Christopher joined UTC Warrington as part of their first cohort of Year 10 students in September 2016. It was a big decision and one made harder by the backlash he faced from his school. They believed that moving to a UTC, a relatively new concept, would be detrimental to Christopher’s education. Despite the negativity he stuck to his choice and made the move.

Coming to the end of his first year at the UTC he knew he made the right decision.

The UTC model is one that works so well for me and in just nine months I have changed completely. I think the links with employers have made a huge difference to my confidence – the first time I ever presented to more than a handful of people was in front of fifty guests from Sellafield and their supply chain, it was nerve wracking but now I really enjoy doing it.

The teachers have also had a big impact on me, they are so approachable and you feel like you’re making a real connection with them.

It’s not just Christopher who has noticed the difference in himself, his father Samuel has seen a big change in him since he started at the UTC.

There has been an enormous difference in Christopher. His personality has really developed and he has become much more confident, taking advantage of opportunities whenever and wherever they arise. His ambition has grown too and he quickly became eager to get into the workplace which resulted in him getting a Saturday job.

Samuel is certain that the move to Warrington UTC was the right thing for Christopher to do but initially he needed convincing.

Being brand new there were no results or statistics to back up the promises the school was making but Christopher had done his research and he was sure this was the best thing for him. I had faith in his decision and I’m so glad I did because he really enjoys it and is doing so well.

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The UTC has offered Christopher a whole new way of seeing things and given him the drive to succeed – something his previous school had been neglecting.

One of the main differences I’ve noticed between the UTC and his old school is that Christopher is really being pushed to reach and surpass his potential. Before, while Christopher was working at a high level, the focus was on the misbehaved children; he kind of went under the radar.

It is clear that this has been a good move for Christopher, and Samuel’s initial scepticism has been replaced with enthusiasm for the UTC movement.

My advice to other parents that are in a similar situation is to take the time to learn about the school. Don’t dismiss it just because it’s new or different. If it’s the right thing for your child and it’s what they want to do then go for it – Christopher has so many opportunities now that he wouldn’t have had at his old school.

Christopher used to want to be a police detective but now he’s been able to fully explore his passion for engineering (he is studying GCSEs in engineering manufacture, engineering design, systems and control as well as English, maths, separate sciences and computer science) he has his sights set on running his own civil engineering consultancy. With employers already approaching the school about Christopher it’s clear that his hard work is paying off and success is sure to be just around the corner.

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