10 things you need to know about UTC Portsmouth


1.   STEM college. UTC Portsmouth is a specialist STEM college, which means that the university and the industry-led curriculum is specifically designed to educate students with a passion for elements of science, technology, engineering and/or maths. The curriculum is an academic one (it is not ‘hands-on’) and benefits from some aspects delivered with the involvement of industry partners.

2.   GCSEs. Students who study with us take all the sciences, maths, English language, English literature, design & technology and one GCSE equivalent engineering qualifications. They then have the choice of two options from: statistics, computer science, geography, Principals in Engineering and Engineering Business.

3.   Local skills gap. UTC Portsmouth is here to help solve a chronic skills gap in the area. There is currently a lack of 18-year-old leavers with the appropriate skills to go into STEM careers and university degree courses. In addition, more girls than average come to UTC Portsmouth because we know the STEM world of work is determined to recruit more women to fulfil vital roles.

4.   A four-year education. Students are urged to see this as a four year education and be successful in their sixth form studies. UTC Portsmouth does not offer vocational apprenticeships or courses which lead directly to manual employment (although students may progress to advanced apprenticeships after their four year programme). A sixth form centre on the top floor of the college has been developed to offer students dedicated spaces for their use. This includes study and social areas as well as a careers and progression space. The sixth form curriculum offers three distinct pathways: A levels, engineering diplomas or a combined route. The combined route is unique in the area and offers students the chance to gain an engineering certificate (which is the equivalent of one A level) alongside their choice of two A levels.  

5.   Importance of maths. UTC Portsmouth students need to enjoy maths because it forms such a large and important part of our curriculum.

6.   Longer day. UTC Portsmouth operates a longer day and longer lessons. Students must be resilient enough to cope with the longer day. Year 10 and 11 students start college lessons promptly at 8.30am every day and do not finish until 4.40pm at the earliest.

7.   STEM learning habits. All students are regularly assessed against six STEM habits of mind, which all students are expected to fully embrace. These are resilience, creative problem solving, teamwork, responsibility, communication skills and curiosity.

8.   Independence and responsibility. Year 10 & 11 students are set ‘independent study’ work instead of homework. This is mostly completed in dedicated time during the longer college day. There is always a teacher on hand to help during the session should any student need it. Technology is at the heart of independent learning. Every student is issued a Chromebook. These are used in lessons as well as for independent study and enable students to interact with their learning through Google Classroom. There are no bells and students are responsible for getting themselves to where they need to be at the correct times each day.

9.   Training and Enrichment. All students are required to participate in extra training and enrichment during the college day. Training allows students to gain additional skills, awards, and qualifications. A wide range of enrichment activities is offered to students to choose from including; Duke of Edinburgh, reverse engineering, sport and strategic board games to name just a few. Sixth form students too have training and enrichment as part of their timetables.

10. Standards of behaviour. UTC Portsmouth is a calm, ordered and adult learning environment because all students demonstrate excellent learning behaviours at all times. Students have excellent attendance and punctuality, which are requirements in order to be involved in a large amount of project and group-based learning. All of these are regarded as essential life skills that are demanded by all of our employer partners.

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