They learnt and conducted a range of scientific techniques, such as sampling a stream for different invertebrates, sampling areas of Dalby Forest and examining “areas of succession”, looking at the way the environment changes over time.
They also completed beach field work at Filey and investigated desiccated seaweed, barnacles and other organisms, and visited a farm to look at energy transfers involved in intensive farming, such as mass meat production from large pig farms.
Students George Hodgson, Will Jennison, James Coulson and Haitam Amudi, all 18, and Kate Hickingbottom and Ebony Revell, both 17, took part in the visit.
Kate said: “We all loved the trip and it gave us a great insight into how our classroom studies apply to real life.
“We enjoyed exploring lots of different environments such as rocky shores and lakes. Our favourite was Dalby Forest, where we had a picnic and used specialist equipment to investigate the stages of succession.
“All the tutors were really friendly and knowledgeable, helping us to identify any species we found and making our time fun.”
Sarah Buchan, Lead Practitioner for Biology at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It was wet, windy and fun all at the same time, and a truly invaluable experience.
“You can teach the theory in the classroom, but unless you put the techniques into practise you can’t understand the methods and analysis and how they work.
“An essential part of the course is practical work and it was also a good opportunity to look at specialist equipment, which wouldn’t have been possible if we weren’t on site.
“The impact that businesses have on the environment is becoming increasingly important too. This opportunity has allowed students to get hands-on experience of how this impact can be measured in order to maintain biodiversity.
“We weren’t able to run the trip last year because of Covid restrictions, so it’s great they’ve had the opportunity now and they haven’t missed out. Everyone really enjoyed it.”
Ron Dearing UTC students are preparing to go head-to-head with peers across the region and beyond in a competition inspired by Formula 1.
The F1 in Schools challenge is the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition with more than a million schoolchildren in 40 countries taking part every year.
Each team designs and manufactures a miniature car based on the official F1 model using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). The cars are powered using CO₂ cartridges and are attached to a 25-metre track by a nylon wire and raced, with teams competing at regional, national and international level, depending on their success.
This is the first time Ron Dearing UTC students have entered the competition, with 17 Year 10 and Year 12 students from the employer-led school taking part in four teams. The participants have created logos, designed their uniforms and planned social media and marketing strategies to promote themselves before designing and manufacturing their cars.
They also have to gain sponsorship from businesses, give a presentation on their work to a panel of expert judges from F1, manufacturing and engineering backgrounds, and create a pit display stand to promote their team.
Speed is a major factor in determining winning teams, as well as other criteria such as timing, innovative thinking and the specification of each team’s car.
The students recently visited Porsche Centre Hull at the Bridgehead business park in Hessle for a behind-the-scenes tour of the workshop, showroom, valet bay and state-of-the-art technology used to give customers the best possible service. They also met the Porsche Centre team, including staff who shared their career journeys with the students.
Simon Edwards, Teacher of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, who is leading the challenge on behalf of the school, is no stranger to success in F1 in Schools.
He previously taught in the Bahamas and United States and his students won the state championship of the competition in Illinois in 2018 and 2019, before winning the American national title last year.
Simon said: “Teamwork, delegation and accountability play a huge part in this challenge. It’s a great opportunity for the team members to grow in confidence, as they speak to so many people at various levels in industry throughout the challenge, and I have very high hopes for our students.
“The F1 in Schools challenge is taken very seriously because so many high level businesses and individuals in industry get involved. The British Williams F1 motor racing team even offers apprenticeships to some winners.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the Porsche Centre for being so accommodating and making us all so welcome during the visit.”
The challenge is part of Ron Dearing UTC’s extensive Enrichment Programme, which offers a host of opportunities for students to embrace an extra interest, such as cookery, theatre, learning a new language, music and more.
Due to Covid restrictions, the regional finals of the competition will take place online and teams will send their cars to the F1 in Schools organisers to race on their behalf, with the races available to watch on YouTube. If restrictions allow, the national finals will take place at Silverstone, the home of British racing, before the international finals which will take place in a location yet to be decided.
Sarah Hiles, Showroom Manager at Porsche Centre Hull, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Ron Dearing UTC students and they were all so enthusiastic.
“We believe it’s really important to invest in young people. We’re delighted to have been able to offer this experience.”
Ron Dearing’s UTC’s teams – Delta, Vortex, Overflow and Mach Racing – include students who bring various individual strengths to their groups and have chosen areas to specialise in, such as marketing, design or engineering.
Year 10 student Sandis Logins, 15, who is part of the Delta Racing team, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us and it was amazing to visit the Porsche showroom. It’s my favourite car brand and I really enjoyed the day.
“It’s fantastic to be part of the F1 in Schools challenge and I hope we make it to the finals.”
Year 12 student Mercy McFarlane, 16, who is part of the Mach Racing team, said: “Visiting the Porsche showroom was inspiring. There is a lot of flying and travelling in the motorsport industry, which is why we want to look at sustainability as part of our team.”
The students will hold a fundraising event at the Porsche Centre in Hessle on March 17th when invited guests will be able to support the teams in raising money towards uniforms, materials for the cars and other costs factored into their overall team budgets.
