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Current Student Board President looks towards an exciting future thanks to UTC Reading

Year 13 Student Board President, James, joined UTC Reading in Year 10. Now in his final year, we caught up with him to hear about his experience of Sixth Form life…

“Joining another sixth form of college was never an option for me. Since joining the UTC in Year 10, I experienced it in a way you probably wouldn’t if you just came along to get a glimpse of it. The whole environment and its ethos – it really is quite special.”

“I always knew I would stay on here. The level of teaching, the level of opportunity available to you - it was my only option. Not only that, but it is smaller and so specialist. You get more time with work with staff and they also try to find time outside of lessons when you need it.”

“A lot of my friends here joined at Sixth Form and very quickly got used to the way it runs. It is different because of the longer hours and the structure, but in Sixth Form, you also get a lot more independently guided work and we have, very recently, been given the chance to work from home when we don’t have scheduled lessons. It has been designed to represent the world of work, so you plan your days around your workload.”

“There is a very positive can-do attitude at the UTC. Most of us have the same interest in technology, engineering or IT, but as well as that; there are a broad span of particular interests, so you very quickly get involved in a whole load of conversations about the latest piece of technology for example. It has a real community feel about the place.”

“Adding to that, it feels just like the workplace – it can have a busy and buzzy atmosphere when we’re working on employer projects and be full of energy, but then when you need to get your head down, it can be really calm and focused. Throughout all of that, it remains professional.”

“When I was thinking about staying on at Sixth Form, the flexibility was important to me. I also valued being able to get support when I needed it. Both of these you get in the Sixth Form.”

“A typical day as a Sixth Former…we arrive and go into our morning tutor session, which we now know as ‘team-time’. We discuss what is going on that day, plan and send some emails. Then we are off to scheduled lessons. In amongst that are slots where you can go off to one of the many breakout spaces around the college and study. I am part of the Student Board, so we also meet weekly, as do the Student Equalities Council who cover mental health and run events. Add to that the industry relations events that happen all the time. It can be very busy with a whole host of opportunities.”

“The UTC also offer enrichment sessions, these are encouraged but not mandatory. They are aimed at developing you personally, so we are able to take as many professional qualifications as we like, for free! I don’t know anywhere else that offers this! There are also opportunities to get involved in activities and clubs, that are both relative to specialist subjects or not. There is a Young Enterprise group, sports enrichments, and the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) to name just a few.”

For anyone thinking about joining us for Sixth Form, I couldn’t recommend it enough! As long as you are passionate about developing yourself, you will thrive here. If you come here and see it as a normal college, it will only be a normal college. If you come here with a mind-set of ‘what am I going to do above just the studies’ and ‘what do I want to get qualified in’, then suddenly you have a whole host of options available to you.”

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett