Expect the Unexpected
One of the best things about working in education is the variety that every lesson, day, week, month and year brings. As we reach the end of term, I reflect on the 2021-22 academic year and am reassured that this too has been a year full of unexpected events. We have had to carefully consider whether to open the school during extreme snow, storms and heat. There have been multiple bouts of Covid amongst students and staff, limiting our ability to offer a strong education to all of our young people. Students have completed live exams for the first time in a number of years, which is probably more of a relief to teachers than to students themselves. Ofsted paid us a visit in March, which certainly wasn’t in my plans! Undoubtedly, staff, students and families have all had their own unexpected events to cope with too. Whilst this variety continues to make life that bit more exciting, I am interested in the way we cope.
“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” Oscar Wilde
I would suggest that it is not the events themselves that define us but the way in which we cope with these events. Do we become frustrated, angry and disappointed when faced with an unusual situation? Or do we consider it a challenge to overcome? I would like to think that we aim to do the latter, seeing new situations as an opportunity to develop additional skills, to test our resilience and to prove that we are able to cope in testing circumstances. This is not easy, and we certainly need the support of peers and family to be successful over time. However, it is hugely satisfying to have battled through a tough situation and reached a desired outcome.
This year, I have been impressed by our students’ ability to cope with the unexpected, especially with so many changes that I and other staff have introduced. I am grateful to parents and carers for their support and patience whilst some of our new approaches have been embedded. I continue to be amazed by our fantastic staff and employer sponsors who frequently ‘go the extra mile’ to manage tough situations and add to the experience of Bucks UTC students.
I would like to say goodbye and good luck to all of our students and staff who are moving on to other destinations. Remember to take on unexpected new challenges with determination and resilience so that you can continue to develop personally and professionally. It’s also important to look to the future and 2022-23. Inevitably, there will be further changes and challenges – I am confident that we can face them and continue to focus on improving ourselves and our organisation together.
I hope everyone has a fantastic summer and I look forward to seeing many of you in September.
When Bucks UTC joined the Merchant Taylors’ Oxfordshire Academy Trust back in November 2021, we knew that there was work to do in order for the school to improve. There are many aspects of school functioning that have been addressed so far and we want to mark the change in direction in a meaningful and public way. We want our students, families, staff and the local community to know that the school is making significant progress in the right direction. We should all feel proud to be part of this organisation. So, we have decided to re-brand the school, with a new name, logo and plenty of other associated practical changes.
From September 2022, we will be Aylesbury UTC. This may seem a small change, but it is an important one if the school is going to start a new phase of success in the coming years. There will be plenty more information to follow about our vision, values and the things that make us who we are.
For now, I am pleased to present our official new name and logo, which has been designed and developed internally by Sam Howard (Year 12 Computing), Ben Ward (Year 13 Computing) and Jan Lloyd (Marketing)
A reminder that term starts on Tuesday 6th September for our new Year 10 and 12 students and on Wednesday 7th September for our returning students. Students should be in their form rooms by 8.45am each morning.
|Friday 2 September 2022||Staff training day 1|
|Monday 5 September 2022||Staff training day 2|
|Tuesday 6 September 2022||Term begins for Year 10 and 12|
|Wednesday 7 September 2022||Term begins for Year 11 and 13|
|Wednesday 19 October 2022||Term 1 ends for all students at 3pm|
We say goodbye to Siv Sockalingam, Head of Maths, who is leaving after 9 years of dedicated hard work at Bucks UTC. Siv has had an enormous positive impact on hundreds of students during his time here. Students and staff will miss Siv a great deal and we wish him every success in his new pursuits.
We are also grateful to Denis Feegrade, who has been our Kitchen Supervisor for the last year. Denis has been well-organised, calm and caring and we know that his next school will be very lucky to have him.
In September there will be a number of new faces in our staff room. We will ensure that they are introduced in person and online when we return.
Bucks UTC welcomed their new Year 10 cohort on 5th and 6th July. The atmosphere in the college was electric, with new students eager to meet new friends and take on the challenges set up by the teachers, but also our link employers and the National Citizen Service (NCS).
