Ron Dearing UTC students overcome Covid disruption to achieve record A-level results

Sixth form students at Ron Dearing UTC have achieved record A-level and Level 3 technical results for the fifth consecutive year, despite the disruption caused to their education by Covid-19.

This year’s results at the pioneering school are even higher than the outstanding grades students achieved last year, when exams were suspended due to the pandemic and replaced with teacher assessed grades.

Students and staff at Ron Dearing UTC celebrating the school’s outstanding A-level and technical qualification results


Half of the 128 Year 13 cohort have secured a place at university, including with the Russell Group of elite higher education institutions. The other half are destined for apprenticeships with leading businesses across the country, including with the UTC’s Founding and Employer Partners.

Highlights of the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated school’s results include:

  • 100% pass rate for the fifth consecutive year
  • 55% of all grades are A or A*, an increase of 13% since 2021
  • 93% of grades are A* to C, an increase of 1% compared to last year
  • The average grade for A-levels is a B+, in line with 2021 teacher assessed grades
  • The average grade for technical qualifications, including Engineering, Computing, Art and Design, and Creative iMedia, is a Distinction*, the equivalent to grade A at A-level and up from a Distinction last year.

The results follow the students’ first external exams, as their GCSEs in 2020 were based on teacher assessed grades because of Covid-19.

Ron Dearing UTC has achieved a 100% pass rate for A-levels and Level 3 technical qualifications for the fifth successive year


Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We always knew that the return to exams would be exceptionally challenging for our students and for every young person across the country. Our Year 13 cohort’s education has been significantly disrupted by the pandemic.

“We were determined that we wouldn’t allow Covid-19 to jeopardise our students’ futures and our staff, Employer Partners, parents and students have worked phenomenally hard to ensure they remained engaged with learning during lockdowns and upon returning to face-to-face learning.

“We closely monitored their progress, identified any gaps and implemented highly-effective catch-up programmes. We also monitored their mental health and wellbeing and provided support where needed.

“Most importantly, we developed our students’ self-confidence, resilience and determination to succeed, despite the barriers they had to cope with.

“It’s a huge credit to them that they’ve responded so impressively, performed brilliantly and achieved such outstanding results. A massive well done to them all.”

Kelham Hillier, 18, has become the first Ron Dearing student to secure a place at the University of Cambridge


The school’s many success stories include Kelham Hillier, 18, who has become the first Ron Dearing student to secure a place at the University of Cambridge.

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in its first official inspection in 2020, the school caters for students aged 14 to 19 and has a specialist focus on digital technology, creative digital and digital engineering, offering a unique employer-led model of education.

This September will see the UTC’s largest ever intake of students, with work to expand and increase its capacity underway.

The UTC, which currently has 600 students and has been oversubscribed every year since it opened its doors in 2017, will welcome an additional 80 students for the next academic year. The intake will increase to a further 120 students by September 2023, taking Ron Dearing’s overall capacity to 800.

Work to remodel the existing building in Kingston Square, Hull city centre, is almost complete while a new hi-tech learning centre is also being created in the former Central Fire Station next to the school.

Richard Martin, Chair of the Governing Board at Ron Dearing UTC, has congratulated Year 13 students on their outstanding exam results


Richard Martin, Chair of the Governing Board at Ron Dearing UTC and Non-Executive Director at Major Partner Arco, said: “This year’s results are truly outstanding and I’d like to congratulate all Year 13 students for their unwavering hard work, determination and resilience.

“I’d also like to thank the entire fantastic Ron Dearing UTC team, our Founding and Employer Partners and parents and carers who’ve gone above and beyond to support each and every one of our students to be successful.

“Staff stepped in to cover colleague absences during the pandemic, which meant we didn’t use any supply teachers. We’re incredibly lucky to have such a driven and dedicated team.”

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 alongside many other Major Partners and Partners.