult College located in Old Headington. It was founded in Oxford in 1899, providing vocational degrees, apprenticeships, and access programmes with a social purpose that transforms the lives of individuals. We are a small college with big ideas; with 118 years’ experience of enabling individuals to realise their potential in the areas of social work, activism, social care, youth work, public service, politics, voluntary work, and the creative industries.

We pride ourselves on:
Small group sessions
Exceptional support and expert tuition

Our individualised approach to learning
A diverse and culturally thriving campus
Modern facilities
Flexible accommodation options
A fantastic library.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

31/05/2017 - Win a debt-free degree at Ruskin College this September 

With the Health and Social Care sector in the UK set to boom over the coming years will there be enough employees to meet the demand for skilled labour?

According to the ‘Great Expectations’ report published by City & Guilds last year, a total of 23% of all the new jobs that will be created by 2022 will be in the health and social care sector. Ruskin College, Oxford, has just released details of an innovative opportunity to support this skills gap.

One lucky student will have the opportunity to study on one of their brand new degree programmes; either the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care or the BA (Hons) Applied Social Science degree. For FREE!

This fantastic opportunity is worth up to £27,000 and is being funded by Ruskin College who specialise in ‘return to learn’ opportunities for adults who want a second chance in education. The prize ensures that top talent is retained and developed in Oxfordshire and supports the areas expertise. The county is an internationally connected and globally recognised location offering access to a highly skilled workforce and Ruskin College wants to ensure they are at the forefront of educating this workforce.

The competition is designed to promote inclusivity, encourage diversity of thought and opinion, and ensure that everybody has the chance to have a great future, regardless of their background, financial circumstances, or other barriers to learning.

How to enter

  • Complete the relevant Ruskin College application form
  •  Write 750 words on ‘how  winning this competition will change your life’
  • Meet the eligibility criteria
  • Visit to enter the competition

Competition closing date
Midday 31st August 2017

13/04/2017 - Ruskin College supports Trade Unions with a new apprenticeship service

Ruskin College is launching an apprenticeship service that enables Trade Unions to identify and fulfil their future training needs, following the UK Government’s plan to introduce the Apprenticeship Levy.

The service has been designed to help Trade Unions establish their calculation spend, identify their skills gaps and understand how much of the existing training spend can be mapped to an Apprenticeship standard. The new levy will enable Trade Unions to not only to plug current skills gaps, but reshape their workforce to meet the future demands of their business as apprenticeships can be applied to almost any job role.

The first of these programmes will be delivered in October 2017; the announcement follows the UK Government’s plan to introduce the Apprenticeship Levy in its efforts to boost UK productivity with a target of encouraging three million people to take up apprenticeships by 2020. From April 2017, large employers – with a pay bill over £3million each year – will be required to contribute to the new levy to help fund apprenticeship training for UK businesses.

Ruskin College remains true to its mission and has an exemplary reputation for worker education and for widening participation – the College success rate stands at 96%. Ruskin College is looking forward to working with Trade Unions to ensure they are recognising and utilising their future workforce needs.

“There is an opportunity to work with Ruskin College to establish a standard that meets the education and training needs of trade of Trade Unions” says Paul Di Felice, Principal.


11/04/17 - Ruskin College stands by its roots and continues to provide International Labour and Trade Union Studies

Ruskin is excited to announce that there are still places available on all Trade Union courses.

Ruskin stands by its roots of providing university-standard education, which empowers people to act more effectively on behalf of working class communities and organisations such as trade unions, political parties, co-operative societies.

The courses are designed for trade unionists and other activists and naturally lead students into associated careers such as full-time trade union officials, trade union organisers or project workers on trade union related initiatives. Student could also work in research for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in social movements or international campaigning organisations.

Ruskin has a strong history in enabling individuals with the knowledge needed to progress their trade union career. It is in the DNA at Ruskin. “We pride ourselves on our individual approach to learning, with small interactive group sessions, state of the art facilities. Students at Ruskin tell us that their time here has inspired them, enhanced their confidence and supported person growth. The International Labour and Trade Union Studies courses are at the heart of our teaching” says Paul Di Felice, Principal.


15/03/17- Memorial Space for Councillor Van Coulter

It is with great sadness that Ruskin College has heard of the sudden death of Councillor Van Coulter.

Van was a graduate of the college, having gained a first in 2010. He was nominated to the Ruskin Council by Oxford City Council in that year and became a member of the Governing Executive in July 2012. Van worked tirelessly for the college and will be greatly missed by his fellow governors and colleagues.

The college wishes to extend its sympathy to Van’s family.  Please visit the memorial space if you wish to leave a message.


