UTC Reading

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About UTC Reading

Name UTC Reading
Website http://www.utcreading.co.uk/
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Mr Wayne Edwards
Address Crescent Road, East Reading, RG1 5RQ
Phone Number 01189381020
Phase Academy
Type University technical college
Age Range 14-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 489
Local Authority Reading
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils have very mixed experiences at UTC Reading. Many pupils enjoy the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and the emphasis placed on preparing them for the world of work.

However, others feel badly let down.

Pupils' learning is routinely disrupted by the behaviour of others. Some pupils wander the corridors and arrive late to lessons.

In class, many pupils talk over their teachers. This goes unchallenged. Staff do not have consistently high expectations.

As a result, interruptions to learning continue. Some groups of pupils feel unsafe because of the boisterous behaviour of others in corridors. Bullying is rare but de...alt with well.

Worryingly, not all pupils feel they can report serious safeguarding concerns to staff. This is because they have little confidence staff will act.

There are inconsistencies in how well staff teach the curriculum.

As a result, pupils have gaps in their knowledge and understanding. The experience of students in the sixth form is more positive. They benefit from a more consistent approach and their knowledge and skills develop more successfully.

Despite this, far too many students in the sixth form fail to attend school.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders have developed a curriculum that responds to the needs of local employers. The engineering and computer science specialisms, together with a focus on STEM subjects, mean that the curriculum is designed to prepare pupils well for future training or employment.

Leaders' ambition is for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), to achieve highly. However, this ambition is not being realised. Most, but not all, subjects have been planned and sequenced well.

Staff are knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. However, the way they teach the curriculum is inconsistent. This is particularly the case in key stage 4.

In some subjects, staff explain new concepts clearly. They ask helpful questions of pupils to check their understanding. However, in other subjects, staff do not check that pupils understand their learning.

Pupils develop gaps in what they know and can do as they move through the year groups. Pupils with SEND do not receive effective support because staff do not know which strategies to use to support these pupils. Leaders' monitoring of the provision for pupils with SEND is not working.

Reading is a priority. Leaders have designed a well-thought-out plan that was put in place at the start of the academic year to improve the reading curriculum. Leaders check pupils' reading abilities when they join the school.

They provide extra help to pupils who need more help. However, leaders' plans are still in the very early stages of development.

The attendance of sixth-form students to lessons is far too low.

Leaders have recently made their expectations clearer. They have established a set of consequences for students who do not attend lessons. However, many students are not happy about this and are not on board.

There is more for leaders to do to ensure that students recognise the importance of attending lessons. Some students vote with their feet because they do not value the lessons that are taught by staff who are not their usual teachers.

Leaders are in the early stages of revamping the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education programme.

While they have thought about the broad topics they will teach in each year group, they have not identified the specific content pupils need to learn. There has been too little focus on the PSHE curriculum, particularly for Year 11 pupils. As a result, pupils have significant gaps in their understanding of important topics, such as the range of protected characteristics.

Too many pupils do not show respect for their peers, for example some use racist language towards each other and banter. They do not understand what is appropriate. Staff do not always take effective action to tackle these behaviours.

A wide range of clubs provide pupils with opportunities to develop their talents and interests. Pupils gain certifications that will improve their employability, for example Microsoft and Adobe. The careers and futures programme ensures that pupils develop an awareness of the different careers they could pursue.

Pupils receive helpful, independent careers advice. Leaders work closely and effectively with employer partners. Some of these partners work directly with pupils.

Trust leaders have a clear vision for UTC Reading. They are beginning to support the school well. They identified that standards were slipping, however this was very recent.

Trustees and local governors have clear roles and responsibilities. They hold leaders to account. However, leaders and those responsible for governance had not, until the inspection, realised the extent of some of the weaknesses.

During the inspection, the chief executive officer (CEO) and chair of trustees were proactive in making some immediate changes to tackle these weaknesses.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Recruitment checks are thorough.

Staff receive training so that they understand the risks facing pupils. Staff know what to do if they have concerns about pupils. Simple systems and processes ensure that staff can easily report concerns.

Staff routinely record concerns on the school's safeguarding system. The safeguarding team takes swift action and works well with other agencies to ensure pupils receive the right help. Despite this, not all staff understand the importance of modelling professional behaviours.

The boundaries between staff and pupils are blurred. Pupils describe staff as 'more like friends than teachers'. Some pupils told inspectors that this makes them feel uncomfortable.

Several pupils made serious allegations about staff directly to inspectors during the inspection. Too many pupils told inspectors that they had not felt able to report them to school staff. Pupils told inspectors that, in one case when they did report serious concerns to staff, these were dismissed.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Staff have an underdeveloped understanding of their professional responsibilities. They do not observe the professional boundaries that need to exist between staff and pupils well enough. This makes too many pupils feel uncomfortable.

Leaders and those responsible for governance need to ensure that the staff uphold high professional standards consistently. Some pupils do not feel that they can report safeguarding concerns to adults in the school because they feel that their concerns will not be treated seriously by adults. Some pupils do not know who to report concerns to so they do not report them.

Leaders need to ensure that pupils know who to report concerns to and that they have confidence that their concerns will be listened to and acted on every time. ? Staff expectations of pupils' behaviour are inconsistent both in lessons and around school. Regular interruptions to learning go unchallenged.

Consequently, pupils do not achieve as well as they could and some pupils feel unsafe. Leaders need to ensure that all staff have high expectations of pupils' behaviour and that the behaviour management system in place is understood by all and followed consistently. ? Leaders do not provide staff with specific strategies that will support the needs of pupils with SEND.

This means that these pupils do not get the help they need to achieve well. Leaders need to ensure that processes for identifying and reviewing strategies for each pupil are consistently embedded. ? The PSHE curriculum is not fully developed.

Leaders have not identified the important content they need pupils to learn. As a result, pupils have gaps in their understanding. Leaders need to rapidly review the curriculum and ensure that it is implemented effectively.

• The curriculum is not implemented consistently across all subjects. This means that pupils' experiences of learning are very mixed as they move from one subject to another. Leaders need to improve their oversight of the curriculum to ensure that inconsistencies are identified and resolved quickly.

• The attendance of students in the sixth form is poor. As a result, not all students benefit from the education offered. Leaders need to rapidly improve the attendance of students.

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