A university technical college (UTC) is a type of specialist secondary school in England that is led by a sponsor university and has close ties to local business and industry.
University technical colleges specialise in subjects like engineering and construction, taught alongside business skills and the use of IT. Pupils study academic subjects as well as practical subjects leading to technical qualifications. The curriculum is designed by the university and employers, who also provide work experience for students.
The university and industry partners support the curriculum development of the UTC, can provide professional development opportunities for teachers, and guide suitably qualified students on to industrial apprenticeships or tertiary education. The sponsor university appoints the majority of the UTC's governors and key members of staff. Pupils transfer to a UTC at the age of 14, part-way through their secondary education. The first UTCs were established in 2010, and there were 47 of them by 2023.
A university technical college is not a university or a technical college; it is one of 50 or so secondary schools, that have been sponsored by a college with university status. It is a non-selective free school funded directly by the Department for Education, free to attend, and outside the control of the local education authority.
University technical colleges specialise in subjects like engineering and construction, and teach these subjects along with business skills and using IT. Pupils study academic subjects as well as practical subjects leading to technical qualifications. The curriculum is designed by the university and employers, who also provide work experience for students.
UTCs were introduced in 2010 by the coalition government under the free schools programme. UTCs are collectively distinctive in a number of ways. They all have a university as a lead sponsor; further education colleges, charitable organisations and the private sector may co-sponsor a UTC, but they must be led by a university. Like studio schools, UTCs enroll students aged 14–19, whereas free schools and academies can choose the age range of their pupils. Existing schools cannot convert to become a UTC; all UTCs have to be newly founded schools with no direct transfer intake of pupils.
A distinctive element of UTCs is that they offer technically oriented courses of study, combining National Curriculum requirements with technical and vocational elements. UTCs must specialise in subjects that require technical and modern equipment, but they also all teach business skills and the use of information and communications technology (ICT). UTCs are also supposed to offer clear routes into higher education or further learning in work.
When operating, UTCs receive the same per capita funding as other schools in the local authority, calculated by the same formula, and £87 extra to cover UTC-specific administration. For example, this would be £5,150 per head in Cheshire in 2021 for a non-disadvantaged child.
The university technical college programme as a whole is sponsored by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which promotes the setting up of UTCs. The trust was co-founded by Lord Baker, a Conservative politician and former Secretary of State for Education. Each UTC pays an annual licence fee (£10,000 in 2019) to the trust. Baker Dearing's promotion of UTCs is supported by the Edge Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Many large companies have pledged to co-sponsor UTCs including Arup, British Airways, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Sony.
In 2017, 48 colleges were open. Government minister Elizabeth Berridge told MPs in April 2021 that the government hoped to have a "strong sustainable group of UTCs" by the autumn. She said more could be created only "if there is a bid with a clear vision for the involvement of employers and particularly with the support of the local authority". By 2023, following further openings and a number of closures, the number of UTCs stood at 47.
UTC Reading was the first UTC to be judged as "outstanding" by Ofsted (in June 2015) and to be awarded the World Class Schools Quality Mark (in December 2017). UTC Reading was joined by Energy Coast UTC as "outstanding" in summer 2019.
|Aston University Engineering Academy||Birmingham||2012|
|BMAT STEM Academy||Harlow, Essex||2014|
|Buckinghamshire University Technical College||Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire||2013|
|Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology||Cambridge||2014|
|Crewe Engineering and Design UTC||Crewe, Cheshire||2016|
|Derby Manufacturing UTC||Derby||2015|
|Elstree Screen Arts Academy||Borehamwood, Hertfordshire||2013|
|Elutec||Dagenham, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham||2014|
|Energy Coast UTC||Workington, Cumbria||2014|
|Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire||Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire||2015|
|Global Academy||Hayes, London Borough of Hillingdon||2016|
|Greater Peterborough UTC||Peterborough, Cambridgeshire||2016|
|Health Futures UTC||West Bromwich, Sandwell, West Midlands||2015|
|Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC||Northwood, London Borough of Hillingdon||2014|
|JCB Academy||Rocester, Staffordshire||2010|
|The Leigh UTC||Dartford, Kent||2014|
|Liverpool Life Sciences UTC||Liverpool||2013|
|London Design and Engineering UTC||Royal Docks, London Borough of Newham||2016|
|Mulberry UTC||Bow, London Borough of Tower Hamlets||2017|
|North East Futures UTC||Newcastle upon Tyne||2018|
|Ron Dearing UTC||Hull||2017|
|Scarborough University Technical College||Scarborough, North Yorkshire||2016|
|SGS Berkeley Green UTC||Berkeley, South Gloucestershire||2017|
|Silverstone University Technical College||Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire||2013|
|South Bank Engineering UTC||Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth||2016|
|South Devon UTC||Newton Abbot, Devon||2015|
|South Wiltshire UTC||Salisbury, Wiltshire||2015|
|Thomas Telford University Technical College||Wolverhampton||2015 (as West Midlands Construction UTC)|
|University Technical College Norfolk||Norwich||2014|
|University Technical College Leeds||Hunslet, Leeds||2017|
|UTC Oxfordshire||Didcot, Oxfordshire||2015|
|UTC Plymouth||Plymouth, Devon||2013|
|UTC Reading||Reading, Berkshire||2013|
|UTC Sheffield City Centre||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||2013|
|UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||2016|
|UTC South Durham||Newton Aycliffe, County Durham||2016|
|UTC Warrington||Warrington, Cheshire||2016|
|UTC@MediaCityUK||Salford, Greater Manchester||2015|
|Waterfront UTC||Chatham, Kent||2015 (as Medway UTC)|
|The Watford UTC||Watford, Hertfordshire||2014|
|West Midlands Construction UTC||Wolverhampton||2015|
|WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Coventry||Coventry||2014|
|WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Solihull||Solihull||2016|
|Black Country UTC||Walsall, West Midlands||2011||2015|
|Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy||Stoke Gifford, South Gloucestershire||2013||2022|
|UTC Central Bedfordshire||Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire||2012||2016|
|Daventry University Technical College||Daventry, Northamptonshire||2013||2017|
|Greater Manchester University Technical College||Oldham, Greater Manchester||2014||2017|
|Hackney University Technical College||London Borough of Hackney||2012||2015|
|UTC@Harbourside||Newhaven, East Sussex||2015||2019|
|UTC Lancashire||Burnley, Lancashire||2013||2017|
|Sir Simon Milton Westminster UTC||City of Westminster, London||2017||2022|
|South Wiltshire UTC||Salisbury||2015||2020|
|Tottenham University Technical College||London Borough of Haringey||2014||2017|
|University Technical College Wigan||Wigan, Greater Manchester||2013||2019|
|Bolton UTC||Bolton, Greater Manchester||2015||2020||11–19 free school|
|Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology||Nottingham||2014||2018||11–18 free school|
|Royal Greenwich UTC||Royal Borough of Greenwich||2013||2016||11–19 free school|
|Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC||Hillingdon, Greater London||2014||2018||11–19 UTC Heathrow|