Ministers give green light to expansion of University Technical College scheme

The new drive means a total of 50 UTCs have now been approved

A major expansion of the scheme to set up University Technical Colleges for 14 to 18-year-olds has been given the green light by ministers.

The UTC’s, the brainchild of former Education Secretary Lord (Kenneth) Baker offer a top-class vocational education for teenagers which is designed to meet the needs of modern business.

Six new UTC’s and five new studio schools - which offer a similar curriculum but are on a smaller scale - have been approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The new drive means a total of 50 UTCs and 46 studio schools have now been approved - and the latest batch will increase the number of students taught in them by 45,000.

They include the Global Academy in London which will offer places to 800 students and specialise in preparing them for working in the creative, technical and digital media and entrepreneurship.

Major employers who are backing the scheme - and sponsoring colleges - include Network Rail, the National Space Centre and the James Dyson Foundation.

A second UTC in Bolton will specialise in health and engineering technologies and will take in 600 students. Others will be in Peterborough, Scunthorpe, Westminster and Warrington.

Amongst the studio schools, one - the Aldridge Centre for Entrepreneurship will be cited at the Asda store on the Isle of Dogs and specialising in preparing pupils to work either in retail or creative and digital enterprises.

In addition, the Government approved 10 new free schools - bringing the total number approved to 299.