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Flagship University Technical College to close due to falling pupil numbers

A flagship University Technical College has been forced to announce its closure because of falling pupil numbers.

Hackney UTC in east London has said it will be close just two years after it first opened after receiving only 29 applications for September out of a target of 75. It follows a critical Ofsted report in February which said the college was underperforming in a number of areas.

The college, which has the Duke of York (pictured) as its patron, will not accept any new students this September, but all current year 10 students will continue until the end of year 11 to complete their GCSEs in 2015. The college will then close in August 2015.

A spokesman for the Department for Education told TES the closure had “no bearing” on the UTC programme as a whole, and said many other colleges were “thriving”.

“We are seeing many UTCs go from strength to strength and some are now oversubscribed. We are confident that as they become known in their areas more young people will choose to make the move,” he said.

UTCs offer technical education to 14-19-year-olds, specialising in subjects where there is a shortage of skills. There are currently 17 across the country with another 33 approved.

Hackney UTC, which is situated in the heart of London’s “Tech City”, was the first to open in the capital.

Its curriculum has a digital media production focus, and all students learn programming and benefit from its “extensive involvement” with professional partners, including BT and Cisco.

Anthony Painter, chairman of governors at Hackney UTC, said: “I am proud of what has been achieved by the principal, staff and students of Hackney UTC and we will continue that good work on behalf of our current students.

“Their work has laid the foundations for an exciting local education offer.”

The DfE thanked staff for their efforts to bring a high quality technical education to Hackney.

A spokesman added: “The Hackney UTC Trust has asked that the school close at the end of August 2015 due to disappointing pupil recruitment.

“It is vital that every school delivers value for money and so we have accepted their request. Our priority now is working with the Trust to ensure pupils are able to complete courses they have started and receive the right support.”

Related stories:

Labour review calls for University Technical Colleges to tackle skills gap - July 2014

Girls at University Technical Colleges feel more job-ready than those at school - May 2014


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