Principal's Blog - March 2019

UTC Portsmouth: Excellence in STEM Education

Student Presidents and Vice Presidents elected

On Friday 15 February democracy was alive and well when the whole college turned out to cast their votes

Congratulations to the following:

Presidents: Joseph R and Sam B

Vice-Presidents: Noor A and Angel R

A great big ‘Thank you’ also to  Sam J, Justin D, Bethany O, Eleanor H, Jack E, Daniel B, Joseph C and Thomas H who similarly put their names forward and ran their own campaigns in the three weeks building up to the day of voting.
All of these students showed tremendous skills of communications, responsibility, team work and resilience. We are proud of all of them.

DfE visit

We had our latest inspection from the Department of Education on 4th March. I am pleased to report that we were once again given really positive and encouraging feedback. Taking into account all other previous inspections as well, UTC Portsmouth is indeed living up to it’s reputations of standing for ‘Excellence in STEM Education’

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A lot of engineering enrichment activities…

...have been happening lately. There are too many to mention in this Blog. Here are just a few.

Year 13 Extended Diploma students received pneumatics training delivered by the Royal Navy Outreach Team to assist with their assessed coursework. In an associated visit to HMS Sultan students experienced real applications of hydraulics systems on Sea King and Lynx helicopters.


The same students visited the University of Portsmouth to complete three Control System Laboratory activities to assist with their assessed coursework

Years 10 and 12 have been manufacturing the boats and vehicles for this years Royal Navy UTC Engineering Challenge with the Final taking place on 27th March.

Year 10 students had a brilliant presentation from Wessex Resins as part of the introduction to engineering materials. This is an essential part of a project to build canoes from scratch.

Progression week

From 4-8th March the college held its second Progression Week since opening. This was a full week of activities which comprehensively covered a range of areas designed to prepare students with skills for life after college. All students in Years 10 and 12 participated in activities such as: interview practice, careers guidance, building CVs, employability skills, the UCAS process, Oxbridge mentoring, degree apprenticeships and a careers fair. Students attended aspects of the week in business wear which added a realistic and formal tone to the occasion. Overall, this was a brilliant week and I would like to thank many of our employer partners for their support and active involvement


Rowing for Borneo

Just before the half term break, students participating in the Geography field trip to Borneo later this year chose to complete a sponsored rowing event to highlight the plight of orangutans in the country.  The 15 students set themselves an impressive target of rowing 80,000m during the college today with each metre rowed reflecting an orangutan lost because of habitat loss linked to deforestation in the country in the last few years.

Thank you to Warrant Officer (WO1) 'Tiny' Nash for kicking off the event and for arranging for the loan of the rowing machines. The event attracted a great deal of interest across the college with loads of other students and even members of staff all keen to contribute to its success.  As a a result the original target was quickly surpassed and, thanks to the efforts of a few stalwarts, the final tally was an absolutely massive 200,000m!


Geography teacher and organiser of the field trip, Miss Hawkins, said, "The work we will be doing in the rainforests of Borneo will be gruelling and the students may struggle in the unfamiliar conditions, but their work will ultimately aid scientists in reporting on the vulnerable but incredibly important ecosystem that is sadly, at present, taken for granted.  The 'row-athon’ brought the whole Borneo team together (and the whole college together) and showed just how determined and driven these students can be and how, faced with a challenge, they can all pull together and support each other to succeed. It showed me just how resilient they can be and it was a very proud moment watching them all row and encourage each other."

A big shout out must go to parent Mrs Emma Gueterbock for volunteering her time to coach and encourage students throughout the day.

College Governance

A warm welcome to Mr David Eminton, who was recently elected Parent Trustee.

David has previous governance experience and has been a solicitor for the past 30 years. He joins us with an impressive set of skills and has a keen appreciation of the benefits and relevance of a STEM-based education

CEO Sleepout

I have been persuaded (actually it took hardly any persuasion) to participate in the ‘CEO Sleepout Portsmouth’ which will take place at Fratton Park on 4th April.  If you have not heard of this before, it is an event which calls upon all business leaders, business owners, CEOs and senior execs to give up their home comforts and warm bed for one night and sleep outdoors, raising money to help people who need it most. CEO Sleepout is a charity set up to fight homelessness and poverty. They put the money they raise to work fighting homelessness and poverty in cities across the country.

Please have a look at my Just Giving page and if you can spare a little something to sponsor me for this deserving charity, that would be wonderful. Please click here

Ciaran O’Dowda