UTC South Durham


Name UTC South Durham
Website http://www.utcsouthdurham.org
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 09 January 2019
Address Long Tens Way, Aycliffe Business Park, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 6AP
Phone Number 01325430250
Type Academy
Age Range 14-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 341 (82% boys 18% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 12.4
Local Authority Durham
Percentage Free School Meals 23%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1.5%

Information about this school

UTCs are usually smaller than other 14 to 19 secondary schools. They focus heavily –but not exclusively – on STEM subjects. All their technical, academic and practical learning is designed to be applied in the workplace. A UTC’s specialism usually reflects the local economy. UTC South Durham specialises in engineering and advanced manufacturing. The UTC works closely with the University of Sunderland, Hitachi Rail Europe and Gestamp Tallent, who collaborated to establish the school. The UTC is located on the Aycliffe Business Park in Durham. The number of pupils on roll has increased rapidly from 137 pupils in 2017 to 356 pupils currently. Most pupils are boys, with only 15% of pupils being girls. Most pupils are White British. A smaller-than-average proportion of pupils are from minority ethnic groups and few pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for support through the pupil premium is above the national average. The proportion of pupils with SEND is well above the national average. The proportion of pupils who have an education, health and care plan is broadly average. Four pupils attend alternative provision. Three attend the Durham Gateway Academy and one pupil attends Open Arms. The UTC is formally supported by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, whose focus is on supporting new and existing UTCs. Since its establishment, the UTC has had stable senior leadership, with the current principal in post throughout. There has been more turnover in teachers, which is linked to problems recruiting suitable staff in some subject areas. A considerable number of new teachers joined the UTC in September 2018.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school The trustees, the principal and the senior leadership team have successfully established the university technical college (UTC) as a new 14 to 19 provider in the region. Leaders’ ambitious vision is being realised. Highly effective leadership and management are quickly improving the quality of education and raising pupils’ aspirations. Outcomes in 2018 were mixed, but rapid improvements in teaching have accelerated the pace of learning in most subjects. Last year, almost all pupils in key stage 4 and students in the sixth form progressed on to suitable destinations in education, employment or training. Uptake of apprenticeships was particularly strong. The curriculum is effectively meeting pupils’ needs. The emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) appeals to the interests and aptitudes of most pupils. Well-developed and meaningful partnerships with employers mean that there are rich opportunities for pupils to learn about the world of work and to develop work-based skills and competencies. The quality of teaching is good in most subjects, including English and mathematics. Teaching has improved rapidly because leaders have set challenging standards and held teachers to account. However, there is still some variability in the quality of teaching. Behaviour in the school is good. Pupils are typically polite and friendly towards one another. Pupils who joined the school having exhibited challenging behaviour in a previous school improve their attitude and conduct. Attendance has improved year on year from a low position in the school’s first year. However, attendance remains below the national average. Too many disadvantaged pupils miss school regularly. The quality of post-16 study programmes is good. The post-16 curriculum has broadened this year to include courses that are of interest to students and are closely linked to the local job market. Occasionally, teachers do not do enough to develop work-related skills learned by students when on work experience.