First students meet to begin exciting journey to opening of Ron Dearing UTC
The first students to sign up for Hull’s employer-driven Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) have gathered to begin the exciting journey to joining their new school.
More than 100 students were joined by parents and other family members to learn more about the pioneering new type of school and meet members of the newly-appointed teaching staff.
The senior leadership team briefed the students and their parents on the progress of the UTC building; its cutting-edge facilities and equipment; the curriculum and learning options; the school uniform; and the UTC’s innovative values and behaviours policy.
Parents and students were also introduced to the Ron Dearing teaching team, all of whom have now been appointed and have excellent track records in their current and previous schools.
Students and parents said the event had increased their excitement about the opportunities awaiting them at the UTC, which will specialise in engineering and digital skills and is sponsored by some of the region’s leading employers – KCOM, RB, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group.
The event, held at the University of Hull – the lead education partner for the UTC – brought together students in the school’s first intake in year 10 (aged 14), just weeks after the first places were allocated.
Principal Sarah Pashley said: “It was great to be able to bring together our first group of year 10 students and there was a real sense of excitement and anticipation in the room.
“This was just the first of a series of events and activities that we are arranging to build the team spirit and culture among the students and between them and the staff. It’s just the start of an exciting journey up to the UTC’s opening and beyond.”
Almost all of the 116 students allocated year 10 places attended, with parents and family members taking the numbers present up to around 350.
Vice Principal Steve Willacy took the students on a virtual tour of the UTC building, showcasing facilities and equipment that match those in major companies, including dedicated zones for digital technology, design, project development and testing.
He said: “These are ‘wow’ spaces that other schools simply don’t have. They reflect the working environments for an engineer or a digital professional and are places that prepare you to work in those careers.”
Fellow Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw outlined the school’s innovative professional values and behaviours policy, which combines the very best of standards from education and the world of work.
He added: “Our school rules will have a direct relationship with what happens in business.
“Our professional values and behaviours policy is based on standards and expectations in industry and positive discipline in school – we have put the two together, working with the human resources departments at our employer sponsors.”
CAPTION: Vice Principal Steve Willacy with Nick and Heidi Malone, who are excited by the opportunities Ron Dearing UTC will offer to their son Sam.
Nick and Heidi Malone, from Howden, attended with their 14-year-old son Sam.
Mrs Malone said: “We’re excited because going to the UTC will enable Sam to do engineering as one of his options, which wouldn’t have been possible at his current school.
“Sam would like to go into an apprenticeship and Ron Dearing UTC offers a better stepping stone towards that. Hopefully, because of the big companies the UTC is working with, it could be with one of those businesses, which would be ideal.”
Mr Malone, who runs a welding business, said: “Now is a great time to get into an apprenticeship because there is a big skills gap and opportunities are available.
“It’s a great opportunity for Sam because it’s not just classroom-based. Sam will be able to learn by doing and by going into companies and working with people who really know the job. That will mean he is better prepared for the world of work.”
CAPTION: Principal Sarah Pashley with Mark and Hayley Lees and their son Carter, who will be among the first intake of Ron Dearing UTC students.
Mark Lees, an electrical engineer who lives in Keyingham, Holderness, and his wife Hayley said the UTC offered the perfect combination of academic qualifications and hands-on learning for their 13-year-old son, Carter.
Mrs Lees said: “Carter will still do the core GCSE subjects but he can also, from the age of 14, work towards his chosen career path.
“He will be one of the first kids to have this fantastic opportunity in a brand-new school and to have the experience of working with such great companies.”
Carter said: “I have always been into designing things and prefer hands-on to classroom learning. This gives me a bigger opportunity for me to achieve what I want to achieve.”
Sara Wilson, from Sutton Park, Hull, who attended with her daughter Maddy, 14, said: “Maddy is so lucky because it’s a fantastic opportunity and I think she’ll do really well, as she loves science and maths. They are her favourite subjects.
“I was really impressed by what we were told. The facilities and equipment in the school, such as the virtual reality cave, sound absolutely fantastic.”
Named after Hull-born educational reformer Lord Ron Dearing, the UTC will open in September next to Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre and cater for students aged 14 to 19.
The school will open with two cohorts of students, aged 14 and 16, with both year groups heavily over-subscribed. In addition to the 116 students in year 10, provisional offers have been made to 100 students in year 12, dependent on GCSE results.