Hundreds flock to Ron Dearing UTC as new school welcomes potential students and parents
Hundreds of prospective students and their parents have flooded into Hull’s new Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) to find out about places at the city’s first employer-led school.
An amazing 760 students and their parents or guardians crowded into the new school’s Smith & Nephew Conference Centre for the first of a series of open events staged to give them a chance to find out how an education at Ron Dearing UTC will give young people the edge in the competitive jobs market.
The numbers were more than twice as many as the best attended open event as part of the recruitment campaign for the first intake of students, who joined the school when it opened last month.
The school is backed by many of the region’s biggest and best employers and was heavily over-subscribed for the first year, despite increasing the number of students accepted from the original target of 150 to 230.
The UTC has already received more than 160 applications to join in September 2018, when a further 240 student places will be available.
Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw with some of the first intake of 14-year-old pupils at Ron Dearing UTC, which has already received more than 160 applications to join in September next year.
Principal Sarah Pashley said: “The turnout has been amazing and we’re delighted so many students and parents are interested in Ron Dearing UTC.
“We know interest in the school is incredibly strong, but we didn’t quite expect so many people through the doors. We had to lift the original ceiling on numbers because of the demand, but we expected some people who had registered to drop out.
“In fact, we had even more people coming along than registrations. Students and their parents were so keen to hear about the unique opportunities we offer, hear from our employer sponsors and see the school. There was a real buzz throughout the evening and it was very clear that people are really excited by Ron Dearing UTC and want to be part of it.
“As always, it’s our Founding Partners who make the difference. We had some of their most senior executives explaining to students and parents why they are so committed to the school and members of their teams manning stands and giving demonstrations of what they do. That is so powerful.”
Representatives of the Founding Partner employers behind the UTC said they were delighted so many students and their parents shared their passion for its unique educational model.
Rachael Starkey, UK Human Resources Manager, Supply and R&D, for RB, the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, said: “The attendance was amazing – it’s just fantastic that so many students and their parents are interested in joining the UTC.
“It’s also great that so many people have given up their time in the evening, after school or work, to hear from us and find out about the school. It means an awful lot to us.
“At RB our strapline is ‘awesome talent – magic culture’ and we see Ron Dearing UTC as a great source of the new talent we need to contribute to that culture.”
Ron Dearing UTC features state-of-the-art facilities such as this Innovation Zone supported by global health and hygiene company RB.
David Stephenson, Senior Engineering Projects Manager at global medical technology business Smith & Nephew, said: “I was a little concerned that not as many people would turn up as last year because it was all new then.
“But then I walked into the Conference Centre and thought ‘wow!’. It was heaving and standing room only. It’s very pleasing indeed and a vindication of our commitment, and that of the other employer sponsors, to the UTC.”
The huge interest in Ron Dearing UTC indicates the strong appeal of the school’s unique curriculum which combines academic excellence in the core subjects of English, maths and sciences with the opportunity to specialise in digital technology and/or mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering.
Peter Thompson and his son Nathan, 14, in the Siemens Gamesa Digital Lab with Computer Science Teacher Jonny Sidaway during Ron Dearing UTC’s open event.
Parent Peter Thompson, from Kingswood, Hull, attended the open event with his son Nathan and said: “To see such big companies nurturing and investing in future talent is absolutely phenomenal. As a parent, it gives me great confidence and hope for the future of young people in Hull and the East Riding.
“There’s a big gap we need to fill in areas like engineering and technical skills and we all know we live in a digital world. So developing a curriculum around digital technology has to be right and this is a great opportunity to unlock young people’s passion and talent.”
Nathan, 14, added: “This school seems very advanced and very different. The school I go to now doesn’t have the technology there is here or the companies involved.”
Steve and Mandy Kendall, from east Hull, brought along their son Taylor, 16, who wants to join Ron Dearing UTC next year in Year 12, and daughter Madison, 12, who will be eligible for Year 10 in 2019.
Mr Kendall said: “The thing that stood out for me was how professional everything is – from the impressions you get from as soon as you walk in, to the people, the presentations and the information provided.
“It gave me the sense that this is the right place to be and Taylor will be applying to come here in September next year. As a parent, this school offers him the best start as he looks towards his working life.
“Madison wants to do architectural design and I think the opportunity is even better for her, as she will get a further two years studying subjects that are directly relevant to her future career.”
Ron Dearing UTC is backed by the University of Hull and its Founding Partner employers – KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group. It is also supported by a host of other business partners.
The UTC is located next to Hull New Theatre in Hull city centre and has been established to develop a new pipeline of tech-savvy and work-ready young people. The £10m building, facilities, technology and curriculum have all developed in partnership with the Founding Partners.
Students or their parents/guardians can apply online to join the UTC at year 10 or 12 (aged 14 or 16) from next September here.
Further open events will be held at Ron Dearing UTC on November 9 and January 11, from 6pm for Year 10 students and 7pm for Year 12. Students and parents can find out more about the open events and secure their places here.