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BY Lucy Bannister | Friday 26 August 2022

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) students have significantly exceeded their GCSE targets, as the college looks to take on a record number of sixth formers

Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) students are celebrating outstanding GCSE and Level 2 technical results as the school prepares to take on its highest ever number of sixth formers.

The grades surpassed expectations and significantly exceeded targets despite the 150 Year 11 cohort spending a substantial part of the past two years studying online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost 500 students applied for places at the school’s sixth form this year – the highest number of applications received since it opened its doors in 2017.

More than 350 students will now complete the sixth form across Years 12 and 13 from September, including 120 existing students who secured top marks progressing into Year 12.

Highlights of the GCSE and Level 2 technical results include:

  • 81% of students achieved grades 4-9 in both English and Maths
  • 62% of students achieved grades 5-9 in English and Maths
  • 86% of students achieved grades 4-9 in Sciences
  • 61% of students achieved grades 5-9 in Sciences
  • 95% of students achieved grades 5-9 in technical specialisms, including Art and Design, Creative iMedia, Digital Technology and Engineering

The excellent results come one week after Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated Ron Dearing sixth form students achieved record A-level and Level 3 technical results for the fifth consecutive year, despite the disruption caused to their education by Covid-19.

Harvey Blackshaw, 16, achieved eight GCSEs including grade 9 in Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics and Computer Science, as well as a Level 2 Distinction in Systems Control in Engineering.

He will now progress to Ron Dearing’s sixth form to study Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Engineering, following his ambitions of securing an engineering degree apprenticeship.

Harvey said: “I didn’t think I’d achieve these results because of so much online learning during the pandemic.

“But we have so many resources at Ron Dearing UTC and our great teachers have been so willing to help us every step of the way. I’m really looking forward to sixth form.”

Molly Warburton, 16, achieved six GCSEs including grade 6 in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature and Art, as well as a Level 2 Merit in Engineering.

She will now go on to study Biology, Chemistry and English at Ron Dearing’s sixth form.

Molly said: “I was so nervous about my results, especially Maths, but I’m very happy. I worked so hard to complete the higher papers in my science exams and I’ve had great support from the teachers.

“It’s brilliant that we have access to Employer Partners because it gives us an advantage and opens up a lot of opportunities. I really enjoy being a Ron Dearing UTC student and I’d like to go to university to study dentistry in the future.”

Lloyd Redshaw achieved seven GCSEs including grade 7 in Biology, Maths, English Language and Computer Science, as well as Level 2 Distinction in Systems Control in Engineering.

He will now go on to study Double A-level Biology and Systems Control in Engineering at Ron Dearing’s sixth form in September, as he aims to become a microbiologist in the future.

He said: “I want to work in developing vaccines and finding cures for illnesses in the future. Coming to Ron Dearing UTC is helping me with that because the focus on science is great.”

Francesca Wilkes-Oliver, 16, achieved eight GCSEs including Level 9 in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as a Level 2 Distinction in Engineering Design.

She is staying at Ron Dearing UTC for her A-levels, and will study Physics, Maths, Biology and OCR Engineering.

Francesca said: “I was delighted and relieved when I opened my results. I’ve loved being at Ron Dearing so far and I’m really pleased to be staying on for A-levels.”

The growth in the UTC’s sixth form numbers comes as work to expand and increase its capacity is underway.

The first phase of remodelling the existing building in Hull’s Kingston Square is due to be completed by the end of August.

This will include additional independent study space and new science laboratories, enabling the UTC to take on an additional 80 Year 12 students from September. The intake will increase to a further 120 students by September 2023, taking Ron Dearing’s overall capacity to 800.

The expansion plans also involve creating a new hi-tech learning centre in the former Central Fire Station next to the school, including a large sixth form centre.

Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “Just like with our Year 13 results last week, our Year 11 results are even better than the very strong teacher assessed grades our students achieved last year.

“The exam boards have stated they have adjusted the grade boundaries so that the number of top grades and passes awarded falls midway between the last set of external exams in 2019 and the teacher assessed grades. It means these results are even more impressive.

“It’s an amazing achievement considering all the challenges our students have had to overcome due to the pandemic and they have demonstrated incredible determination and resilience.

“The overwhelming majority of students have chosen to continue their learning in our sixth form. It’s a huge relief we secured funding to extend our building and create the extra space we need to fit them all in!”

Ron Dearing UTC caters for students aged 14 to 19 and has a specialist focus on digital technology, art and design, creative digital and engineering. While 120 students will progress into Year 12 next month, 27 have secured a mixture of apprenticeships or places at further education colleges and three will embark on careers in the Armed Forces.

Richard Martin, Chair of the Governing Board at Ron Dearing UTC and Non-Executive Director at Major Partner Arco, said: “These brilliant results are further proof that our unique, employer-engaged approach to learning really works.

“The students have met every challenge the pandemic has thrown at them and come out on top. They are amazing and truly deserve this success.”

Students who wish to join Ron Dearing UTC in September 2023 can apply online via