Eleventh UTC to close after student numbers almost halve

An ‘inadequate’ university technical college is to close just four years after opening as it is “no longer financially viable” following a huge drop in student numbers.

South Wiltshire UTC will become the eleventh provider of its type to close since the programme launched in 2010.

Like many of the other failed institutions, it has struggled to recruit students and had just 214 on roll against a capacity of 600 when Ofsted visited last year and gave it a grade four.

However, following this damning report, the 14-to-19 college saw its learner numbers almost halve. It currently only has 121 on roll, according to government data.

A statement by the UTC said its board of governors with the Department for Education, have had “no option but to take the difficult decision in principle” to close in August 2020.

“At what is an extremely difficult time for our staff, students and prospective students, our focus will now be on ensuring the students remaining with us in years 11 and 13 successfully complete their planned two year courses,” it continued.

“All students due to enrol and start with the school in September 2019 have been informed of the decision. We will support pupils that had applied to join the UTC in September 2019 to find alternative places.”

Principal Joe Mulligan said: “We will work hard to ensure that the students who will remain at the UTC in 2019/2020 will receive the best possible education and will provide a rich curriculum around our specialism, including continuing to work with our employer and university partners.

“We have always strived to provide the best possible education for our learners and I would like to thank all who have been part of the South Wiltshire UTC community, for all their support over the years.”

Doug Gale, chair of South Wiltshire UTC Trust, said: “Closing South Wiltshire UTC is incredibly disappointing for all who have worked hard to give students a technical education option within Salisbury and the surrounding area.”

A four-week listening period is now open for interested parties to provide views on the closure process. Comments should be submitted to: views@wiltshire-utc.co.uk.