Ron Dearing UTC students on the starting grid for national finals of Formula 1-inspired competition

Ron Dearing UTC students have secured their place in the national finals of a global Formula 1 racing-inspired competition.

Two teams from the employed-led school – Vortex Racing and Mach Racing – entered the F1 in Schools challenge, the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition, for the first time this year.

Based on the official F1 model, the teams designed and manufactured their miniature cars using specialist computer software. They also developed their brand, time management and budgeting skills, built their social media presence and linked up with businesses to raise thousands of pounds in sponsorship for their teams.

The competition cars are powered by CO2 cartridges and are attached to a 25-metre track by a nylon wire and raced. They are timed by a computer from the moment they are launched to when they pass the finish line.

The regional finals of the competition were broadcast on YouTube on October 6 and 7, with the Ron Dearing UTC teams competing against 19 other schools across Yorkshire, the Humber and the East Midlands.

The Vortex Racing team.


Vortex Racing were crowned the regional champions and will now compete in the national finals as part of the Autosport International Show at the NEC Birmingham from January 12 to 14, with the chance of qualifying for the world finals.

The team also posted the fastest race time overall in the Yorkshire and Humber region in the first day of the regional finals, with their car achieving 1.234 seconds from start to finish on the track.

The UTC’s Mach Racing team also won the Star Quality: Verbal Presentation Award for the region, which highlighted their ability to engage with the judges while describing their work.

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal – Employer Engagement at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students have worked so hard and it’s fantastic to see their dedication recognised.

“To be crowned regional champions in the first year Ron Dearing UTC has entered the competition is an incredible achievement.

“This is testament to the time and effort they’ve put in and the amazing backing they’ve received from our employer partners other leading regional businesses.

“Well done to both Vortex Racing and Mach Racing. We’re looking to seeing how far Vortex can progress in the next stage of the competition in January.”

As part of their fundraising and networking efforts, both teams held a fundraising event at Porsche Centre Hull at the Bridgehead business park in Hessle earlier this year, which raised thousands of pounds towards offsetting the costs of each team and their potential participation at each level of the competition.

Mach Racing.


The event saw more than 100 invited guests meet the teams, listen to their pitches, race F1 in Schools-style cars and take part in a silent auction and raffle.

The teams pitched to potential sponsors, including representatives from the UTC’s employer partners, other leading businesses across the region and the students’ families and friends, about how their logos would be displayed and promoted on an international stage in the competition.

Year 11 student Zach Craig, 15, of Vortex Racing, said: “We’re over the moon with the performance of the team and our car during the regional event. The hard work has paid off and the knowledge we’ve gained will go a long way into our engineering careers.

“We couldn’t have achieved any of this without the amazing support from our sponsors. We’re looking forward to the national finals and can’t wait to make our sponsors and Ron Dearing UTC proud.”

The Vortex Racing sponsors are AJ Building Ltd; Rix Oil; Jupiter IT Support; Cool Hand Luke; Barak Forklifts; Tracy Westwood; G4 Design and Print; House of Townend; Pizza Mama; Influence Media and backers of the silent auction.

Year 13 student Mercy Macfarlane, 17, of Mach Racing, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to develop my communication skills and my design and manufacture abilities. We’re really proud to have won the award for best verbal presentation and would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support as we look towards next year’s race season.”

The Mach Racing sponsors are ARCO; Tommy Coyle; Siemens Gamesa; Sowden and Sowden; Autodesk and Dresses with Pockets.

Other Vortex Racing team members include Year 11 students Rhyse McCloud, Thomas Jimmeson and Keanu Mkhize, all 15, and Year 13 students Jack Macmillan and Kieran Thompson, both 17.

Mach Racing also include Year 13 student Jessica MacLachlan, 17.

State-of-the-art technology brings future learning space to life for UTC students

Students at Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) have been given a high-tech first glimpse of exactly how their state-of-the-art school will look once expansion work is complete.

The employer-led school in Kingston Square has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017. Following significant funding from the Department for Education (DfE), it is increasing student places from 600 to 800 to meet growing demand.

Phase one of the expansion, completed in August, involved remodelling areas of the existing school building to create two new science laboratories, a new science classroom and additional independent study space for sixth formers.

Phase two includes the renovation and repurposing of the former Central Fire Station next door to the school into a satellite site.

