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New University Technical College Set For Guildford, Pending Funding: Public Consultation Seeks Views

Published on: 16 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2016

Plans are well under way for a new university technical college (UTC) in Guildford, due to open in 2018. However, the final step to it becoming a reality is it being granted funding.

guildford-utc-02It is planned to be built on a site in Park Barn, adjacent to Kings College senior school, and will offer technical qualifications in computer science and engineering to 14- to 19-year-olds from Surrey.

UTCs are aimed at young people interested in careers in computing or the engineering sectors. Students at Guildford UTC will study these qualifications alongside core academic GCSEs and A-levels.

A public consultation is running until Monday, November 21. Parents whose children may want to attend the new college and others interested in the project are being asked to give their views.

Following the consultation, the all-important decison on its funding, estimated at £12 million, will be made by the Department of Education.

The Guildford UTC has five core partners:

Image from Guildford UTC's website.

Image from Guildford UTC’s website.

GEP’s chief executive officer, Danny Maloney, formerly head teacher at George Abbot School, spoke to The Guildford Dragon NEWS outlining the role of UTCs and the plan for the one in Guildford.

He explained that the government’s vision is to create 50 UTCs throughout the UK by 2018.

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

Mr Moloney said he believes those UTCs who fall into this category have not had the foresight to consult with other schools in their locality. The vision being that all UTCs should become multi-academy trusts, so can work together with other schools.

He said the ethos of UTCs is to provide direct employabilty for its students.

Students at UTCs have a longer school day than at normal secondary schools. They study for 40 weeks a year and are not set homework as such, as all the studying is done in school hours.

The aim is to reflect the workplace they will go on to. Also, they dress acccordingly as to the work role they are aiming towards.

Mr Moloney said that the catchment area around the planned Guildford UTC is “good”. In that demographically there should be enough pupils who want to follow this career path to fill the places at Guildford UTC.

There has already been a number of public meetings to which people have had the opportunity to give their views on the proposed Guildford UTC. These have been in other parts of Surrey, including Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham; and George Abbot School in Burpham. It must be remembered that students from across Surrey will be offered places.

Map from Guildford UTC's website showin the location of the proposed college.

Map from Guildford UTC’s website showing the location of the proposed college.

But why no public consultation in Park Barn, where the UTC is proposed to be built?

Mr Maloney said that the plan for the Guildford UTC has been forwarded to parents of pupils at Kings College and its feeder school Guildford Grove. He has also spoken to parents at Guildford’s Sandford and Boxgrove Schools, whose pupils feed into George Abbot School.

The Guildford UTC website has lots of information about its proposals. The criteria includes:

  • 60 places available in Year 10 and 100 places available in Year 12
  • Will eventually accommodate 720 students (180 per year group over four year groups)
  • Will specialise in engineering and computer science
  • Will be free to attend
  • Will be open to students of all abilities within a 15-mile radius of Guildford
  • Will have a curriculum designed by leading local employers who will also offer work-related learning opportunities and work experience

Mr Maloney added that Guildford UTC will aim to offer a learning experience to young people directly linked to better employment prospects. It will focus on engineering and computer sciences as, he believes, there are job opportunites in those fields in the local area.

Without doubt, the challenge of filling the places at Guildford UTC (if it goes ahead) will be to encourage students who have already settled into their secondary schools by the age of 14 (and their parents) to make a decision to transfer to the UTC. It is therefore important that those secondary schools identify students who show at that age an aptitude and interest to enter into the careers the UTC will be training them for – engineering and computer science.

The overall aim of UTCs is to “give students a wide range of skills that will help them get a head start in their next steps after leaving, whether they choose university, an apprenticeship or go straight into work”.

Click here if you would like to make your views known on the Guildford UTCs questionnaire survey,

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Responses to New University Technical College Set For Guildford, Pending Funding: Public Consultation Seeks Views

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 16, 2016 at 8:56 am

    While I totally support education of this kind, having read their paperwork and web site I found a certain gender/ educational bias creeping in which actually placed restrictions on who could attend. I have raised these bias with them and hopefully they have removed them.

  2. C Barker Reply

    November 16, 2016 at 9:43 am

    So wish all this was available when I was younger, I would have jumped at the chance for a place.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      November 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

      In the period 1908 – 1992 this was available, it was called an ‘apprenticeship’ provided by most country wide organisations including: the GPO, the MOD, the WATER companies and the Electricity companies.

      It lasted four plus years and allowed non-university level people, albeit mostly lads at the time, to have a firm grounding in basic skills. The some unenlightened fool decided ‘poaching trained staff’ was the way forward and the apprenticeship system died.

      Few carrying that label today provide such a solid basis for work ethic.

      I write from experience as the membership secretary of the Royal Aircraft Establishment Apprentice Association, and a former apprentice.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 16, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    So, a potential extra 720 vehicles descending on Westborough and Park Barn twice a day delivering and collecting all these extra pupils. That’ll be fun.

  4. Jackie Kay Reply

    November 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Why are they not liaising with Guildford College where there is already a base and probable capacity?

  5. John Kohl Reply

    November 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Jackie Kay should have noticed in the article above one of the partners in this enterprise is Guildford College, so she should not accuse them of a lack of liaison.

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