UTC will never open despite £8.6m spent on facilities

7th September 2016 at 16:17
Burton and South Derbyshire UTC becomes seventh UTC project to hit the rocks in little over a year

A university technical college (UTC) in Derbyshire will never open its doors despite the government spending £8.6 million on a “groundbreaking” facility kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Burton and South Derbyshire UTC will not be launched because of “low pupil recruitment numbers”, the Department for Education confirmed today.

It is the seventh UTC project that has been terminated in a little over a year, and the decision comes after Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw warned that the colleges must "radically improve" if they are to survive.

The college was built to offer a technical education for 14- to 19-year-olds in the area and was originally due to open in September 2015. However, the opening date was “put on hold” to September of this year as a result of low student interest.

'Not financially viable'

The DfE has now confirmed to the Burton Mail that the UTC will never open amid concerns that the institute will not be “financially viable”.

“Approval for the Burton and South Derbyshire UTC has been withdrawn following low pupil recruitment numbers making the project financially unviable for the taxpayer,” a spokesperson for the department said.

“The trust worked with students who expressed an interest in joining the UTC to help them secure alternative places to study.

"We will be undertaking a full assessment of future plans for the site, looking at all possible options while taking into account local circumstances."

Back in August, Hackney UTC and the Black Country UTC closed their doors after they failed to attract enough pupils. The Central Bedfordshire UTC and the UTC Lancashire in Burnley both closed in the summer.

A further two, Birkenhead UTC and UTC Liverpool Engineering and Logistics, were planned but never opened.

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