Wednesday, 21 March 2012

UTC Is Dead: Technical Academy & Housing On The Way?

Selling England By The Pound
The plans for a new University Technical College are dead.

When he launched the plan last October, Reading East MP Rob Wilson described the UTC idea as "fantastic news for East Reading".

Now Wilson's comment that "I would like to thank all those who have been involved and given me their support in making this happen.” seems a bit premature.

The latest desperate twist now is for a new "Technical Academy" which would take 14 to 19 years old from a 15 mile radius of a Crescent Road campus. The rest of the site would be handed over by the government or current site owners University of West London to a commercial partner for housing development.

I understand that the University of Reading has said that it would not take a seat on the board of the new institution. So just as the last rites are read over the UTC, the need for a new, full subject secondary school from age 11 remains.

There are not enough school places for children living in the east of Reading in Reading Schools and future projections will make this worse. Parents want to know that their children will be able to attend a good school within a reasonable distance of where they live.
It should be stressed that any new education provision is a plus, and such schools will go a long way to equipping less academic youngsters with the technical skills to become assets on the increasingly tough job market.

But at an already confusing time in a young person's life it will be highly disconcerting to be moving schools after two years and just before GCSE courses begin, and schools face having their year nine stripped of pupils heading for a Technical Academy.

So please sign the petition and let others know.

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