Programme inspires students to embrace Hull’s cultural offerings

Year 10 and 11 students at Ron Dearing UTC are being rewarded for embracing culture and broadening their experiences outside the classroom.

The school’s Culture Vulture programme was launched at the start of the academic year and encourages students to make the most of Hull and East Yorkshire’s cultural opportunities, including visiting art galleries, museums, theatres, sports events and festivals.

The school team circulates details of events to students through its weekly update to parents and students. In turn, students receive bronze, silver or gold awards based on the number of venues and events they visit.

Activities are completed by students in their own time, in addition to cultural events supported by the school. For example, all Year 10 and 11 students recently attended Blood Brothers at Hull New Theatre, which contributed to the Culture Vulture programme.

Year 10 student Makenzie Bailey receives his Culture Vulture bronze award from Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw.

Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw said: “The programme recognises the importance of the arts and responds to the emphasis on developing ‘cultural capital’ in the Ofsted framework.

“We’re focused on developing students into work-ready young people and having an awareness of culture and the impact it can have on personal wellbeing, health and happiness is a really important part of that.

“Programmes like this help to develop well-rounded citizens and unlock interests the students may not know they have. Taking part in the Culture Vulture programme can ignite an interest they can then pursue further for themselves.”

Students record the cultural activities and visits they have completed in their own “Culture Vulture Passport” and are awarded bronze, silver and gold certificates for completing each level.

Year 10 student Makenzie Bailey, 15, was the first to be awarded his bronze certificate and further awards will be handed out to students in the New Year.

Makenzie said: “I have visited some museums, football matches and a concert, as well as seeing Blood Brothers. I feel proud and excited to achieve this award.

“It’s important to get involved in cultural activities because, when you are looking for a job, it shows you also do interesting things in your own time. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Students explore thought-provoking subjects in ‘forensic reading’ challenge

Year 10 students at Ron Dearing UTC have embarked on a “forensic reading” project involving challenging and thought-provoking subjects which are important to society.

The 136 students are reading, understanding, analysing and debating various text and books to broaden their wider reading, encouraging them to research topics further and allowing them to become independent learners.

Senior Assistant Principal Nikki Feetham speaks to Year 10 students taking part in the “forensic reading” project aimed at encouraging them to read widely and often.

Topics include “the spirit of life”, which urges students to understand more about themselves as individuals, and “fragile earth”, which covers environmental and ecological issues, as well as climate change.

The reading project urges the students to challenge preconceived gender roles, become more open minded, have a broader understanding of topics which affect society and have mutual respect for others and their beliefs and ideas.

The latest topic is based on “Jack the Ripper”, the serial killer who murdered female prostitutes in London’s East End in 1888, as well as the “Yorkshire Ripper”, Peter Sutcliffe, and the associated police investigation, which saw him convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others in 1981.

It focuses on misogyny – a dislike of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls – and the students digested a lead text and related articles to form the basis of their discussions. They also found out more about the Suffragettes and campaigns for the right for women to vote and be treated as equal.

The students are considering challenging and thought-provoking subjects, including misogyny, as part of the project, which will run over two academic years.

Nikki Feetham, Senior Assistant Principal at Ron Dearing UTC, said this is one of six forensic reading projects the students will complete during the academic years running from 2019 to 2021, aimed at encouraging them to read widely and often.

She said: “Reading is an important employability skill and therefore very high profile at Ron Dearing UTC. Our students have been very quick to relate the topics to their own lives and opinions in a mature way.

“It gives them a safe framework to talk about challenging and sensitive topics, such as drugs or rape, which they have done in a very mature manner. But, most importantly, we have seen them totally engaged and discussing topics that they would not be able to discuss in any other setting.

“We think topics like this are important to teach, as young people are more exposed to biased media than ever before and they need to be able to challenge these points of view.

“We hope they will be selective and objective in their own views. They are exposed to so much information online and elsewhere that they need to learn how to filter it and make intelligent, informed judgements.”

