Science brought to life as students visit world-class research centre

Sixth form students from Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) have travelled to Switzerland to visit one of the world’s leading centres for scientific research, to bring their physics studies to life.

Fifteen Year 12 and 13 physics students were the first students from the employer-led school to travel abroad on an educational visit, flying from Manchester to Geneva for the three-day trip.

The Ron Dearing UTC group outside CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

They visited the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, which operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

The LHC, which sits in a tunnel 100 metres underground at CERN, pushes protons or ions close to the speed of light and consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with accelerating structures which boost the energy of the particles along the way.

Physicists and engineers at CERN probe the fundamental structure of the particles which make up the universe and do so using the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments.

Students enjoyed an amazing learning experience at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN.

The Ron Dearing students also visited the United Nations (UN) offices in Geneva, where they had a guided tour of the building and found out about the history of the second largest of the four major UN sites.

In addition, they visited a human rights exhibition, as well as having a free day to explore the city and take in the sights, such as Lake Geneva, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and parks.

Our students outside the United Nations building in Geneva, the second largest of the four major UN sites.

Trip organiser Harry Banks, Lead Practitioner of Science at Ron Dearing UTC, said the trip was enjoyable and informative, with plans now underway to open up more overseas educational visits.

He said: “The main purpose of the trip was to support the students’ physics studies and give them a wider understanding of the application of politics in the wider world with the visit to the UN.

“It gave the students an opportunity to see what they could aspire to become in the future and they were able to see how scientists collaborate internationally. Now we’re back, the students are learning more about particle physics and particle accelerators as a follow-up.

“I’d like to take the students, including some year 11s, to the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, next year and alternate between there and CERN each year, so they can experience both.

“Trips like this give the students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and look at the opportunities science can bring them, not just as individuals, but in the wider world.”

Taking a cooling dip in spectacular Lake Geneva.

Year 12 student Josh Stanley, 16, who would like to study electrical engineering at university, said the visit brought the world of science to life.

He said: “It was really interesting and great fun learning more about CERN, and going to the UN was the highlight for me because we were able to see a meeting taking place.

“I had heard of CERN before but never had the opportunity to visit. It made me realise how much we are willing to do in the name of science and I’d like to do a job which exists because of scientific advancements in the future.

“We really feel lucky – I don’t know of another school which offers experiences like this.”

Year 13 student Nathan Tennison, 18, hopes to study astrophysics at the University of Leeds, starting in September.

He said: “Geneva is a lovely city and CERN was really cool. I’ve always wanted to visit CERN and I studied particle accelerators for a year before the trip.

“The main thing I learnt was about the importance of magnets and helium, and it was great to see how everyone was united in the number one goal of finding out more about the energies of the universe.”

Students apply maths and engineering skills to sewer scheme challenges

Students from Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) drew on their maths and engineering expertise to offer their take on a huge project to improve London’s sewerage system.

Slipform Engineering, a sister company of Spencer Group, one of the employer-led school’s Founding Partners, is one of the contractors working on the upgrade of the capital’s sewerage system, known as the Thames Tideway project.

London currently relies on a 150-year-old sewer system built for a population of less than half its current size, which results in millions of tonnes of untreated raw sewage spilling into the River Thames each year.

The Chambers Wharf shaft, one of the biggest access points as part of the London’s huge Thames Tideway project, which Ron Dearing UTC students have been learning about.

The Thames Tideway project, which is due to compete in 2024, involves building a 25 kilometre “super sewer” under the Thames to intercept the spills and clean up the river.

The new system transfers the waste below the river itself, rather than into the water, and a concrete column needs to be installed to the depth of the new drain, reinforced with a steel structure to redirect the sewerage.

The concrete structure is made by using a “slipforming rig”, which allows the continuous pouring of concrete into a moving form, creating a seamless structure.

To move the slipforming rig through the column, a series of hydraulic jacks are required at the top of the column and are anchored on support beams, known as a steel grillage. This needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the rig, ensuring it doesn’t bend and remains horizontal.

Slipform Engineering, a sister company of Ron Dearing UTC Founding Partner Spencer Group, is working on the Thames Tideway “super sewer” formed by a 25km tunnel, featuring 24 construction sites.

In one of the latest technically challenging projects set by Founding Partners at Ron Dearing UTC, Year 12 maths and engineering students were tasked with investigating the appropriateness of different structures for the steel grillage and designing a set of beams so the rig remained in place and didn’t slip.

Project members had to demonstrate their solutions using calculations and drawing detailed diagrams to back up their theories.

Dan Howard, Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students found it fascinating to learn about such an enormous engineering project and enjoyed applying the skills they have developed to meet the challenges it poses.

