Daventry’s newest school says it wants to expand the year groups it can teach to become effectively a full secondary school.
Daventry UTC says it hopes the extra places will mean fewer pupils will leave the town for their education, provide better outcomes for their students, and help the town cope with a ‘demographic bulge’ of young people working up through primary schools.
Currently the UTC only takes students in years 10, 11, 12 and 13 – those taking their GCSEs and A-level grade exams.
On Monday night the school’s board backed a proposal to start accepting students in years seven, eight and nine from September 2017. The school will now consult parents, the community and education authorities on the move.
UTC principal David Edmondson said: “We already received lots of interest from students in year seven or their parents at our open days.
“The UTC model is to take students from year 10 up. But here there is demand for us to take those younger year groups and become effectively a secondary school. We will remain true to the UTC model for our older students, while also accepting Key Stage Three students.
“We are not targeting students going to the two other secondary schools in Daventry. We are targeting those who leave the town for their secondary education.
“We score at or above the national average for ‘value added’ [a measure of the improvement made to a student’s predicted grades]. But at the moment a lot of the students who come to us in year 10 have become disillusioned with learning and may have made no improvements in three years of their secondary education – that means although they rapidly improve, many struggle to reach their potential.
“If we can take them from year seven, and get them to improve just as fast as our students do now they will come out with great qualifications.”
The school is also set to drop its construction course from this September.
Mr Edmondson said: “We found many students on the course were doing it with the aim of becoming architects or similar. But it was not attracting many others, or many girls. That’s probably because ‘construction’ is often seen as ‘bricklaying’, which it of course it isn’t.
“So we are replacing it with art and design technology, which also helps those students wanting to become architects, but should also prove attractive to a wider range of students as well.”