JCB Academy’s GCSEs sets the bar for University Technical Colleges

Posted on 28 Aug 2012

The University Technical College has set a gold standard for GCSE results with nearly 100% of its students receiving grades A* to C in what is only the college's second year in operation.

Of the 111 students at the £22m Rocester centre receiving GCSE results, 99% achieved A* to C grades in Principal Learning in Engineering – the equivalent of four GCSEs. A total of 88% of youngsters gained a C or above in GCSE mathematics, bucking the national trend which saw a national drop in grades for the first time since the exams began in 1988.

The good news from the JCB Academy, the first and only UTC to sit GCSEs, outperformed the national average. Nationally only 69.4% of students earned an A* to C, a drop from 69.8% last year.

The JCB Academy was set up in 2006 and took in its first pupils in September 2010. The inspiration for the Academy came from JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford DL and it was established with a focus on core engineering skills such as maths, science and technology alongside the normal school curriculum.

Aside from GCSEs, the Academy offers Functional Skills in Maths and English, a national qualification that supports employability and more than 90% of its students passed this.

JCB principal Jim Wade was “absolutely delighted” by the results, claiming that the good set of grades in engineering and maths “demonstrated that our young people are set up to go out and follow very rewarding careers in engineering.”

JCB students hard at work
JCB students hard at work

Paul Pritchard, JCB Academy chair of governors, said: “These GCSE marks are excellent and the governors are extremely proud of the students and staff who have all put in such hard work to deliver such a fantastic set of results.”

Sir Anthony was also delighted with the good grades. He said: “The original idea was borne out of my passion for engineering and its importance to British manufacturing. This excellent set of results is proof that The JCB Academy has inspired its students by offering a great engineering syllabus which has fully engaged them in the wider GCSE curriculum.”

The Government is set to deliver 34 UTCs by 2014 and in May 15 new University Technical Colleges were approved and are currently in the pre-opening stage. The Government hopes that by encouraging more UTCs to open, they will create opportunities for more than 20,000 young people to train as the engineers, scientists and technicians.