Lord’s visit to college site

The peer who came up with the idea that inspired Daventry’s new UTC, visited town to watch the work is progress.

Kenneth Baker, who was Secretary of State for education and science in Margaret Thatcher’s government, is behind the idea to create the university technical colleges, of which Daventry’s is among the first to get the go ahead.

On Thursday last week Lord Baker paid a visit to Daventry to see how work is progressing on the college, and visited some of the local firms backing the project.

Lord Baker said: “I’m very proud to see the building rising up. Youngsters here will have an excellent start in life. They will spend up to two days a week working on hands-on projects, solving problems and working in teams, with the rest of the time for the traditional curriculum.

“What has been key in Daventry is the support given to the UTC by the University of Northampton, the county and district council, and local firms like Cumins where I visited earlier. They will be providing one of their large engines to be moved to the college for the students to use.

“This college is one of two being built in Northamptonshire, the other one being at Silverstone. Northants is the only county in England to have two UTC’s and that is because the councils and other bodies have seen the idea and got on board at an early stage.

“If it wasn’t for their actions then this site in Daventry would just be a plain grassy field. But now it’s going to be a centre of education for hundreds of young students.”

“This college in Daventry is going to be brilliant news for the young people here in the town and far beyond.”

The building, off Ashby Road, is currently rising from the ground with steelwork going up for the UTC’s sports hall. The three-storey classroom block behind the hall further up the hill has yet to get underway.

Work has been progressing on changing the ground levels, and work has started on the blockwork walls. The college is set to open for its first intake of pupils in September.

UTC principal David Edmondson said: “I think the building will look really impressive.

“I’ve seen it at every stage, from the initial drawings, to the models and now it’s here in the ground.

“The thing that is fantastic is that the plans allow many of the old established trees to be retained so it will sit very well into the landscape fast.”