University technical college

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UTC Wigan

A university technical college (UTC) is a type of secondary school in England that is led by a sponsor university.[1] The university supports the curriculum development of the UTC, provides professional development opportunities for teachers, and guides suitably qualified students to foundation degrees and full degrees. The sponsor university appoints the majority of the UTC's governors and key members of staff.[2]


UTCs are a type of free school,[3] introduced as part of the academies programme. They are funded by the taxpayer, non-selective, free to attend and not controlled by a local authority. While this is also true of most academies and free schools, UTCs are collectively distinctive in a number of ways. UTCs all have a university as a lead sponsor. Further education colleges, charitable organisations and the private sector may co-sponsor a UTC, however they must be led by a university.[2] Like studio schools, University Technical Colleges enroll students aged 14–19,[1] whereas free schools and academies can choose the age range of their pupils. Existing schools cannot convert to become a UTC; all UTCs have to be newly founded schools with no direct transfer intake of pupils.[2]

However, the most distinctive element of UTCs is that they offer technically oriented courses of study, combining National Curriculum requirements with technical and vocational elements. UTCs must specialise in subjects that require technical and modern equipment, but they also all teach business skills and the use of information and communications technology (ICT).[4] UTCs are also supposed to offer clear routes into higher education or further learning in work.[1]

The university technical college programme as a whole is sponsored by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust,[5] established by Lord Baker. Baker Dearing's promotion of UTCs is supported by the Edge Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation.[6] Many large companies have pledged to co-sponsor UTCs including Arup, British Airways, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Sony.[7]

In 2017, 48 colleges were open.[8]


The establishment of university technical colleges has been criticised by some teaching unions, who claim they will cause further fragmentation of local provision of education for 16- to 19-year-olds. Others have argued that because they offer similar programmes of study, UTCs will divert funds away from further education colleges.[7]

The age intake range of UTCs have also been criticised, with unions arguing that 14 is too early an age for most children to receive such a specialised education. It has also been suggested that the technical and vocational aspects of UTCs will create a two-tier education system, with UTCs being less well regarded than more academically orientated schools.[7]

By February 2017, seven UTCs had closed or converted to other school types owing to low pupil numbers.[9][10]

List of UTCs[edit]

Closed UTCs[edit]

Name Location Opened Closed
Black Country UTC Walsall, West Midlands 2011 2015
Daventry University Technical College Daventry, Northamptonshire 2013 2017
Greater Manchester University Technical College Oldham, Greater Manchester 2014 2017
Hackney University Technical College London Borough of Hackney 2012 2015
UTC Lancashire Burnley, Lancashire 2013 2017
Royal Greenwich UTC Royal Borough of Greenwich 2013 2016
Tottenham University Technical College London Borough of Haringey 2014 2017

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "BBC News - Q&A: University technical colleges". 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions". 1 June 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Education Terms: Free Schools". DfE Website. Department for Education. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "What are university technical colleges". Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  5. ^ "University Technical Colleges" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 10, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sponsors". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Burns, Judith (2012-05-29). "BBC News - Jaguar Land Rover and British Airways back new colleges". Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  8. ^ "About UTCs / Overview". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Weale, Sally (7 February 2017). "£9m Greater Manchester college closes after three years due to lack of pupils". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Camden, Billy (28 April 2017). "UTC crisis deepens as learner numbers drop". FE Week. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Hammond, Laura (17 March 2015). "Burton UTC opening delayed until next year due to lack of pupils". Burton Mail. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Humber UTC". Edubase. Retrieved 2016-01-24. 
  13. ^ "London Design and Engineering UTC | London Design and Engineering University Technical College". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  14. ^ "University Technical College". 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  15. ^ "College opens at former power station in Gloucestershire". BBC News. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  16. ^ "Work begins on South Wiltshire UTC college". BBC News. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  17. ^ "University Technical College Oxfordshire plans approved". BBC News. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  18. ^ "Views wanted on bid to set up new technical school". Portsmouth News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 
  19. ^ "UTC Portsmouth breaks ground and announces Principal". Portsmouth City Council. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  20. ^ Richardson, Andy. "Train factory is the catalyst for jobs revival (From The Northern Echo)". Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  21. ^ Place North West
  22. ^ "Utc@Harbourside Principal Appointed". Haven News. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  23. ^ "MediaCityUK UTC". The Aldridge Foundation. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 

External links[edit]