Principal's blog September 2017

UTC Portsmouth: Excellence in STEM Education

Our Start

I am delighted to share with you the news that 150 excited students successfully began their courses on Monday 11th September. This was obviously a very significant day in the life of UTC Portsmouth and our ‘pioneering’ students and staff have already impressed me with their enthusiasm and drive.

Building and preparing a college from scratch is a very complicated process and having everything ready for Day 1 is such a challenge. We managed to make a smooth start under the circumstances and there were only minor niggles like the late delivery of some sizes of uniform etc. However, our students and their parents have been wonderful in working in partnership with us in order to make the best possible start.

Most importantly, learning commenced as it should. I have had the privilege of visiting all of our classrooms, computer suites, laboratories and engineering workshops to observe learning taking place. The college already has a very adult and businesslike feel about it. Students move about our great facility in a calm, respectful and ordered way. In lessons, students are engaged, being challenged and are very keen to make the best of the great opportunity they have been given. The sense of community forming is almost palpable. Students have arrived here from 27 different schools and colleges. To witness them all gelling together is incredibly satisfying and testament to the very grown up character traits they bring with them

I hope you were able to see the recent positive media coverage on BBC South Today and newspapers. The feedback I received was mainly about how good our facilities look. I can confirm that our facilities are indeed the ‘best in breed’ and our students really have a special opportunity to develop a vast range of skills. I thought that the coverage showed our students in a positive light too. Viewers could see that our uniform is quite different to conventional uniforms inasmuch as it is designed to be suitable for following a STEM curriculum. Our students are smart and look like they mean business!

Our Purpose

Our positive start was also helped by our whole college assembly during which we had a large number of partners pay a visit. From their presentations, students were able to see the clear connection between their learning and the opportunities available when they leave us at the end of Y12. It was great for students to learn that by completing their education at UTC Portsmouth, they will enter into a climate which is woefully short of young people with STEM skills and the associated life skills. Students will leave us with the strongest chance of pursuing their chosen pathway in either Higher Education, advanced apprenticeships or employment.

Students were introduced to our college motto which is:

‘Every student at UTC Portsmouth should aim to Be Vital by applying 6 essential STEM learning habits:

Creative Problem Solving, Curiosity (Mind), Resilience, Responsibility (Character), Teamwork, Communication Skills (People)’

Students learned that as well as being assessed on their academic progress in subjects, they will also be assessed on their progress in developing these very important life and employability skills. We, including our partners, highly value these qualities and it is our aim for all of our students to become, confident, rounded, skilled and ‘vital’ individuals.

The Future

No sooner have we welcomed our 2017 intake, our attention will shortly turn to admissions for September 2018. Our website contains our new prospectus and all the key dates you need to know. To summarise, the process for entry into Year 10 kicks off  on 25th September with the first of our open events. A similar process for entry into our Sixth Form starts 9th October, though applicants can express their interest at anytime visiting the ‘Apply’ section of our website where contact details can be left.

My staff and I are looking forward to meeting parents of our students this term. We also welcome enquiries from people who would like to know more about us and why we are here.

Ciaran O’Dowda