24th January 2019

The government has published its national secondary school performance data today – January 24th 2019.

The measure of our performance and success at UTC Leeds is technical accomplishment, as well as academic results, and student destinations – what our learners go on and do after leaving us.

I am pleased to say that this has been recognised by the Department for Education in a clear statement published alongside the data stating that Progress 8 is not the most appropriate performance measure for University Technical Colleges.

The Department for Education also states that student destinations are a more appropriate performance measure of UTCs. For more information, please visit: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/

Progress 8 measures students’ progress across eight subjects from the ages of 11 to 16.

There are eight sections of subjects that qualify for performance scores.

The first five sections are the English Baccalaureate subjects: English, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language. The additional three sections relate to other additional approved qualifications covering technical and vocational subjects.

UTCs are different to traditional secondary schools. We offer a curriculum geared towards employers. As a result, the Progress 8 rankings do not reflect on the wider achievements of our students. There are several reasons for this:

  • Some of the strongest aspects of our educational approach – the technical curriculum – are not included in Progress 8.
  • We have less time to influence progress. UTCs start educating students part-way through the five-year period covered by Progress 8. The government statistics are based on students who joined us at the age of 14 not 11, as is the case with other traditional secondary schools.
  • The government performance measures suit traditional schools because the scores reward attainment and progress in a small number of academic subjects linked to the English Baccalaureate (English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography).
  • Our students do not take the English Baccalaureate. They focus on the core academic subjects that complement the UTC’s technical engineering specialism such as English, maths and science rather than languages, history and geography.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) have been set up to train the next generation of talent in the technical skills and knowledge needed for the jobs of tomorrow.

UTC Leeds delivers a curriculum that trains young people, aged 14 to 19, in the skills highly valued by employers, and which enhances their career and university prospects and contributes to the economy.

Our students have gone on to a range of different destinations. Please visit https://www.utcleeds.co.uk/news/student-stories/ for more information.

We are proud of our students and the contribution that UTC Leeds is making to young people, the city and employers in the region and beyond.

Alex Burnham,
Principal of UTC Leeds

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