What is a UTC?
A UTC is a place for students aged 14 to 19 which specialises in technical studies alongside traditional education and is supported by high profile academic and employer partners.
How many UTCs are there?
There are currently 30 UTCs open. Over 20 more will open across the country by 2016. Following the Chancellor’s Spending Review announcement of 26 June 2013 regarding UTCs, funding is to be made available to open a further 20 University Technical Colleges per year. Further details are available from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (www.utcolleges.org) who are the founders and promoters of the UTC concept.
What are the advantages of a student going to a UTC instead of staying on at their previous school?
It allows a student to study a subject they are really interested in which is taught in industry standard facilities by teachers with real life practical experience. By 16 their technical skills are far in advance of those students in a standard comprehensive school and more enthusiastic engagement with their academic studies leads to greater achievement in this area also.
What is the reason for starting at 14?
11 is too early to choose a subject path to follow and 16 is too late. Students who know what they want to do can often become bored at school and so underachieve by the time they are 16.
Is 14 too young to specialise?
UTC students receive a broad education including English, maths and science combined with practical and technical qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities. They also develop business and financial literacy. The skills they learn and the qualifications they receive are transferable to other post-16 provision and are recognised by employers.
Who are UTCs aimed at?
They are aimed at students who have an interest in the UTC’s specialism.
Does going to a UTC improve prospects of getting into the affiliated universities or college?
It would help a student to move into higher education because of the support they have received from the Universities but the UTC is not part of the Universities and there is no guarantee of a place at a particular University. The Universities may well see the UTC as part of its recruitment plan.
Does a UTC have a specialist subject area?
Yes. Usually they have two specialisms e.g. science and engineering.
How will a UTC improve job prospects?
Work experience is a vital part of the CV of any prospective employee and the UTC will ensure that its students have the opportunity for appropriate and contextualised work experience regularly during the academic year.
What are the options for continuing in education after a UTC?
Students can either go onto a higher apprenticeship, in employment or onto a University. The UTC will help them decide which is the best route for them.
What qualifications will they offer?
This will vary but all offer GCSEs in English, maths and science combined with a modern foreign language, a humanities subject and practical and technical qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities.
Do they offer GCSEs and A Levels as well as technical qualifications?
Yes but you will have to ask each UTC which ones they offer.
What experience will teachers have in the UTC’s specialist areas?
The teaching staff will be made up of school teachers, instructors and people have worked in industry. (Most the teachers will have worked in the area of the college’s specialism).
Can existing schools or colleges ‘convert’ to a UTC?
No. UTCs are free standing institutions for 14 to 19 year olds offering just two specialisms. All applications for UTCs must be submitted to and approved by the Department for Education (DfE).
How is the curriculum organised?
The core national curriculum requirements will be provided, but outside of the national curriculum, the subjects available at GCSE will depend on the UTC.
At 14-16 the split of time between general education/bridging core studies and technical studies is 60:40 respectively. For general education they will take English; Mathematics; science; a modern language; humanities; sport/PE; and PSHE; RE; enrichment activities, financial literacy; understanding and setting up a business; IT; and careers education and guidance.
Broad technical studies would be e.g. engineering; experience of work, projects; and mentoring.
Post-16, students will be able to continue with their studies or they may choose to do an apprenticeship, which might include part-time study at the UTC. If students choose to continue full-time study at the UTC, the split of time between general education/bridging core studies and technical studies will become 40:60 respectively. The technical study will become more specialised and job-related.
How does a UTC day differ from school hours?
A UTC will typically be open from 8.30am – 5.30pm, perhaps with an earlier finish on Monday or Friday.
How do students fit all the learning in? Isn’t it too much?
The typical school day of a UTC runs from 8.30am to 5.30pm to prepare students for the working week and to allow for extra teaching and practical time. There is no homework; all work is done within school hours. Extra curricula enrichment activities all happen within the school day.
What role will FE colleges play?
FE colleges can be involved as a co-sponsor bringing their expertise in technical education. This gives them the credibility that technical schools did not have. The FE college does not have to provide financial support but supports the UTC with its expertise and time and actively contributes to the curriculum. Strong employer links are also a key feature of UTCs and are involved in shaping the curriculum. Support from the local authority is also welcomed.
What is the funding model?
UTCs come under the government’s academies and free schools programme, from where they obtain funding after receiving DfE approval.
Who else is involved in the set up and running of the UTC?
The UTC will be run by a Principal reporting into a Board of Governors.
Do you have to pay to send a child to a UTC?
No – UTCs are free.
Do UTCs get more funding than other schools?
No – They receive the funding as any other state school which is based on formula driven by the number of students they have.
Are UTCs inspected by OFSTED?
Do children need expensive equipment and uniforms to attend UTCs?
Those students who wish to bring their own computing devices to school will be encouraged to do so, however we anticipate offering a scheme to allow students to buy their own devices to encourage computer system familiarity. In common with commercial organisations, we would expect students to wear business suits when at the college.