Sheffield is leading the way with two trailblazing University Technical Colleges that are equipping teenagers from across the region with the high level skills that employers and universities need.
Sheffield is the only city outside of London to have two UTCs both of which are now Ofsted graded ‘good’. In the latest development, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park has just been graded ‘good’ by the education watchdog following its first inspection.
Ofsted has congratulated leaders and governors at UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, in a milestone report published today – March 14th 2019 – for establishing a popular and rapidly growing school with an innovative curriculum backed by employers that provides equal opportunities for boys and girls of all abilities.
The £10 million facility, on Old Hall Road, Attercliffe Common, opened in September 2016 and enables students of all abilities to study a specialist high quality technical qualification in computing, health sciences or sport science, geared to employers’ skills needs, as well as GCSE and A Level subjects.
Inspectors have also commended UTC students’ above the national average performances in GCSE English and maths and progress on Post 16 vocational courses.
Dr Sarah Clark, Principal of UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, said: “This is fantastic recognition of the high quality academic and technical education that we provide and I am very proud of our students and staff.”
She added: “We are one of best performing UTCs nationally and the brilliant support that we receive from employers enables our students to get the highly sought after skills that they need for university and great careers. I’d like to thank Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, the University of Sheffield, The Sheffield College and Sheffield City Council for their support.”
The education watchdog has examined five key areas at UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park that have all been judged as ‘good’, which are as follows:
- Effectiveness of leadership and management – good
- Quality of teaching, learning and assessment – good
- Personal development, behaviour and welfare – good
- Outcomes for students – good
- 16 to 19 study programmes – good
A small, specialist institution where every child is known, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park has total capacity for 600 students. Students can join in Year 9 at the age of 13 or in Year 12 at the age of 16.
Richard Wright, Chair of Sheffield UTC Academy Trust and Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and one that is very significant for the city as a whole. Sheffield is the only city outside of London to have two UTCs and both are now Ofsted ‘good’. This success reflects a wider strategic commitment between employers and educationalists in Sheffield to work together to provide high quality technical routes that support the regional economy, communities and, ultimately, our young people. That also puts us in a strong position for the national introduction of T Levels in future.”
The UTC has been designed to meet the needs of regional employers by training the next generation of talent with the right skills and knowledge to fill the jobs of tomorrow. Students learn in the latest high tech facilities. Employers backing the UTC include Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Sheffield City Council.
Mandy Scott, Learning and Development Manager and Apprentice Lead for Healthcare Science at the Northern General Hospital’s Rivermead Training Centre, part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working with the UTC gives us the opportunity to highlight the many careers the NHS has to offer and to help teach students the essential skills they would need to be part of our workforce in the future. Working as employer mentors as well has shown the exceptional way the students progress during their time at the UTC with some going on to study for healthcare careers at university.”
Former Minister for Sport and Project Lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Richard Caborn, said: “This is an excellent result for the UTC and highlights the high level of education which is boosting this area of Sheffield. One of our key aims with Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is to regenerate the area and support local communities through improved education opportunities, and we’re extremely proud to see this now coming to fruition.”
Other key points from the Ofsted report:
- Good teaching: Most students benefit from good teaching that enables them to learn effectively and be successful in their studies. Strong support is in place for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities and this is helping them to make good progress.
- Employer-led projects: Employer-led ‘real-life’ projects engage and challenge students. They benefit from a good and realistic experience in the areas of computing, health sciences or sport and acquire a wide range of employability skills.
- Above the national average results: In 2018, the proportion of pupils achieving a standard pass (grade 4) and a strong pass (grade 5) or better in English and mathematics combined was above the national average. The proportion of pupils achieving a strong pass in English language or a strong pass in mathematics was also above the national average. The progress of current post-16 students on vocational courses is strong and above the national average.
- Positive destinations: In 2018, all Year 11 and Year 13 students went into further education, training or employment. The rate of progression to higher education and apprenticeships is high. One third of the Year 13 students secured higher-level apprenticeships or employment and two thirds progressed to courses at universities, most linked to the UTC’s specialisms.
This latest development means that both of the city’s UTCs are Ofsted graded ‘good’. Sheffield’s two UTCs also include UTC Sheffield City Centre, Matilda Street, which was the first one to open in Yorkshire in September 2013.