UTC Swindon welcomed a very special visitor last week, when the ‘driving force’ behind the UTC movement, Lord Kenneth Baker, came for a look round.
Lord Baker is co-founder, along with Lord Dearing, of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, set up in 2009 to promote the establishment of University Technical Colleges (UTCs). There are currently 48 UTCs in the UK and Lord Baker, who is 88, visits all the UTCs nationwide.
He and South Swindon MP, Sir Robert Buckland, dropped in to UTC Swindon on Friday 24 March, some four years since his last visit. Throughout the day the pair met with lots of students, showing particular interest in what drove them to choose the school and what subjects they were particularly enjoying.
Sir Robert said: “I’m delighted to be back at UTC Swindon, which is an excellent college that develops the growth of skills which leads to degree apprenticeships, jobs and the new economy of tomorrow. The UTC has really taken flight in the last few years, under inspiring leadership and I’m delighted to be here with Lord Baker. It’s great to see the students so enthused and learning about new technology, learning together and developing the future skills of tomorrow.”
Lord Baker and Sir Robert were taken on a tour of the school, taking in the engineering, science and cyber classrooms and workspaces, escorted by three Year 11s who showed off their school with pride.
Both Lord Baker and Sir Robert were really impressed with the kit car and the driving simulators they saw, which had been created by the students. Sir Robert tested both out and especially enjoyed driving the simulator – see the video of him channelling Lewis Hamilton here.
A lunch with the student board was followed by one of the many employer engagement sessions UTCs are known for.
This time one of the sessions was held by engineering firm Watermen Aspen, and was led by Caitlin Sutherland, an alumni UTC Swindon’s sister school UTC Reading.
Speaking of the day, Neil Pouney, Head of School, said:
“The visit of Lord Baker and Sir Robert Buckland was the chance for the whole school to showcase what we do. It was a typical Friday at UTC Swindon, with employers carrying out workshops, students showing off their engineering and digital projects, all with science practical experiments taking place. Lord Baker commented how engaged the students were and focused towards a successful career, not just churning out exam results.”