UTC Sheffield has been given the go ahead to recruit younger students from the age of 13 next year.
Students currently join the UTC at the age of 14 in Year 10 or at the age of 16 in Year 12. They complete technical as well as academic qualifications including GCSEs and A Levels. Now the UTC will be able to accept applications from pupils aged 13 who will be able to join the first Year 9 cohort from September 2018.
The Department for Education approved the proposal, following a public consultation involving young people, parents, employers, schools and other education providers, and the public. Each UTC campus has space for 600 students. The Year 9 intake will be included within that existing capacity.
Nick Crew, Executive Principal, UTC Sheffield, said:
This is an exciting milestone for the UTC and we are delighted with the public consultation result.
Students’ progress noticeably accelerates once they start at the UTC, so having the chance to join us a year earlier will be advantageous to them by providing more continuity.
The majority of schools now start preparing pupils for their GCSEs in Year 9. Young people will now be able to join the UTC at the start of their three-year GCSE curriculum rather than part way through.
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 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 specialises in computing, health sciences and sport science, and opened in September 2016.
The public consultation ran from May 8 to June 18 and attracted 143 responses from across Sheffield City Region; 43% above the target set for consultation responses. The survey results found that 68% of respondents backed the UTC admitting Year 9 students; 21% did not agree and 11% were neutral. UTCs provide a well-rounded education and train young people in the technical skills their regional economy needs.
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.
UTC Sheffield recruits students from across South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire. A limited number of places are still available in Year 12. Year 10 places are full, and there is a waiting list. For more information, visit www.utcsheffield.org.uk