Principal's Blog March 2018

Principal's Blog - March 2018

UTC Portsmouth: Excellence in STEM Education

Now that we have left February behind (as well as the ‘Beast from the East’!), the arrival of March and rising temperatures have indicated that spring is finally on its way. It is the time of year in education  when we often tend to look ahead to the rest of the academic year with a sense of hope and renewed ambition. It is also a time when many of our activities are centred increasingly around ‘measuring’ how we are all doing and making preparations for the future. For example, all of our students are currently revising hard for their mock examinations and beginning to think more about the sort of career pathways they might want to follow in the future.

The start of the snow on Thursday afternoon ...

The start of the snow on Thursday afternoon ...


Preparation for life after college

As such, I am delighted to announce plans for our first Progression Week, which will take place from 30 April to 4 May. This will be a whole college opportunity this year and will include a variety of activities such as mock interviews, a careers fair and industry speakers. Going forward, this will be an annual event for students in Years 10 & 12. As a college we are very focused on developing skills with our students that will enable them to access the future career of their choice. This focused week of activity will both challenge and inspire them I am sure.

All students were recently informed about plans for their work experience weeks. Arrangements for the two current year groups differ, here is an outline of the details recently shared with students:

  • Year 10 will undertake a week of work experience from 4-8 June 2018. They have the choice whether to take up one of the many exciting work experience opportunities with one of our employer partners or to make their own arrangements for a suitably STEM related placement. Students have met with members of staff to let us know their plans, confirmation of placements for those choosing to go to one of our employer partners will happen by Easter break.

  • Year 12 students are expected to research, identify, plan and secure their own week of work experience to take place 16-20 July 2018. If they have found a suitable placement that cannot take place that week, they are able to undertake it at another point during the summer holidays. They are all expected to compile a report of the their experience at the end of their placement, detailing what they have gained from the placement. The deadline for submitting their proposals for what they will do is 29 March.


Enrichment and training

We are excited about the forthcoming RN Engineering Challenge, which will take place at HMS Sultan on 21 March. Teams from UTC Portsmouth will be there to compete against up to 72 teams from all around the country. Each team has to build a remote controlled vessel that is capable of recovering objects from the sea bed. Good luck to our teams who have been working very hard with their teachers.

BAE Systems recently offered a fantastic opportunity for 18 students to visit their Skills and Innovation Centre including the Visualisation Suite at the Dockyard.  Students wearing 3D glasses were able to be virtually guided around some of the Navy’s great ships in detail.  Students learned that CAD is used to design entire ships and that BAE can troubleshoot, plan maintenance and design effective workspaces using Avatars. Students also experienced tours around much of the Historic Dockyard using the latest 3D scanning technology. Overall this was a great experience for the students to see what a powerful role CAD has in engineering.

We had Lt Lauren Ruffell from the Royal Navy come into college recently to teach a maths lesson to Y10 students about bearings, which led to a navigation exercise. It went really well and gave the students some relevant context. The students got to do some realistic chart work and really enjoyed the lesson.

Watch this space……..for exciting news in my next blog about our new Lego Innovation Studio coming to UTC Portsmouth soon!



At the beginning of March we introduced the ‘Parent Portal’. We have listened to those parents who have asked us to provide them with easier access to more information. This website ties directly into our student information management system and allows parents to check important information including  timetables, attendance, STEM credits and rewards.

It is also wonderful to see more parents engaging with and learning about Google Classroom. At our recent Year 10 parents evening, some parents were talking about Google Classroom like experts!

We have our first Parents’ Forum on Tuesday 13 March. All parents have been invited and we will be covering the following topics; Parentpay, communication home, half termly data reports, Google Classroom, Parent Portal. We look forward to as many of you who can make it.


Ciaran O’Dowda



Other important dates for the rest of the spring term:

Week beginning 19th March: Year 10 Mock exams fortnight

Year 12 reports issued just before the spring break


Other important dates for the summer term:

Week beginning 16th April: Year 12 Mock exams fortnight

23rd and 25th May: CAMNAT exams all week

Year 10 reports issued just before the half term break


Half term 28th May to 1st June


Friday 25th May- INSET Day (college only open to Y10 students doing their CAMNAT exams in the afternoon)

Monday 4th June: Work Experience week for Year 10

Sports Day: date to be confirmed

Monday 16th July: Work Experience week for Year 12

Friday 20th July: summer term ends