We’ve put together some FAQs for students and parents, based on our recent Why choose a UTC? open evening.
Joining in September
Coronavirus situation – when are schools expected to re-open?
Like other schools, UTCs are paying close attention to Government advice on the Covid-19 situation. No fixed date has been announced yet for schools to re-open but we’re continuing to teach virtual lessons and we can’t wait to get all our learners back at the UTC building when it’s safe to do so.
Coronavirus – if I planned to join a UTC in September will that still go ahead or will I have to stay at my old school?
It’ll still go ahead! We really hope that you’ll still want to come to the UTC for all the reasons you originally applied, and everything you’ve found out since. Technical skills are needed now more than ever – they’re the kind of jobs keeping the country running at the moment and keeping us all safe. We’re aware it hasn’t been a ‘normal’ summer term for you, but we’re really keen to put that right as much as we can once you start with us.
Will there be any kind of induction taking place ahead of joining the UTC?
Each UTC is different but they all want to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible for their new joiners. They’re all putting together plans to help you settle in and feel a part of the UTC community even before you have your first lessons there. Some of this will be done online, some of it may be done in person if the Government announces schools can open again in time. If you have any concerns about the transition, please do speak to the UTC you’re applying to and they’ll be happy to put your fears at rest.
I missed out on taking my GCSE exams. Can I take re-sits when I join the UTC?
Yes! The way GCSE grades are going to be awarded this year is different. If you’re not happy with the grade you receive in the summer, there are two options. There will be an appeals process, but there will also be the chance to re-sit key exams in October/November.
How will my estimated grades affect my acceptance onto a post-16 course?
We know that not everyone may achieve the grades they were hoping to this summer. Some courses do have specific entry requirements to make sure you’re ready for the demands of the course. Whatever grades you get, the best thing to do is to talk to us – we can work with you to find a learning pathway that suits you. Contact the UTC you’ve applied to and they’ll be happy to talk through your options.
Is there still time to apply?
Each UTC handles its own applications and this means they have slightly different application deadlines. Many will still be accepting applications, though a few of them closed applications earlier in the year. The best thing to do would be to check with your local UTC – the sooner the better! You can find your nearest UTC using the Find a UTC page on our website.
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
This very much depends on the answer to the question above. For those where applications closed in January, offer letters have already been sent out. For those UTCs who are still accepting applications, the timeline is a little later. Many UTCs will have all the application information on their individual websites so it’s worth following up with the UTC you’ve applied to. You can find their contact details here: www.utcolleges.org/find-a-utc/
How long would I spend at the UTC before going to university?
This all depends at what stage you join us! If you join the UTC in year 10 at age 14, you can stay with us all the way up to the end of year 13 (age 18) before going on to your next step. If you come straight into Year 12 (age 16), you’d typically spend two years with us. You can join some UTCs from a younger age so check the individual school you’re interested in.
What happens when I leave the UTC?
Where your UTC education leads is up to you. Our year 13 leavers go on to university, apprenticeships, or straight into employment. You’ll be given excellent advice and guidance during your time at the UTC to enable you to make informed choices about your next steps. What’s more, you’ll have gained lots of hands-on experience through employer projects and work experience and made meaningful connections with employers.
What’s an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a way of combining employment and study, continuing your training alongside working. There are different levels of apprenticeships. Typically, those leaving a UTC would go on to a higher level apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship.
You’ll study part time (for example 1 day a week at university) for qualifications relevant to the sector you’re working in as well as becoming a valued member of the workforce with your chosen employer. Your tuition will be funded and you may also earn a little while you study.
Life at the UTC
What age do you have to be to join a UTC?
Most UTCs take students into year 10 (age 14) and year 12 (age 16). Some also have year 9 entry or year 7. A UTC education goes all the way up to the end of year 13 (age 18) so you can stay with us until you’re ready for your next step.
What extra-curricular activities are available at UTCs?
This will depend which individual UTC you’re attending. Many will have a range of activities going on as you would expect at any school. The specifics will depend which individual UTC you’re attending, but some examples may include Duke of Edinburgh award, football, green power, art, photography, as well as those related to the UTC’s specialism.
What’s the balance of practical and academic study?
In general, year 10/year 11 at a UTC involves around 40% technical study and in sixth form (year 12/13) this increases to about 60% technical. A large proportion of that will be practical. The balance for individual courses may vary depending on which subjects you’re taking. Where possible, teachers will integrate work-ready skills as part of the curriculum so you can see the links that are so important to the work done in industry.
Find a UTC
How do I find out if there’s a UTC near me?
There are 48 UTCs across England – all the way from Plymouth to Carlisle. Search by location or by specialism to find those you’re interested and then click on the map for contact details for the individual UTC and follow the link through to their individual website for more information.
What does my local UTC specialise in/ what employers are involved?
You can find your local UTC using the search here. Their specialisms will be listed and you can click through to their individual website to find out more about their industry partners.
General UTCs/education landscape
In the future, do you see UTCs replacing mainstream schools?
The economy needs a range of skills to cater to all industries. Likewise, young people have different interests and different styles of learning. The education system needs to cater to all of these so there should ideally be a broad range of provision. UTCs are providing a technical education where there was previously a gap in the education system. For young people with an interest in technical industries and STEM careers, who enjoy learning practically as well as academically, UTCs provide an enjoyable, interesting and practical education which prepares them for the workplace.