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Brunel-sponsored University Technical College celebrates exam results

A University Technical College sponsored by Brunel University London has achieved the best UTC exam results in the UK, and scored well above average compared to similar schools in the country and the Borough of Hillingdon.

Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC, based in Northwood, is celebrating its first set of Key Stage 4 results, which were published in a performance league table by the Department for Education this month.

The ‘Progress 8’ rankings are a new government performance measure comparing the progress pupils make over eight key subjects. Heathrow Aviation Engineering was ranked first among UTCs, and 12th among 55 comparable schools.

The UTC's Principal Mr Barry Hersom said “the exam results are superb, and a great reward for the hard work of pupils and staff over the last two years.”

Heathrow Aviation Engineering is the UK’s only UTC focused on aviation engineering, and attracts pupils aged 14-18. Brunel is its partner university, while the college’s sponsors also include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow Airport and RAF Northolt.

Brunel provides support for the UTC through careers advice, mentoring and the opportunity for students and staff to engage in activities at the University. Last year, pupils studying the Diploma of Engineering had the opportunity to complete part of their practical work within BCAST, Brunel’s world-leading light metal casting research centre.

UTCs are a form of state secondary school promoted by the Baker Dearing Trust, led by former Education Secretary Kenneth Baker. Lord Baker has spent the 25 years since he left office campaigning for the importance of vocational and technical education alongside and integrated with academic education.

In October 2016 the Education Secretary Justine Greening commented that UTCs were a “good option” for “kids who just love science and practical stuff”. Some 44 per cent of pupils who left UTCs at the age of 18 last year went on to university compared to a national average of 38 per cent. A further 29 per cent went into apprenticeships.

Brunel’s participation is led by Professor Geoff Rodgers, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation). Professor Rodgers helped initiate the project in 2012 and now chairs the governing body.