PRESS RELEASE – The Leigh UTC authorised IB World School from September 2017


The Leigh UTC are delighted to announce that they are to become an authorised IB World School from September 2017. We are excited to add this additional pathway to accompany our established and successful Technical Baccalaureate pathway at Post-16.

Throughout the International Baccalaureate verification process, The Leigh UTC was commended for ‘its understanding of, and commitment to, the development of an inquiry-based approach, the process of experiential learning, and the importance of developing the whole child’.

Steve Leahey, Principal, said “It is with immense pleasure that I welcome this news, being the first University Technical College to gain IB World Schools status. It is the result of the hard work that everyone at The Leigh UTC has put into realising our vision over the past three years. Our goal is to offer the best study experience a student could look for: one that provides student-centred learning and supports the needs and aspirations of each young adult. Achieving the status of IB World School is a proof that we are truly a centre of STEM excellence.”

The International Baccalaureate team also commended the Leigh UTC’s ‘exceptional facilities and resources to support programme delivery’, and the “meaningful and authentic links with the residential and business community to enhance learning within the programme.

Keith Ellis, Chair of Governors and Managing Director of Kenard Engineering said, “by offering the IBCP as part of its Post 16 programme of study The Leigh UTC demonstrates a progressive attitude towards technical education as well as listening to the needs of the business community. The UTC students have quickly proved themselves to be the kind of employee we are looking to recruit and develop.”

Clive Barker, Governor and Chairman of CSB Logistics commented, “CSB Logistics is very pleased to be working with The Leigh UTC as once again they demonstrate leadership in education with the addition of the IBCP to its curriculum. Already their students demonstrate strong communication skills and the addition of the IBCP will greatly improve their career opportunities by creating well-rounded individuals with self-confidence and the ability to work across an increasingly international multi-cultural world of trade.”

There are limited places available at The Leigh UTC for September 2017. Call 01322 626600 for more information.

The Leigh UTC students attend a Technology Challenge event held at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham run by the Rotary Club of Medway

On Friday 7th July The Leigh UTC attended a Technology Challenge event held at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham run by the Rotary Club of Medway.
The Leigh entered two ‘advanced’ teams in the Post 16 category, despite one team being formed solely by Y11s. The students were given the Technology challenge on the day with no prior knowledge of what it may be. They were asked to bring tools and basic equipment and then they were given the task and a kit of materials in the morning. Students frantically got into the designing of their task which was to design a vehicle that could drive itself along a half pipe, through a bridge and then push ‘debris’ formed of pebbles, then capture the pebbles and drag them back to the start point under the bridge. This was all using basic equipment such as mdf, pine blocks, pulleys, elastic band, string, card, batteries and wires.
After lunch students constructed and tested their vehicles. At this stage the Leigh UTC ‘A’ team were in the lead, although this as unknown to them at the time, based upon their portfolio and team work marks. The challenge was tough and stretched students skills.
Finally they had to test their vehicles under the scrutiny of the judges, their peers and the mayor of Gillingham! Very few vehicles fully completed all the task correctly at any entry level, and although a hastily put together teachers team shone in the testing in the advanced, the overall winners were the Leigh UTC ‘A’ team who scored highest overall for the day.
Many thanks go to the Rotary club of Medway for organising the event, and the Royal Engineers Museum for such a great venue. Well done also to the Leigh UTC students Sam Holloway, Ehigie Usifo, Daniel Easter and Sukhdip Bambra for their winning work.

Brunch celebrations at The Leigh UTC

The Leigh UTC held its latest business event of the academic year last week with a brunch themed on celebrating the year’s successes.
Chaired by governor Clive Barker of CSB Logistics, attendees were given a raft of information on current engineering apprenticeships as well as those that will be begin next year in ICT. Principal, Steve Leahey gave glowing reports on students many positive destinations in terms of jobs, apprenticeships and university places whilst Rebecca Warner explained the new UTC hub and Sophie Dickinson explained the academy’s excitement in the forthcoming IBCP.

As part of a blog article, Chris writes-

“I am just completing my first year as a mentor for The Leigh UTC and highly recommend it to anyone in the local area from my industry.
For those who don’t know The Leigh UTC, it’s a University Technical College in Dartford and part of the Leigh Academies Trust. They take students from the age of 14 who want to peruse a career in engineering, and if you are an engineer, take a look around, their facilities are pretty special!
Excuse the cliché but I really feel that becoming a mentor has made a difference both to the student that I have been working with and myself personally.
Last year I was paired with a 17-year-old student to offer some independent guidance and advice over 6 one hour sessions. What difference can you make in that time I thought to myself?
Well it turns out you can make quite a bit- life skill, advice and guidance to start with. It struck me that the things that I have helped my student with have been the things that mentors in my career have helped me with and I possibly took for granted as a slightly rebellious air conditioning engineer apprentice.
In fact, once we covered the basics, my student was so enthusiastic that we explored some more practical aspects of the M&E industry. Mark, our Hemlow engineer took him around the plant rooms of the UTC to show him the HVAC plant and what a maintenance engineer does.
We got so much positive input that we included him on some ROSPA accredited health and safety training with our trainee engineers at head office. His enthusiasm has gone up a notch and the next step is a three-day work experience package within the Hemlow business both in the office and out on site with more members of our team.
I have had the satisfaction of witnessing the student, gain confidence, direction, life skills, land a part time job and hope that he will make the choice to become an engineer of the future in the M&E industry.
All of this has taken up less than 24 hours of my life in total, spread over a 9-month period, surely this is a good thing for anyone in the local engineering industry to do?
I’m already signed up for next year and looking forward to it. If you are interested email and sign yourself up for the Leigh UTC mentor inductions in September; you won’t regret it!”

