Principal's Blog- October 2018

UTC Portsmouth: Excellence in STEM Education

Open events

Sixth Form

We held the first of our two open evenings on Monday 8 October for students wishing to gain a place in our sixth form in September 2019. It was wonderful to see so many eager and interested young adults expressing their passion for a STEM education with their searching and relevant questions. It was also wonderful to see so many girls there, especially as we are so committed to attracting more women into the vast range of exciting STEM opportunities and careers available. UTC Portsmouth really has fast become a college serving the whole Solent region as, once again, potential students showed a willingness to travel everyday from West Sussex, Surrey, the Isle of Wight and the north and east parts of Hampshire.

So many people turned up to the event that we had to put on three talks. For those of you who missed out on this visit, there is another chance on 21 November 5-7pm for our repeat open evening. Please book a place to avoid disappointment.

We also have an ‘Open College’ 26th to 30th November during normal college hours. This is for prospective applicants to get a true feel of what a normal college day is like. Similarly, please book a place on our website.

The deadline for sixth form applications is 13th January 2018

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Year 10

We held two open events early in the term and both were fully booked. This evidence clearly shows that our curriculum offer has really captured the local interest. Parents and students, please be reminded that the closing date for applications is 2 November 2018 and students will need to have attended, or booked to attend, a short meeting with me before submitting the application.

Department for Education visit

On 4 October 2018, the college had its usual termly inspection which went very well indeed.

This inspection process is rightfully demanding and thorough and we are pleased that the feedback is always positive. Together with all the other various types of external validation we gather, we know that UTC Portsmouth is already an excellent college that is on track for being recognised as outstanding overall.


Learning at UTC Portsmouth

The college is a really exciting place of learning. When many more new students joined in September I was instantly impressed with the value each student added to the college. It is such a privilege to walk into lessons and see like-minded students serious about their learning and having fun at the same time. At the start of September we doubled the number of teachers too. I feel so lucky to have attracted such a expert team at a time where great STEM teachers in our country are very difficult to find.

I have recently been showing a lot of visitors, potential students and their parents around the college and the comments I most frequently hear are:

  • ‘It is so calm’

  • ‘All the students are focussed and seem to be really engaged in their studies’

  • ‘It’s got a really grown up feel to it- like a university’

  • ‘The behaviour is excellent’

  • ‘Your students are so kind and welcoming’

It is fantastic to get such positive reactions and I can confirm that it is actually is like this every day!

One significant feature of UTC Portsmouth life is that all of our students are given a Chromebook to support their learning. This has been one of the best curriculum-related decisions we have made. The Chromebook is regarded as an essential tool for learning and students are becoming very skilled at making full use of its functionality by engaging with more of the Google Classroom apps.

Training & Enrichment

All students have something called ‘Training’ and ‘Enrichment’ on their timetables. This is dedicated time set aside to give students chances to acquire good life and employability skills. Please look at our website and prospectuses to find out more about these opportunities. Below are just two examples of what our students have been up to.

Royal Navy Challenge

Currently, students are working in teams on a challenge set by the Royal Navy called Exercise Downbird Rescue. This month sees us entering the final stages of the design element of the challenge. Year 10 and Year 12 students have been working in teams since week 1, designing a remote controlled boat and vehicle to complete a mission to rescue items involving crossing both water and land and avoiding an erupting volcano. The students have identified an assortment of designs and they are now putting together presentations and reports to convince the engineering team that their ideas should be selected to go through to the next stage of the project - this will be to actually construct their designs, ready for the national competition in March.

Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

The Gold DofE Students are going to the Brecon Beacons over the half term for their assessed expedition.

The Bronze students are completing their assessed expedition over the weekend at the end of the half-term holiday.


Ciaran O’Dowda