Contractor Sewell Construction organised a mixed and augmented reality (AR) tour of the former fire station for the Ron Dearing UTC Student Design and Build Team, who used the latest holographic technology to bring the architect’s plans to life based on a 3D model of the site.

Year 12 students Lleyton Sharpe and Molly Warburton, both 16, being given a high-tech look at the Ron Dearing UTC expansion.


They used headsets, hollow lens equipment, tablets and mobile phones to visualise exactly how each area of the building will look, scanning QR codes to pinpoint various parts of the project.

The space was brought to life during the tour, enabling students to digitally feel part of the finished environment.

Mark Boothby, Joint Managing Director of Sewell Construction, which is embedding AR technology across the business, said: “Until this technology became more available, the only way to view the finished outcome was on a fixed screen or wait until it is constructed.

“Now, you can take it to site to compare it to the real-life environment, rather than having to rely on  2D information, and this approach will be used even more widely in the years ahead.

“It’s important for us to show the students where the industry and technology is heading and vitally important they are aware of it. Some of them may want to work in the construction industry and this is showing them the future.”

Sewell Construction gave students at Ron Dearing UTC a mixed and augmented reality (AR) tour of the former Central Fire Station.


The ground floor of the former fire station will house a “smart” exhibition centre which will be used by students and the UTC’s employer partners to showcase low carbon technologies and lead the green revolution across the region. It will also double up as a creative exhibition space to host artists in residence, art exhibitions, arts markets and community arts projects.

The first and second floors will be home to STEAM Studios, which will provide the UTC’s fast-growing Creative specialism with three first class art and design studios, a ceramics room, printmaking facilities and two high-tech digital labs. Floor one will also house a brand new Sixth Form Centre.

The project is being carried out with a strong emphasis on sustainable construction practises, making use of green technologies to bring the former fire station back to life and ensure it is transformed into a vibrant, low carbon building.

Year 12 student Molly Warburton, 16, used both mixed and augmented reality (AR) technology during the tour and saw the former fire station brought to life as a working learning environment.

She said: “I could see a creative studio through the lens and I was really impressed by the level of detail. It’s a really exciting time for Ron Dearing UTC and it’s brilliant to see how the fire station will look when it’s finished. The tour was really interesting and a great opportunity for students.”

From left, Year 12 students Lleyton Sharpe and Molly Warburton, Mark Boothby, Joint Managing Director of Sewell Construction, Amie Mangham, Assistant Design Manager at Sewell Construction, and Dave Major, Project Manager at Sewell Construction.


Fellow Year 12 student Lleyton Sharpe, 16, who hopes to secure an engineering apprenticeship in the future, said: “The tour was really good because it’s teaching us additional skills using new technology and helping us understand more about sustainability. You don’t often see this side of a building project.

“The expansion will be great for students in the future and I think more people will want to come and learn at Ron Dearing UTC.”

Work to expand Ron Dearing UTC began earlier this year after Hull City Council gave the go-ahead for the plans. Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd is acting as project managers on the expansion scheme, Space Architects drew up the plans and BuildingPoint UK and Ireland provided the technology for the student tour.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Director of Creativity at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The tour showcased the importance of learning digital skills to open up further opportunities in the future and support students into exciting careers in the creative, construction, digital and renewables industries.

“Our creative pathway is in high demand and we’re delighted we’ll be able to accommodate so many more Year 12 students in such wonderful, purpose-built, creative facilities.

Work is underway to transform the former Central Fire Station.


“The additional space and specialist facilities also means we can increase the number of creative qualifications we can offer, including A-levels in Graphics and Product Design in addition to the Photography, Fine Art and iMedia courses we already run.”

Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged from 14 to 19 and offers a unique model of employer-led education with a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering.

The expansion will enable an additional 200 students to study Level 3 qualifications in engineering, creative and digital and provide local industry with additional highly skilled and qualified potential employees every year.

Prospective students learn more about Ron Dearing UTC in first of three open events

Hundreds of prospective students attended an open event at Ron Dearing UTC to find out more about the Ofsted-‘Outstanding’ rated school and view its first class facilities.

Students who hope to join the UTC in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2023 turned out for the first of three open events, meeting the team, employer partners and current and former students while hearing more about the unique employer-led curriculum.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley and Head of School Steve Willacy told students and their parents and carers about the support and opportunities the school’s employer partners offer students and how they help shape the curriculum in line with skills they want to see in their future workforces.