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Yesterday we took a small group of Year 10 Leigh UTC students to compete in the Leigh Trust Sports Day at the Dartford Harriers running club. All our students had a great day, competing in several events each. Our stand out performer was Ioulia Kasapidis winning both the 1500m and 800m additionally she set Trust records in both of these events. Both Rhys Acosta and Ioulia won the Outstanding Contribution awards for The UTC. We are very proud of all our students. Rhys, Ioulia, Joshua, Reidwan, Kyle and Marceli.

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Mini Engineering Challenge with Thames Water and The Leigh UTC

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Year 12s at The Leigh UTC

A group of 28 Year 12 students took part in a Mini Engineering Challenge with Thames Water.  Tracy and Greg, from Thames Water, ably assisted by Bart from Thames 21, explained the challenge:-

To plan, cost, build and test a water network – moving water from a storage tank to 5 different locations.

Planning and Costing

Each team of 4 had to plan the route their network of pipes would take – pipes could only be laid vertically or horizontally and they had to cross a river and a railway line – this made the challenge even harder and the students worked together to find the solution.  A fee had to be paid for crossing each section of land and the selection of pipes they had chosen needed to be paid for.  The students were given a budget to work within and they costed their outlay accordingly.

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Building the network

Once their equipment had been ordered and delivered, students worked as a team to build their network of pipes and tanks – they had to follow the plan they had initially made. It was at this point they would find out if they had made any mistakes at the planning stage.  Through their initial teamwork and careful planning each team were able to build their network and there were no unforeseen problems.

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Testing the network

Now for the moment of truth – would the water flow from the tank, through the pipe network and into the 5 different locations?

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Each team had engineered and built a working network of pipes and the water flowed freely. 

The final challenge was to return the water from the sites to the water tank.  Each group found a different, and ingenious way to do this. 

“It was a fun, interesting challenge.”

“Planning was most important, building was the most rewarding – I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

The team from Thames Water also enjoyed the day, and had this to say about The Leigh UTC students:-

“The Thames Water Education team were delighted to work with such an enthusiastic group of students on the Network Challenge who worked well in their teams to meet their objectives.  We were excited to see some very interesting and innovative water network designs being constructed (and tested!) which demonstrates the creativity of the Leigh UTC students.  Well done to all the students involved, we look forward to our next visit!”

Water usage

The session was rounded off with a look at water usage and how to reduce the water we use in our everyday lives.;

The Leigh UTC staff and students would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Tracy and Greg from Thames Water, and Bart from Thames 21, for an enjoyable and informative morning that was enjoyed by all.


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Alternative Pathways at Longfield Academy, the Leigh Academy and The Leigh UTC

Students from Longfield Academy, the Leigh Academy and The Leigh UTC attended a seminar on Alternative Pathways after Post 16.

Peter Cobrin of Employment Pathways, and Sarah Curtis of QA,  www. kindly hosted 2 separate events, one at Longfield Academy for their current Year 12 students and those from The Leigh UTC, whilst the second event was only for Leigh Academy students.

Content of each of the half day seminars included a great deal of information on the choices between university and apprenticeships; the cost of study versus the benefits of apprenticeships.

As part of the discussion on Post 18 pathways, students were informed about the various apprenticeship courses and their equivalents, higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.  He went on to discuss what a higher or degree apprenticeship looks like.

Student comment was:

“The information and knowledge shared by the presenters was valuable, and gave me an insight into things to consider when making choices for my next steps.”

After a break, Sarah went on to discuss, with students, how to make a successful application, CV and interview techniques, research skills and the ‘insider secrets’ that make all the difference.

Teacher comment:

“It was an excellent presentation.  I think the particular benefit was Sarah’s input on interviews, cleaning up social media feeds prior to applications and her tips on what students should be doing over the summer to prepare applications to either university or apprenticeships/work from the Autumn.”

Sarah from QA commented:

“The Year 12 students at the Leigh and Longfield had ambition and focus and engaged with both the speakers and the information that was presented.  Their questions were well thought through and this time next year some great careers could be about to start”

We would like to thank all those involved in a successful day.

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The Leigh UTC would like to congratulate our two staff members who have just completed their Leadership courses. Mrs Sandhu has successfully completed The Leigh Academy Trust programme and Miss Dickinson completed level 3 UCL leadership programme.



Leigh UTC student selected for apprenticeship with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Harry Dressel successfully completed his Technical Baccalaureate at The Leigh UTC. This included gaining qualifications with a BTEC Engineering Extended Diploma, Core Maths and EPQ all at Level 3. Harry was recently nominated for a special national technical award presented by HRH The Duke of York.

Whilst at The Leigh UTC, Harry has been keen to demonstrate his skills by designing and building an electric car for the ‘Greenpower’ series. Fabricating the vehicle shell from carbon fibre, including a bespoke steering system and drive train, this has enabled him to develop specialised engineering skills.
This has not gone unnoticed. Harry applied for a prestigious higher apprenticeship with F1 giants, Mercedes. With over 6000 applications. He underwent a series of rigorous interviews and tests. Mercedes were so impressed by Harry, that they made him an offer to be their apprentice for 2017, working in the engine and drive train sector at their base in Brackley.

Principal of The Leigh UTC, Steve Leahey said “We are so very proud of Harry achievements and demonstrates that sheer determination, hard work mixed with high aspirations, and not forgetting set in the right environment, then almost anything is possible”.

Mercedes F1 team were so impressed that they have since contacted The Leigh UTC to look at closer collaboration over coming years.