Talks underway to finalise opening date for Peterborough’s University Technical College

The UTC building going up on the Peterborough Regional College site.   CREDIT:  MELVIN WEBB EMN-151201-181021009

The UTC building going up on the Peterborough Regional College site. CREDIT: MELVIN WEBB EMN-151201-181021009

1
Have your say

Urgent talks are still taking place between education chiefs over the opening date of Peterborough’s prestigious new University Technical College (UTC).

The £10 million UTC, which has been built in the grounds of Peterborough Regional College, is expected to open in September but a date has still not been set.

We are already half way to the number we need and applications are still coming in.

Dr Alan McMurdo

Its newly appointed principal, Dr Alan McMurdo, said that talks were still continuing with the Department for Education over the opening date.

He said: “We are continuing to work towards opening in September 2015 and I expect a decision to be made in the next two weeks.

He added: “I am in touch with the DfE daily. The opening has not been deferred.”

Dr McMurdo said that about 40 youngsters had already applied to study at the UTC.

He said; “That means we are already half way to the number we need and applications are still coming in.

“There has been massive interest in the UTC – they realise that what is on offer here is unique.”

The Great Peterborough UTC will eventually provide education for about 500 youngsters aged 14 to 18.

Its construction was approved by the Department for Education, which has also funded the project.

The regional college is leading the development of the UTC with the support of fellow sponsor Anglia Ruskin University and key employer sponsors Anglian Water, Larkfleet Group and Marshall Aerospace.

The UTC will specialise in environmentally sustainable manufacturing, engineering and the built environment.

A spokeswoman for Anglian Water said: “We are in this project for the long term and and are 100 per cent committed to the UTC.

“Our position is that a third of our workforce will retire in the next 10 years and we will need to fill hundreds of engineering jobs.

She added: “We need to do everything we can to create the skills base and to recruit from that.

“The development of the UTC is a key plank in achieving our goal.”

A spokeswoman for the DfE said: “As with any new school, the department is in regular discussion with Greater Peterborough UTC over its plans to open.”

The bid to open a Univerity Technical College in Peterborough was given the green light by the Department for Education in January this year.

The aim was involve leading businesses in the education of youngsters to ensure they had the skills needed by employers.

The UTC will specialise in environmentally sustainable manufacturing, engineering and the built environment.

Dr Alan McMurdo, is a former head teacher of Prince William School in Oundle and Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough and was recently chief executive of the University of Chichester Multi-Academy Trust.

He said: “It is a privilege to be returning to Peterborough to help set up this fantastic educational facility.

“We aim to provide world class technical education for any youngster with the aptitude for practical and applied learning. This has been missing from our educational landscape for some time but I am delighted to say that we are now putting that right.

“Everyone stands to benefit.”