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Leaving school at 14yo and going to college?

(11 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 13:57:12

Ever a good idea?

DD is currently in Year 8. Bright girl in top sets and keen on science. Says she wants to be an engineer when she's older.

Have got a flyer through the door for a new "University Technical College" which is opening in Sept. Says its a specialist college for science and engineering.

Now the college has no track record/results to look at but I'm wondering if it might suit dd. But when I was a teenager technical college was where the not so bright kids went. Though this is marketing itself as something different....but is it just marketing? I don't want her going somewhere where other kids have gone as they think its a fun alternative to school and are going to arse about all day.

If she went in Year 10 then we'd have to make the decision to send her there before any results for their first intake came out. I like the idea of their close ties with local industry. The day is from 8am-5pm so she may say she's not going as the days are too long!

Some stuff from their website says;

the approach will be very much a combination of academic and vocational elements. In Key Stage 4 we will deliver the core qualifications of GCSE English, Mathematics and the three Sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These will be delivered either as Core and Additional Science or Separate Science. All students will study Geography and 2 or 3 GCSEs in Engineering. A further option will be available for students to select from the following (to be confirmed): German; Computer Science; Business Studies. All students will achieve a minimum of 9 GCSE qualifications.

A key part of life at UTC is the chance to undertake activities closely related to the working world. This will be built into each academic term as the curriculum delivery will be structured around real-life tasks. A local company will support the delivery of every module of Engineering and Science courses to enable students to appreciate the impact of their academic and technical studies in industry. This will enable students to apply their newly gained skills and gain first-hand experience of what it is like to work in the engineering and science industries.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 13:58:06

And they have to do two weeks work placements every summer holidays with one of the local engineering firms.

MrsBright Wed 22-Jan-14 14:56:17

Go and have a look at this 'College'.

We were similarly enticed by a flyer re. a UTC near Bristol but the Open Evening revealed it as cr*p. No real resources - lots of talk about 'what will be one day' but not much today. The Library didn't have one book in it and the child who showed up round mentioned that 'we still havnt got the laptops we were promised last year'. It was all glossy floors & walls and no real content.

For all subjects apart from Engineering they had to go to the (rubbish) secondary school next door. My husband is an ex-RN engineer and his incisive questioning of staff revealed they hadn't got a clue what they were doing and had no idea how to use the equipment they'd got. We walked out of the final presentation when the Head of Learning started just reading from the prospectus.

Be very careful. Its all marketing/branding. You don't need all of this to be an Engineer. You need good A levels and a degree.

Countessfosco Wed 22-Jan-14 15:05:01

I second that. These things can sound amazing on paper but often have no substance. I also agree that for these areas good gcses and A levels are important. The work experience element sounds good but could be achieved in other ways. I would also be a little wary of focusing on a particular area too early, especially since there seems to be no other options, such as history and languages. Ask questions and be wary.

teenagetantrums Wed 22-Jan-14 15:12:41

What does your daughter think? she would have to leave her friends, a big deal for teenage girls. Also what if she changes her mind? I have lost count of how many times my 17yr old DD has changed her mind about what to do in the future. However you have nothing to lose by going to look around.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Jan-14 16:48:20

I'm putting off mentioning it to her at the minute because I don't want her to get excited about it and then me turn round and say" actually it's a rubbish idea you're not going".

If we did get as far as telling her if she didn't want to leave school then no way would we make her. But what you're telling me confirms my gut feeling that she's best staying where she is. Thanks.

creamteas Wed 22-Jan-14 17:01:09

The UTC near me is fast becoming a school of last resort.

Most people do not want to change school in Year 10, so the majority of students there are ones that have left their previous schools due to a variety of 'issues'.

MillyMollyMama Wed 22-Jan-14 17:11:52

I agree with everyone who says be careful. What is the local engineering firm? Engineering can be a whole array of disciplines ranging from civil, structural, chemical, mechanical, automotive, aeronautical, environmental and several more! One linked up firm is never going to cover this! It is vitally important to do science and maths A levels and do a degree course recognised by the Council of Engineering Institutions (mostly 4 year MEng courses these days) and this is the best route for bright students. Nothing less or you can just end up in a dead end job with little salary progression because you need to be a Chartered Engineer to achieve the best jobs. At the very least an Incorporated Engineer. The CEI website has a good careers section and specialising too early is not necessary. Also I definitely second the idea of looking at work experience when your DD knows what branch of engineering she is interested in. She will then be able to write about that on her personal statement for university. Engineering graduates are sought after but making sure she is doing an academic route is likely to be the better long term option.

user1483732237 Sun 05-Nov-17 13:54:31

Check out UTC's on the DfE GCSE 2017 provisional results. Most are failing, below average Progress scores, under-subscribed, low attainment levels, high absence rates. An expensive project that is being quietly shut down by the government - only one in the pipeline at the moment

TheFrendo Sun 05-Nov-17 14:28:49

It will be shit.

Your daughter should do GCSEs then A levels and then look at her options.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 05-Nov-17 14:46:25

The OP's daughter will be in Y12 by now and will have done her GCSEs.

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