Principal’s Blog

It breaks my heart a little bit when I read that people might think our UTC is one of the worst 350 schools in England.

Our officially ‘Good with Outstanding features’ Ofsted rated school.

Our UTC that is third best performing in Liverpool for AAB students after Blue Coat and Liverpool College.

Our UTC, that offers separate science to 20% more students than anywhere nationally – because our science businesses need scientists and are paying them to move here from other places.

Our UTC, where we have just had students being offered places at the University of Cambridge to study medicine.

Our UTC, where 100% of students that finish year 13 go on to do something great – university, apprenticeships with Dyson at their amazing Institute of Technology, jobs with Jaguar Landrover.

Our UTC, where students have just published their very own peer-reviewed scientific journal to the astonishment of local MDs, leading academics and incredible consultants at our local hospital.

Our UTC, a place where almost 600 students from a vast range of local communities come every day to feel safe, to learn and to take the next steps into future careers.

I have to admit, I don’t read much of the Daily Mail, but someone must, right? And to say to my students, who are proud of where they come to school, who see the opportunities they are working towards every day that this isn’t exceptional makes me think there is something very wrong in how we measure education. 

We’re working on a fascinating project with some excellent minds at Jaguar Landrover. So last week my team went to visit to look at what our kids would study with them. An engineering fundamental. One of the key principles that every engineer/ scientist/ person needs to know. Something that sounds in essence very basic. What is the measurement? What do we measure? How do we measure it? And are we right? Because when you write it down, people think it is fact.

They got us to measure a table, with a ruler. You’d think a pretty easy task, apart from the annoying plastic bits at each end that don’t have any numbers. But actually, we each reached a totally different result. And a totally different interpretation of why we had produced different results. And that was because we were measuring the wrong thing with a completely inappropriate system of measure. A ruler isn’t precise enough to tell you how big a table is – and you have to guess the bits at each end. Marking each ruler end with your fingernail isn’t a good snapshot either.

Now I know you need to take a snapshot for comparison, and that schools like everything else need targets to improve. I love progress 8, and that typical schools are no longer just looking at achieving Cs, and that for once every student matters, that every scrap of effort they make and every increase in grade is rewarded. But to tell me in my school, where most of my students study A Level programmes not GCSEs, where those that do GCSEs have only come to us for two out of the five years that count in this measure, and significantly that in that time have really turned it around, that we’re still getting it wrong, shows me that we’re still using a ruler to measure a table.

I don’t think we offended the table by getting the wrong length.

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