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UTC’s Business-led Curriculum Will Give Students Powerful Competitive Edge

Hull’s new employer-led university technical college (UTC) today revealed a “dynamic and innovative” curriculum developed with some of the region’s biggest and most successful businesses.

The Ron Dearing University Technical College said it would offer many programmes and qualifications that were not available at any other school or college in Hull or the East Riding, including some developed specifically by the UTC’s employer sponsors for their own staff.

Students at the UTC will study a curriculum of GCSEs and A Levels together with nationally-recognised qualifications which will lead to an apprenticeship or degree course at university.

Principal Designate Sarah Pashley said the unique curriculum focused on developing skills in high demand from employers and “learning through doing” would give UTC students a major advantage in the race for jobs and university places.

Mrs Pashley said:

The Ron Dearing UTC will offer the young people of Hull and the surrounding area a truly amazing opportunity to benefit from a 21st century approach that is very different from traditional educational models.

We have worked really closely with our employer partners and the University of Hull to develop a dynamic and innovative curriculum. Our courses and qualifications have been carefully selected to provide the knowledge and skills they are looking for in their future employees and degree students.

The opportunity for our students to obtain these skills and qualifications while still at school will make them highly attractive to employers. Put simply, the educational package at the Ron Dearing UTC will give our students a powerful competitive edge when it comes to university and job applications.

As well as ensuring all students achieve success in essential GCSE and A Level courses, the curriculum includes a range of vocational and applied qualifications linked to the UTC’s specialisms of digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering.

Mrs Pashley added:

The UTC curriculum will ensure that all students gain the academic qualifications they would acquire in a traditional school. The big difference is that, because of our links with leading local employers, our students will have extensive opportunities to apply the knowledge they have gained in practical ways to real projects.  They will also have access to many more work-based and vocational qualifications.

Approximately, 40% of our Key Stage 4 curriculum and 60% of our post-16 curriculum will involve students in hands-on projects created by our employer sponsors.

Representatives from each of the employer sponsors and the University of Hull will be involved proactively in setting the project design brief, delivering a proportion of the teaching in partnership with our qualified teachers and assessing and evaluating the success of the final outcomes.

Details of the UTC’s curriculum are published on the UTC’s newly-relaunched website which can be viewed at

The user-friendly site explains the UTC’s specialisms and curriculum, enables prospective students and their parents or guardians to register their interest in the UTC and provides information on forthcoming events to find out more about the college. Other features include a countdown clock to the UTC’s opening in September 2017.

The Ron Dearing UTC is backed by lead educational partner the University of Hull and five of the area’s biggest and most successful employers – communications provider KCOM; consumer health giant RB; engineering giant Siemens; global medical technology business Smith & Nephew and specialist engineering business Spencer Group.

KCOM Portfolio Manager Jim Fishburn is one of the employer sponsor representatives who has been closely involved in development of the curriculum.

He said:

KCOM has been working closely with Sarah and her team to align the development of the UTC student pathways to the apprenticeship schemes currently being delivered within KCOM.

Working in partnership with the college and the other employer sponsors to develop and deliver the curriculum will ensure the education students receive is highly relevant to the needs of KCOM and other local businesses.

In addition to their role in developing the delivering the curriculum, the employer sponsors have committed to provide an industry-based personal mentor for each student. The personal mentors will work alongside the UTC’s highly-skilled and experienced staff to support students in achieving their academic targets and aspirations for the future.

As a further reflection of the business-led ethos, the UTC website explains that the college day will mirror business hours, with students attending for 40 hours a week. However, the majority of independent study – what is generally referred to as homework – will take place during college hours.

The Ron Dearing UTC will open in purpose-built premises next to Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre and will ultimately accommodate up to 600 students, aged 14 to 19. The UTC is named after Hull-born Lord Ron Dearing, an educational reformer who promoted technical and vocational education.

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