The forensic reading project complements “Charlie’s Challenge”, which was launched last year by Ron Dearing UTC’s Chair of Governors, Charlie Spencer OBE, under which students are challenged to read a biography or autobiography of an entrepreneur, a leadership or management book, and a pre-20th century novel. Charlie is Executive Chairman of Spencer Group, one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners, and was instrumental is the creation of the employer-led school.

Equality and diversity workshop arms Ron Dearing UTC students with vital employability skills

Year 12 students at Ron Dearing UTC took part in an interactive workshop to teach them vital employability skills to help them progress in the world of work.

The equality and diversity workshop was delivered by staff from RB, the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, and one of the UTC’s Founding Partners, to almost 140 students.

Students were encouraged to think about self-awareness, how to understand other people’s personalities and characteristics, unconscious bias and how first impressions may not always be correct.

Year 12 Ron Dearing UTC students take part in an equality and diversity workshop delivered by RB, preparing them for the world of work.

The students completed a series of activities and watched videos to challenge perceptions. They also looked at how they would overcome challenges such as speaking to someone whose first language is not English, or how to work alongside and support someone who may be blind.

The workshop was part of a wider project at the employer-led school, which teaches employability skills such as independence, resilience and teamwork, and promotes values required in the workplace, including rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance.

RB’s Human Resources Manager Rachael Starkey, who delivered the workshops alongside the company’s Human Resources Business Partner Rob MacNaught, said: “The workshop is about self-awareness and how you can’t change anyone else, but you can change yourself.

“If an employee has only one style of communication in the workplace, it’s very difficult. We can teach the technical elements, but these skills are more critical to them being able to progress.

“If they are thinking about things like this at this age, it can only be positive. If they go away knowing one more little thing about themselves, it’s job done because we can build on that.”

Rachel Starkey, HR Manager at RB, talks to students.

As part of the workshop, students were shown pictures of various people and asked to guess who they were and what they are famous for, including Bachendri Pal, an Indian mountaineer who became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, and Andy Hinton, the Vice President of Global Ethics and Compliance at Google.

This exercise demonstrated to the students that perceptions can often be clouded by unconscious bias.

Sam Caley, Joint Head of Sixth Form at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “I hope the students will have more of an understanding of equality in the workplace as a result of this workshop.

“This is about educating them about how first impressions count, how to appreciate other people and how to act professionally.”

Year 12 student Oliver Scothern

Year 12 student Oliver Scothern, 16, said he found the workshop interesting and informative.

He said: “Perceptions don’t always add up to what you imagine with a first impression and the workshop was about learning to understand people, which is definitely a useful skill. It will stand me in good stead when I go into the workplace.”

Year 12 student Kira Hobbs

Fellow Year 12 student Kira Hobbs, 17, said: “I’m in a wheelchair and there are things I struggle with which other people find really easy. It’s important to understand others and the workshop was interesting. You learn not to judge people by their appearance.”

Global company gives Cameron chance to fly in creative digital career

A former student from Ron Dearing UTC has taken up an apprenticeship role with the world’s fastest-growing and most innovative digital brand management business.

Cameron Davies, 18, has joined Sonoco Trident as a Creative Digital Apprentice, based at the company’s headquarters at Kingswood in Hull.

Cameron, who achieved a Distinction and Merit in his Creative Digital technical qualification at Ron Dearing UTC, as well as a Merit in Engineering, said the employer-led school played a key role in preparing him for the world of work.

Cameron, who may have the opportunity to travel to Sonoco Trident’s other bases across the globe in the future, hopes to progress into a marketing role and work up to a management position.

He said: “There is a lot of independent study at Ron Dearing UTC, it’s a lot more hands-on and the school has fantastic facilities. You have more one-to-one time with the teachers, work experience in summer and you learn how to interact with others, as well as how to be ready for the workplace.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship at Sonoco Trident and I’m learning about the software for artwork. This is the right move for me because I’m getting paid and learning at the same time.”

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Cameron Davies with Kirsty Bark, Global Talent Manager at his new employer, Sonoco Trident.


