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UTCs showed some bright promise that’s failing fast

University Technical colleges were a good idea in theory, says Andy Forbes, but they haven’t recruited enough students or got the results they need to make them work

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University technical colleges (UTCs) seemed like such a good idea. Backed by the formidable Lord Baker, they ended up in David Cameron’s 2015 election manifesto, which promised a UTC “within reach of every city”. They were to be flagship technical schools, their high quality guaranteed by the involvement of a university, their relevance guaranteed by the support of major companies. What could go wrong?

After only five years, most UTCs are struggling. A recent report from NFER makes this painfully clear. With a few notable exceptions, they’ve failed to recruit enough students or failed to ...

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