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A name and shame game

FE traditionalists, look away now. It's happening again. Another college is considering changing its name. Thanet College wants to come up with a trendy moniker to reflect its "new direction".

"There are a lot of parts of the college that are new and different from the past," head of marketing Penelope Kimber told Kent News. "We are doing things that are exciting and attractive, particularly to young people. We may want to have a new name to communicate that."

If previous experiences are anything to go by, any attempt to make the educational institution sound hip and street will end up more cringeworthy than cutting edge.

Thanet's neighbour K College is a case in point. Admittedly it needed a new name when it was created, following the merger of South and West Kent colleges, but it's hard to fathom why its marketing gurus objected to the letters e, n and t.

Still, at least it calls itself a college. The College Formerly Known As North Devon now prefers to be addressed simply as Petroc, named after the patron saint whose cross features in the county's flag. And then there's West Nottinghamshire College's new title, Vision West Notts. As this column has previously pointed out, the college is just as likely to be identified as a one-hour optometrist as a place of learning.

But there's little point losing any sleep over it. With Thanet counting spiky-haired chef Gary Rhodes among its alumni, FErret suspects that pleas for the college to grow old gracefully will fall on deaf ears.

Fury in the film club

If you fall into the trap of sticking on a DVD in your classes as you wind down towards the end of term, it might be a good idea to give some thought to what film would be appropriate.

In an interview with The Guardian, critically acclaimed film-maker John Akomfrah recalls how, back in the 1970s, he tried to introduce highbrow culture to his fellow students at Southwark College. However, his choice of movie to screen at the college's film club - Derek Jarman's homoerotic picture Sebastiane - proved not entirely popular.

"There were rows," he recalls. "Kids were throwing chairs everywhere. They were saying, 'You can't show this.' So we stopped the film."

Might be safer to stick to a Harry Potter film next time, eh?

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