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The Coalition Agreement confirmed the Government’s intention to improve the quality of vocational education, including increased flexibility for 14-19 year olds and create new Technical Academies, as part of plans to diversify schools provision. These will be established across England to develop vocational and technical education that engages young people and meets the needs of modern business.
University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are the best-known model, and specialise in subjects that need modern, technical, industry-standard equipment - such as engineering and construction - and teach these disciplines alongside business skills and the use of ICT.
Pupils integrate academic study with practical learning, studying core GCSEs alongside technical qualifications. The ethos and curriculum are designed with local and national employers who also provide support, and work experience for students.
In the 2011 budget it was announced that at least 24 UTCs are planned to be open by 2014.
UTCs are sponsored by:
The first UTC - the JCB Academy in Staffordshire - opened in 2010.
The Black Country UTC in Walsall is scheduled to open in September 2011.
Funding has been allocated to UTCs in Aston and Greenwich.
Studio Schools are an innovative new model of 14 to 19 year-old educational provision. They are small schools - typically with around 300 pupils - delivering mainstream qualifications through project based learning.
Students work with local employers and a personal coach, and follow a curriculum designed to give them the employability skills and qualifications they need in work, or to take up further education.
Further information about University Technical Colleges and the support on offer from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, to sponsoring organisations that want to form UTCs.