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Building for the future of technological education at Leigh University Technology College

By Chris Price

It may not look it right now but this building site could become the future of technological education.

The Messenger has been given exclusive access to see how work is going on at Leigh University Technology College.

Set to welcome its first batch of pupils on Monday, September 8, the institution will teach pupils aged 14 to 19 through their GCSE and A-level years.

Leigh UTC, The Bridge Development, Brunel Way, Dartford

About 170 young people will join the new school in Years 10 and 12 this year but once it is fully up and running there will be about 600 pupils.

It is the first UTC in Kent, designed to focus on computer sciences and engineering but still with core teaching in English, maths and science.

Preview of University Technical College due to open in September.

It is part of a new wave of education being pushed by the government with the aim of forging closer links between education and local businesses, who will help set the curriculum.

So far 25 companies are involved with Leigh UTC in some way or another, either offering work experience, an apprenticeship or wanting to be involved in delivering some aspect of education.

Principal Steve Leahey, who insists they will be ready on time, said: “It is about learning the business culture but we are not just vocational courses for students who have struggled academically.

"We will ensure maths, science and English are at the core of any programme students do and will be studied up to the age of 18.

Principal Steve Leahey, Leigh UTC, The Bridge Development, Brunel Way, Dartford

“No matter what industry you work in, they are the core skills you will need to work with.

“We will be working with local businesses and understanding the skills required but making sure there is academic rigour and not purely vocational tuition.”

Leigh UTC will take students from Bexley, Bromley, the centre of London and down into mid-Kent. A Medway UTC will open in September 2015 and another in Bromley in 2016.

The college will be run by the Leigh Academies Trust, the charitable body which runs schools including the Longfield Academy and Leigh Academy.

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