“Projects like this bring maths and engineering out of the classroom and into the real world.”

Students inspect and test cables as project brings ultrafast broadband rollout to life

Sixth form students at the Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) have been tasked with inspecting and testing the science behind KCOM’s ultrafast fibre broadband network.

KCOM is one of the employer-led school’s Founding Partners and has rolled out its Lightstream service to its customers in Hull and the surrounding area.

The Hull-based IT and communications company has rolled out 11,000,000m of fibre cable – enough to stretch around the Moon – to reach customers in its network and each cable needs to be joined at appropriate intersections using a process called splicing.

A process called “fusion splicing” involves heating the fibre cables up to 4,000C, at which point the fibres then join, and splicing the cables is critical to ensuring KCOM maintains excellent customer service.

Ron Dearing UTC Sixth form students have been learning about the rollout of KCOM’s ultrafast fibre broadband network in one of the school’s employer-led projects.

As part of the project brief, KCOM invited 22 Year 12 and 13 engineering and digital technology students in as consultants to see how they’d approach the delicate process.

They visited KCOM’s Lighthouse demonstration facility at its Salvesen Way offices in Hull, which provides an insight into how the telecommunications industry has evolved over the past 100 years. The Lighthouse brings to life the science behind fibre broadband networks, from the equipment at the local telephone exchange all the way to the customer’s router at home.

The students were then tasked with manufacturing spliced cable joints, continuing the project in school.

They then had to report how they could use inspection and testing methods, as well as processes, to identify issues during the joint installations, and during the manufacture of the components, to reduce the number of low-quality spliced joints.

Dan Howard, Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students were taught how to fusion splice, which is the welding together of fibre optic cables. They then did this in school and had to inspect and test the joints, and assess how it all works.

“Key to the project is gaining hands-on experience of working alongside the KCOM staff, who do this on a daily basis, and the engineers who go out into the field. Learning from them brings it all to life.”

The challenge is one of many technically-complex projects set by Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, which aim to inspire and educate students as they progress through their learning journey.

Simon Lucas, KCOM’s Head of IT Service Operations, said: “It was fantastic to welcome students from Ron Dearing UTC to give them an insight into how we work and why engineering is such an important and rewarding career.

“As a Hull-based company it’s vitally important that we are creating the next generation of engineers and digital professionals with the skills to help not only KCOM, but the whole local economy thrive.

“It’s great that Ron Dearing UTC is inspiring young people with the skills needed to prosper and make Hull a leading tech hub for the 21st Century.”

Alan Johnson pays tribute to students as school celebrates year of achievement July 16th, 2019

Former Education Secretary Alan Johnson has hailed Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) as one of the best schools of its kind in the country and paid tribute to its outstanding students.

Mr Johnson, who is Ron Dearing UTC’s Patron, was speaking as students and their parents gathered with teaching staff to celebrate another superb year of achievement for the employer-led school and its talented learners.

The former West Hull and Hessle MP was speaking at the school’s Celebration of Achievement Evening attended by scores of students who have excelled over the past year, together with their proud parents.

Patron Alan Johnson paid tribute to Ron Dearing UTC’s students as the school celebrated another outstanding year of achievement.

Mr Johnson said: “There are around 50 UTCs and I can tell you this is one of the best. Once we have gone through the Ofsted report process and gained our first exam results, I’m sure this will officially be what everyone already feels it is – the one of the best UTCs in the country.

“That’s because it’s had the best leadership, the best business engagement and it’s had great input from the parents but, most of all, because of the students.

“It makes all of us who dreamed of establishing a UTC in Hull so proud to see everything we hoped for become reality.”

Mr Johnson said establishing the UTC was one of the three best things to happen in Hull over the past five years, together with City of Culture and Siemens coming to the city.

He said learners and their parents had shown they were right to take a “leap in the dark” by opting to join the school when it was so new and told the students: “You’re a credit not just to education in Hull, but to education in this country.”

Students and parents also heard from Charlie Spencer OBE, the UTC’s Chair of Governors and Executive Chairman of Hull-based engineering business Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners.

Mr Spencer said that, as an entrepreneur, he was known as a calculated risk-taker and Ron Dearing UTC’s students had that in common with him.

“You’re risk-takers and ambitious too. When you take a risk and it goes wrong it can be absolutely horrible, but when you pull it off it’s fantastic,” he said.

“You decided what you wanted to do, you took a chance and you pulled it off. Now you’re prize winners, which is fabulous.”

Mr Spencer said the school had a palpable sense of “vibrancy, energy and confidence”, which was due to the leadership of Principal Sarah Pashley and her team.

