Baker Dearing only seeks to help UTCs when others cannot. If our UTC customers are able to obtain similar support from other resources within the education system, we will not duplicate this effort. Our assistance seeks to bolster aspects of UTC activities which are largely unique to them, such as technical education, student recruitment at an atypical age, and employer engagement.
We have unashamedly high standards for the UTC programme. Over time, more and more UTCs are achieving ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgments; providing young people with keenly sought-after leaver destinations; and filling their capacity. These ambitions should be realised by all UTCs.
The Licence Fee arrangement has a clear and tangible benefit: the relationship which exists between a UTC and Baker Dearing is equivalent to that of a client and its service provider. UTC staff, governors and students are our customers, and thus are always right. We must provide them with a high level of professionalism, support and responsiveness.
Baker Dearing receives a Licence Fee from all UTCs, as compensation for the use of the ‘UTC’ brand and for the support and services it provides. This support is heavily subsidised through the generosity of the charity’s grant-making trust partners (add link to this page). Baker Dearing receives no funding directly from the Department for Education. At all times, we commit to demonstrating outstanding value for money. To achieve this aim, we continually assess the support we provide to UTCs, seek to raise additional funds from third parties, and maintain very lean operations.
The UTC programme is still young; nonetheless, with 48 schools, its critical mass allows for interventions and improvements to be based on empirical evidence and data. For example, our analysis shows that the primary determinant of the number of students ‘on roll’ at a UTC is the quality of its employer engagement, which is why we allocate more of our funding for this support than for student recruitment.
Only ¼ of Baker Dearing’s funding over the past five years has come from ‘public’ sources, i.e. the UTC Licence Fee and direct DfE funding. Nonetheless, we insist that the transparency we provide regarding our finances must mirror that offered by all public bodies.
I worked in manufacturing before becoming a MP, and I know how important it is to have the right skills. When you talk to UTC students, you get a true sense of the passion and enthusiasm they have for the skills they are learning here. It is truly inspiring, and we need to be doing more of this.
University Technical Colleges impress me because they are not just training the next generation of STEM professionals and developing a much-needed skills pipeline to the careers of the future, they are also offering their students the opportunity to make the important connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the real world.
Given the importance of science and engineering to our economy, and the potential skills shortage in these areas, the idea of a school like this is obvious and yet it takes someone to actually do it. That is the genius of the place, that someone has got the concept up-and-running and that they are delivering the curriculum in partnership with organisations such as the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Over half of the roles in the Royal Navy are engineering. That’s why it’s great that UTCs provide an exciting environment for students to learn all aspects of engineering. We are privileged to be supporting young engineers. We need to encourage this area of expertise. If we do not get this right, we sink and we are not protecting the country. Engineering is our future and young people are our future.