UTC Oxfordshire

11th May 2016

Welcome to the latest newsletter.

It has been a busy term since we returned from the Easter break; the focus of our work has been preparing for examinations and supporting work experience applications – we are delighted with the wealth of opportunities and placements that have been offered through our industry contacts and partners and are very proud of the students who have organised their own work experience.

Wednesday mornings continue to focus on employability skills. This week we are moving to a student led project in order to build up leadership skills in our sixth formers, who will set the challenge for some of our 10s, while others will work with Laing O’Rouke on a digital engineering project connected with the Westgate development in Oxford.

School day consultation and outcome

As you are aware we wrote to you all before the Easter break with a proposal for revising the school day. Thank you for the constructive feedback, sharing your ideas and views. In summary there were strong feelings about the following areas:

  • Students and parents valued the unique elements of the long day and how it reflects the world of work.
  • Students and parents valued the opportunities within the working week to complete work at school.
  • Students on the whole had adapted to the longer day and felt they liked it.
  • Students travelling longer distances did not like the optional elements to the proposal, which they may not be able to access.

We have consulted with staff and our governing body and have decided to adopt the following proposal, which we feel reflects the feedback and also ensures the need for staff to have quality CPD opportunity and training, while the whole of the UTC has a manageable work life balance. The main changes are summarised below.

  • On Mondays and Fridays we will now finish earlier at 4pm.
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays stay the same with a 5pm finish.
  • Timetable allocations are the same retaining the unique elements of UTC life – 5 hours of maths and English, study periods, 2 hours of Health and Fitness and specialist subjects.
  • We have changed the timings of break slightly with later lunch breaks and a more balanced day, following requests from students.
  • Tutor times are now at the start of the day on a Monday and Friday with students meeting with tutors for 30 minutes. Because of the earlier finish on these days the afternoon break has been taken out.
  • The UTC will remain open for the same times giving students access to facilities as they have this year.

I feel confident that this revised school day is an improvement on the current arrangements. We plan to trial these new timings from after half term to enable our current students and staff to adjust and adapt before starting with our new students in September. An overview of the working week can be found here.

Laser Support Services visit and donation

The term started with a visit to Laser Support Services at Harwell. Following a chance meeting between Grahame Rogers and two of our enterprising year 10 students, the A level physics students were invited to Laser Support Services at Harwell for a fascinating demonstration and talk about the use of lasers and thermal imaging. The full story can be read on our website.
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Laptops - deposit scheme for September

Another change for September will be the implementation of a deposit scheme for the student laptops. We are implementing this to ensure that students take better care of their devices. At the end of the summer term all devices will be collected back in, rebuilt, serviced and re-issued in September. A refundable deposit of £100 needs to be paid to ensure that laptops can be allocated in September and if damage does occur then repairs will be deducted from the deposit. The vast majority of our students have used the laptops responsibly and have looked after them, however it has become necessary to introduce this change to ensure that we can operate this system in a sustainable way. The laptops make a significant difference to teaching and learning and are key ingredient to successful progress at the UTC.

Students whose laptops are not working properly should report faults to reception.

For anybody who cannot afford £100 at this time please contact Alice to discuss alternative arrangements.

Year 10 examination week

In order to help our year 10s prepare for public examinations next year, we are holding an examination week starting on 6th June. There will be formal examinations in all GCSE subjects, most of which will take place in the hall under exam conditions. A copy of the exam timetable can be found here.
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Photo by Paul Bodsworth

If you would like to look at some lovely photos of the UTC under construction please visit here.

Work experience weeks

Many of our year 10 students will be out on work experience the week commencing 13th June. For those who have arranged work experience outside this time, there will be a full week of learning at the UTC, details to be confirmed.

Year 12 work experience week begins on 20th June and details of arrangements for those who are not on work experience that week will be announced shortly.

Our students have successfully applied for an incredible range of work experience placements in science and engineering and we are very grateful to our industry partners for their support. A list of placements secured can be found here.

Rocket Seeds

The rocket seeds have finally landed. Keep up to date with the latest news here.

Lombard Medical Visit

Last month we were visited by Kate Forster, HR Director at Lombard Medical, who delivered a fascinating talk to our sixth form students on their biomedical engineering developments creating the revolutionary Aorfix and Altura stents to treat complex aortic aneurisms. Lombard are leading the world in this aspect of biomedical engineering; their inspiring demonstration increased our students’ awareness of a whole new area of engineering opportunity. One of our recruitment events last year was held at Lombard as they opened their new state of the art ‘clean room’ for manufacturing the stents so it was particularly interesting to hear how the business is growing and now looking for additional part time workers to finish off the stents with “stitching under a microscope.”

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) News Update

Eight of UTC Oxfordshire’s hard-working sixth form students have completed their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) an impressive 12 months ahead of schedule. To read this news story in full please click here.

University applications 2017

Students who are considering applying to university next academic year, should now be booking in to university open days to find out more. A full list of university open days can be found at http://www.opendays.com/calendar/?month=jun

Open days which may interest you are:

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Student ID cards

Wearing ID cards is normal practice in business and we expect students to comply with this request. Students who have misplaced their ID cards should obtain a replacement card by purchasing a replacement on ParentPay (these are £2.50 each) and asking reception for a replacement.

Dates for your diary

  • Start of AS exams - 18th May
  • End of term - 27th May
  • Start of new working week structure - 6th June
  • Year 10 exam week - 6th June
  • Year 10 work experience - 13th June
  • Year 12 work experience - 20th June
  • End of school year - 20th July
  • AS results publication - 18th August