7 ways to mention ‘and colleges’ this Christmas

It has become a catchphrase for many this year. Eddie Playfair lists all the ways you can shoehorn 'and colleges' into Christmas conversations
23rd December 2020, 3:30pm
Eddie Playfair


7 ways to mention ‘and colleges’ this Christmas

And Colleges: 7 Ways To Use In Christmas Conversations

2020 hasn't given us much to celebrate, but college people are good at making do with very little. One of this year's small joys has been to be able to call out "and colleges" whenever politicians or media commentators forget our sector - and let's face it, that happens quite a lot.

This is too much fun to keep to ourselves. So, if you really #loveourcolleges, here are some top tips to keep the #andcolleges vibe going throughout the festive season.

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  1. Replace all the chocolates in the advent calendar with neatly folded inspirational quotes about "anchor institutions", "heart of the community", "engine of growth" and suchlike. The kids will love discovering all the different ways there are to say colleges are great and they'll want to memorise them all to impress their friends. And you get the chocolates, so it's win-win.
  2. Change the "five gold rings" line in 12 Days of Christmas to "and col-le-ges". It makes a lot more sense and will get everyone joining in merrily.
  3. You can't remember all Santa's reindeer, so just rename some of them: "Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, College and College and Donner and Blitzen." Hilarity will ensue.
  4. Keep the theme going at the dinner table by renaming the sprouts too; make people say "and colleges?" as they pass them round the table. You'll all be chuckling throughout the meal.
  5. Remove everyone's favourite Quality Streets from the tin and after they've rummaged around a bit, present the missing ones back to them with a theatrical flourish, saying "and…colleges!" to roars of laughter.
  6. You've probably already changed your Monopoly houses and hotels to campuses and college groups, but you can still replace the Community Chest and Chance Cards to "Raise the rate, collect £5,000", "Get out of inspection free - do not pass go", "Enrol more students - do not collect £200". Time will fly as players see the game in an exciting new light.
  7. Whenever anyone pauses slightly after the word "and…", including on TV, complete their sentence for them. They were going to say "colleges". Obviously. 

To the college of the future - and beyond

If we can keep up this understated approach throughout the festive season, by January everyone will have become more FE-aware without even noticing. People will be using "and colleges" all over the place: in school playgrounds, on Zoom calls, game shows and even in meetings of the Commons Education Select Committee. Our favourite catchphrase will be set to go viral - and in a good way.

From then on, there'll be no stopping colleges from entering the zeitgeist. Broadcasters will be expected to include a college story in every news bulletin. The Great British Bake Off will run a Colleges Week with contestants challenged to bake 12 outstanding short cakes using the ingredients for 10. Strictly Come Dancing will include a college-themed dance-off featuring a college principal and a skills minister performing the Argentine tango - fab-u-lous!

And if we can get #andcolleges really trending in 2021, the recognition and funding that further education deserves will surely follow. Our work will be done, and as Buzz Lightyear might have said: "To the college of the future - and beyond!"

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