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Letter from Local Education Dept. regarding starting at a UTC in year 10

(26 Posts)
GloriousE Wed 27-Sep-17 10:34:47

Hello all,

I'm a first time poster and came on here hoping for some first hand advice/opinions on moving my son from a local Secondary School to a University Technical College at the start of Year 10 (next year). Have been online looking for information and all I have found is the 'blurb' from the Colleges themselves. So, if any of you are thinking of applying for a place for your child or your child has attended one of these Colleges - your thoughts/experiences/opinions will be much appreciated.

tired17 Thu 28-Sep-17 16:52:43

We're considering it for DD2. Don't have any advice unfortunately, only questions. She struggles to fit in at her secondary school mainly because her interests and strengths lie more in that area and her "friends" think the subjects she likes are only for boys.

GloriousE Thu 28-Sep-17 17:57:44

tired17 - Thank you for replying to my post, much appreciated. Please forgive my ignorance but what does DD2 stand for?
The scenario you describe sounds very familiar to me, even though my child is a boy - he has no interest in 'popular culture' or football which doesn't help on the 'friends' front. I feel that he would thrive in an environment such as the one described in all the 'blurb', but I would be interested in hearing from people with 1st hand personal experience. I hope that whatever you decide works out for your family.

ReinettePompadour Thu 28-Sep-17 18:19:46

We are off to look round one next week for my DD (Darling daughter). She is interested in engineering and this utc specialises in engineering. I know a few people who have sent their children and they rate it very highly.

Students still do the core curriculum of gcses so English x2, maths and further maths plus 3 sciences. They have a choice from 3 languages and PE, History and Geography. They also do up to 4 Engineering qualifications so CAD, management, core engineering type qualifications ( sorry I dont have the exact ones to post as I'm out and about). They have enviable support from several multinationals and work placements across all the sponsoring businesses.

The reviews seem to be 50/50 with a high turnover of staff but the staffing is the same at our current school so I'm not too bothered about that. Lots of the negatives seem to be along the lines of being too strict with uniform and discipline, the school day is too long (8.30am - 5pm so working hours) and little Johnny is tired all the time etc

I'm hopeful my DD will get a place but their popularity is growing fast so she may need to fight for a place.

Piggywaspushed Thu 28-Sep-17 19:16:57

Can't say why on here very openly but don't do it...

Unless you live in very particular areas.

PM me if you like.

Piggywaspushed Thu 28-Sep-17 19:18:13

reinette's sounds like a are good one. So if there is positive actual word of mouth, go for it.

Silver47 Thu 28-Sep-17 19:31:51

be careful.. there are some happy utcs, but they are basically a dustbin for the kids not wanted in mainstream

OhOhDearling Thu 28-Sep-17 19:39:12

yes, I think you need a careful look at exam results and ofsted reports and progress 8 scores etc, and see if overall you feel the UTC seems noticeably better than your child's current school. I can see why piggy has posted what he/she has posted as some UTCs have run into problems ( a few have even been closed this year) but the UTC in my town has a good reputation and good links to employers (STEM specialism), so I'ld certainly consider sending my child to that particular one.

Earlgreyandcake Thu 28-Sep-17 20:10:58

Please please be careful if you live in Cumbria

Danglingmod Thu 28-Sep-17 20:29:03

The UTC in my town with excellent with fabulous results so far, really great teachers, a great ethos and amazing opportunities and links with employers.

I understand they're not all like that...

clary Thu 28-Sep-17 20:33:00

The UTC in my town has had a poor start; from anecdotal evidence (parents I know whose kids go there) it's not great. As others say, they can be a dumping ground for difficult kids. V poor results this summer. But clearly they vary Op!

noblegiraffe Thu 28-Sep-17 20:36:05

UTCs are closing left right and centre due to shit results and parents steering clear, so be very careful when you do your research. Schools that start at 14 often are chosen by kids who hate their current school and want out. These are not always the best-behaved or most academic kids. Kids who are happy and doing well don't normally want to leave their current provision.

Danglingmod Thu 28-Sep-17 20:40:50

Which is exactly why I expected ours to fail, noble, despite knowing they had excellent teaching staff and senior management.

