Art students help to create Hull mural to be seen by millions

Ron Dearing UTC art students have helped to create a large scale mural which will be seen by millions of people each year.

The mural in Hull’s Paragon Interchange has been created by city-based artist Andy Pea after TransPennine Express (TPE) commissioned him to mark the 175th anniversary of the station.

The mural reflects Hull’s rich history, including local landmarks, events, the fishing industry and key figures, celebrating the city’s culture and heritage.

Andy spent time speaking to local residents and commuters about what they’d like to see included in the mural and Ron Dearing UTC art students submitted their own designs, some of which have been incorporated into the final piece.

A group of students also worked alongside Andy to paint some of the mural, learning valuable skills and techniques from the experienced artist as they showcased their own work.

The mural at Paragon Interchange.


Year 12 student Ethan Beaumont, 16, who is studying Fine Art and Engineering Manufacture at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Being involved in painting the mural was a really enjoyable experience.

“We were able to work quite freely and creatively, and it’s great to work on something which will be seen by so many people.”

Fellow Year 12 student Jessie Duncan, 16, who is studying Fine Art, 3D Design and A-level English Literature and English Language, said: “We helped to paint the base of the mural from blue through to darker colours.

“It’s very meaningful and good to be part of something which brightens up the station. I really enjoyed it and I felt honoured to work with Andy. I learnt a lot from him.”

The mural is expected to be completed imminently and will provide a thought-provoking warm welcome for millions of commuters each year.

Ron Dearing UTC students working on the mural.


Andy, who has been an artist for 25 years and has also produced work in the UK, Europe and Mexico, said: “The mural works like a compass. The east wall looks over the Humber and the North Sea and is focused on maritime, fishing and whaling.

“The south wall is all about wildlife and wind turbines and the west is focused on people leaving the station, including remembering soldiers who left and those leaving to go on holiday.

“The north wall includes the last bombsite in Hull on Beverley Road, bands in the city and key figures, and the well-known Rank Hovis mill on Wincolmlee.

“A lot of work has gone into it and I always feel privileged to have Ron Dearing UTC students involved in anything I do because they are fantastic students and fully engage in whatever we’re working on.

“It’s great for them to be able to say they have worked on this and it’s going to be seen by about 10 million people every year. Some artists in galleries don’t have that many people viewing their work.”

Andy Pea with Ron Dearing UTC students.


Andy has previously worked with Ron Dearing students on various projects to inspire them as they follow their creative paths.

Lynn Garland-Collins, Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “It’s fantastic for the students to work with a practising artist on such a large scale community project.

“They have never worked on anything as big as this before and they’ve learnt so many new techniques, including the Squiggle Grid method to help upscale designs.

“The feedback from the students has been wonderful and they’ve all really enjoyed being part of it.”

Ofsted Chief Inspector praises ‘outstanding’ Ron Dearing UTC for inspiring students and meeting employer needs

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector has praised Ron Dearing UTC’s employer-led model of learning after visiting the pioneering Hull school.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman and a team of inspectors were given a tour of Ron Dearing UTC, including its recently opened STEAM Studios centre for creativity, to see how it is preparing students for rewarding careers across a range of sectors.

Ms Spielman had been encouraged by Senior Ofsted Inspector Lee Elliot to personally visit Ron Dearing UTC and find out for herself how its unique employer-led curriculum is meeting employer needs.

Mr Elliot led the team of inspectors at the school’s last Ofsted inspection in 2020, when it was rated ‘Outstanding’ across the board.

Ms Spielman, Mr Elliot and fellow Senior Ofsted Inspectors Alison Aitchison, Zoe Lightfoot and Rachel Angus met with Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley and other members of the senior team, along with representatives from the Governing Board, including Chair Richard Martin.

His Majesty’s Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, right, and Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley talking to Photography, 3D Design and Creative Digital student Taylor Beaden.


They heard from school alumni who have gone on to exciting apprenticeships with leading companies including engineering specialists Spencer Group, a Founding Partner of the UTC, and safety experts Arco, a Major Partner.

The team were told how Ron Dearing UTC’s employer partners help shape its curriculum to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in industry, as well as higher education study.

They were then given a tour of the facilities, where they spoke to students engaging in practical lessons in subjects including Fine Art and Graphics, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD) and Mechatronics.

Ms Spielman said: “Ron Dearing UTC is an outstanding school that is helping to meet local and national employment needs while offering real choice for students who want to specialise in digital, creative and engineering technology.

“The school’s employer-led curriculum and cutting-edge facilities, including the new STEAM Studios, are very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what the students are working on.”

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, on a tour of Ron Dearing UTC in Hull.


