The school – which attracts students from across Norfolk and North Suffolk – aims to develop tomorrow’s engineering and STEM professionals. It is sponsored by the University of East Anglia and local and national employers and accepts students for Year 10 entry at age 14 and Year 12 entry at age 16.
Headteacher, Alex Hayes, said: ‘It’s great to see that we are becoming such a popular choice. We feel that there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, our students get a great experience. They get School Plus. As well as the normal school curriculum, they get opportunities to learn skills they wouldn’t get anywhere else: using industry-standard machinery, working with employers and support to develop their employability skills.’
“Secondly, I think parents and students are increasingly aware of the challenging world out there and we are really effective at helping young people find their future and get a career. Our careers advice and guidance is truly first-rate and that supports our students to go onto a fantastic array of destinations at university and in the workplace. There is little point in spending £50,000 on a degree unless you are absolutely sure it will help you in career that you really want to do. “
“Thirdly, I think that the tide is turning away from the presumption that a university experience is right for everyone. Lots of young people want to get straight into the workplace and start and earning and learning there. One of our students turned down a place at Cambridge University this summer to go and work at Dyson. I’m not sure that you would have seen that a few years ago.”
Expansion brings its own challenges and a £200,000 project to add more classrooms has just finished. Mr Hayes explained that at the current rate of expansion, the school will be oversubscribed in all year groups by 2022. ‘As we reach capacity on our current site, we are looking at starting to explore other opportunities to expand and meet the rising demand for a STEM education.’
Rosie, a Year 10 student from Thorpe St Andrew said: ‘I enjoy being in such a positive environment with like-minded people who have the same aspirations as me.’
Dylan, a Year 10 student from North Walsham said: ‘My favourite thing about UTCN is the opportunities we get. There are so many great facilities and the school has connections with employers that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.’
The School has a virtual open event scheduled for Year 12, on 22 October 2020. For further details visit www. utcn.org.uk