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Tuesday, 30 October 2018 19:32

Medway UTC put out of its misery

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The name Medway UTC will disappear on 1st November to no one's regret as it morphs into a new Waterfront University Technical College sponsored by The Howard Academy Trust, which has supported it for some time. This comes with the added bonus that it won't be inspected for another three years, although as an Ofsted failed institution it would otherwise have been closely monitored for several years to come. This follows one of the worst Ofsted failures in Kent and Medway for some years, dreadful GCSE results for 2018, and large numbers of students and staff bailing out of what appears to be a sinking ship. 

I have still not seen a hint of apology or sense of proper shame by the Trustees and Governors of the UTC for their failure to provide young people of Medway with an adequate education, although the Ofsted Report castigates their performance. How many students futures ruined? We shall never know and they will soon be conveniently forgotten. 

Currently, the Howard Trust runs five Medway primary schools, including the troubled Temple Mill (which has recently lost its headteacher) as well as the Howard School itself and, I understand is looking to expand further. 

Medway UTC website carried a list of local Trustees and Governors which includes senior members of major local businesses and Universities, together with Les Wicks of Medway Council. 'The report warns that despite their wealth of knowledge and experience from business and education, Medway UTC’s governors have “presided over a failing school”.The report warns that despite their wealth of knowledge and experience from business and education, Medway UTC’s governors have “presided over a failing school” (quote). I am afraid they were clearly not fit to be put in charge of a £12 million capital investment, together with all the other investment of resources, skills, young people's ambitions, etc that go with it. 

If one wishes to seek any excuse for this dire performance it comes in looking at the whole misguided UTC sector. Nine of the 49 UTCs opened since 2010 have already closed, several after just a couple of years existence.  Five of the 26 to have been inspected by Ofsted have been placed into Special Measures. Even Michael Gove, the architect of the UTC experiment acknowledged last year that it had failed. The online blog, FE Week has also covered this story but observes that: 'The move to become part of THAT is part of the UTC’s “ongoing development” which is “proving very successful following our recent published results that highlight the UTC’s significant improvement”, a spokesperson said this week'. This is hardly consistent with the recently published GCSE results, which see the UTC bottom of all Medway secondary schools on the government's preferred Progress 8 measure, at  - 0.75, well below average and also the only Medway schools below the government's floor level. At Attainment 8, it reaches the dizzy heights of 17th place out of 18. Hardly significant improvement!

Medway's young people are fortunate that they are educated in a sector where nearly all schools are thriving as academies independent of the dreadful Medway Council, so there is little incentive to leave to join the UTC in Year 10. Whilst I do wish the Howard Academy Trust all the best in making this work, I fear it may yet be another white elephant doomed to offer students a bad deal. 

 

 

 

 

 

Read 201 times Last modified on Friday, 02 November 2018 14:26

2 comments

  • Comment Link Sunday, 18 November 2018 19:12 posted by Lola

    I can't believe they are allowed to continue. This organisation requires urgent reform in their management - they need to be led by someone who a) has successful experience creating a new type of academic institution, b) is transparent and accountable, c) is a strong leader and manager. UTC Medway has been severely mismanaged so far and I guess it's a taxpayer picking up the bill for this complete fiasco? In the meantime, I would not send my child there and recommend everyone to avoid it. PETER: The Howard Trust does have a good record in its schools. However, it will have to work incredibly hard (a) to demonstrate it has nothing in common with the previous governance which (b) may mean it has to break with the business links already in place, although (c) those businesses may not wish to re-engage (d) it will in any case be an uphill battle to succeed where so many other UTCs have failed (e) it has in any case to overcome the current dreadful reputation of the institution

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 30 October 2018 23:22 posted by Sarah G

    Our son joined the UTC two years ago full of enthusiasm about being able to follow his passion for engineering. He has emerged two years later, utterly disillusioned, with poor teaching from a rapid turnover of teachers leading to underachievement at GCSE. Who is going to make up for all this at a critical time in his life and restore the self confidence he has lost? PETER. Sadly not the UTC and its leaders who will never be held to account. However, there are often second chances and with your support I am sure he will make the most of these. Don't let them beat you!

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