Sheffield’s University Technical College (UTC) Launches Public Consultation to Lower Student Recruitment Age

Banner image: Nick Crew

UTC Sheffield has launched a public consultation on proposals to recruit younger students from the age of 13 starting in September 2018.

Students currently join the UTC at the age of 14 in Year 10 or at the age of 16 in Year 12, and complete technical as well as academic qualifications including GCSEs and A Levels.

Young people, parents, employers, and the wider public, are being encouraged to have their say on the proposals which would see students being able to apply to join the UTC in Year 9.

Nick Crew, Executive Principal, UTC Sheffield, said: “UTCs provide a well-rounded education and train young people in the technical skills their regional economy needs. As one of the most successful UTCs in the country, we want our students to have the best possible opportunity to fulfil their academic and technical potential – which is why we are proposing to lower our recruitment age.”

He added: “Students’ progress noticeably accelerates once they start at UTC Sheffield, so having the chance to join us earlier will be advantageous for their progress. The majority of schools now start preparing pupils for their GCSEs in Year 9. The new style GCSEs introduced this year also reflect that approach. Being able to join the UTC earlier, at the age of 13 rather than 14, and at the start of their three-year GCSE curriculum, will provide more continuity for our students.”

To download the consultation briefing and complete the online survey, visit http://www.utcsheffield.org.uk/about/y9consultation/. The consultation closes on June 18th 2017.

Sheffield is the only city outside of London that currently has two UTCs. Together, as UTC Sheffield, they offer five specialisms at two campuses and equip young people with the technical skills that employers need.

UTC Sheffield City Centre, on Matilda Street, specialises in advanced engineering and manufacturing, and creative and digital, opened in September 2013, and is Ofsted graded ‘good’. It was the first UTC in Yorkshire and the Humber.

UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, on Old Hall Road, Attercliffe Common, specialises in computing, health sciences and sport science, and opened in September 2016.

UTC Sheffield is sponsored by The Sheffield College, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and is supported by around 50 employers.

Sheffield UTC Multi-Academy Trust is leading the proposal, which has been approved by both of the UTC campuses’ governing bodies, and Baker Dearing Trust. BDT supports the national development of UTCs.

Richard Wright, Chair of Sheffield UTC Multi-Academy Trust, said: “Employers are increasingly looking for education routes with high technical content for many of the jobs they have available.”

He added: “There is no doubt that the UTCs in Sheffield have proved they can do this as well as, if not better than, other alternatives in the region. It’s why many regional employers work with the UTCs. They get a real return from their investment. Once again, Sheffield is leading the way in educational innovation, and the region should be very proud and supportive of this development.”

All 100% of UTC Sheffield leavers in 2016 progressed to a positive destination including university, apprenticeships, employment or further training.

The government’s new 0-9 GCSE specifications promote three years of study rather than two to improve outcomes for young people. The forecast rise in the number of secondary-aged pupils in the Sheffield City Region starting from 2018 will also require an increase in places.

UTCs have capacity for up to 600 students and equip them with the skills to progress onto apprenticeships, employment or university. They are fitted with the latest industry standard equipment.

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