Speaking on behalf of the University of Hull and the employer partners, he said: “Every single one of us is so proud and pleased to be associated with this place and with these students.”

Mrs Pashley responded by thanking the school’s Founding Partners and other employer sponsors for their invaluable contribution and added: “I really want to say a huge thank you to the staff. They are amazing and I love working with them.”

Students received awards presented by teachers and representatives of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners – the University of Hull, KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group.

Kelham Hillier is congratulated by Professor Stephen Kelly on being named as winner of the University of Hull Award for Academic Excellence.

Among the successful students were 15-year-old Kelham Hillier, who claimed no less than six awards, including the University of Hull Award for Academic Excellence.

He said: “I didn’t expect to get this many awards – I would have been chuffed with one and I’m pretty overwhelmed. I feel so happy I made the decision to come here. It’s been really good for me and speeded up my learning.”

Tapi Ngoro enjoys his success with Alan Johnson after being presented with the Patron’s Award for Young Advocate of the Year.

Sixteen-year-old Tapi Ngoro received three awards, including The Patron’s Award for Young Advocate of the Year. He said: “This is unlike any other school because of the opportunities you get to work with the employer partners and the work experience that’s available.

“It gives you a real insight into industries you might want to work in. That’s been a real game-changer for me.”

The prizes awarded to dozens of students in recognition of their achievements over the past year.

Full list of award winners:

Year 10

Subject Awards

Maths: Achievement – Kelham Hillier; Productivity – Noah Devine-Runkee

Physics: Achievement – Jasveer Jabbal; Productivity – Keelie Hakim

Chemistry: Achievement – Alan Strauhs; Productivity – Jake Tyson

Combined Science: Achievement – George Wilkinson; Productivity – Cerys Matthews

Biology: Achievement – Kelham Hiller; Productivity – Lucy Good

English: Achievement – Ali Rafai; Productivity – Sinead Shears

Environment: Achievement – Sinead Frame; Productivity – Harvey Atkins

Digital Awards

Computer Science: Achievement – Louis Cook; Productivity – Adam Davies

Creative Digital: Achievement – Alan Strauhs; Productivity – Sinead Shears

Digital Tech: Achievement – Aimee Laws; Productivity – Ellis Callow

Art and Design: Achievement – Evie Hadfield; Productivity – Emily Holwell

Digital Tech Talent Award – Joshua Green

Engineering Awards

Principles: Achievement – Emily Holwell; Productivity – Matthew Blain

Manufacture: Achievement – Lucy Good; Productivity – Jayden Howard

Systems and Control: Achievement – Jacob Smelt; Productivity – Harvey Atkins

Design: Achievement – Kelham Hiller; Productivity – Evie Hadfield

Engineer of the Year Award – Kelham Hillier

Contribution to Sport

Ben Cameron-Skoof

Contribution to the Combined Cadet Force

Charlie Cook

Professional Values and Behaviours Awards

Matthew Blain

Evie Hadfield

Keelie Hakim

Alan Strauhs

Aimee Laws

Sinead Shears

Alex Carmichael

Reece Fraser

Peace Umudjoro

Kelham Hillier

Charlie Richardson

Ellis Wysthoff

Most improved

Ben Greenley

Student of the Year Award

Reece Fraser

University of Hull Award for Academic Excellence

Kelham Hiller

RB Award for Inspirational Leadership

Ellis Wysthoff

Junior Digital Champion

Alan Strauhs

Year 12

A Level/GCSE Awards

Maths: Achievement – Charlotte Cook; Productivity – Joshua Peck

Further Maths: Achievement – Alex Todd; Productivity – Oliver Walkington

Physics: Achievement – Alex Todd; Productivity – Oliver Walkington

Chemistry: Achievement – Charlotte Cook; Productivity – Sarah Dabare

Biology: Achievement – Charlotte Cook; Productivity – Josh Peck & Sarah Dabare

English: Achievement – Dillon Reen; Productivity – Joseph Sewell

Digital Awards

Computer Science: Achievement – Charlie Hutty; Productivity – Tapi Ngoro

Creative Digital: Achievement Shervin Ventura; Productivity – Callum King

Art and Design: Achievement – Tiegan Hall; Productivity – Ryan Carmichael

Creative Talent of the Year Award – Deon Wong

Engineering Awards

Principles: Achievement – Oliver Walkington; Productivity – Joshua Peck

Manufacture: Achievement – Ryan Carmichael; Productivity – Tom Dubej

Systems and Control: Achievement – Jordan Moss; Productivity – Evan Purkis

Design: Achievement – Kate Rodley; Productivity – Sam McKinley

Professional Values and Behaviours Awards

Charlie Hutty

Deon Wong

Jordan Moss

Aaron Pocklington

Tapi Ngoro

Charlotte Cook

Sarah Dabare

Lucas Hewson

Jacob James

Emillie Walton

Student of the Year Award

Deon Wong

Founding Partners’ Awards

KCOM Award for Best Communicator – Joshua Stanley

Siemens Gamesa Award for Quality Excellence – Oliver Walkington

Smith & Nephew Award for Innovation – Deon Wong

Spencer Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community – Sarah Dabare

