A principal has defended her University Technical College (UTC) after it came in dramatically below other institutions in official league tables data.

Joanne Harper, principal of UTC Reading, said it had been caught out because the only students included in the data were 18-year-olds who had left other institutions and were only half way through courses at Reading.

The issue meant the UTC appeared to be the second worst institution in the country for vocational average points score per full-time student, as previously reported by FE Week.

“But on the average point score per vocational entry, we scored equivalent to a distinction plus, so in terms of the results a student has in their hand when they leave they are above the national average,” said Ms Harper.

“So the per-student measure doesn’t really support what’s happening on a day-to-day basis.”

In the same dataset, 14 of 17 studio schools and UTCs listed fell below the government targets for GCSEs.

However, a spokesperson for the Baker Dearing Trust, which oversees UTCs, said a government decision to discount thousands of vocational qualifications in league tables “had an impact” on results.

The Studio Schools Trust declined to comment.