Multimillion pound government scheme for technical education is failing, report warns

The Independent is reporting that more than half of students who attend University Technical Colleges (UTCs) – which take in pupils from the age of 14 to 19 – are dropping out between the ages of 16 and 17, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found. 

Those that remain for post-16 study are still far less likely to complete their final studies than students in other types of education, the thinktank found.

Previously high attaining students at UTCs – first introduced by the government in 2010 to focus on technical education – are making over a grade’s less progress than peers in all state-funded schools, the report said. 

The thinktank suggested changing the admissions age for UTCs to age 16 to 18 to overcome the struggle with admissions at the age of 14.

As a result, it called on the government not to fund further UTC expansion until a review is undertaken and steps are put in place to deliver a “sustainable and effective” programme.

David Laws, EPI’s executive chairman said: “Students generally seem to make less progress in UTCs, even in more technical and scientific subjects, and rates of drop-out and non-completion are very high. This poor performance is not simply about how UTCs are evaluated, it is about the quality of learning and the engagement of students.”

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  “It was clear from the outset that seeking to attract pupils at age 14 was a policy doomed to failure. The real losers are the pupils and their families who now find themselves without a school and who have been so badly let down by a Government that has refused to learn from its mistakes.”

Read the full article Multimillion pound government scheme for technical education is failing, report warns

What has been your experience of UTCs? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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