Principal's blog November 2017

UTC Portsmouth: Excellence in STEM Education

Official Opening

As the days shorten and many of us see the sun far less frequently than we would like, it is always great to have something to look forward to- apart from Christmas, which people seem to view in many different ways these days.

Now we have settled into our new college routines, one thing we can look forward to is our official opening on December 12th 2017. We thought long and hard about who we would love to open the college. They would ideally be someone impressive and inspirational from the world of Science and Technology. Well, I am delighted to announce that our first choice, by a long way, has agreed to do the honours. Yes, the astronaut Tim Peake will come to UTC Portsmouth. I am also so pleased that he believes that his visit should be largely taken up with talking to our students to find out about their STEM learning and ambitions in life. I will let you know how our opening went in a subsequent blog but I expect there will be lots of news on social media, TV and radio to look out for in and around the event.

Final Sixth Form Open Event

We have our final Open Evening on 22nd November for students wishing to join our Sixth Form in September 2018. Everyone is welcome and all potential students will have an opportunity to find out about the three exciting curriculum pathways we offer: A level pathway, technical pathway or combined pathway. In addition, visitors are free to have a good look around our fabulous and superbly equipped college. Please book a place on our website to avoid disappointment.


The deadline for sixth form applications is 15th January 2018 and before then we will be offering tours of the college during the day for anyone interested in seeing learning taking place. These tours can also be booked on our website.

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Reflections on October

October has been a good month in the life of the college. Students have really settled into their learning and have brilliantly adjusted to a new environment. In addition, students have demonstrated they have bought into our ethos by embracing the six STEM learning habits that are central to what we aim to achieve. At UTC Portsmouth, students are not just supported to gain the best academic grades but also to possess the appropriate life and employability skills for Higher Education and exciting careers in STEM.


We had two notable visitors too:

We welcomed Lord Baker, co-founder of the Baker Dearing Trust (and former MP and cabinet minister including holding the offices of Education Secretary and Home Secretary), to our college. Lord Baker heads the educational trust set up to promote the establishment of University Technical Colleges in England. In addition he campaigns for a coherent, unified and holistic education for all young people. After his visit he wrote to me with the following words ‘I was very glad I had the opportunity to visit your UTC yesterday.  I was most impressed with not only the building but also the quality of the teaching.  You have got together a strong team.  Also, I was impressed with the quality of your students and how much they have learnt already’. Lord Baker is hugely experienced in the world of British education and we are grateful for his kind words.


We also welcomed Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE who is also a very strong advocate of STEM education nationally. The Second Sea Lord (2SL), as he is otherwise known, presented the college with a framed partnership charter which is on display in the college. This charter outlines the importance our partnership places on ensuring young people are given the best education and opportunities as well as the commitment that all stakeholders are willing to make to this end. I am also very grateful that 2SL has kindly donated a framed painting of HMS Marlborough to the college which also signifies our strong bond. This painting is poignant inasmuch as it tells the story of how in the mid 1800s the fleet of RN ships became driven by engines as well as sail, therefore heralding the move to have engineers on ships for the first time. Nowadays 43% of the fleet’s workforce are engineers.



Year 10 applications

These have now closed and it is so reassuring to have more than twice as many applications as we have places. Clearly, our very academic and specialised STEM offer has really captured the imagination and interest of many young people across our very wide catchment area. Allocations will be made and families notified by the end of term. Obviously, with the large number of applications received, we acknowledge that some families may be disappointed that their child has not got a place. Rest assured, students currently in Year 9  will be able to apply again for our sixth form when they reach year 11.  


With very best wishes

Ciaran O’Dowda