Principal’s Blog End of Module 6

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I can’t believe another year of school is over. At this time of year we have a chance to look back and reflect on our college achievements along with the hard work of the staff and students. This year saw our first Ofsted inspection with the UTC being judged  ‘Good with Outstanding features’ and it is brilliant news to end the school year on the highlight of being granted IB World School status giving the UTC the opportunity to continue our hard-earned reputation of high standards of teaching and student achievement.

A few highlights from this module include Harry Dressel successfully completing 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.

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.

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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.

Year 12 students also had the opportunity collaborating in an Engineering Challenge with Thames Water.

Each team of students had to plan the route their network of pipes would take with the pipes 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.  The students were given a budget to work within and they costed their outlay accordingly. Each team of 4 had to plan the route their network of pipes would take. The 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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Year 10 Leigh UTC students competed 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. 

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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.

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The Leigh UTC was featured on KMTV Apprenticeships Program.  KMTV is a new tv channel specifically aimed at people in Kent, As part of their launch event The leigh UTC was the feature story as SMEs (small to medium size enterprises) in Kent continue to struggle finding appropriately trained staff in the engineering sector and in particular finding women to take up engineering roles.

This module saw The Leigh UTC hosting a fantastic networking Business Brunch  with a brunch themed on celebrating the year’s successes.

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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 pursue 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 louisa.felstead@latrust.org.uk and sign yourself up for the Leigh UTC mentor inductions in September; you won’t regret it!

For this year result days the Leigh UTC we will be open at 9am for students to collect their examination results.  These dates are Thursday 17th August for A-Level results and Thursday 24th August for GCSE results.

The new academic year is set to be a very exciting time as the new Inspiration Academy opens for Key Stage 3, with its first cohort of students The building is on schedule with an anticipated completion date of March 2017 which will add to our already impressive facilities.

As the Leigh UTC grows, a restructuring of the senior leadership team to support our developing learning areas was required.  Carina  Lindars will take up Head of College at the Inspiration Academy and Likhon Muhammad will be Head of College at the UTC,  both will be supported by two Assistant Principals, Harroop Sandhu and Neil Arnould.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the continued support you have given both to your child and to The Leigh UTC. All the staff at the UTC wish you a restful summer and look forward to seeing you on Monday 4th September for Year 7 students and Tuesday 5th September for Year’s 10, 11, 12, 13.