UTC Oxfordshire news round-up January 2018

Bash the Bug

BashTheBug is a Citizen Science project that aims to help researchers determine which antibiotics, and at which doses, can be used to treat different strains of Tuberculosis (TB). TB is responsible for more deaths annually than any other infectious disease and recently strains that are resistant to the standard six-month treatment course have emerged. Dr Phil Fowler, who runs the project from Oxford University, spoke passionately about this research that can help identify not only potentially effective antibiotics against particular strains, but how sequencing the genome of TB bacteria is reducing the time and cost of identifying the best treatment.

Phil, and his colleague Dr Dona Foster, went on to tell our sixth form and year 11 scientists, how they could help out on other ecology or physics research projects on Zooinverse, the world’s largest and most popular platform for people powered research. By involving thousands of people from around the world to help spot results that computers find difficult, many fields of science research are progressing rapidly.

If you would like to get involved, you can search the projects here: and try out Bash the Bug here:


Spotlight Article: Jack Davies, Year 13

Jack Davies is a Year 13 student, studying A Level Physics, Maths and Further Maths.

“I joined the UTC in Year 12 after taking my GCSEs at Our Lady’s School in Abingdon. The high quality facilities along with the great opportunities to work with industry partners on employer led projects really attracted me to the school.”

Read more

Working with Williams F1

We are delighted that two more UTC Oxfordshire students are undertaking an extended work placement at Williams F1 this term. Jake Long and Reece Morgan will be at Williams F1 until Easter, joining Will Fothergill who is there two days a week and the three Level 4 apprentices (original pioneers Tiffany Cox, Charlie Plows and Rob Wakelin). Furthermore, from Easter, Cameron Piper and Ollie Rees will start their extended placements.

We are delighted to welcome back Sam Carroll and Carl Gregory, who have returned to the UTC to complete their Extended Diploma in Engineering following extended work placements at Williams F1 last academic year.

A total of ten UTC Oxfordshire students have gained some incredible, long term work experience with Williams F1 over the last year and now have CVs which will make them stand out against other applicants.

We are delighted to hear that Will Fothergill has received an unconditional offer to study Motorsport Technology at Oxford Brookes University and hopes to continue working at Williams alongside his course.

Robot Wars Engineering Talk

On Wednesday 24 January, Craig Colliass (whose son Toby is a student at the UTC) gave a talk to some of our Year 12 engineering students about his family’s involvement in Robot Wars over several years. This group of students is currently taking part in our CCFE Employer-led Project using Vex Robots so a talk of this kind was extremely relevant.

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Expanding the curriculum

Our sixth form curriculum is evolving to meet the needs of our students. This term we have introduced Personal and Professional Development (PPD) covering employability skills such as creating a CV, applying for apprenticeships/jobs/university places and preparing for assessment centres or interviews. We are delighted that Steve Houseman, Production Manager at the BMW-Mini plant, has agreed to lead another session in February.

We are also adding business studies to the curriculum and are delighted to have appointed an experienced and enthusiastic teacher for September.

CCFE Challenge

John Hill, Project Manager at CCFE launched a twin project for Years 10 and 12 which involved VEX robots and a communication challenge.

The morning kick started with a  talk that highlighted the differences between fusion and fission, while also giving a description of the activities which take place at the Culham facility within the MAST and JET projects.

Read more

Antibiotics Unearthed Winners

For the second year, Year 12 and 13 students have collaborated with Oxford Brookes University and the Microbiology Society on an employer led project called Antibiotics Unearthed. This is a programme which has been designed to engage and encourage students to work collaboratively with universities or professional scientists as part of a global initiative to discover new sources of antibiotics from soil bacteria, which are considered to be the best hope for the future as resistance to current antibiotics is becoming home of humanities greatest challenges.

Supported by Dr Hee-Jeon Hong, Senior Lecturer in Microbiology and Sam Connelly, PhD student, from the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences at Oxford Brookes, students analysed soil samples from their home and the college, for antibacterial compounds.

Students then produced an academic poster to show the results of their investigations. Judged by the staff from Oxford Brookes and their peers, Charis Sung and Mitzi Rayment were selected to attend the 2018 annual Microbiology Society Conference in Birmingham, to present their work to professional microbiologists. Runners up, Jenna Washington, Sam Bassett and Yufan Kambang were also congratulated on their excellent presentations.

The project has been of enormous value to all participants, allowing them the opportunity to practise techniques in microbiology that go beyond the usual A Level syllabus and to access the expertise of the University Staff. Students would like to thank Hee-Jeon and Sam for their inspirational support and advice and look forward to visiting the University in the summer term. Sam was hugely impressed with the quality of UTC Oxfordshire students’ work and said “First year undergraduates rarely produce work of that quality – it is astonishing to see what these sixth formers have created.”

Sam will be helping the biology department to showcase some of their work at our open event of 28th February and answering questions about future projects.

Open Event – Wednesday 28 February 2018, 4.30-7pm

Come along to our next Open Event on Wednesday 28 February for the opportunity to find out more about studying at the UTC. You’ll be given a tour of our state-of-the-art-facilities and will have the opportunity to meet our staff and students.

Book online

Applications for September 2018

You can still apply for a place at UTC Oxfordshire in September 2018. For more information, download our 2018-19 prospectus.

To apply for a place in Year 10, apply directly through your local authority and then confirm your application with us by completing our confirmation form. For Year 12, please fill out the application form on our website. We will be in touch shortly afterwards to confirm the next steps of the application process.

Keep in touch

You can also keep up to date with the latest developments of UTC Oxfordshire through our website and social media channels:


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