The Patron’s Award for Young Advocate of the Year – Tapi Ngoro

Ron Dearing UTC leads way in training next generation of teaching talent

Hull’s employer-led school is leading the way as a centre of excellence in teacher training in the city.

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) is working with leading training provider Gorse School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) to help attract new teaching talent to Hull and the East Riding.

Gorse, the only Ofsted Outstanding Provider of teacher training in the region, has teamed up with Ron Dearing UTC and four other local secondary schools to provide apprentice-style teacher training for post-graduates.

This is the first time a Gorse SCITT training course has been organised in East Yorkshire, with previous training primarily focused in Leeds and Bradford, and Ron Dearing UTC is the only Hull school involved in the first local cohort, helping to attract the next generation of outstanding teachers to the city.

An induction day will take place on Friday, July 12, which will see next year’s trainee teachers gather for the first time to find out what the year-long training course has in store for them, meet their new colleagues and listen to speakers, enabling them to hit the ground running when the new academic year begins in September.

Out of 22 trainee teachers registered for the 2019 intake across the five schools, up to eight will train at Ron Dearing UTC, undergoing hands-on training, including observation, teaching, planning and marking, in a classroom environment for a range of disciplines, such as English, maths, science, art and design and computer science.

Each of the trainee teachers have passed the interview and selection stage and visited the schools they will train at, stating their preferences for the subjects they would like to specialise in.

Once qualified, they will receive Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) qualification, awarded by the University of Sunderland.

Chris Berry, School-Centred Initial Teacher Training Co-ordinator at Ron Dearing UTC, with Rachel Charlesworth, who has pioneered the training partnership and has now qualified as a Science Teacher at the employer-led school.

Chris Berry, Lead Practitioner and SCITT Co-ordinator at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We want to use our expertise to encourage more people to come into teaching.

“Ron Dearing UTC was established to fill key skills gaps and produce more engineers and young people with advanced technical and digital skills. In order to do that, we need teachers who can develop these skills in young people and we need to grow our own teaching talent.

“We’re not just interested in producing successful students, we’re committed to training and developing successful teachers as well. The two go hand in hand.”

The other four schools involved in the scheme are Bridlington School; Headlands School; Hessle High School; and Baysgarth School in Barton-upon-Humber.

Rachel Charlesworth, who was originally a Science Technician at Ron Dearing UTC, was the first trainee teacher to undergo the Gorse SCITT training course at the school, with her course running from Leeds.

She has now qualified as a Science Teacher at Ron Dearing UTC and said she has never looked back.

Rachel said: “There is no better way of learning to teach than doing it and watching others.

“You learn how to deal with behaviour, how to engage with a class, you’re around other teachers and you learn so much.

“This is definitely the most flexible way to do it and I love it here. Everybody is so friendly and like-minded.”

Students use digital skills to promote the science behind Strepsils

Year 10 students at Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) examined the science behind a well-known throat lozenge brand before using their knowledge to design a website about the product.

RB, the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, is one of the Founding Partners of the employer-led school and gave biology and digital technology students the chance to find out more about anatomy, microbes and sore throats during an interactive session delivered by its Strepsils team.

The 30 students found out how Strepsils work and how they differ to other non-medicated sore throat lozenges before learning about how issues such as the spread of infection.

They also had the opportunity to understand more about antibiotics and their responsible usage before applying their new-found knowledge to developing a prototype website, to educate the public about Strepsils, how they differ to other medicines and the product development process.

The project will culminate in a judging session over coming weeks.

Dan Howard, Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “This project provides the students with an understanding of the different types of brands RB makes.

“It combines science and the biology behind Strepsils with digital technology. The challenge for the student is to understand the biology involved and then communicate it through digital technology.”

Dr Bruce Charlesworth, RB Vice President of Research and Development and Hull Site Lead, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, visited the school to launch the project.

He said: “UTCs are addressing STEM skills gaps identified by employers. They integrate technical, practical and academic learning and create an environment where students can thrive.

“Our partnership with Ron Dearing UTC provides a unique opportunity for us to shape the curriculum and engage young people in science, technology, engineering and maths.”