Any businesses who would like to support the students in the challenge, or attend the event, are asked to email Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, here.
Ron Dearing UTC is heavily oversubscribed for places for next year’s Year 10. As a result, last Thursday evening the oversubscription criteria were applied to all applications received by January 31, 2022.
Those students who were randomly selected have been contacted and offered a place. Their parents must now return the form enclosed with their offer to formally accept their place. All other applicants have been placed onto the waiting list (over 300 students).
If a student decides not to accept their place, we will go back to the waiting list and the oversubscription criteria will be applied again to identify a student to replace them. This student’s parents will then be contacted to offer their son/daughter the place.
The process will be complete by March 31, 2022. Any students who have not been randomly selected by this date will be sent a letter explaining that they have been unsuccessful gaining a place and providing information about the appeals process.
We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation for parents and students who have not been successful in gaining a place so far. We wish we were able to offer places to all students who applied but sadly do not have the capacity.
Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) has been named as the country’s top performing school or college for the percentage of students moving on to apprenticeships following sixth form.
The employer-led school, which is rated Outstanding by education regulator Ofsted, is ranked number one out of more than 4,500 schools and colleges in England in the Department for Education’s latest destinations data for Year 13 leavers.
Of the 74 Year 13 sixth form students who took Level 3 A-level or technical qualifications in 2019, more than half (54%) went onto apprenticeships and sustained their destination – the highest percentage of any English school or college.
In addition, almost every student went onto positive destinations, including 32% progressing to further or higher education and 9% securing employed roles which were not apprenticeships.
The data for Ron Dearing UTC covers students who studied level 3 qualifications, including A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and Level 3 technical qualifications in Engineering, iMedia, Art and Design and Computing.
The news comes during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 – the 15th annual celebration of the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “This is fantastic news. We thought we were the most successful school or college within our region in terms of students taking up apprenticeships and we knew we were significantly above the national average, which was 7% in 2019. But we didn’t know, until now, that we were the country’s top performing school for progression to apprenticeships.
“It’s a credit to our unique curriculum, employer-led model of learning and links with leading businesses across the region, many of whom recruit our students into high-quality apprenticeships.
“It’s also notable that six of the top 10 schools and colleges included in the data are UTCs, which demonstrates that the UTC educational approach is delivering the knowledge and skills employers want and industry needs.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our brilliant university and employer partners, who play such a vital role in our students’ impressive successes. It’s another proud achievement for Ron Dearing UTC and everyone associated with us.”
The apprenticeships secured by the 2019 Ron Dearing UTC sixth form students were varied, ranging from engineering and web development, to manufacturing, quality control, accountancy and more.
Since then, in both 2020 and 2021 every one of the Ron Dearing UTC’s Year 13 students went on to apprenticeships, university, employment, further education or the Armed Forces.
The outstanding record of progression into apprenticeships underlines Ron Dearing UTC’s success in delivering on the school’s vision to create work-ready young people with the advanced digital and engineering skills needed by businesses across the region.
Former student Evie Westoby, now 21, left Ron Dearing UTC in 2019 to begin an engineering apprenticeship at Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners. She has since become one of 14 former students who have secured permanent roles with the Hull-based engineering business.
Evie, who is now a Trainee Engineer, said: “Ron Dearing UTC played a major part in helping me to secure an apprenticeship because of the connections it has with so many businesses. The school helped me to grow in confidence and pushed me to get to where I am now.
“I’m part of the Mechanical and Electrical team at Spencer Group and my role involves both office and site-based roles. At the moment I’m working from drawings to quantify materials and pricing, produce quotes and go to suppliers to source the right products that also offer best value for money.
“I love my job and I want to work my way up within the business, gaining as many qualifications as I can.”
Ethan Russell, 18, left Ron Dearing UTC last year to begin a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Apprenticeship at Hessle-based industrial laser manufacturer Luxinar, a Major Partner of the UTC.
Ethan said: “Being a Luxinar apprentice is helping me learn more about the industry and it’s a really good company to work for. Gaining engineering and manufacturing theory and experience at Ron Dearing UTC has stood me in good stead for this role.”
Yvonne Moir, HR Director at Spencer Group, said apprenticeships and the pipeline of talent from Ron Dearing UTC were vital to the business.
She said: “The standard of students the UTC produces is exceptional. This is evidenced not only by their technical and academic skills, but by their level of maturity, willingness to learn, positive attitudes and work readiness. These attributes make them perfect candidates for the Spencer Group’s talent stream.
“The fact we have recruited 28 of our apprentices from the UTC since 2019, 14 of whom have already become permanent employees, is testament to the UTC’s success. A further 19 students are also about to attend the final stage of this year’s recruitment process for our 2022 intake of apprentices.”
Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged between 14 and 19, offering a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.
The school’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group.
It is also supported by Hull City Council and many other industry partners, including Arco, C4DI, Fujitsu, Green Port Hull, Heald, Ideal Boilers, INEOS Acetyls, Kohler Mira, Luxinar, NEC Software Solutions, Ørsted, Sauce, Sewell Group, Sonoco Trident and more.