Background

Since the UTC opened in 2015, there is a great deal that we can be proud of.  Ofsted recently found that UTC Bolton is making effective action towards the removal of special measures. They commented that UTC Bolton has improved in the following areas:

  • “Leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.”
  • “Leaders have continued to build on the improvements seen in the last monitoring visit.”
  • “A review of pupils’ books shows that teachers’ assessments are more closely aligned to what pupils’ know and can do.”
  • “They [Pupils] spoke positively about the opportunity to design, build and race an electric car, which was sponsored by a national company.
  • “…a higher proportion of pupils and students go on to places in education, training or employment that match their career aspirations.”
  • “The culture of safeguarding at the college is strong.”
  • “Pupils said that they feel safe and that bullying is rare. They are confident that staff would deal quickly with any issues.”
  • “Pupils say that teaching and behaviour in lessons have improved.”
  • “Teachers have good subject knowledge. Some teachers use this well to ask effective questions which explore and develop pupils’ understanding”
  • “The college is a calm and orderly environment. Pupils conduct themselves well between lessons and during social times.”
  • “Leaders and staff have had some success in improving rates of attendance of individual pupils.”
  • “Inspection evidence shows that outcomes are beginning to improve against the school’s own baseline of starting points.”

In addition, we have launched a pioneering set of PBL Pipeline Projects in partnership with our Industry Partners and the University of Bolton.

The projects, developed and supported by Industry partners will include site visits, real project opportunities and industry mentors. Most importantly, some of the region’s largest employers are involved.

The proposal

This proposal builds on our successes and the positive progress of students at this UTC.  We would like to extend our admissions arrangements to include Year 9 students – currently students can only join us in Year 10. The primary reasons for seeking this change are:

  • The majority of local secondary schools now start KS4 in Year 9. Parental and student feedback has highlighted that moving students into Y10 having already completed a year of KS4 delivery in their previous school is disruptive.
  • Parents suggest that the opportunity to attend the UTC for three or five years would be a positive factor in consideration of school choices.
  • Progress will be improved by having the KS4 students for three years instead of currently two years. It will mean more time to settle in, more time to engage in our programmes and more time for them to progress with their learning.
  • The new 1-9 GCSE specifications promote three years of study rather than two to improve outcomes for young people.
  • The new 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.

The current capacity at UTC Bolton would allow for the additional Y9 cohort without the need for additional capital building costs.

We are, therefore, proposing to:

  • Change the age range of the UTC from 14-19 to 13-19.
  • Introduce a Year 9 intake in 2019/20.