The report from our January Ofsted inspection has just been published and I am truly delighted with the outcome. The full Inspection Report can be read here.
It is unusual for a new school, especially one with a very different ethos and stance on education, to achieve ‘Good’ across all categories in the first inspection. It demonstrates that the core education that we offer as a school and Sixth Form is of high quality even though our main focus is on helping our students work out and prepare for their future careers. We are off to a great start!
The inspection was carried out by three inspectors (two of them were Her Majesty’s Inspectors – the most senior and experienced). The two days were very intense and their comprehensive investigations led them to understand us well and judge us accurately. They could see that students who join the UTC make good academic progress both at GCSE and A-level. They could see that our students are well known and well cared for. And they could see that the blend of academic, technical and workplace learning sets our students up well for future careers.
Parent feedback was superb. In Ofsted’s standard survey there were 94 responses (which is 6 times more than the national average); UTC parents really care about the education their children are getting. 94% of them would recommend the UTC to other parents (compared to a Durham and Darlington average of 79%), 98% said that their child is happy and 100% said that their child is well looked after at the UTC. Below is a comparison graph of some of our feedback compare to national and local averages. You can view the full survey results here.
I have to thank our parents for their immense support, not only in their feedback to inspectors but in trusting us with their children’s future. Since we opened in 2016 we have had over 500 students join us. Those families made that decision because they saw the potential in the UTC education for their child; however, it was a big risk for them because we were unproven.
Students thinking about joining us for a start in September 2019 now have an Ofsted report, the feedback from parents and the very revealing destination information from our first year to help them make a decision. I hope that this gives them confidence in considering whether UTC South Durham is a good option for their child.
For our first cohort of students who left us last summer, nobody was classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training) across either Year 11 or Year 13; this is unrivalled by other education providers. Of the Year 13 students who left after their Sixth Form experience with us, all who wanted to go to university did so (all to study science, technology, engineering or maths) and over half landed themselves a paid apprenticeship – that’s seven times the national average.
The ongoing success of the UTC depends on people across the region understanding clearly what we do. We are still new and relatively unknown; I am frequently struck by meeting people who don’t know about us or have heard that we are a school for naughty boys or that we are only open to young people in Newton Aycliffe (both are far from the truth of course as our highly academic students from Teesside, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and around County Durham clearly demonstrate).
Please help us to spread the word by telling friends, family and neighbours about us, particularly those with teenagers who might be interested in technical or design careers. If you are part of any community groups or social media networks then please share information about us. We have already found that word of mouth has by far the biggest impact on students joining us and any help you can give us will open this opportunity to more young people and strengthen our ability to grow and continue to deliver a cracking education for our students.