Duke of York to become patron of new Hackney ‘university’

The Duke of York has thrown his support behind a pioneering new ‘university’ set to open in Hackney next year and announced his intention to become its patron.

Prince Andrew revealed his plans to support the borough’s University Technical College (UTC) – a school for 14 to 19-year-olds offering apprenticeships and vocational qualifications alongside traditional subjects - at a function at Buckingham Palace.

He made the announcement in front of an audience of 50 headteachers from across east London, who were at the event on February 8 to hear more about the new UTC scheme. New responsibilities mean they must provide impartial information to their students about other academic routes.

UTC’s headteacher, Annie Blackmore, said: “Having His Royal Highness as patron emphasises the importance of offering an innovative curriculum, which Hackney UTC will provide.

“Many students are keen to follow a work-related route, as opposed to a purely academic one – and this makes the UTC the perfect choice for them.”

The new school will specialise in digital and health technologies and allow young people the chance to gain work skills while they study. The curriculum will be employer-led with some of the projects set by local businesses.

Ian Ashman, principal of Hackney Community College – which will be UTC’s partner – said: “The feedback from the heads at the event was very positive, with a high number identifying pupils from their school that they feel would benefit from the UTC.”

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• Admissions are now open, and students in year nine can apply by emailing utc@hackney.ac.uk or by visiting www.hackneyutc.co.uk.