Ron Dearing UTC, in Kingston Square, city centre, opened STEAM Studios in the former Hull Fire Station next door last month to support and inspire its growing number of students.

The site has been renovated and repurposed to create an innovative hub including a gallery and exhibition space, digital and photography studios, 2D and 3D studios, as well as an additional sixth form independent study centre.

It is part of wider expansion work at the school, which included remodelling parts of the existing UTC building to create research and development science laboratories and independent study spaces.

The expansion has enabled the UTC to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund, in response to huge demand for student places.

The school, which has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017, has already filled all its additional places and reached its new capacity – a year ahead of schedule.

His Majesty’s Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman with Engineering students at Ron Dearing UTC.


World leading renewable energy company Ørsted, which develops, constructs and operates offshore wind farms across Europe, is a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and has made a substantial financial contribution towards the school’s expansion.

Ms Pashley said: “We were delighted to welcome Amanda and the team of inspectors to Ron Dearing UTC to showcase the work we’re doing to inspire and prepare our students for exciting careers, whilst addressing the skills gap and meeting local and national employer needs.

“We were also very proud to give them a tour of our newly expanded facilities, and to let them hear from the students themselves about what they’re studying and how we’re supporting them to achieve their goals.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, Reckitt, Siemens Gamesa, Smith+Nephew and Spencer Group. The school is also supported by Hull City Council alongside many other Major Partners and Partners.

Record number of prospective students attend Ron Dearing UTC open event

An open event organised for prospective Ron Dearing UTC students attracted a record number of attendees.

Students who would like to join the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2024 attended the event with their parents or carers.

They met the UTC team, Employer Partners and toured the state-of-the-art facilities, including STEAM Studios, the school’s new dedicated centre for creativity which officially opened its doors last month.

A total of 420 students turned out for the open event as they hope to pursue their education in the school’s exciting employer-led working environment.

They found out more about the curriculum, the school’s 40-hour working week, what is expected of students regarding behaviour and conduct, building their personal brand and what the UTC offers outside the classroom.

Prospective students were able to experience practical sessions at Ron Dearing UTC.


They also heard about the incredible exam results achieved, as the UTC significantly outperforms the national averages for GCSE, A-level and technical qualification outcomes. Former Ron Dearing UTC students also attended the open event to inspire prospective students.

Lloyd Shaw, 13, who would like to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 next year, attended with his mum, Sarah Dennett, and sister Bethany Dennett.

Lloyd said: “I’d like to study Engineering or Computing and I like the idea of a 40-hour working week. It was great to have a look around and find out more about the exciting the opportunities available.”

Prospective Year 10 student Billy Wray, 14, who was joined by his parents Mike and Kerry at the open event, said: “I’m interested in becoming an architect in the future, so I’m looking at the Art and Design and Creative iMedia courses. I like the Enrichment programme Ron Dearing offers and the amazing equipment you can use. I really hope I get a place here.”

Kerry said: “Ron Dearing UTC gives students great experiences and they work on real life employer-led projects, so they can relate to them.”

Grace Howe, 13, who attended with her mum Stacey and hopes to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 in 2024, said: “I love Art and English, and I’m considering becoming a police officer or pursuing a career in medicine. It would be a great opportunity for me to study at Ron Dearing and the facilities are amazing.”

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley speaking to prospective students and their parents and carers.


Ron Dearing UTC has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017. The recent expansion of the school has enabled it to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students.

Open event attendees heard about the outstanding destinations 100 per cent of students have moved on to since leaving Ron Dearing UTC, including university and apprenticeships.

Lillie Mitcheson, 15, hopes to join the UTC in Year 12 next year and attended the event with her parents, Lizzy Beach and Phil Mitcheson.

Lillie said: “I’m here to find out more about sciences and 3D design because I’m interested in becoming a vet or going into textiles. I’m keeping my options open and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen.”

Lizzy said: “I like that Ron Dearing UTC helps its students to become work-ready because it’s so important now. It feels more like a workplace than a college, which is impressive.”

Several Ron Dearing UTC Employer Partners attended the open event to share how they support students and the curriculum.

Wendy Hiley, HR and Talent Acquisition Business Partner at rural broadband specialist Quickline Communications, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Everyone is really impressed with the UTC and what it can offer. We love working with Ron Dearing and we’ve already met some really talented and inspirational young people. We can’t wait to have some of these students join our future workforce.”

A total of 420 prospective students turned out for the latest Ron Dearing UTC open event.


Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “More students, parents and carers applied for this open event than ever before and it was fantastic to receive such a high level of interest.

“We’re incredibly proud of our students, staff and our world class facilities, which showcase what we’re about as a UTC and show how doing things differently works.

“New students make a very brave decision to come to us from their existing schools but we promise to deliver for them. We want every student to have the best experience and results possible.”

