Technical schools lavished with Gove funding criticised by watchdog

Technical schools set up with lavish public funds by Michael Gove are half full and often score lower results than other secondaries, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found. The Guardian reports.

University technical colleges (UTCs), a type of free school focusing on teaching students who are usually aged between 14 and 19, were also less likely to be rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted, a report by the National Audit Office said.

As of August this year, the report said, 52% of UTCs were rated as good or outstanding, compared with 76% of all secondary schools. There were 4,863 students attending UTCs that were considered to be inadequate or requiring improvement by inspectors.

In 2010, Gove hailed the technical colleges as a crucial part of the free school project. Seven years later, he conceded in an article for the Times that they had failed. “There comes a point when the evidence has accumulated and the verdict is clear and even the most optimistic of us has to acknowledge that Godot won’t arrive, the base metal won’t turn into gold and the emperor really is in the altogether,” Gove wrote.

Meg Hillier, who chairs the public accounts committee, said: “This report provides further evidence as to why the Department for Education is my top department of concern.”

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