Principal’s Blog – End of Module 2: Merry Christmas!

3randon-utcbb2116-8I would like to start this post by welcoming you to a new feature of The Leigh UTC’s website – the Principal’s Blog. I intend to post regular updates and news as well as some pieces on various matters that affect our college and the wider education landscape.

It has been another outstanding module at The Leigh UTC with so many success stories. The Leigh UTC achieved the best Progress 8 score of any UTC in the country, even better than Reading UTC, the only UTC judged outstanding by Ofsted so far. We recently found out that Kent has been ranked 1st out of 150 local authorities for TechBacc performance at Post-16 in 2016. There were 20 entries in Kent altogether for the TechBacc, 13 of which were at The Leigh UTC.

I am delighted to share with you the news of our three external reviews on Safeguarding, Behaviour and SEND. All were extremely positive and highlights the fantastic work that both staff and students are doing here at The Leigh UTC:
“The College provides a safe physical and emotional environment for young people in which success through earning is strongly promoted. The SLT and particularly the college DSL are strongly committed to student welfare. The students themselves would highly recommend their college”
Helen Windiate, Education Safeguarding Consultant, November 2016
“Students are developing highly positive attitudes and they show responsibility. Many confirmed that it is a good place to study and that behaviour is consistently at least good and frequently outstanding.”
Bill Stoneham Bass Educational, November 2016
“The ethos and practice on the school is clearly highly effective on outcomes for SEN pupils”
Anne Massey, e2iconsultancy, November 2016

A number of trips have taken place this term including the Year 11 English trip to the Ambassadors Theatre, London, to see Pigeon English, which proved to be an excellent event. A group of our Year 11 students are returning today from a two-day team building residential visit to Dorking and I look forward to sharing stories and photographs from the visit later this week. We also streamed our Remembrance service live on Facebook and Twitter, a video that can still be accessed here.

img_0059We also held our second annual Awards Dinner in November. It was a special night, giving the staff and I the opportunity to recognise the outstanding work of our students with so many of their parents and our business partners. The event also helped us to raise funds for many extra curricula projects. I am already looking forward to next year’s event which will be even bigger and better!

christmas-jumper-dayThe recent Christmas Jumper Day was a showcase of so many things that makes the UTC such an outstanding place to learn and thrive – an excellent effort of fundraising by the students and staff as well as a number of events, including our first “The UTC’s Got Talent” show – something that we look forward to holding again next year – and our own unique UTC spin on the traditional school nativity display.

We have a number of exciting developments on the horizon with the planned opening, in September 2017, of Inspiration Academy, our feeder school for years 7-9 and plans are well under way. One of the key ingredients for any successful school is a strong team of staff and we will be looking to expand our current team over the coming months to take account of the challenges ahead. The first of these is the appointment of a Head of College to play a key role in overseeing the development of Inspiration Academy and I am pleased to announce that Mrs Lindars, currently Assistant Principal at The Leigh UTC, will undertake this role.

Please do take a look at the Winter 2016 edition of Leigh Academies Trust’s newsletter which is available to view here. As you will see, The Leigh UTC is heavily featured, as an example of one of the very best schools in the Trust.

I look forward to sharing further updates via this blog through the rest of this academic year and would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Steve Leahey

Pigeon English Trip – 22nd November 2016

Pigeon English is the modern text currently being studied by the Leigh UTC’s Year 11 students, as part of their GCSE English Literature qualification. On Tuesday 22nd November 2016, forty eight students and five members of staff set off to the West End to watch the National Youth Theatre’s adaptation of the 2011 Man Booker prize shortlisted novel. Award-winning playwright Gbolahan Obisesan’s adaptation of the arresting Stephen Kelman novel was performed at the Ambassadors Theatre, London. The funny yet tragic storyline was inspired by the death of school boy Damilola Taylor.

Despite being sat right up in the ‘Gods’, with very little leg room for some, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the electrifying and engaging performance. The show’s snappy naturalistic dialogue and frenetic movements allowed students to visualise the story of 10-year old Ghanaian boy Harrison and gain a better understanding of themes such as gang culture, poverty and immigration.

Moreover, we were very privileged to be part of an audience which also included His Royal Highness, Prince Edward and Sir Ian McKellen CBE. The impeccably behaved Leigh UTC students certainly knew how to ‘rub shoulders’ with the rich and famous; all that was missing was the red carpet!

Admissions Arrangements Consultation

Leigh Academies Trust is consulting on admissions arrangements for The Leigh UTC. The consultation opens on 19 December 2016 and closes on 31 January 2017. A copy of the arrangements can be downloaded by clicking here.

Any comments on the proposed arrangements should be sent by email to the Clerk to the Trust Board at or by post to Leigh Academies Trust, Green Street Green Road, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1QE.

UKMT Senior Team Challenge

On Wednesday 23rd November 4 students left the UTC to head for Ravenswood School in Bromley.  The students were participating in the UKMT Senior Maths Team Challenge.

When we arrived the atmosphere was very welcoming and there were refreshments available.

The team (Justin Chapman, Victor Ortene, Ross Dell and Phoebe Simpson) found the table that had the UTC flag on it.  During the first round teachers were taken for a briefing and we were directed to a different team’s table.  I had no idea how our team was doing until almost the end.  Although the students all felt they hadn’t done very well they had enjoyed the experience.  Justin commented on the fact that it was a very different atmosphere to last years challenge at Cobham Hall and was much more enjoyable.

Our students tried their best, learnt a lot and worked as a team.  The teacher on their table commented on how pleasant they had found our students and that they had enjoyed meeting them.

The team demonstrated the UTC ethos of Think, Act, Perform and have gained valuable experience.


Maths Builder Workshop with BAM

On the 30th of November, year 10 students were involved in a practical workshop involving cross-curricular learning in an employer led environment. June Wilkinson, an education consultant from BAM construction, ran the session with problems solving tasks related to the construction industry, which exposed students to an application of their learning at the UTC.

Upon feedback, all of the students involved thoroughly enjoyed the activity and have expressed interest in doing something similar again. Students learnt that leadership and teamwork are paramount to the success of the outcomes, and  were clearly able to make the links between the task with engineering, maths, science and product design. Crucially they were able to articulate how this links directly to developing skills in supporting their GCSE and

BTEC subjects, discussing the problem solving element as well as the core subjects required. Students won certificates for various attributes that we look for at the UTC, which were presented by our Assistant Principal, Carina Lindars, and Penny Matthews, who also introduced our Challenger Trust reward system

Miles Mulligan- Individual effort

Edward Williams- Resilience

Ben Beadle- Leadership

Reece Everitt, Michael Webb, Amira Taylor, Callum Bundock- Teamwork

“It makes me understand how much maths I will need to achieve my engineering qualifications”

“It helped me to realise that if you make a mistake the cost can be expensive”

“Its given us an insight  on what we should expect when working in the real world.

“It taught us  a lot because it’s complicated and challenging”

Quotes from students

“I enjoyed working with Year 10 students today on the Maths Builder Challenge. The students were able to apply a range of mathematical disciplines to the fun challenge of building a Lego house. The activity helped students to understand some of the different roles in the construction industry and tested their employability skills, for example, team work and problem solving. I am looking forward to working with more students during the construction of the Inspiration Academy.”

June Wilkinson

Education and Community Co-ordinator – South East |BAM Construction Ltd

Smart futures at the UTC

Students from the UTC earlier this week working with Ernst and Young (EY) to find out about work experience opportunities that are available.
It is a 10 week programme which covers many of the essential skills needed for work.