South Devon University Technical College in Engineering, Water and the Environment one step nearer
The South Devon UTC team travelled up to London on 31st January for their interview with the Department for Education, following the bid's short-listing for approval before Christmas. The questions covered a wide range of areas including support from employers, areas of expertise, timetables, enrichment, teaching and staffing, readiness to proceed, governance and finance. The team was very encouraged by the fact that the DfE representatives seemed keen to see the project up and running as soon as possible. The proposed non-selective Academy for 600 children aged 14-18 will be based in the centre of Newton Abbot, serving a proposed catchment of a 30 mile radius. It will deliver GCSEs and A levels as well as technical qualifications in Engineering and Science, with students progressing to university, apprenticeships and jobs as technicians in local companies. The South Devon UTC team included Professor Sir Steve Smith (Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter), Stephen Criddle (Principal, South Devon College), Dr Stephen Bird (Operations Director, South West Water and Board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership), Phil Shears (Deputy Chief Executive, Teignbridge District Council), Matthew Shanks (Executive Head-teacher, Coombeshead Academy and Teign School) and Adele Dawson (Head of Department, South Devon College and UTC Project Champion). Following the interview the team enjoyed a sandwich lunch with Anne Marie Morris MP for Newton Abbot, at her office in Portcullis House, Westminster, to update her on how the interview had gone. Adele Dawson thanked the team for their commitment to the UTC project and to the interview process. She commented: "Over the 1 hr 40 minute interview, everyone contributed and put a very strong case to the Department for Education. Professor Sir Steve Smith and Dr Stephen Bird opened the interview with a passionate and compelling pitch outlining the demand for the school and the extent to which it will encourage children to aim high in Engineering and Science and contribute to a skilled workforce in South Devon. Now we need to keep our fingers crossed for a positive decision on 28 March, when it is hoped the list of UTCs approved to proceed will be announced." For further information on the South Devon UTC, visit www.exeter.ac.uk/utc.
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