UTC Reading is UK’s first ‘Outstanding’ says OFSTED

Computer science and engineering University Technical College praised for its business-like ethos and inspiring leadership

University Technical College Reading has become the first school of its type in the country to be given an outstanding rating by Ofsted.

The UTC, which opened in September 2013, is judged to be outstanding across all indicators in the Ofsted report published today (17 June).

Inspectors, who visited the school in May, praised its business-like ethos, commenting that “students are prepared exceptionally well for their future lives” and that “teachers’ high expectations of all students are matched by students’ keenness to learn and succeed”.

UTC Reading, in Crescent Road, provides a curriculum specialising in computer science and engineering to pupils aged 14 to 18. It is sponsored by Activate Learning and receives support from leading industry and education partners including Microsoft, Cisco, Network Rail, Peter Brett Associates and University of Reading.

Principal Joanne Harper said: “Everyone connected to UTC Reading is immensely proud of the school and this Ofsted report recognises the high standards that have been achieved in a relatively short space of time.

“The school is characterised by excellent working relationships with its industry partners, which gives students the best possible foundations for their future careers. Our partners have helped to shape the curriculum and continue to work with us to set projects, offer work experience and providing mentoring. This is what sets the school apart and we are delighted that this has been reflected in the comments from the Ofsted inspectors.”

Sally Dicketts, chief executive of lead sponsor Activate Learning, which opens its second UTC in Didcot this September, said: “Prior to the launch of UTCs, young people had to make a choice between school and college. UTCs now combine the best of vocational and academic learning, providing students with a curriculum that develops higher-level thinking and applies it in a practical setting. This unique offering adds real value and choice to our educational system and UTC Reading is an excellent example of the model.

“Being typically smaller than most schools and colleges, UTCs also provide a more flexible approach which harness the talents of individuals and support their needs. This strength has been highlighted by the Ofsted team, which found that expert teachers, combined with opportunities for independent study enable students to reach the highest standards.”

UTC Reading is one of 30 UTCs now open across the UK, designed to provide students with a technical education matched to the skills needs of local area. The government has pledged to expand the network over the next five years.

Lord Baker, chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges said: “I congratulate the principal and her staff and governors on this report. UTC Reading is an excellent example of what a UTC should look and feel like.”