I was reading last night about the new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) as one is currently being set up not far from us by Warwick University - and there is an already established one not too far away at Aston which opened this year. Both of these are entry at 14/16, and have a very different approach to the traditional 3 terms, short school day with additional homework approach.
From the University Technical Colleges (UTCs)
website:•Their school day typically runs from 8:30am to 5:30pm
•They have a school year of 40 weeks with either four or five terms. These major changes significantly increase the amount of teaching time, adding a whole extra year of instruction for every two years a student is in the UTC
•Extra-curricular activities are compulsory
•There is a broad general curriculum and the core subjects of English, maths and science are taught through demanding and collaborative technical projects
•Pre-16 students will spend 60% of their time on academic subjects and 40% on technical ones. Post-16 the percentage is reversed with 40% academic teaching, 60% technical
•As outlined in the Wolf Report, UTCs are able to teach a greater proportion of technical studies than normal schools because of the longer school day
•The curriculum content is determined and shaped through the partnership of employers and universities
•All students study a foreign language related to their technical curriculum
•Experience of work is a central element of the curriculum.
From the Warwick UTC
site:A UNIQUE TIMETABLE
The timetable at the Academy very much follows a typical working day. It is open for on-site learning activities between the hours of 7.30am and 6.30pm. Students will be expected to do at least 1,450 guided learning hours in each year of study. They will participate in a core learning period each day, with guided support time and extra-curricular activities at the beginning and the end of the extended day.
THE ACADEMIC YEAR
The academic year runs for 40 weeks, divided into 5 x 8 week blocks. The fifth block, which incorporates a 2 week summer school, will be used to offer enrichment activities, extended project work, work related to learning, extended study visits and a residential school.
Aston which is already open is a bit more specific - from their website
:The learning day reflects industry practice and runs from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday and Friday and 8.30am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Thursday. This will mean little or no homework for Year 10 and 11.
Because of the increased working day, students will not be expected to undertake additional homework outside of their ‘working hours’.
Obviously these are very new (there are only 3 actually open yet) so there are no results to judge them on. But some of the ideas about the way they've abandoned the traditional timetable are interesting. Do we think this type of arrangement will catch on as more schools start to be become independent of LEA central decision making? Does anybody know students at one of the new startup UTCs - what are the initial impressions?