The students experienced a Dragon’s Den entrepreneurial experience and had to work in teams to impress the judges. There were real like medical scenarios and computing and construction activities to really give the students a flavour of what lies ahead in September.
The 6th Form induction day was held on 11th July. The students experienced what 6th form would be like in the college and were greeted with teaming building challenging which closely followed by work in specialisms. We wish these students all the best in their GCSE results days and look forward to welcoming them in September
Assistant Principal, SENDCO
Sixth Form – Thursday 18th August, 9-11am
Year 11 – Thursday 25th August, 9-11am
Please click here to learn more about the results days, and be sure to let us know if you are unable to attend these dates. Staff will be on hand to celebrate with you, answer questions and provide support. From 11am-3pm on each day, staff will be available for further discussions if required. It may be that students need help confirming their next steps and we want to make sure that everyone leaves knowing what they are going to do next.
For preparation for next year, we welcomed our employers in to discuss the curriculum maps. Thanks to Taylor Wimpey, Morgan Sindall and Flannery Plant Hire for supporting Bucks UTC. We can’t wait for next academic year.
There have been a few visits this term including to London RIBA and Kingsbrook site in Aylesbury. Student participation in these activities brings the Built Environment course alive.
I would like to give you an update on the new Health and Social care department. This July we welcomed the new Year 10 Health students to the UTC over two days, those who came took part in team building and problem-solving exercises and completed challenges set by one of our employer partners (Home Instead) and our sponsor University (Buckinghamshire New University). The feedback from the students was positive and all are looking forward to joining us in September.
We also welcomed some of our prospective year 12 students, who had the opportunity to take part in similar activities and a brilliant visit to the Buckinghamshire New University simulation suite.
There has been a lot of hard work completed to make sure that when September comes, the students are given as many opportunities to be in front of as many employers as possible.
This will enhance their experience at the UTC and provide a wider view of the roles that exist in the Health and Social care sector.
Have a fantastic summer break, look forward to seeing you all in September!
Head of Health Specialism
Meeting our UTC Promise
Throughout this academic year the UTC has met its promise to stand out with being different to other schools and fulfilled some 72 activities. From visiting employers, experiencing higher education establishments, learning from Barclays Life skills and CV writing.
What will be even better?
We are introducing Unifrog as a new software platform for students, staff and parents to all see the impact of these activities and have a real focus on REFLECTION. This word will be used a lot next year to ensure that all students are benefiting more from the Employer Engagement.
New Staff for EE
From September, Tom Devey (also Head of Health specialism) will be taking on the Employer Engagement role. With a vibrant personality, and passionate about employer engagement, I am sure Tom will be great.
Marketing, Careers Lead and Student Recruitment
Reaching the summer break is a massive achievement for all our students and I hope you all have an amazing summertime.
In June, Jan Lloyd qualified with Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development. This means that Bucks UTC is in good hands to have a quality Careers Programme.
This year every student, from Year 10 all the way to Year 13 has attended a Next Steps meeting with myself. Some students have also had the added benefit of meeting a professional career adviser when they are not sure of their future options.
During these meetings the maturity of most students benefits everyone. Hopefully they shared the information with yourselves at home. I can’t stress enough how important staff, parents and carers are to influencing the future careers they may look to enter.
Some students have secured some valuable work experience in the fields they are interested in. Please try hard to find work experience for your child. It is not the school’s responsibility to find all places.
Specialism Careers Fairs
Lastly, I am introducing specialism Careers Fairs next year in the Spring Term and will be inviting every family and student in to attend. Advanced warning will be given to put in your calendars. Lots of employers will be available for you to meet and talk to. Exploring the future with real working people is inspirational!
On Results Days
Buckinghamshire Council has a funded opportunity for all GCSE and A Level/ BTEC Level 3 students can have a virtual meeting about what is right for you with a Careers Adviser. Further information about this will be included in Exams Result envelopes and also published on our social media.
With pupils celebrating the end of school and exams, combined with the hot weather, we are tragically seeing fatalities on inland waterways. Young people seek out canals and rivers as a place to cool off and have fun, without realising the hidden dangers.
Being by water is a great place to spend time with friends, but it’s important you know how to keep yourself, and your friends, safe. Click here to learn more.
Via Canal River Trust