UTC Portsmouth in 2020

A university technical college (UTC) is a type of secondary school in England that is sponsored by a 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 UTC's governors include representatives from the sponsor university and partner employers. Pupils traditionally transfer to a UTC at the age of 14, part-way through their secondary education, though many UTCs now accept pupils at a younger age. The first UTCs were established in 2010, and there are 44 of them in 2023.

It was announced in August 2023 that two more UTCs would be established in Doncaster and Southampton.[1]


A university technical college is a non-selective free school funded directly by the Department for Education,[2] 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 employability and IT skills.[3] Pupils study core academic subjects, as well as practical subjects which lead to technical qualifications.[3] The curriculum is designed by the university and employers, who also provide work experience for students.[3]

UTCs were introduced in 2010 by the coalition government under the free schools programme.[2] UTCs are collectively distinctive in 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).[4] UTCs are also supposed to offer clear routes into higher education or further learning in work.[5]

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.[6]

The university technical college programme as a whole is sponsored by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust,[7] which promotes the setting up of UTCs. The trust was co-founded by Kenneth Baker, a Conservative politician and former Secretary of State for Education and Ron Dearing. Each UTC pays an annual licence fee (£10,000 in 2019)[8] to the trust. Baker Dearing's promotion of UTCs is supported by a range of organisations, including the Edge Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation.[9] Many large companies have pledged to co-sponsor UTCs including Arup, British Airways, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Sony.[10]

List of UTCs

Name Location Opened
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
Doncaster UTC Doncaster 2020
Elstree Screen Arts Academy Borehamwood, Hertfordshire 2013
Brook Sixth Form and Academy 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
Shireland Biomedical UTC West Bromwich, Sandwell, West Midlands 2015[11]
UTC Heathrow Northwood, London Borough of Hillingdon 2014 (as Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC)[12]
JCB Academy Rocester, Staffordshire 2010
The Leigh UTC Dartford, Kent 2014
Lincoln UTC Lincoln 2014
Liverpool Life Sciences UTC Liverpool 2013
London Design and Engineering UTC Royal Docks, London Borough of Newham 2016[13]
Mulberry UTC Bow, London Borough of Tower Hamlets 2017
North East Futures UTC Newcastle upon Tyne 2018[14]
Ron Dearing UTC Hull 2017
Scarborough UTC Scarborough, North Yorkshire 2016
SGS Berkeley Green UTC Berkeley, South Gloucestershire 2017[15]
Silverstone UTC Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire 2013
South Devon UTC Newton Abbot, Devon 2015
South Wiltshire UTC Salisbury, Wiltshire 2015[16]
Thomas Telford UTC Wolverhampton 2015 (as West Midlands Construction UTC)
University Collegiate School Bolton, Greater Manchester 2015
University Technical College Norfolk Norwich 2014
UTC Leeds Hunslet, Leeds 2017
UTC Oxfordshire Didcot, Oxfordshire 2015[17]
UTC Plymouth Plymouth, Devon 2013
UTC Portsmouth Portsmouth 2017[18][19]
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[20]
UTC Swindon Swindon 2014
UTC Warrington Warrington, Cheshire 2016[21]
UTC@MediaCityUK Salford, Greater Manchester 2015[22]
Waterfront UTC Chatham, Kent 2015 (as Medway UTC)[23]
WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Coventry Coventry 2014
WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Solihull Solihull 2016

Closed UTCs

Name Location Opened Closed
Black Country UTC Walsall, West Midlands 2011 2015[24]
UTC Central Bedfordshire Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire 2012 2016[25]
Daventry University Technical College Daventry, Northamptonshire 2013 2017[26]
Greater Manchester University Technical College Oldham, Greater Manchester 2014 2017[27]
Hackney University Technical College London Borough of Hackney 2012 2015[28]
UTC@Harbourside Newhaven, East Sussex 2015[29] 2019[30]
UTC Lancashire Burnley, Lancashire 2013 2017[28]
Sir Simon Milton Westminster UTC City of Westminster, London 2017 2022
South Wiltshire UTC Salisbury 2015 2020[31]
Watford UTC Watford, Hertfordshire 2014 2023[32]
University Technical College Wigan Wigan, Greater Manchester 2013 2019[33][34]