Sonoco Trident, a Major Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, is preparing to launch its new Trident Academy in January 2020, which is focused on all of its early career pathway employees, including apprentices, and Cameron is one of the first to experience it. The academy looks at personal brand, teamwork, how to represent the company and the business’ core values.

Kirsty Bark, Global Talent Manager at Sonoco Trident, said 120 of the 300 employees based at the company’s Kingswood headquarters came into the business through an apprenticeship, internship, work experience, or university route. Three of its directors based in Singapore, Sydney and the United States also came from Hull through one of these routes.

Kirsty said: “We talent-spotted Cameron and he went through a rigorous recruitment process. Ron Dearing UTC is a very forward-thinking school where the curriculum is shaped to fit what employers are looking for. That means its students are absolutely work ready.

“We recruit for attitude, not skills set. We look at who fits in with our culture and who can add value to that. Cameron has all those attributes and has settled in really well.

“Our managers have given great feedback about him and how he is keen to learn new skills, as well as contribute with his own ideas.”

  • Applications are being invited to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2020 with the next Open Event on Thursday, November 7. For further information, click here.

Pictures: Karl Andre Photography.

Ron Dearing supplies Spencer Group with 14 young stars

No less than 14 former Ron Dearing UTC students have begun apprenticeships with leading engineering business Spencer Group.

The recruits from Ron Dearing UTC are the largest intake of young talent in the 30-year history of the Hull-based company.

Spencer Group is one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners and hiring so many new trainees is a huge vote of confidence in Ron Dearing UTC.

Nine of the school leavers have begun apprenticeships in Engineering, while two are Apprentice Plant Fitters; one is an IT Support Apprentice; one a Web Development Apprentice; and another a Commercial Apprentice.

They begin their new roles as Ron Dearing UTC urges students who would like to join the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020 to attend the next Open Event with their parents on Thursday, November 7.

Apprentice Engineer Evie Westoby, 18, said: “I’m really happy to have this opportunity. I hope I can go as far as I can through my work and continuing education, complete my apprenticeship and work my way up through the company.

“When you join a new company it’s quite nerve-racking because you don’t know the people you’ll be working with, but the fact that we’ve all come together is great because there are familiar faces around you.

“I’m really glad I decided to go to Ron Dearing UTC. I don’t think I would be where I am now without the school’s support.”

Spencer Group Executive Chairman Charlie Spencer OBE with Human Resources Director Yvonne Moir, left, Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley and the company’s intake of 14 apprentices.


Apprentice Web Developer Matty Hunt, also 18, has joined the company’s Spencer Online System team, after a successful work placement last summer.

He said: “The chances Ron Dearing has given us have been amazing. We’ve worked on projects with the employer partners and had great work experience opportunities. I’ve tried to take as many opportunities as I possibly could and they’ve all definitely paid off.”

Matty said he was really pleased his parents had encouraged him to switch to Ron Dearing UTC two years ago when the school opened. “I’ve come out way more confident, more sociable and more professional,” he added.

Spencer Group Human Resources Director Yvonne Moir, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said: “We’ve got to know the students at Ron Dearing UTC really well over the past two years and have been able to see them grow and develop.

“It wasn’t our intention to take so many originally but, once we started the apprenticeship recruitment process, it was clear that there was so much talent to choose from.

“We could have recruited even more if we had the capacity and it’s been such a difficult decision to select the successful students. The school has produced so many outstanding young employees.”

  • The next Ron Dearing UTC Open Event for prospective students and their parents will run from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 7. To register, or to apply for a place at the school in September 2020, visit for more information.

Apprentices begin digital careers with Arco

Two former students from Ron Dearing UTC are forging ahead in digital apprenticeship roles at the UK’s leading safety company.

Hull-based Arco, one of the employer-led school’s Major Partners, has recruited Josh Thorpe as a Cyber Security Apprentice and Jay Richards as a Systems Developer Apprentice.

Josh, 18, who achieved a Distinction* and Distinction in his Computing technical qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, as well as a Merit in Creative Digital, said the school had prepared him for his new role helping to keep Arco’s digital systems secure.

