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Department of Education Shelves Plan For University Technical College In Guildford

Published on: 11 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 11 Mar, 2017

Plans for a university technical college (UTC) in Guildford have been shelved.

Earmarked to be built on a site in Park Barn, adjacent to Kings College senior school, it would have offered technical qualifications in computer science and engineering to 14- to 18-year-olds from Surrey.

A joint statement from the trustees behind the UTC, including Danny Maloney of the Guildford Education Partnership (GEP), reads: “It is with regret that we write to inform you of the cancellation of the project to open a university technical college in Guildford. Unfortunately the Department for Education is no longer supportive of the project and has decided not to proceed further with it.

Map from Guildford UTC’s website showing the location of where the college was to be sited.

“The trustees of the proposed UTC are extremely disappointed – we believe we had a strong proposal and had made good progress towards setting up an exciting academic and technical option for 14- to 18-year-olds in Guildford and the surrounding area.

“CGI, Royal Holloway, University of London, Guildford College, Guildford Education Partnership and Surrey County Council remain strongly committed to high quality technical education and to addressing the skills gap in this area.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has provided support and encouragement to the project. We know that a number of organisations and individuals have committed time and energy to the project and we are grateful for this.”

The government’s vision had been to create 50 UTCs throughout the UK by 2018. They are aimed at young people interested in careers in computing or the engineering sectors. Students at Guildford UTC would have studied these qualifications alongside core academic GCSEs and A-levels.

A number of UTCs have already opened in the UK and there have been reports that some have failed to recruit the desired number of pupils.

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Responses to Department of Education Shelves Plan For University Technical College In Guildford

  1. Christopher Fairs Reply

    March 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I believe it has chosen to call itself, The Department FOR Education, rather than Department OF Education: an interesting misnomer and strange choice of preposition in this instance.

  2. C Williams Reply

    March 12, 2017 at 12:10 am

    This is a great shame. Given the number of high-tech companies on the Research Park less than one mile away is it not time to show some corporate responsibility and help the neighbouring area?

  3. Paul Bishop Reply

    March 13, 2017 at 8:41 am

    A real shame. We are seriously lacking in engineering skills in this country, especially around here in Guildford.

    I struggle to attract skill from further afield due to the high cost of living and general congestion. Without growing our own local skills and talent I struggle to see how the technology companies in the area will be able to provide meaningful employment for locals.

    We are already struggling for housing here, the influx of more people to fill the skills shortage will simple exasperate the issue.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    March 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Total disgrace – the first chance to provide for non academics thrown into the trash basket.

  5. John Cooke Reply

    March 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I agree that it is wrong to shelve the plans for this new college, but it’s not the “first chance to provide for non academics”: Guildford College already offers opportunities for academic and non academics in Computing and Engineering and Merrist Wood for those with an interest in more traditional, land based, subjects.

    I should declare an interest: I work at Merrist Wood, part of the Guildford College Group, but I am not representing the college, this view is my own.

    I think the new technology college would have been great and, I believe, Guildford College would have been involved. But people shouldn’t think there is no alternative for ‘non-academics’ we already cater for those students and also give time for some of them to develop and go onto degree programmes, so I don’t want us forgotten.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      March 15, 2017 at 10:14 am

      I am aware of Merrist Wood and Guildford College. I was recently informed that at Guildford College the machine shop had closed and had been sold off. We are failing to provide the basics of general engineering: just theorising is not providing the ground-work for general engineering.

      Denying hands on engineers a training opportunity while enlarging the paper shufflers training domains does not bode well for a balanced work force in the area.

  6. Valerie Thompson Reply

    March 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Sad news.

    What this country needs are lots of people trained in practical skills. Not everyone can be an academic, though we need to educate our future leaders to the highest level.

    We need Technical Colleges for the young people who want to make, repair, design, or learn a trade; those for whom a degree would be a waste of time, and those who might go on to take up apprenticeships.

    How limited is the government’s vision!

  7. Mary Bedforth Reply

    March 16, 2017 at 7:34 am

    What does our MP have to say on this retrograde step, if anything?

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