Converted away from traditional UTC model

Name Location Opened Converted New status
Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy Stoke Gifford, South Gloucestershire 2013 2022 UTC Sleeve[35]
Royal Greenwich UTC Royal Borough of Greenwich 2013 2016[36] 11–19 free school
South Bank Engineering UTC London Borough of Lambeth 2016 2023 16-19 Academy
Tottenham University Technical College London Borough of Haringey 2014 2017[37] 16-19 free school[38]

See also


  1. ^ "Pupils in disadvantaged areas to benefit from new free schools". GOV.UK. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Thesaurus Term - University technical colleges". Department for Education. January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Plans for specialist school UTC Reading unveiled". BBC News. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  4. ^ "What are university technical colleges". Utcolleges.org. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  5. ^ "BBC News - Q&A: University technical colleges". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  6. ^ "University technical colleges how to apply" (PDF). assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  7. ^ "University Technical Colleges" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  8. ^ Camden, Billy (16 August 2019). "Licence fees to almost double for cash-strapped UTCs". Schools Week. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Sponsors". www.utcolleges.org. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  10. ^ Burns, Judith (29 May 2012). "BBC News - Jaguar Land Rover and British Airways back new colleges". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  11. ^ "University technical colleges are transforming pupils' lives". The Independent. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  12. ^ McInerney, Laura (30 September 2016). "Heathrow UTC hit with financial notice to improve after 'loss of control'". Schools Week. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  13. ^ "London Design and Engineering UTC | London Design and Engineering University Technical College". Ldeutc.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  14. ^ Ford, Coreena (27 September 2017). "City centre Newcastle school invites in parents as it prepares for 2018 opening". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  15. ^ "College opens at former power station in Gloucestershire". BBC News. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Work begins on South Wiltshire UTC college". BBC News. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  17. ^ "University Technical College Oxfordshire plans approved". BBC News. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Views wanted on bid to set up new technical school". Portsmouth News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  19. ^ "UTC Portsmouth breaks ground and announces Principal". Portsmouth City Council. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  20. ^ Richardson, Andy. "Train factory is the catalyst for jobs revival (From The Northern Echo)". Thenorthernecho.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  21. ^ Place North West http://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/archive/18167-warrington-utc-set-to-go-on-site.html
  22. ^ "MediaCityUK UTC". The Aldridge Foundation. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  23. ^ "University Technical College". Medway Council. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015.
  24. ^ "Doomed Black Country UTC failed to promote vocational options, inspectors find". FE Week. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  25. ^ Whittaker, Freddie (10 March 2016). "Struggling Central Bedfordshire UTC to close despite FE college's intervention". FE Week.
  26. ^ "Daventry UTC To Close In 2017". www.daventryutc.com. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Brand new £9m school to close after all of its pupils fail GCSEs". The Independent. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  28. ^ a b "UTC Lancashire to shut up shop after just three years". FE Week. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Utc@Harbourside Principal Appointed". Haven News. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  30. ^ "University Technical College in Newhaven to close next year". BBC News. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Salisbury UTC to Close". South Wilts UTC. 16 July 2019. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019.
  32. ^ Flanagan, Chris (3 February 2023). "Watford technical college to close this summer". Watford Observer. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  33. ^ "Wigan UTC will close as low student numbers are unviable". Wigan Today. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  34. ^ Adams, Richard (13 July 2019). "'Vanity project': debts pile up for English free schools scheme". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  35. ^ https://www-fenews-co-uk.webpkgcache.com/doc/-/s/www.fenews.co.uk/skills/bristol-mp-and-major-local-employers-visit-stoke-gifford-schools-engineering-centre/
  36. ^ Camden, Billy (7 October 2016). "Fresh concerns over failing UTC model as one in 10 now shut". FE Week. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  37. ^ Mansell, Warwick (10 January 2017). "Failing Spurs-sponsored school costs taxpayer £500,000 rent a year | Warwick Mansell". The Guardian.
  38. ^ https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Establishments/Establishment/Details/144753