Bucks UTC / About / FAQ’s

+ - What is the reason for starting at 14?

For some students, the end of Key Stage 3 is too early to choose a subject path to follow and age 16 is too late. Students who know what they want to do can often become bored at school and so underachieve by the time they are 16.

+ - Will my young person still be doing all the usual GCSEs?

Yes! Our specialist technical qualifications run alongside all the usual GCSEs, they will be asked to make choices of GCSEs just like school and their choices will reflect their chosen specialism.

+ - What are the advantages of going to the UTC rather than staying on at secondary school?

UTCs allow a student to study a subject they are really interested in which is taught in industry standard facilities by teachers with real life practical experience. By 16 years old, students’ technical skills are far in advance of those students in a standard comprehensive school and more enthusiastic engagement with their academic studies leads to greater achievement in this area. A UTC education also appeals to students who have become disengaged and disinterested in studying the entire national curriculum thanks to a practical and technical course of study that works directly towards a career in Construction and IT.

And what if they want to go into Higher Education? At the end of Year 13, some of our students take an Apprenticeship or go into employment, while for others Higher Education is a clear option. The practical skills and learning that our students receive makes them stand out in their applications.

Bucks New University is one of our key partners. They have offered guaranteed interviews for our UTC students if they meet the entry criteria. Students can take A levels alongside their technical qualifications at Level 3 although the Level 3 qualification is equivalent to three A levels and carries the same UCAS points.

+ - How will the UTC support students’ transition from secondary school?

We understand that an effective transition from secondary school is essential. Therefore, we will work with local schools to provide opportunities for students to attend a range of taster sessions and open days before students start at the UTC. The first term of study will also include an introduction programme for all students to support the transition into the UTC way of learning.

+ - UTCs are a new concept and there is a ‘fear of the unknown’. Help me allay my fears…

The reason UTCs have been set up is to address a significan’t skills shortage in certain industry sectors; involving employers early on ensures we get the qualifications in place that they are asking us for. There are currently 39 UTCs around the country, over 55 will have opened by 2017. Follow this link to the UTC Colleges website for further information: https://www.utcolleges.org/about/overview/

There are some fantastic projects set up with our partners to offer our students real hands-on work experience which sets them in good stead with potential employers in the future. Our partners are also offering apprenticeships. As mentioned above, Higher Education is still an option, through our partnership with Bucks New University.

We’re always happy to talk parents through the curriculum and what we offer.

+ - What are the options for staying in education after attending the UTC?

Students can either progress onto to an apprenticeship, into employment or go on to university. The UTC will help them decide which is the best route for them.

+ - Does studying at the UTC improve prospects getting in to the affiliated University?

It would help a student to move into higher education because of the support they have received from Bucks New University but the UTC is not part of the university and there is no guarantee of a place. Bucks New University has offered guaranteed interviews for UTC students (for subjects that require an interview), and guaranteed consideration for courses that do not. The practical skills and learning provided at the UTC will see their application stand out from students that received traditional secondary schooling.

+ - How does a UTC education improve job prospects?

Employers play a major part in the UTC. They have helped plan what students are going to learn and ensure that the qualifications students gain are what employers require. They also meet the students on work placements and so can get to know them. While exceptional students may well be offered interviews with our employers after finishing their UTC career, all students will leave the UTC with technical experience coupled with employability skills that are attractive to employers.

The world of employment and education is changing as the impact of the cost of higher education becomes clearer. More and more companies are introducing high level apprenticeships and so UTCs are excellently placed to guide students to these exciting opportunities.

+ - Do you offer free school meals?

Yes. We provide free school meals for all those that are entitled. Students may be eligible for free school meals if their parents are in receipt of any of the following benefits:-

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

If you think you are eligible for Free School Meals, please contact Reception (reception@buckinghamshireutc.co.uk) on 01296 388459 for an application form for Free School Meals.

+ - What meals are available for the students?

We encourage healthy eating and provide an excellent range of dishes for students to purchase at a very reasonable cost. Our catering service provider is Dolce Catering, to download their sample menu click here.

+ - My son/daughter has Special Educational Needs. How will these needs be catered for?

Bucks UTC will observe the Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability Act 2001 and SEN Code of Practice, taking all reasonable steps to ensure effective provision for disabled and SEN students. Bucks UTC has a dedicated SENCO and works closely with Aylesbury College, as lead sponsor, who are very experienced at supporting students with SEN.

+ - I live over three miles away from the UTC – How can I get my young person there?