He said: “I hope to learn how big businesses defend themselves against security threats and what methods can be used to keep track of everything to make sure it’s secure.

“Ron Dearing UTC has prepared me for this because it’s more practical-based learning. Everything you learn is relevant to the workplace.”

Jay, also 18, who achieved three Distinctions in Computing, said he was already working on a digital programme to boost Arco’s efficiency.

He said: “I’m making a programme which can help some of the team leaders add information into a spreadsheet automatically, without having to do it by hand.

“Ron Dearing UTC helped me to put what I know into practice and adapt that for Arco. I’m really looking forward to the future at Arco and seeing where it takes me.”

Apprentices Josh Thorpe, left, and Jay Richards with Arco Head of IT Dan Spurgeon, second left, and Digital Director Richard Martin.


Dan Spurgeon, Head of IT at Arco, said: “During Josh’s second day here, he attended meetings with us about e-mail phishing, adding his own fresh ideas. I don’t think we would have got that from someone who had years of industry moulding.

“We’re always keen to fit people into our culture and both Josh and Jay have been on our ‘Arco Experience’, which has helped them understand how the business was founded and has grown and how we work as a collective. They’re both integrating really well.”

Richard Martin, Digital Director at Arco, who is also a Governor at Ron Dearing UTC, said Ron Dearing UTC provided a different approach to learning, preparing students to fit into the world of work rapidly.

He said: “It’s a completely unique way of schooling which fills a gap that has been missing in education for a long time. The hope is those who come to us as apprentices have spent so much time with us already that they hit the ground running.

“They come with bags of enthusiasm and they’re ready to crack on. They are treated as adults at school, rather than children, and as a result we’re getting people with an adult attitude.”

Ron Dearing UTC is inviting students who want to join the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020 to attend the next Open Event on Thursday, November 7. Attendees will be able to have a look around the school, meet current and former students, speak to staff and take part in various workshops.

To register for the event, which runs from 6pm to 8pm, or to apply to join the school, click here.

Hannah and Sam go from school to Smith + Nephew

Studying at Ron Dearing UTC has enabled Hannah Crossley and Sam Graham to begin their working careers as Engineering Apprentices with Smith + Nephew.

Hannah and Sam, who are both 18, have joined the global medical technology business as Apprentice Manufacturing Technicians.

Smith & Nephew, a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC, has major manufacturing and research and development facilities in Hull, and Hannah and Sam are beginning their careers with the company as Ron Dearing UTC is encouraging prospective students and their parents to attend the school’s next Open Event on Thursday, November 7.

Hannah Crossley has joined Smith + Nephew from Ron Dearing UTC, where she achieved a Distinction in Engineering.


Hannah, who achieved a Distinction in Engineering at Hull’s employer-led school, said: “Ron Dearing UTC has prepared me really well for this.

“By working for Smith + Nephew, I can join a team which will make a huge difference in the world because of the products they make. To have the opportunity to be part of that is breathtaking.”

Sam Graham said the employer-led approach to learning at Ron Dearing UTC had helped him to secure an apprenticeship with Smith + Nephew.


Sam, who achieved two Merits in Engineering and a further Merit in Digital Technology at Ron Dearing UTC, said the approach to learning at the school had pushed him to aim high.

He said: “At Ron Dearing everyone is on first name terms and the staff treat you like adults, which has helped me to become more confident and I know I have made the right decision to go down the apprenticeship route. I’m so excited and it’s a privilege to work for a big company such as Smith & Nephew.”

Gary Carr, Smith + Nephew Production Manager, said: “Hannah and Sam have grown in confidence already and will fit in really well with us.

“They have shown they have the right attitude and approach, as well as a level of determination you don’t usually see in young adults.

“They are evidence that the unique partnership between employers and educators at Ron Dearing UTC really does give students the edge in terms of their employability and specialist skills.  I’m impressed.”

  • Ron Dearing UTC’s next Open Event will run from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 7. To register for the event, or to apply to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2020, click here.