08/03/17-  A Ruskin tutor's paper is published in the Critical and Radical Social Work journal

Dr Lee Humber, tutor in Health and Social Care at Ruskin College has had his recent paper 'The impact of neoliberal market relations of the production of care on the quantity and quality of support for people with learning disabilities’  made freely available by the journal Critical and Radical Social Work. 

 Read more for a free copy of this timely and insightful paper.

01/03/17- Former Ruskin student quoted in the press on the school funding dilemma

Thousands of cash-strapped schools are set to lose further money from their budgets as a result of the government’s new funding formula unveiled by the education secretary, Justine Greening. Former Ruskin student Adrian Prandle completed the MA at Ruskin a couple of years ago, and now works as a Director of Economic Strategy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.  Adrian believes the new funding formula should be explored, as teacher recruitment will grow in different parts of the UK, however raises concerns for the roles of Teaching Assistants.

Read the full article here.


08/02/17- The son of a former Ruskin student is destined for the silver screen!

Thamsa’s mum, Vuyo a South African trade union activist,  sadly died of Aids before his talent for acting was spotted. But no doubt, like us, she would have been so proud of him.

Ruskin College is also very proud that we have a bursary named after Vuyo for African woman trade unionists to study on our MA in Global Labour and Social Change. Read the full story here.

Find out more about the MA we offer at Ruskin College here.


18/01/17 -  Ruskin College graduate publishes article in the New Internationalist magazine

Congratulations to Simon Taylor, graduate of Ruskin’s MA ILTUS course, for having an article published by New Internationalist magazine on the subject of his MA dissertation. Read the article here.

14/12/16 - James Callaghan's speech - 40 years on

The Ruskin College moment 40 years on, whether we are visiting the 'Secret Garden', or asserting the importance of adult education, Ruskin College remains a centre for the shaping of the national adult education agenda following the November conference 'The Future of Working Class Education'.


Support the campaign for an adult education strategy at


The Ruskin moment 40 years on...


29/11/16 - The Future of Working Class Education

On Saturday 26th November Ruskin College held a full day conference on ‘The Future of Working Class Education’. This was followed by an evening event with Banner Theatre performing the ‘Chicago: The Great Teachers’ Strike’, sponsored by the National Union of Teachers.

The key note speech was given by Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn, in which he underlined Labour’s commitment to upholding the principle of education for life. He spoke of his belief that education changes lives, and that the importance of Ruskin lies not just in the quality of educational provision, but also in the opportunity for empowerment that is offered to students. The conference continued through panel discussions, which enabled participants to engage with some of the core issues: the marketization and commodification of education, the difference between ‘training’ and ‘education’, and the importance of maintaining a political agenda in educational provision, and the need for education to challenge the institutions as well as the students, ensuring it is a tool of political and cultural renewal rather than reinforcing the vested interests of the powerful.

The event brought together different and varied perspectives, all committed to contribute to the future of working class education. It marked the strength of commitment that exists amongst educators to the future of working class education, and the understanding of its potential to change both our lives and the communities we live in.

07/09/16 - New Internationalist

Students and Staff in the International Labour and Trade Union Studies Department (ILTUS) were delighted to be involved in the first ever Trade Union special edition of the New Internationalist, published  for September 2016.  Both BA and MA students contributed articles to the edition, that highlighted some important global labour issues.

01/08/16 - Chris Wilkes - a memorial

Memorial Event for former Principal Chris Wilkes (18/12/57-18/03/16) by Ian Manborde, Programme Co-ordinator, MA Global Labour & Social Change

On Thursday 28th July Ruskin College hosted a memorial event to celebrate the life of Chris Wilkes, Principal of Ruskin College who died unexpectedly on 18th March 2016.

The event drew many current staff members, a diverse body of ex-Ruskin staff from the period of Chris's time at Ruskin, the bulk of which he spent in the role of General Secretary on appointment in 1991, and representatives of partner organisations.

Our newly appointed Principal, Paul Di Felice introduced those attending to the event, noting that the Ruskin College gardens had been re-named in Chris’s memory and that a plaque also marked his time as General Secretary and Principal.

The contributors to the event generated a thoughtful body of reflection comprising song and poetry also in remembering of Chris Wilkes on them, the College and generations of adult learners at Ruskin.

Contributors included staff members Tracy Walsh, Helen Williams and Teresa Munby. Others included Ruth Spelman, Chief Executive of the WEA, Stephen Yeo, ex-Principal and Roger McKenzie, assistant general secretary of UNISON.

The overwhelming sentiment expressed was of a kind, caring, considerate man, with a profound commitment to the development and delivery of education which could transform the lives of working class women and men.

