Principal's Blog- November 2018

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 hear about as much good news as possible. UTC Portsmouth continues to be a very happy and bright place of learning and some days you would not even notice the Autumn gloom outside. I find it hard to believe that it was a whole year ago that we were excitedly making preparations for our college ‘Grand Opening’ with Tim Peake kindly doing the honours.

Final Sixth Form Open Event

We have our final Open Evening on 21st November for students wishing to join our Sixth Form in September 2019. Everyone is welcome and all potential students will have an opportunity to find out about the 3 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 13th 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.

Reflections on October

October was another good month in the life of the college. The students who joined us in September have really settled into their learning and have brilliantly adjusted to a new environment. This in itself is a real triumph as students come to us from 55 different schools across the Solent region and this figure is increasing. 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.

It has been great to see so many of our employer partners in college throughout October. The careers networking event for Year 13 students is worth a special mention as it represents one of the main reasons for the college’s existence. At the event, students, who are nearing the conclusion of their 6F education, were provided with information about real STEM career vacancies with many of our sponsors.  Seeing so many of our students getting excited about the prospect of finally using their professional skills in employment with many of our partners later this year is very rewarding indeed. Because so much is happening with our employer partners, we have decided to produce a monthly bulletin- so please look out for the first edition due at the end of November.


Some time ago I wrote about four Year 10 students who entered a national competition for which they had to devise an innovative concept of interest to the European Space Agency (ESA) and to be judged by British astronaut Tim Peake. Dewald R, Elliot GS, Ethan W and Andrei M won this competition and were rewarded with a trip to visit the Amsterdam headquarters of ESA called ESTEC. Last month the students had a fabulous time there witnessing a vast range of technologies including the development of: Mars rovers, reusable autonomous space vehicles to transport equipment to the ISS and highly sophisticated equipment tough enough to withstand the rigours of launch and many years spent in the harsh conditions of Earth’s orbit.

Year 10 applications

These have now closed and it is so reassuring that once again we are heavily oversubscribed. 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 or the start of next 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