Hundreds of students and parents attend Open Event as demand for places grows

Hundreds of prospective students and their parents attended the first Ron Dearing UTC Open Event of the new academic year, highlighting the huge demand for places.

Ron Dearing UTC offers its unique education model to 14 to 19-year-olds, working in partnership with some of Hull’s leading businesses to equip young people with the knowledge and skills to give them the edge as they make their way into the world of work.

More than 500 students and their parents attended the Open Event to find out about joining the school in Year 10 or Year 12 in September 2020.

Ron Dearing UTC opened its doors in September 2017 and the first three years have all been oversubscribed. Just 300 places are currently available for September 2020 and more than 60 applications were received for Year 10 places ahead of the Open Event.

Students use virtual reality (VR) equipment to practice welding skills. It gives students a taste of what welding could be like as a career.


Attendees had chance to have a look around the school and get involved in workshops and demonstrations, largely focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) subjects.

They also met staff, current and former students, the employer partners and student ambassadors from Lead Academic Partner the University of Hull, as well as hearing from Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley, Vice Principal Steve Willacy and Yvonne Moir, Human Resources Director at engineering business Spencer Group, one of the school’s Founding Partners.

Sarah highlighted Ron Dearing UTC’s unique educational model and vision, showed images of the school’s first leavers who have just begun apprenticeships with leading local companies, and shared the outstanding GCSE, A-level and technical qualification results achieved in the school’s first public exams this summer.

She said: “The turnout has been brilliant and we’ve had lots of great feedback.

“Hopefully both the students and parents have gone away with a clear understanding of what Ron Dearing UTC offers and excited by our employer-engaged model of learning. It’s great to now have the results to prove it works.

“It is important the prospective students and their parents know and understand how close the partnership is between our school, the University of Hull and our employer partners. It’s a real team approach.”

Year 10 students, pictured from left – Ashburner Davison, 15, Abigail Dearing, 14, and Jessica Harkins, 14, gave physics demonstrations to prospective students and their parents at the Open Event.


Yvonne Moir, who is also a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said Spencer Group initially intended to take six apprentices from the school this year but instead recruited 14.

She said: “The apprentices’ level of skill and knowledge is fantastic, so they have come into the workplace and fitted straight in. We don’t take apprentices from anywhere else now.

“The UTC is a brilliant opportunity to keep really gifted and skilled young people in Hull. This school is our talent stream for the future.”

Engineering Manufacture teacher Clive Isaacs, pictured left, with Year 12 student Luke Raine-Ellerker, 16. Luke’s brother, Charlie, 13, attended the Open Event with parents Simon and Michelle Raine-Ellerker, from west Hull.


Simon and Michelle Raine-Ellerker, from west Hull, took their son, Charlie, 13, to the Open Event as he hopes to join Year 10 in September 2020. The couple’s other son, Luke, 16, is already a student at Ron Dearing UTC’s Sixth Form after choosing to stay on after completing Year 11.

Mrs Raine-Ellerker said: “At Ron Dearing UTC the support, learning and mentoring the students get is brilliant and the staff are fantastic.”

Dylan Yeaman, 13, from east Hull, would like to join Year 10 at Ron Dearing UTC next year and attended the Open Event with his mother, Lisa.

He said: “I really like science and this school focuses on that. Looking around tonight, I have never seen anything like this in a school before. There are lots of opportunities.”

Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and leading local employers KCOM, RB, Siemens Gamesa, Smith + Nephew and Spencer Group. The school is also supported by Hull City Council and many other industry partners, including Major Partners APD Communications, Arco, BP, C4DI, Green Port Hull, Ideal Boilers, Fujitsu, Ørsted, Sewell Group and Sonoco Trident.

Students interested in places at Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 from September 2020 can attend further Open Events on November 7 or January 16. To register to attend, or to download online application forms, click here.

Superheroes science session launches personal development programme

The science behind superhero powers was brought to life for Year 10 students at Ron Dearing University UTC as the first lecture of a packed personal development programme got underway.

