Wiltshire

Swindon's £10m technical college placed in special measures

UTC Swindon Image copyright Google
Image caption The college opened in 2014 at a cost of £10m

A technical college in Swindon has been placed in special measures after being rated inadequate rating by Ofsted.

The £10m Swindon's University Technical College (UTC) opened in September 2014 and teaches engineering skills to 14 to 19-year-olds.

The education watchdog criticised college leaders for failing to deal with a "significant weakness in the quality of teaching and learning".

Its executive principal Joanne Harper said it "needs some time".

An inspection in January looked at six areas including leadership and management, quality of teaching, and outcomes for pupils.

The report said: "The curriculum does not meet the needs of pupils, and contributes to their underachievement.

"The specialist focus on engineering is not being delivered adequately and many pupils make poor progress on these courses."

'Poor progress'

Although senior leaders were aware of the improvements needed, they lacked expertise in engineering to improve it quickly enough, inspectors added.

Ms Harper, said: "It needs some time - the problem with saying that is that children on the roll books at that time deserve the best education they can get."

In 2015, the Swindon Labour group raised concerns about the viability of the college.

Carol Shelley, the party's education spokesperson at Swindon Borough Council, said: "It's got to where it is because of a lack of collaboration between the UTC and other Swindon schools.

"If there had been closer collaboration right from the beginning then this way of teaching young people the skills they need for the future could have worked."

Ms Harper, who also runs the outstanding-rated UTC in Reading, said forging links with relevant industry bodies would "fill the skills gaps".

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