There are only 200 places available for Year 10 students in September 2024 and 225 places in Year 12. More than 5,000 students per year group are eligible to apply.

Applications have already exceeded the available number of places. The selection process is carried out at random and students will be notified if they have been successful by March 2024. Visit to apply for a place in either year group.

Two further open events have been organised at Ron Dearing UTC and will run from 5pm to 8pm on November 9 and January 11. To book a place visit

Students experience once-in-a-lifetime visit to Aston Martin headquarters

Two Ron Dearing UTC students with a passion for engineering were inspired during a dream VIP experience day at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art headquarters.

Year 13 students Heidi Porter and Jasper Gourley were invited by the luxury British sports car manufacturer to spend a day at the company’s Coventry base, learning everything from how the cars are designed to viewing the latest prototypes.

They met one of Aston Martin’s head designers and found out how the cars are made.

Heidi and Jasper were chosen following their involvement in the F1 in Schools UK Challenge, the world’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition. Ron Dearing UTC students are competing in the competition for the third consecutive year.

It comes after the UTC’s Vortex Racing team won first place in the Regional Finals of the competition in 2021 and two former Year 13 students, Jess MacLachlan and Mercy McFarlane, scooped first place and a string of further accolades in the Regional Finals last year.

Heidi Porter and Jasper Gourley at the Aston Martin headquarters.


Jasper, 17, who is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, has taken on a finance role within in the F1 in Schools UK challenge.

He said: “It was a dream come true to see all the nice cars in such a modern factory.

“We were allowed to sit in them and we were taken around the design area where we saw how the cars are made. They design them as small clay models at first before they eventually become the finished product.

“We saw how they wrap the cars, which is designed to simulate paint, and it looked so shiny.

“I’d like to be a Formula 1 engineer who designs cars around aerodynamics in the future, which draws on my maths and physics interests, and this has inspired me even more.”

The F1 in Schools challenge sees more than one million schoolchildren from 40 countries take part each 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).

Cars on display at the Aston Martin headquarters.


The cars are powered using CO₂ cartridges and are attached to a 25m track by a nylon wire and raced. The teams also design their own branding and logos, plan social media and marketing strategies to promote themselves, deliver presentations and raise sponsorship for their teams.

The Regional Finals will take place in March.

Heidi, 17, who is studying Triple Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, is a team leader and manufacturing engineer in the F1 in Schools UK challenge.

She said: “It was an overwhelming experience and brilliant to see the Aston Martin cars, as well as the prototypes for the next generation of cars.

“It was great to see how a big company like this works behind the scenes and I found it very interesting.”

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement, said: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Heidi and Jasper to see the iconic brand of Aston Martin in action, from design to prototype.

“They were given a real insight into how the industry works and visited the design office. It’s a day that will stay with them for years to come as they begin to think about their next steps and future careers.”

Hands-on workshop inspires medics and scientists of the future

Ron Dearing UTC students took part in a hands-on workshop which aims to inspire the next generation of medics and scientists.

Medical Mavericks uses real-life medical and sports science equipment to promote NHS and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers at schools, colleges and events across the UK.

All Year 11 students at Ron Dearing UTC, Year 12 and 13 Biology students and Year 12 BTEC Science students took part in the workshop, enabling them to consider a range of careers from physiotherapy or becoming a doctor, to training in phlebotomy and more.

The students heard from a nurse practitioner and a medical student about their career journeys and learnt how to take blood from vessels in a false arm, practised keyhole surgery techniques on a simulator and learnt how to take blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen and lung capacity readings.

They also wore pathology goggles to simulate various eye complaints, such as cataracts, and others which demonstrated the effects of alcohol.

Ultrasound equipment was used to examine veins and muscles in the arms, neck and intestines, and the students learnt more about reflexes in knee joints.

Luke Marshall and Jacob Kemp using the key hole surgery training devices.


Sarah Britchford, Science Teacher at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The Medical Mavericks workshop has definitely generated interested in careers in medicine among our students.

“They really enjoyed using the specialist equipment and learnt so much at the 12 different stations.

“Fifty per cent of jobs in the NHS don’t require a medical degree, which is an eye-opener, and you don’t always have to go to medical school to fulfil certain roles.

“It was a fantastic workshop and has given our students lots to think about and aspire to as they consider their future careers.”

Year 11 student Muhemmed Sajid, 15, who is currently studying for his GCSEs and would like to become a doctor, said: “I’d like to specialise in general surgery or oncology.

“I like helping people and general surgery covers lots of fields. I also know a lot of people who have had cancer and I’d like to help them too.

Students Shuhrra Amudi & Meka Frank attempting to draw blood from the fake arm.