Professor Mark Lorch from the University of Hull kick-started the programme of lectures, visits and other activities, starting with The Secret Science of Superheroes for the whole year group of 160 students.

As part of the strong links Ron Dearing UTC has with the university as a Founding Partner, Prof Lorch explained the underpinning science and equations needed for superheroes to draw on their superpowers, such as what Spiderman eats or needs to generate the strength of his spider silk when swinging between buildings and rescuing someone from a fall.

The interactive session saw Prof Lorch carry out practical demonstrations to back up scientific facts and students were asked to volunteer to take part and ask questions, testing their knowledge and understanding.

The session was the first in a series of ten to be led by the University of Hull for Year 10, Year 11 and Sixth Form students, with a specific focus on stretching the most able students in the school.

The programme includes a visit to the University of Hull campus for those aspiring to go on to study for a degree; a Year 11 student and parent session looking at university finances; a robotics workshop; and lectures on medical engineering, mechanical engineering and flood prediction. Personal development sessions are also being planned by the school’s employer partners.

Chris Berry, Lead Practitioner with responsibility for Highly Able students at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We want to offer our students personal development activities which will maximise the huge opportunities afforded by partnership with the University of Hull and our employer partners which aren’t available in other schools and colleges.  It’s vital that we really challenge our students to think out of the box and become creative thinkers and problem-solvers to give them the edge in the competitive jobs market and university application process.”

“The Secret Science of Superheroes looked at what can and can’t be explained by science in superhero movies and helped students to see the creative and imaginative side of science.”

Professor Lorch, a chemist, science communicator and author, said he was delighted by the response from the students.

He said: “Superheroes make for a nice hook to explore various aspects of science and the students were really interested. They showed they have inquisitive and problem-solving minds.”

Engineering apprentice joins green energy drive at Siemens Gamesa

Former Ron Dearing UTC student Kieran Scruton will be playing his part in generating green energy to help save the planet after taking up an engineering apprenticeship at Siemens Gamesa.

Kieran, 18, joined the global wind power leader in early September as one of the newest members of the company’s 1,000-strong workforce at Alexandra Dock in Hull.

Siemens Gamesa is one of Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners and has world-class wind turbine manufacturing, assembly and logistics operations at the huge waterfront site.

Kieran’s is beginning his career journey at Siemens Gamesa as Ron Dearing UTC is urging new students and their parents to attend the employer-led school’s first Open Event of the new school next Wednesday.

Those who attend attendees will be able to look around the school, take part in workshops, meet teaching staff, speak to current and former students, and hear from Principal Sarah Pashley and representatives of the employer partners.

Engineering Apprentice Kieran Scruton, right, with Engineering Manager Ben Brooke at Siemens Gamesa’s wind turbine blade factory in Hull.


Kieran, who achieved a Merit in Engineering and a Distinction and Merit in Digital Media in his technical qualifications at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Siemens Gamesa is one of the best companies to work for in terms of where renewable energy is going and there are so many opportunities.

“Siemens Gamesa’s work to help the environment is exactly what companies should be doing and that’s what made it stand out for me.

“Ron Dearing UTC was the best school for me because the learning style is different and the technology and equipment is really good.

“The staff help you to find an apprenticeship and they won’t rest until you’ve got a training place. I would like a long-lasting career with Siemens Gamesa and build on my engineering skills.”

Ben Brooke, Engineering Manager at Siemens Gamesa in Hull, said Ron Dearing UTC was the ideal educational environment to prepare the company’s future employees for the world of work.

He said: “Ron Dearing UTC is filling skills gaps in this area and helping industries like ours to get the right people with the right skills, without having to look further afield.

“It gives young people a good baseline of knowledge, so they don’t need as much moulding, and the style of learning stands them in good stead to be more self-sufficient.”

  • Applications are being invited to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 and Year 12 in September 2020. The first Open Event will run from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday, October 2. For further information, or to book a place, click here.

Pictures: Sean Spencer, Hull News & Pictures.