First UTC in London: New Hackney school with links to Tech City now taking applications
The first University Technical College in London is due to open in September in Hackney, to help young people secure jobs with Tech City firms.
Applications are still being taken for the first intake of 100 at the school which takes pupils aged 14 and over.
Hackney University Technical College is currently under construction in Kingsland Road on a Hackney Community College site, just yards from the expanding digital zone around Old Street’s “Silicon Roundabout.”
Children choose to study either digital technology or health, and the building will have a replica hospital ward, a recording studio and broadcasting suite.
But at the same time they study for eight core GCSEs, including English, maths, history and science, ensuring they gain a broad general education.
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“I think what makes it different is the direct relationship with the employers,” said headteacher Annie Blackmore, who is the former vice principal of the Bridge Academy in Haggerston.
“The whole impetus is to provide a progression route for young people into sectors of health and digital industries which are growing, even though we’re in an economic downturn.
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“Most of the jobs of Tech City aren’t going to young people in the borough, the companies are saying they can’t find people with the right skill sets computer coding and programming, therefore for them it’s in their interests to help us because they are building their workforce for the future.”
Firms including Cisco, Avanti and BT, as well as Homerton hospital and the University of East London have helped to design the curriculum and will provide mentors and work experience.
To ensure the school’s intake age 14 doesn’t negatively impact any one particular school, the catchment area extends from Islington to Newham and Southwark.
“In reality there will only be two or three kids in a school for whom it’s an attractive option,” said Ms Blackmore.
A spokesman for the Learning Trust said: “If pupils move to the UTC it will be because the curriculum on offer is more suitable for them.
“All of our schools have waiting lists so they will fill the vacancies for Year 10 and will receive funding for these pupils.
“It is unlikely a place will not be filled, however if they did not fill the place it would impact on the school’s funding next year.”
The colleges, which are part of the government’s free schools and academies programme are the idea of former education secretary Kenneth Baker.
To apply go to www.hackneyutc.co.uk/