“I learnt a lot about equipment that doctors use on a daily basis during the Medical Mavericks session. It was really interesting.”

Year 13 Biology student Meka Frank, 17, said she would like to pursue a career in medicine.

She said: “The Medical Mavericks session was very informative, interactive and fun. We were able to experience using lots of equipment, which we wouldn’t have been able to use in a lecture.

“It’s lovely that Ron Dearing UTC is opening up these opportunities to students who are interested in medicine and biology-related careers.”

Ron Dearing UTC welcomes public to first exhibition in new gallery space

The first public art exhibition is now open at a new dedicated centre for creativity in Hull city centre.

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) officially opened STEAM Studios in the former Hull Centre Fire Station, next door to its existing site in Kingston Square, on Friday.

It will help pave the way for students to embrace exciting careers in the creative sector while educating engineering students about opportunities in renewable energy.

Now, members of the public are invited to the first exhibition in the STEAM Studios gallery space, showcasing work and techniques by watercolour and mixed media landscape painting artist Kane Cunningham over the past 20 years.

The exhibition, entitled Retrospective, includes watercolours. etchings, drawings and pastel work  of local landscapes, such as Spurn Point, as well as pieces exploring ideas inspired by other artists.

The exhibition is free to the public and open from Monday to Thursday each week, 4.30pm to 6.30pm, throughout October. Entry is ticket only.

The first public art exhibition is open at STEAM Studios.


Jacob Wardle, Exhibition Curator at STEAM Studios, said: “We’re really excited to welcome members of the public to our first STEAM Studios exhibition and showcase Kane’s fantastic artwork in our brilliant creative space.

“Visitors can expect to see a selection of landscape paintings and a wide variety of mediums in an extremely varied exhibition.

“It’s a privilege to showcase the work of such a talented local artist in our first public exhibition and show our students what they can aspire to.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the community to the STEAM Studios gallery to see many more exhibitions of local artists’ work in the future, as well as to exhibitions of work produced by our own students.

Scarbrough-based Kane retired from teaching painting in 2017 to become a full-time artist, working in watercolour in the field and developing his ideas from the studio into prints, drawings and sculptures.

He is best known for the House Project, an art installation and environmental project at Knipe Point in Cayton Bay, Scarborough, where he bought a bungalow destined to fall into the sea due to coastal erosion for £3,000. He used it to create a work of art and multimedia installation and it was featured on television and radio across the globe.

Kane Cunningham in the first exhibition in STEAM Studios.


Kane is also co-director of Big Ideas by the Sea, an environmental festival in Scarborough which explores topics related to climate change, social issues, history and the natural environment.

Kane, who has worked to inspire Ron Dearing UTC creative students for the past two years through various projects, said: “I’m honoured and delighted to be the first artist to have an exhibition in the new STEAM Studios Gallery. I’ve chosen lots of my work from the past 20 years in which I’ve tried lots of different approaches and techniques.

“As an artist, there are many ways of working or expressing ideas and you have to experiment and take risks. I hope the students and members of the public will be inspired by my work.

“STEAM Studios is fantastic for Hull. Ron Dearing UTC is growing, emerging and developing, cementing its place in the city as a great place for education and creativity.

“The UTC team have enthusiasm and commitment for making it a wonderful, inspiring place with great plans for the future and it will be a force to be reckoned with over the coming years.”

The former Hull Central Fire Station has been renovated and repurposed to create the cutting-edge STEAM Studios including a gallery and exhibition space, digital and photography studios, 2D and 3D studios, and an additional sixth form independent study centre.

Invited guests enjoying a private viewing.


It is part of wider expansion at the school, which included remodelling parts of the existing UTC building to create research and development science laboratories and independent study spaces.

The expansion has enabled Ron Dearing UTC to increase its capacity from 600 to 800 students following funding from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Post-16 Capacity Fund, in response to huge demand for places.

World leading renewable energy company Ørsted, which develops, constructs and operates offshore wind farms across Europe, is a Major Partner of the UTC and has made a substantial financial contribution towards the school’s expansion.

The funding, complimented by additional funds from other Founding and Major UTC Partners, has also ensured the STEAM Studios building is as energy efficient as possible.

Hull City Council gave the go-ahead for the school’s expansion plans last year and SPACE architects, working with contractors Sewell Construction, completed the project in August this year. Hull Esteem Consortium LEP Ltd acted as project managers on the scheme.

  • To book tickets for Kane Cunningham’s free Retrospective exhibition, visit
  • The entrance to STEAM Studios is on Worship Street, opposite the Old English Gentlemen pub and Hull History Centre. Visitors are asked to use the buzzer if the doors are closed and a member of the reception team will arrange sign in.