Half of university technical college students drop out, report finds

Half of university technical college students drop out, report finds

University technical colleges – part of the free schools changes pushed through by Michael Gove – have been described as ineffective and unpopular by a report that found more than half their students dropped out.

Of those who remained at UTCs, many made poor progress, with even previously high-achieving students performing less well in their exams, according to the Education Policy Institute.

About 60 UTCs have opened since 2011, after being championed by the Conservative Lord Baker and the then prime minister, David Cameron, enrolling students aged 14 to 18 and designed to encourage the study of science, technology and engineering.

But despite official encouragement and lavish funding, they have failed to generate enthusiasm among parents, and 10 have subsequently closed or converted into conventional schools.

David Laws, the EPI’s executive chairman, said after spending “hundreds of millions of pounds” on UTCs, the Department for Education (DfE) should halt any further expansion until their effectiveness has been reviewed.

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