As it is your decision to send your son/daughter to the Bucks UTC rather than for them to attend your catchment area school means that Bucks County Council will not cover the cost of transport between your home and the Bucks UTC.

Assistance with transport will be considered by Bucks UTC. The process may include a request for a ‘statement of means’ in much the same way as the free school meals are assessed (see above).

+ - Can I get help with transport?

1. The UTC is the nearest appropriate school and the distance from your home to the school is more than the statutory walking distance of 3 miles.

2. You are a low-income family. To qualify the student will need to be entitled to free school meals (see above for free school meals eligibility criteria)

3. Bucks UTC may be able to assist outside the criteria in No. 2 above.

For enquiries on eligibility and entitlement for Buckinghamshire County Council free home to school transport please call BCC Admissions and Transport Team on 01296 383250

Full details for home to school transport policies in Buckinghamshire can be found the Local Authority website: www.buckscc.gov.uk

For applications under criteria above, to also include help with non-transport matters, you may apply direct to Bucks UTC by completing a Request for Financial Support Form which can be obtained from Reception (reception@buckinghamshireutc.co.uk) or call 01296 388459.

+ - What will students wear to the UTC?

At the Bucks UTC it is important that students have a smart and business like appearance but we are also aware that construction students will have to comply with health and safety regulations as well as wearing clothes that fit the environment they are working in

Please click here to find more information on our dress code.

+ - Policies

If you would like to view our policies on areas such as SEN, safeguarding, behaviour, admissions and more, please click here.

+ - How can we as parents be kept up to date with what’s happening?

We recognise the importance of close family involvement with students’ studies. Therefore we will hold regular parents evenings, distribute newsletters, and offer parents a consistent point of contact with staff so that you need not feel distanced from your child’s activities at the UTC. If you would like to receive regular news updates in the meantime, please register for our email newsletter here [link].

+ - Attendance and Unauthorised Absences

All students should aspire to have 100% attendance and punctuality. Here at the UTC we aim to continuously raise levels of achievement and participation through maintaining high levels of attendance and punctuality for all students.

The current legislation concerning school attendance can be seen in its abridged format below.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states: The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to:

(a) his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) any special educational needs he may have; either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Failure to do so may result in prosecution under section 444 of the Education Act 1996, which if convicted could result in a maximum fine of £2,500 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 51 weeks.

Please click here for the parental notice from Bucks County Council which includes guidance on penalty notices for non-attendance.

+ - Will the classes be mixed ability or not?

Generally, learning will be organised by age, but there will be room for students to be learning at a level relative to their ability and aptitudes:

An element of setting will be applied within Key Stage 4 core subject areas such as English, maths and science, and differentiated grouping will be applied within Key Stage 5 Core areas. Our enrichment programme will offer opportunities to learn in both mixed and specifically targeted groups.

While there is an element of ability grouping, a key feature of the UTC will be the personalised approach to teaching and learning, ensuring each individual student follows a learning programme designed, and regularly reviewed, to meet her/his needs and aspirations.

+ - What will the pastoral system look like?

Students will be allocated a tutor group. The personal tutor will be responsible for the welfare of students in their tutor group, and will deliver Personal Health & Social Education lessons and monitor personal and academic progress within the students’ individualised learning programme.

Students will also be given ‘virtual’ mentors; skilled professionals from within our partner organisations who will remain in constant contact through social networks, aiding students’ technical development.

A Student Council Group is established, formed of representatives from each tutor group. The Group have monthly meetings with the Principal to discuss all aspects of UTC life.

+ - When do we inform the current school that the child is leaving?

The Local Authority will inform your son or daughter’s school. We will however be contacting them to begin the induction process.

+ - Will there be any additional costs for parents regarding equipment?

We do not anticipate any additional costs for the curriculum work required by students.

+ - How can we as parents be kept up to date with what’s happening?

We recognise the importance of close family involvement with students’ studies. Therefore we will hold regular parents evenings, distribute newsletters, and offer parents a consistent point of contact with staff so that you need not feel distanced from your child’s activities at the UTC. If you would like to receive regular news updates in the meantime, please register for our email newsletter here.

+ - Will there be parent governors?

Yes, there will be elected parent governors. In addition to this we will have a range or parent forums to ensure that we consult regularly, and at our Parents Evenings we invite all parents/carers to complete Ofsted’s feedback forms.

+ - Still have more questions?

If there is anything you want to know that isn’t covered here please contact us and a member of our team will get back to you.