University Technical Colleges

(8 Posts)
RockPaperScissorsLizardSpock Sat 10-Nov-12 21:02:24

DD is currently in Year 9. There is a UTC opening next year near us and initially I thought this would be a much welcome alternative to DD's current secondary education. Also, this college will specialise in technologies that support the entertainment, film, television, theatre, visual arts and digital communication industries, which she has a huge interest in.

Now I'm not sure. I'm worried that these will be viewed as a 'tech' where poor performing pupils go. She could potentially do very well in her GCSE's but I do not have much confidence in her current school to support her through them. She has also suffered a serious bullying episode as well as smaller frequent bullying problems. There is only one other secondary school I could move her to, but it is where her current school sends their disruptive pupils to.

Is anyone also considering a UTC or have any thoughts on these?

creamteas Sun 11-Nov-12 10:44:56

I think the jury is still out on UTCs. New schools are always a gamble as what they say they will do is always different to what happens in practice.

There is one relatively close to me which has been open for a just over year so there is no real information yet about the success or otherwise in relation to exams. As far as I know the sixth form part has a reasonable number of students, but the Year 10 entries have been a bit of a flop. The one near me takes all abilities, but have not released stats on how many children are on the GCSE track and how many are doing more vocational qualifications.

I would not consider moving one of my DC into the UTC for GCSEs as they have such a limited range of options. They don't teach history or geography for example. Personally I think GCSEs should cover a broad spectrum of subjects. Whilst the specialism might appeal when they are 14, children do change their minds about what they are interested and good at at that age.

I don't think you need to worry about whether or not it is seen as a 'tech' though. If she gets good grades they they will speak for themselves. More of an issue might be if they attract lots of kids unhappy with their current schools because they the ones near to being thrown out because they are badly behaved.

If your DD is really unhappy then this might work for her, but I don't think it will be easy for you to make a decision given that there is no track record.

ChippyMinton Sun 11-Nov-12 12:55:36

Interesting. DS1, who is currently in yr6, heard about the UTC due to open nearby next year - it's the aviation/engineering one. He's mentioned it several times whilst we've been looking at secondary schools, saying that he'll only be there for 3 years then move to the UTC hmm.

I'd like to think that it would be a good choice for teenagers who know what they want to do and are keen to get on with it, rather than 'wasting' several years. I'm keeping an open mind.

ChippyMinton Sun 11-Nov-12 13:00:47

The other perceived benefit is that it should give students are direct route into their chosen industry via the college's partners, which would be helpful in a competitive industry.

RockPaperScissorsLizardSpock Sun 11-Nov-12 16:44:03

Thank you both for replying smile

Now I am thinking maybe she should go there for Year 12 if she still has an interest in that industry. We are going to the open day next weekend, maybe I will get a better idea after that.

creamteas Sun 11-Nov-12 16:47:38

One of my roles at uni is to deal with students who are thinking of leaving because they are unhappy with their choice of degree. Those who have a more balanced profile (eg 2 sciences and 1 humanity) can usually switch to something more suitable for them, but those who have had narrow their options (eg 3 sciences) can find themselves with no where to go. Many of them really believed they were on the right career path, but when they got into the area it was not for them.

The rhetoric suggests that their might be more a direct route into apprenticeships, but until this is proven I would take it with a pinch of salt. I would think that employers will always want the best candidate, and thus the school they went to will only be a secondary consideration.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 11-Nov-12 18:37:51

Our local one is to be jointly run by the University, the local FE college and a large international engineering company. I think the plan is that it will be highly academic (though along science/engineering lines not arts, obviously) and the local schools are actually worried about losing their best students at 14, not their worse/less academic ones.

SavoirFaire Mon 18-Feb-13 20:30:07

Bumping this thread as I am interested in MNers opinions. Never heard of UTCs before today but someone was telling me about one today. Not something of any issue for us yet but very curious about the general principle and whether this is a 'good thing' or not, or at least what people's opinions are, especially people who have had a look around a UTC. I can definitely see benefits in providing a different sort of education for young people for whom 'conventional' routes aren't right, but 14 seems very young to choose and there is a definite risk that these become automatically seen as sink schools. I understand the JCB Academy in Staffs is the model and has been doing very well.

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