UTCs and studio schools recruit pupils who wish to focus on vocational subjects at age 14, and IPPR have identified the non-standard transition age as making pupils “highly vulnerable to falling into a ‘cycle of decline’”. Key findings include:
a significant number of UTCs and studio schools look likely to close due to significant numbers of unfilled places
both UTCs and studio schools “are, on the whole, failing to deliver a high-quality education to pupils”
The IPPR recommend that new UTCs should cater to pupils aged 16-19 and that, unless they are achieving good outcomes at key stage 4, existing UTCs should also change their age range. It recommends a block on the creation of new studio schools and that existing studio schools should join multi-academy trusts, with safeguards in place to minimise the risk of low-attaining pupils being “streamed” into studio schools to improve their previous school’s performance measures.
Governing boards of UTCs and studio schools should look carefully at their intake and outcomes to ensure that their organisations continue to be viable and are providing a high quality education in accordance with their aims.