They also outlined how Ron Dearing UTC students follow a 40-hour working week, with homework scheduled into their school days, and how professional behaviours are instilled in the students from the moment they join, giving them the edge in their future careers.

Sarah highlighted the school’s extensive Enrichment and Cultural Capital programme, which encourage students to broaden their horizons and grow to become happy, confident and well-rounded individuals who appeal to employers and universities.

Prospective students, their parents and carers at the Ron Dearing UTC open event.


She said: “In addition to the qualifications students follow, we encourage them to participate in a wide breadth of experiences which help them to develop wider interests and discover who they are and how they fit into the world we live in.  We want them to develop their ‘personal brand’ and be able to talk about this articulately.

“This makes them very attractive to universities and employers alike. It also and also puts them in a good position to set up their own businesses, if they wish.”

Attendees heard about the UTC’s exceptional exam results and the positive destinations students have moved onto since leaving the school.

Sarah said: “We know that what we’re doing works because Ofsted rated us as Outstanding and were unable to identify a single improvement area. It was great to get such a strong stamp of approval.

“The Ofsted feedback we’re most proud of is that inspectors told us that every student they spoke to said staff at our school really care about them – and we do.”

Creative students at Ron Dearing UTC.


As well as sharing information about the range of GCSEs, A-levels and technical qualifications on offer, Steve highlighted less traditional opportunities available to sixth form students, including driving lessons and health and safety, first aid and Microsoft qualifications.

Violet Cook, 13, hopes to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 next year and attended the open event with her mum, Sarah, and sister Hermione, 15, who is a Year 11 student at the school.

Violet said: “Ron Dearing UTC seems like a really good school and the staff treat you like an adult. I’m interested in photography and the creative side of learning and I like the thought of learning in a professional working environment.”

Hermione said: “Ron Dearing UTC has really helped me to grow as a person, not just in education. I’ve met so many nice people and been given many opportunities.”

Mackenzie Dennison-Buchan, 15, hopes to join Ron Dearing UTC’s sixth form next year and attended the open event with his parents, Tracey Dennison and Dave Buchan.

Prospective students found out more about the employer-led curriculum at Ron Dearing UTC.


Mackenzie said: “Ron Dearing UTC has really good exam results and job success for students. I’m interested in mechanics and it’s great to meet the employer partners. I’ve already applied for a place at the UTC and I hope I’m successful.”

Ron Dearing UTC is currently undergoing expansion to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students following growing demand.

Work to remodel the existing school building is now complete and work is underway to transform the former Central Fire Station next door to the school into a satellite school, which is due to open in June 2023.

There are 150 places for Year 10 students to join Ron Dearing UTC in September 2023 and 200 places available in Year 12. More than 5,000 students are eligible to apply in each year group.

Visit to apply and find out more.

Green-fingered students start planting project to brighten UTC outdoor space

Budding gardeners from Ron Dearing UTC are putting their green-fingered skills into action after starting work on transforming external areas of the school.

“Shrub Club” comprises of students from Year 10, 11 and 12 who are interested in the outdoors and bringing colour to the city centre site, as well as creating a wildlife-friendly haven.

A team of four students joined UTC Principal Sarah Pashley to clear patches of land at the side of the school, next to the car park and entrance, before planting 60 lavender plants to create a hedge and five buddleia plants to bring colour to a wall.

They have also planted 35 roses bushes alongside various spring and summer-flowering bulbs to brighten the area all year round.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley with members of the Shrub Club.


A £1,500 budget has been set aside for the project and students liaised with local residents to bring it to life.

Year 10 student Gabrielle Robinson, 15, said: “I really like gardening and flowers. We’re making a positive contribution to the school environment.”

Year 11 student Morgan-Lee Holderness, 15, said: “Last year I planted some flowers and weeded during my lunch break. I really enjoy coding but I also like gardening and I’m looking forward to seeing these flowers bloom.”

Year 12 student Skylar Dawson, 16, said: “I want to help the environment and encourage others to do the same. I love being outside and it’s great to improve this space for local residents.”

The Shrub Club hard at work.


Sarah said: “This project has been led entirely by the students and it’s fantastic to see so many showing a keen interest in helping to brighten our outside environment.

“We’re going for all round colour and drought resistant plants and we’re looking forward to seeing the end results.”