River views, flying cars and serious fun: standing room only

It’s been a week since the first Pearson College London Open Day that I was involved in, so there’s been time to digest all the facts and reflect on how the day went. But my opinion hasn’t changed.

They were fantastic.

When I knew that we were holding the Open Days in venues including the embankment level and the 10th floor (11 floors between them), people had to be signed into the building and issued with a visitor’s pass, and most placed they needed to go were accessible only to those with a keycard, I may have feared the worst. And with such a tightly packed schedule that any slippage could throw the whole day out, what could possibly go wrong??!!

And you know what:? Nothing did. To the best of my knowledge, everybody saw and heard what they wanted to, nobody got lost or trapped in the depths of 80 Strand, and everyone had a good time. Brilliant.


We had standing room only to hear about our new degrees in VFX, animation and games, with people asking very sensible questions and showing real enthusiasm for the subjects. Our ‘taster’ sessions from our head of 2D (Davi Stein) and head of 3D (Mark Spevick) let people get an idea of what they’ll learn if they study with us, plus some fascinating insights into industry tricks, such as how you make a real police car fly through the air like it was blown away by a jet engine! Not something students will actually be doing in person, but understanding how you deal with these shots and incorporate them into the final footage is an essential skill.

How do they do that?

The weather played its part too, with a beautiful day giving gloroius views from the balcony.

All in all it was a great showcase for the PCL degrees, and it was great to meet so many talented people who clearly already have an idea of where they want to go in life. I think we had some serious fun, which is what we’re all about after all.

What more could you ask?

At last, a new update

Finally managed to get an update out to the School, the last one was in November! No excuse except (a) there’s been so much happening that there’s been no time to tell anyone and (b) I was waiting for some more definitive information. I’ve now found a small slot of time as my trip overseas was cancelled (just as well given the flight situation) and I think there’ll never be any definitive information!

Most of the last few weeks (post the move, more of that later) have been looking at how we fill the hole left by the HEFCE cap on numbers. Overall we’d been looking at growing our UG numbers in line with previous policy and obviously the halt on this has resulted in some head scratching. Postgraduate growth will be difficult (how will people afford it?) and overseas recruitment is very competitive. I hope Brown (or whoever it might be) gets his ‘crack down’ on bogus colleges to reduce the number of overseas students by 40,000 correct and does just that without impacting on legitimate students at legitimate institutions.

We’re obviously looking at more flexible delivery and programmes aimed helping those students not able to find a place due to the cap, but this is very much uncharted waters for everyone. Mind you, it seems the HE sector is very much like this every year!

At least it’s never boring…