Huge demand for places will see Ron Dearing UTC hit capacity a year ahead of schedule

Prospective student Jordan Harwood tries out virtual reality equipment during the most recent Ron Dearing UTC Open Event.

Prospective student Jordan Harwood tries out virtual reality equipment during the most recent Ron Dearing UTC Open Event.

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) will reach its full capacity in September 2020, a year ahead of schedule, due to strong demand for places.

Almost 1,000 prospective Year 10 and Year 12 students, their parents or carers have attended two recent Open Events at the employer-led school, with the hope of securing a place next year.

The school’s senior team had originally predicted full capacity of 600 students would be reached by September 2021, but continuing strong demand for places and having a full and strong teaching team in place ahead of schedule means it will hit the target 12 months before that date.

Ron Dearing UTC opened its doors in September 2017 and the first three years have all been oversubscribed. Just 300 places are currently available for September 2020 and 275 external applications have already been received.

The final Open Event for the September 2020 intake will take place on Thursday, January 16, from 6pm to 8pm and interested students and their parents are being urged not to miss out.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We could have hit capacity earlier, but it was important we grew the staff team. We have an amazingly strong, high-quality teaching team now and that means we will hit 600 by September 2020, one year early.

“We’re delighted at what we have achieved over the last two years. We’re most proud of pioneering a different approach to education and that everyone is buying into it.”

Ron Dearing UTC works in partnership with many of Hull’s leading businesses to equip 14 to 19-year-olds with the knowledge and skills to give them the edge as they make their way into employment.

Visitors to the latest Open Event were told 94% of last year’s Year 11 students stayed on in the school’s Sixth Form this year, while 99% of parents and carers stated they would recommend Ron Dearing UTC.

Kingsley Abel, 13, who hopes to join Year 10 in September, and his mum, Tiffani Taylor, find out about Ron Dearing UTC from former student George Mellonby, who is now a Commercial Apprentice with Spencer Group.

Kingsley Abel, 13, who hopes to join Year 10 in September, and his mum, Tiffani Taylor, find out about Ron Dearing UTC from former student George Mellonby, who is now a Commercial Apprentice with Spencer Group.

Kingsley Abel, 13, who hopes to join Year 10 in September 2020, attended with his mother, Tiffani Taylor. 

He said: “I really like making things and I want to go into engineering. I think it’s a great school and I even came for a look around last year because I was so interested.

“There are more opportunities for me here and the Open Event gave me a more visible idea of what is on offer. It is useful because you can learn a lot from talking to students and the employer partners.”

Tiffani added: “I really want Kingsley to come to Ron Dearing UTC because the learning style is totally different and it sets young people up for the future, preparing them for the world of work.”

Highlighting the school’s vision, values and excellent support and guidance on offer, Sarah told attendees how Ron Dearing UTC’s pioneering education model was a huge success, proved by outstanding GCSE, A-level and technical qualification results published for the first time this year.

She added: “We want to develop well-rounded individuals who love coming to school. We want the right students here because we are right for them – those who will benefit from being here and who will maximise the opportunities available to them.”

Students who wish to join Ron Dearing UTC in Year 10 next September should register by January 31. Applications can still be made after that date, but earlier applications will be considered first. Students wishing to apply for Year 12 places can continue to apply until the end of August. 

[John Meehan – Meehan Media & Comms]

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