Our students have hit the ground running for the new school year, returning with enthusiasm and a desire for face-to-face learning.
The safety of students and staff is paramount and extensive arrangements have been put in place to avoid transmission of Covid-19, ensuring all students can return safely.
Ninety eight per cent of all students returned at staggered start times today, with temperature checks on entry, face coverings worn when moving around school and students given dedicated social areas at break and lunch times in their year group “bubbles”.
Students were welcomed back to school by staff in their year groups in the conference centre before making their way to their classrooms with their mentors to begin their school year.
New Year 10 student Cameron Branston, 14, said he is delighted to join Ron Dearing UTC and is looking forward to the year ahead.
He said: “I haven’t been in a school since mid-March and it’s great to be here.
“I chose to come to Ron Dearing UTC because it can open up so many doors. It’s a professional environment and it’s great they have employer partners and sponsors.
“One of the subjects I’ve picked is Computer Science and that’s something I hope to have a career in. I feel confident and excited.”
Year 11 student Chantel Alliaj, 15, said she prefers learning in school and found it challenging studying at home during lockdown.
She said: “It was stressful working at home and it’s a relief to finally be back at school. We’re focusing on our GCSEs this year and I’m pleased to be back with my friends and teachers.
“The teachers really focus on you and, if you’re struggling with something, they help you through and the teaching is great.
“We’re also in school for a full working week, which is great for preparing us for work and the future.”
Students were given “Covid kits”, including hand sanitiser, tissue packs, wipes, a pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and calculator, and reminded to check and report any symptoms to ensure every precaution is taken to protect both students and staff.
Fellow Year 11 student Charlie Goode, 15, said he is ready for a year dedicated to studying for his GCSEs in a safe environment.
He said: “Online learning was tough and it’s much better to be back at school. I feel really supported here and really safe.
“I hope I do well in my GCSEs and I’m ready to work hard. It’s great to see everyone at school again.”
New Year 12 student Luke Blackwood, 16, who will study triple engineering, said: “I’m excited to start learning and meet new people. It’s not the same when you have to learn at home and face-to-face is much better.
“The staff and facilities are great, and the courses are brilliant too, so Ron Dearing UTC is a nice place to be.
“Coming here is a great chance to hopefully secure a job for life in the future. My grandad was an engineer and that’s my aim too.”
Fellow Year 12 student Catherine Crees, 16, is also new to the school and will study Maths, Physics and Engineering.
She said: “I think Ron Dearing UTC is the best place for me to study to get an apprenticeship in the future. I really like everything I’ve heard about the school and the teaching style.
“The communication for me preparing to come here has been so good and I’ve always had a quick response, even during lockdown. I’m looking forward to studying something new and can’t wait to start learning.”
Our Principal Sarah Pashley said: “It’s so lovely to finally have all our students back in lessons and learning. We’ve missed them.
“I’m delighted to report that attendance is 98%, which is fantastic and shows how keen our students are to be back at school.
“Our new Year 10s and Year 12s have all turned up with extremely positive attitudes. Our existing students, who are always brilliant advocates for Ron Dearing UTC, are all raring to go.
“Staff and students are being very supportive about adhering to the Covid-19 rules regarding face coverings, social distancing and hygiene. There’s a fantastic buzz around the place and it’s great to be back.”
For more information about our return to school arrangements, click here.