I was privileged to chair the memorial event allowing me to introduce speakers. I concluded by saying that the event marked not the end of the way that we remember Chris's legacy, but just the beginning.

On behalf of Ruskin College staff and students I would like to thank again all those who attended the event, and express our continued condolences to Chris’s partner Jane Southworth and his family.

21/07/16 Ruskin at Tolpuddle

On the weekend of 16th/17th July 2016, Ruskin College staff and students went to the annual Tolpuddle Festival in Dorset.  Every year in July, thousands of people come to enjoy the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival. It is a weekend of family entertainment, stalls, political debate, comedy, music and a grand procession through the village, which celebrates the life of the Tolpuddle Martyrs

18/07/16 Announcement - New Principal

Ruskin College has appointed a new Principal. Ruskin is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul di Felice to the post of Principal of Ruskin College. Paul, formerly Vice Principal, has been the Acting Interim Principal since March 2016, following the sudden death of the Principal Dr Chris Wilkes. Paul stepped into the role at a very difficult and traumatic time for Ruskin, he has shown tremendous commitment to Ruskin. Paul is much respected and has the full confidence of the Governing Executive to lead the College as Principal. We offer sincere congratulations to Paul and very much look forward to the continuation of an excellent working relationship between the Governors of Ruskin and our new Principal.

Carole Orgell-Rosen

Chair of Governing Executive

13/07/16 "Participants hail black and minority ethnic training event"

Working with Trade Unions and Organisations, we can offer tailored Continuing Professional Development packages. The bespoke training covers a wide array of learning including Mental Health Awareness, LGMT Leadership, Political Education, Black Working Lives Matter and many many more. You can read more about it from the Prospect Leadership and Management training review here.

06/07/16 Ruskin goes to the Houses of Parliament

Our very own Lisa Birch spoke at a WEA parlimentary reception last week, celebrating lifelong learning. Lisa joined us to first study for a degree in Social and Political studies, is about to complete her MA in Global Labour and Social Change, and recently joined Ruskin as Recruitment and Outreach Officer. Not bad for someone who became a single mum at 16, and faced challenges throughout her life. You can read her moving speech on the WEA blog here: We commend you if you make it through the words without getting goosebumps!


Advance Notice for  Friday 22nd January 2016


International Labour and Trade Union Studies Speaker Series 2016 presents:


John Hendy QC “Kill the Trade Union Bill Campaign”

John Hendy is a QC specialising in Trade Union Law at Old Square Chambers. He is Chair of the Institute of Employment Rights and a Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom. He is also President of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights and a visiting Professor at King’s College London and University College London.


       “The underlying purpose of the Bill is to crush the remaining powers of the unions to protect the interests of working class people. This is in order to facilitate yet further transfers of wealth and income from working class people to the very rich”.


Please join us from 6.30-8.30pm on Friday 22nd January 2016 in room 2.11, Ruskin College.

For further information contact Caroline Holmes,


Ruskin College: At the forefront of workplace and grassroots activism since 1899


Book Launch 

At Ruskin College last night (28/09/2015) a jointly hosted book launch of new publications from the New Internationlist (N) Magazine was attended by a packed audience of over 90 people. The event, the first in a collaborative partnership between the NI and Ruskin, showcased four new books in the NI’s No Nonsense series and the author of each spoke around the background of each book and its role in helping to create a radical perspective on issues of pivotal social, economic and political importance. The four new books are, The Money Crisis by Peter Stalker, Renewable Energy by Danny Chivers, Globalisation by Wayne Wayne Ellwood, and International Development by Maggie Black. Speaking about the books Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at Oxford University and member of Ruskin College’s Governing Executive, spoke of the importance of the No Nonsense series as essential reading in challenging dominant ideas and enabling younger people to see that alternative perspective are valid and shared widely.


A Jewel in the Crown of Working-Class Education – Article in Morning star

Students and staff write an article about Ruskin College that was published in the Morning Star yesterday, 22nd June 2015. Follow the link to the featured piece: 


Ed Hall, renowned Trade Union banner maker visits Ruskin College

Contemporary banner maker, Ed Hall, spoke to BA ILTUS students on Friday 5th June 2015 about his experience of making banners for the labour movement.  Ed has also been involved in exhibitions at the V&A’ Disobedient Objects Show and also at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Ed said he stumbled into this career over 30 years ago, after training as an architect and working for Lambeth Council.  Since then he has made hundreds of banners for trade unions, political parties, Stop the War, CND to name just a few.  The banners are all designed by Ed and then stitched by hand, taking around 150 hours to complete each one.