UTC initiative must refocus on 16-19, says think-tank

A think-tank has called on the next government to “repurpose” the programme of university technical colleges (UTCs) to focus on 16 to 19 education, rather than recruiting students at 14.

A report by the IPPR says that UTCs and alternative provision studio schools are struggling to succeed because of difficulties recruiting pupils at age 14 and poor academic results.

The number of 14 to 19 education institutions has been growing since 2010, mainly because of the expansion of the UTC and studio school models. This includes 48 UTCs that opened by 2016 and 35 studio schools.

However, the IPPR research finds that seven UTCs and 14 studio schools have closed or announced that they are to close since the first were opened in 2011 and 2010, respectively. It also predicts that more will close in the coming years because of a shortage of pupils.

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