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FAQs

What is a UTC?

A UTC is a place for students aged 14 to 19 to specialise in technical studies alongside traditional education and is supported by high profile academic and industry partners. It allows a student to study a subject that they are really interested in which is taught in industry standard facilities by teachers with real life practical experience. By 16 their technical skills are far in advance of those students in a standard comprehensive school and more enthusiastic engagement with their academic studies leads to greater achievement in this area also.

What is the reason for starting at 14?

11 is too early to choose a subject path to follow and 16 is too late. Students who know what they want to do can often become bored at school and so underachieve by the time they are 16. 

How do the industry partners get involved with the UTC?

Our industry partners have committed their involvement in the operation of the UTC in a number of ways including:

  • advice and guidance on curriculum development
  • product donations
  • employer accreditations
  • employer-led projects and challenges
  • coaching and mentoring
  • work experience

Industry partners enable students to study specialisms and gain globally accepted industry standard accreditations.

What is the specialism of the UTC?

UTC Reading offers a broad spectrum of computer science and engineering disciplines and is becoming a world-class centre of excellence in these subjects.

Does the sponsor benefit financially from the UTC?

No – UTC Reading is established as an Academy Trust and a charity. 

Does the UTC deliver the full academic curriculum?

Yes - students are encouraged to take GCSEs and A-levels alongside vocational qualifications, industry standard employer certifications and professional society memberships. Formal learning is enhanced by a variety of enrichment activities: sports, arts and leadership building activities (e.g. Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Combined Cadet Force).

How does the UTC’s governing body ensure democratic representation?

UTC Reading’s governing body consists of representatives from the sponsor, academic and industry partner groups as well as the Principal, staff governors, a Local Authority governor, a minimum of two parent governors and additional governors appointed by the Trustees.

What is the difference between what UTC Reading teaches and what other Sixth Form colleges teach?

Most Sixth Forms focus on a wide range of A-level programmes that are designed to give students the opportunity to access a university education. At UTC Reading we offer a small number of A-levels that complement the technical BTEC and employer certified qualifications. These qualifications give students access to higher education to study computer science or engineering disciplines. Their A-levels are also very well suited to provide progression to meaningful employment or into an apprenticeship.

What is the admissions catchment area?

A set percentage of places for Year 10 and Post 16 are allocated to students living in each of the grouped post code areas.

What are the procedures when UTC Reading is over-subscribed?

Where the number of applications for admission is greater than the published admissions number, applications are considered against the criteria set out below. After the admission of pupils with statements of Special Educational Needs where UTC Reading is named on the statement, the criteria are applied in the order in which they are set out below: 

  • Looked after children; or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption order, residence, or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions.
  • Remaining places will be allocated as follows: 30% of places allocated to applicants within Area 1 which includes all postcodes in RG1, RG2, RG4, RG5, RG6 and RG30
  • 30% of places allocated to applicants within Area 2 which includes all postcodes in RG7, RG8, RG9, RG10, RG12, RG27, RG31, RG40, RG41, RG42, RG45, GU46 and GU47
  • 30% of places allocated to applicants within Area 3 which includes all postcodes in RG14, RG18, RG19, RG21, RG22, RG23, RG24, RG26, SL1, SL2, SL4, SL5, SL6, SL7, GU14, GU15, GU17, GU18, GU19, GU20 and GU51
  • The remaining 10% of places will be allocated to pupils living outside the postcodes listed above with those living closest to the front gates of the UTC (straight line distance) being admitted.

Do students have to take an exam/aptitude test to get into the UTC?

There are no selection or aptitude tests for students joining in Year 10. The UTC applies a minimum criteria in relation to academic entrance requirements for admission or transfer to the UTC Reading for Post 16. In order to gain entry to Year 12, both internal and external applicants must have passed 5 or more GCSEs (or equivalents) at grades A*-C, including English and mathematics at grade C or above. When Post 16 is undersubscribed all applicants meeting the minimum academic entry requirements are admitted.  There are also minimum entry requirements for study on some courses.

How does the UTC work with students who have SEN?

The governing body of the UTC complies with the duties imposed upon the governing bodies of maintained schools as set out in The Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) Regulations 1999 (as amended from time to time).

Does the UTC receive excluded students from other schools?

The UTC acts in accordance with the law on exclusions as if the UTC were a maintained school.  

How are students with aptitude further encouraged?

Our industry partners work with the UTC to help students to develop career goals and aspirations and to help them recognise their skills and potential. They are also engaged in mentoring individual students to encourage them to maximise their education and employment opportunities.

What is the dress code?

In keeping with the aim of the UTC to prepare young people for work in hi-tech business environments, high standards of personal appearance are expected. Male students wear a shirt, tie, formal jacket, formal trousers and smart shoes. Female students wear a smart top and skirt/trousers or a smart dress, formal jacket and smart shoes.

Are the classes mixed ability?

Classes are mixed ability in some cases, but in the main they are based on individual ability and therefore setting is used.

What does the pastoral system look like?

An effective pastoral system is essential for the UTC. Alongside the allocation of a tutor to every student, we make full use of mentors from industry and undergraduate mentors from the university partner. 

Are there special events or evenings for parents to attend during the academic year? If yes, what kind?

There are a range of open evenings, induction activities, celebration events and consultation meetings. You will be informed on a regular basis via the website and by letter of future activities. For a list of upcoming events please visit the Events page.

How can I apply to the UTC?

Visit our How to apply section for details on how to apply for a place in Year 10 or Year 12.

Are free school meals available?

Yes – all pupils that are eligible for free school meals have that entitlement.

How is the UTC able to deliver a full sports curriculum and does the UTC have access to other sports facilities?

The Crescent Road site has access to a sports field, a gym and a sprung floor area for dance and other sports. Use is also made of our partners’ facilities and other local sports facilities.

How do students fit all the learning in? Isn't it too much?

The school day of UTC Reading runs from 8.30am-4.30pm Tuesday-Thursday and 8.30am-4pm Mondays and Fridays to prepare students for the working week and to allow for extra teaching and practical time. There is no homework; all work is done within school hours. Extra curricula enrichment activities all happen within the school day.

Do you have to pay to send a child to a UTC?

No – UTCs are free.

Do UTCs get more funding than other schools?

No – they receive the funding as any other state school which is based on formula driven by the number of students they have.

Are UTCs inspected by Ofsted?

Yes.

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