New research on University Technical Colleges has highlighted a number of key issues that might be preventing them from providing a viable route to improving technical and vocational education. Daniele Bernardinelli looks at the findings

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are academy schools for 14 to 19-year-olds, combining a core academic curriculum with vocational and project-based learning.

At the start of the 2016/17 academic year, there were 48 UTCs open across England. According to the January 2017 school census, 11,032 pupils were on roll at a UTC, about 0.3 per cent of all mainstream secondary school pupils. There has been widespread criticism about the UTC model, and the data indicates clear challenges in both pupil recruitment and academic performance.

At the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), we looked beyond the headline figures, using data from the National Pupil Database to shed light on some of the key issues surrounding pupil recruitment and the performance of UTCs.

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