However, their offer is nothing like any other schools offer locally, and so lots of very clever and aspirational STEMy kids and their parents (together with some very 'average' and others at risk of exclusion) took a chance on it. Their results are great and their destinations profile already excellent. They really do vary.

calamityjam Thu 28-Sep-17 20:50:30

Friends of mine transferred their dd from one of the best schools in the borough to one of these schools because they misunderstood the blurb which they sent out to all local school kids. They read it that dd would be trained to go into medicine! This child was mostly in bottom sets and to put it bluntly would struggle to make the grades needed. However, she has now changed schools and sets off at 6.30 am and returns at 6.30 pm. The school doesn't have good reports and the last lot of exam results were terrible. Not sure what they were thinking tbh

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Thu 28-Sep-17 21:16:38

What a shame. I am starting to look at UTCs for a very dyslexic child. DC will be fabulous in a practical profession to do with engineering and I was hoping this would be a good route. They are currently at a specialist school who think that music and drama are all that most dyslexics can do. My DC wants more and I would like more for them in their chosen interest. Any good STEM ones in the South east or south west?

Piggywaspushed Thu 28-Sep-17 21:24:40

The issue n short is staffing, recruitment and retention. Qualified teachers don't want to work in UTCs as a rule.

youarenotkiddingme Thu 28-Sep-17 21:52:31

Recently one opened near me. First I take this year and ds is currently year 9.
The old head of his current school is now head of UTC (that's why he left)

Personally having been bitten on the arse by originally sending ds to an academy despite a stem school being perfect for him I'm actually not convinced they'll be good with a child on an EHCP.

Dixiechickonhols Thu 28-Sep-17 23:04:18

The one in the town I work in closed after 2 years. It had a handful of students (think it attracted 73 at most for 800 places) It couldn't attract students despite being in an impressive building (project cost £10m) and most of the surrounding comprehensive schools poor with poor results. I only know of one boy who went there and he was struggling/disruptive in mainstream comp. Its ofsted was requires improvement. It closed very suddenly, I think a deal was eventually done to enable yr 11 to finish.

user1483732237 Wed 01-Nov-17 10:41:21

UTC's are a really, really poor choice. OFSTED reports need to be taken with a pinch of salt. In the 2017 GCSE tables they are vastly over-represented in the failing 300 schools - 26/33 - or 30/37 if you include the 4 that closed at the end of August 2017.
It would be useful if posters stated which UTC they are talking about - general geographic area.

Blurb sent out by LEA OUGHT to include exam results/ progress 8 etc - definitely need to be very, very cautious.

Such a problem that they have their own Parliamentary Briefing paper - not bad for c. 49 institutions.

TeenTimesTwo Wed 01-Nov-17 15:47:18

Anyone got any info on the Salisbury UTC either for GCSEs or for 6th form BTECs?

user1483732237 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:29:41

Salisbury UTC? South Wiltshire? Look at the DfE GCSE league tables. Provisional ones for 2017 published on October 12th 2017. Well below average progress, 29% got a good pass in maths & English, 25% persistent absence - all quotes from the DfE website.Probably one of the worst 300 schools in England. No data on KS5 so that probably means not enough students - anything of 5 & below doesn't get published to preserve student confidentiality. Hope that helps.

StaplesCorner Sat 04-Nov-17 09:40:57

I took my DD out of a top performing grammar and put her into a new UTC, it had only been open one year. She was desperately unhappy at the grammar and the bullying had badly affected her. The UTC was slightly chaotic, they hadn't quite got the hang of it - year 10 was like some bizarre 1970s social experiment but she thrived there after the first few weeks; the culture was good, it had a small school atmosphere and she dropped lots of lessons she hated e.g. languages.

It took the pressure off of her and year 11 was great, she had fun she actually enjoyed going to school. She got one A* and the rest were equivalent Bs and Cs, plus distinctions in her specialist subject. So for us it was a big success. Exam results this year were good, but had I based it on that, on previous years, we wouldn't have gone. It depends entirely on the circumstances, have a look.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 04-Nov-17 09:47:55

Thanks user , I had looked for the GCSE data before but evidently just before it was published.

StaplesCorner Sat 04-Nov-17 10:32:29

BTW the UTC I am referring to is in the South East. You also need to take into account that up until recently UTCs were mostly taking pupils that had problems elsewhere (but you'd probably include my DD in that), and pupils who arrived at a much lower level than the rest of the local cohort. When seeing where they end up, you have to take account of where they started.

What does your son think? Does he really love the subjects that the UTC offer? Are his friends going? Is he doing well at his existing school?

pointythings Sat 04-Nov-17 18:22:17

All of the students in Yr9 got a letter like that last year. It sounded to me as if they were desperate for people to go there. I recycled the letter - my DD2 is doing very well at school, is happy, and does not need an hour's commute each way to a different school.

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