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UTCN was inspected by Ofsted for the first time in March 2017.

Given that UTCN has exemplary destinations, the 3rd best Basics score nationally and the 6th best Progress 8 score of all 48 open UTCs, we were surprised and disappointed that we were graded ‘Requires Improvement.’ We were especially puzzled as many other UTCs have achieved ‘Good’ gradings with much lower student outcomes. See UTC League Table

Despite the overall grading, inspectors found many areas of excellent and exceptional work eg.

• “Engineering and mathematics are strengths of the school”, which is reflected in “above average results” in engineering: more than half of sixth form students achieved distinctions in engineering last year; and “almost a third of pupils attained the very highest grades for mathematics”.

• “Strong links with industry means that the quality of project-based learning in engineering is exceptional.”

Addressing Ofsted

Despite the disappointing grading, we continue to strive for the very best outcomes for our students and so we have taken rapid action to address the areas that Ofsted identified as needing improvement before we can be graded ‘Good.’ Page 2 of the March 2017 Ofsted report sets these out: 

What does the school need to do to improve further? 

  • Gain greater consistency in the quality of teaching by: 

– ensuring that the school’s agreed procedures for managing behaviour are applied consistently 

– planning learning that meets the different needs of pupils, including the most and least able, and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. 

  •  Raise achievement, particularly in A-level courses and some foundation subjects, by: 

– ensuring that pupils are suitably prepared for learning and are ready for the rigours of their chosen subjects 

– using questioning much more effectively to test pupils’ knowledge and understanding, and making regular checks of the quality of their work during lessons 

– holding staff fully accountable in subjects where pupils’ achievement is low. 

  •  Improve the quality of leadership and management by: 

– ensuring that newly appointed leaders in some subjects and pastoral roles establish themselves promptly so they can make a full contribution to school improvement 

– analysing in depth the information collected about pupils’ behaviour and attendance to spot patterns and trends, and using this information to reduce incidents of poor behaviour and persistent absence 

– managing the time allocated to developing pupils’ personal, social, health and citizenship (PSHC) education more effectively. 

Immediately after the Ofsted visit, a comprehensive Post–Ofsted Action Plan was devised to address these issues and much work has been undertaken to make the suggested improvements.

This Action Plan has the following objectives and hard targets:

Objective 1:  To become at least ‘Good’ in effectiveness of Leadership & Management

Objective 2:  To become at least ‘Good’ in Teaching, Learning & Assessment        

Objective 3:  To become at least ‘Good’ in Personal Development, Behaviour & welfare   

Objective 4:  To become at least ‘Good’ in Pupil Outcomes        

Objective 5:  To become at least ‘Good’ in effectiveness of Sixth Form provision   

Key Stage 4 Targets

  • 100% of our Year 11 students progress in education or take up an apprenticeship
  •  Basics on a Strong Pass improves from 40% to 60%
  •  Progress 8 Score improves from -0.43 + 0.01
  •  UTCN is the most improved school in the county

Key Stage 5 Targets

  • 100% of our Year 13 students progress in education or take up an apprenticeship or job
  •  A-C pass rate in Maths and Physics ‘A’ Level increases to 70%
  •  Engineering Distinction rate increases to 85%
  •  UTCN becomes the highest achieving UTC in the country

Progress towards meeting the targets in the Action Plan is regularly scrutinised and monitored by governors and the Department for Education.

We expect a one-day monitoring inspection from Ofsted at some time in the 2017/2018 academic year and a full Ofsted inspection at some point in the 2018/2019 academic year.

 You can read the full inspection report here.