The principle of offering centres of excellence for those students who wish to pursue a vocational path is sound. However, somewhere in the planning and delivery of the UTC programme, the students seem to have been overlooked?
At 14 years of age, despite not necessarily enjoying academic learning, do we really think that young students would choose to move away from friendship groups to follow a vocational learning pathway. Indeed this assumes, that the student really does know his/her preferred career path to vote with their feet. With their feet - now there is another complication - actually getting to the centre of excellence if the UTC is located any distance from the students home. For parents, it may just not be possible to either provide transport or cover additional cost.
A fundamental error - no one tested the market, to see if UTCs would provide the learning opportunity that so many of our young people would benefit from. This education vehicle, designed to fill the learning and training gap, has square wheels!
A £9m state-of-the-art technical college that opened to great fanfare less than three years ago is to close its doors because it has been unable to recruit enough pupils and is no longer financially viable. Greater Manchester university technical college (GM UTC) in Oldham was set up to provide an innovative technical education for 14- to 19-year-olds. It confirmed on Tuesday that it is to close at the end of the academic year. It becomes the seventh UTC to announce its closure, at a time when the government is seeking to boost pupil numbers by making it obligatory for councils to inform parents of the option of children leaving secondary school at 14 to join a UTC for a more vocational education.