UTCs perform worse at GCSE than schools with similar intakes, study shows

23rd November 2016 at 15:37
Analysis comes after Justine Greening says that technical schools can offer students an alternative to grammars

University technical colleges underperform at GCSE compared with schools with a similar intake, across each of the government’s performance measures, according to analysis.

Although the technical schools have only been open for a short period of time, a study looking at their results shows that they lagged behind not just other secondary schools but also a sub-set of schools with a similar make-up of pupils.

The research has greater resonance following education secretary Justine Greening’s comments in TES that UTCs could provide students with an alternative to grammars.

This week, it also emerged that UTC Cambridge had received an "inadequate" rating, despite it having the University of Cambridge among its sponsors. Only one UTC is currently rated as "outstanding" by Ofsted, although there are many yet to be inspected for the first time.

The anaylsis, by SchoolDash, shows that UTCs significantly underperform compared with state secondary schools when it comes to hitting the five A* to C grades, including English and maths, measure.

Figures for GCSE attainment (2015)


While the author of the analysis, Timo Hannay, admits that just 13 UTCs are represented, he states: “It's nevertheless clear that they underperformed other schools on every common GCSE metric – 'five A*-C grades', average point score and value-added."

Figures for GCSE attainment (2016 provisional results)

Five A* to C measure:


Attainment 8:


Progress 8:

Mr Hannay added that the performance at A-level and equivalent qualifications showed a similar picture and that the poorer performance was not confined to UTCs.

“It's also worth mentioning that our preliminary analysis of studio schools came up with somewhat similar results, though so far they seem to be doing worse than UTCs at GCSE while doing better at sixth form,” the study states.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook


Loved these articles?

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you’ll get access to more news, courses, jobs and teaching resources.

Login/Register now


Related Content

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now