Background

Since the UTC opened in 2015, there is a great deal that we can be proud of.
Ofsted inspected us in 2019 and found that UTC Bolton is ‘Good’ in every area they judge. They commented that

  • “Pupils make good progress during their time at UTC Bolton.”
  • “Leaders have established a strong culture of safeguarding in the college.”
  • “Pupils feel safe and well supported.”
  • “The college’s curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of STEM subjects through GCSEs and vocational subjects.”
  • “Pupils spoke very positively about the advice that they receive in choosing which subjects to study. Students have access to a broad programme of careers information, advice and guidance to support their next steps in education, training or employment.”
  • “Students rightly acknowledge the harmonious surroundings.”
  • “The Principal is well supported by his Senior Leaders and Governors. They have developed  an inclusive community with a culture of high expectations that is shared by pupils and staff.”

In addition, in the Summer of 2018 our students celebrated record results. Highlights included:

  • Our Level 4 pass rate in GCSE English and maths is above the national average.
  • The number of students achieving Level 5, or above, in GCSE English was also above national average.
  • BTEC 100% pass rate (98% of which achieved equivalent A* – B) 100% of students have secured a University, Apprenticeship place or work placement.
  • 86% of which achieved in “relevant” Health Sciences or Engineering.

The proposal

As you may be aware, we recently consulted to changed our admissions policy, to accept Year 9 students.

During the consultation, the feedback from parents and our community was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it became clear that there was demand for places from Year 7 onwards.

This is supported by the fact that:

The local picture is changing and there is a surge in the number of young people coming through the primary schools. Local authority need means that there will be a requirement to increase the Pupil Admission Numbers across Bolton for more school places.

We would like your views on our proposal to change the age range of the UTC and, as a result, to change the admissions arrangements in line with the Admissions Code.

Extending our offer to Year 7 students is a significant development, and your views are critical to help us shape the way forward. Our reasons for looking to do this are:

  • The Department for Education (DfE) has written to all UTCs providing guidance on the process for amending their age range. A primary consideration is whether this change would benefit educational provision in the local area.
  • Parents suggest that the opportunity to attend the UTC for longer would be a positive factor in consideration of school choices.
  • Such a move will enable our students to start to master our area of specialism earlier. Engineering and Health Science are challenging subjects, and increasing exposure to the principles of the subject from Year 7 will allow our students to build a solid understanding of this subject before formally starting the course.
  • Bolton is projected to have a significant deficit of available Secondary School places. We want to play our part in meeting this need.
  • The change of status to 11-18 can be accommodated with some re-designation of existing spaces and a future external expansion in 2022/2023.
  • The national Progress 8 measure of student progress is designed to judge schools over a five- year period so this adjustment will help the UTC to comply.

We are proposing, therefore, to:

  • Change the age range of the UTC from 14-19 to 11-19
  • Introduce a Year 7 intake of 120 pupils from 2020/2021 (this is our preference however this may be reduced to 90 in the first year depending on local need).
  • Eventually we plan to remove the Y9/Y10 admissions and will consult on that during the normal timescales set out in the schools admissions code.
  • We also plan to have a physical expansion, which will take the overall building capacity from 600 to 900 students.

Please read our full briefing pack below:

Year 7 Briefing pack

We would welcome your comments and feedback around our consultation and would ask that you either complete the online questionnaire below or contact our reception to provide written comments. This consultation will run until Friday 6th December 2019.