Life in modern Britain
As part of preparing our students for working life, rather than the traditional PSHE subject, our Year 11 and Year 12 students take part in a weekly debate.
Our debates help students to develop a wide variety of skills and assets including presentation skills, empathy, understanding, articulation, increased vocabulary, independent working and research skills as well as continually developing their literacy skills.
Our debate topics have been carefully selected to match the PSHE syllabus and to complement other parts of the curriculum. We also incorporate topics which are current and of particular interest to our industry partners. For example Sytel Reply is focused on ethics in technology, so we held a debate on ‘Technology: manufactures are within their right to manufacture machines to break.’
In addition to our debates, we schedule outside speakers and workshops to come into the UTC and work with the students on specific topics.
We are always looking for ways to make the Big Debate as interesting and thought provoking as possible. If you have a good idea that you feel we could implement, please could Georgina - Georgina.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Radicalisation advice for parents
At UTC Reading we pride ourselves on celebrating and promoting our diverse community with its many different ethnicities and religions. We also recognise however that in today’s world young people are faced with many pressures as they grow up and can often be influenced by strong feelings expressed by others in connection with a range of complex issues. Our overriding concern is that all our students feel safe and also express tolerance towards all cultures and religions even when personal views may be different.
The PREVENT strategy is designed to protect people potentially at risk of being radicalised. There are a number of indicators that may possibly indicate that an individual may be being adversely targeted by an extremist group or cause, such as:
- Suddenly changing how they dress or their appearance.
- High absence rate from school with no clear reason.
- Losing interest in friends or activities not associated with a particular ideology, with their behaviour becoming focused on an extreme idea or cause.
- Possessing or being associated with material or symbols associated with an extremist cause, being in communication with suspected extremists, use of internet or other social media sites associated with extremism.
UTC Reading fully endorses the PREVENT strategy that:
“Schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol. Their purpose must be to protect children from harm and to ensure that they are taught in a way that is consistent with the law and our values.”
“Schools have an important role to play in PREVENT, particularly in ensuring balanced debate as well as freedom of speech. They also have a clear responsibility to exercise their duty of care and to protect the welfare of their students. Staff can identify and offer support to students who may be drawn into extremism.”
Please be reassured that all of our students are given information on staying safe in the school and wider community and are told about appropriate behaviour in terms of their day to day conduct and when using technology. We do follow up and refer any inappropriate or concerning behaviour and work closely with a range of other agencies, such as the police and social care. Our Safeguarding team are always available to discuss any issue you as parents/carers may be concerned about.
Tutor time at UTC Reading is used to support the overall commitment to learning for the whole person. Regular content of attendance and behaviour, academic organisation and extra-curricular opportunities e.g. the Duke of York technology awards are included during this time.
This time is used to support the learning of social, moral and cultural issues, to help empower the individual to appreciate their value and understanding of each other. This is a time when issues that are of concern for an individual or group can be addressed and discussed without fear of judgement, giving an opportunity for students to incorporate their own understanding and experiences to the topics at hand.
We want to incorporate the whole person’s development during this time: the brain, emotions and personal motivation.
Industry partner projects
This time allows students to really experience the fundamentals of the business world, completing tasks, meeting deadlines, working with project experts and so much more.
This is an opportunity for each students to experience the fast moving pace of modern Britain through the world of work and in doing so preparing the students for the next stage beyond UTC Reading.
As your child grows and becomes more independent, it is only natural that they take this independence online. In our teenage years we explore, try new things and sometimes push boundaries and take risks; this is an essential part of growing up.
With all of the potential that the online world and new technology offers, young people now have access to huge opportunities. They use technology to express themselves, explore, and be creative; it has changed the way they communicate.
The internet has changed all of our lives, and your child has grown up during this change. Many of the things that confuse, baffle or even scare us, are part of the everyday for them. For many of us, this can all be a bit too much.
Whether you’re a technophobe or a technophile, it’s still likely that you’ll be playing catch-up with the way your child is using the internet.
You might wonder whether what they are doing is safe, and you might also be thinking how can I be as good a parent online as I am offline?
For further advice click here to be taken to a site dedicated to e-safety
Top tips for ensuring your child is safe online
- Be involved in your child’s online life. For many of today’s young people there is no line between the online and offline worlds. Young people use the internet to socialise and grow and, just as you guide and support them offline, you should be there for them online too. Talk to them about what they’re doing, if they know you understand they are more likely to approach you if they need support.
- Keep up-to-date with your child’s development online. Be inquisitive and interested in the new gadgets and sites that your child is using. It’s important that as your child learns more, so do you.
- Set boundaries in the online world just as you would in the real world. Think about what they might see, what they share, who they talk to and how long they spend online. It is important to continue to discuss boundaries so that they evolve as your child’s use of technology does.
- Know what connects to the internet and how. Nowadays even the TV connects to the internet. Your child will use all sorts of devices and gadgets; make sure you’re aware of which ones can connect to the internet, such as their phone or games console. Also, find out how they are accessing the internet – is it your connection or a neighbour’s Wifi? This will affect whether your safety settings are being applied.
- Consider the use of parental controls on devices that link to the internet, such as the TV, laptops, computers, games consoles and mobile phones. Parental controls are not just about locking and blocking, they are a tool to help you set appropriate boundaries as your child grows and develops. They are not the answer to your child’s online safety, but they are a good start and are not as difficult to install as you might think. Service providers are working hard to make them simple, effective and user friendly. Find your service provider and learn how to set your controls.
- Emphasise that not everyone is who they say they are. Make sure your child knows never to meet up with someone they only know online. People might not always be who they say they are. Make sure your child understands that they should never meet up with anyone they only know online without taking a trusted adult with them.
- Know what to do if something goes wrong. Just as in the offline world, you want to help your child when they need it. Therefore, it is important to know when and how to report any problem.