Principals Column: Reflections on 2019

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If you are somebody who loves New Year, there can be no better job than to work in education. We have the good fortune to have two New Year celebrations every twelve months … September and January. What I love about the New Year is the positivity and sense of achievement that we can all get from looking back on the successes of the previous year and the optimism and confidence that we get from looking ahead to the coming year with resolution and purpose.

Looking back on Lincoln UTC’s 2019, one of the highlights has to be the visit from Ofsted. We had taken the unusual step of actually writing to them and asking them to come and inspect the school … supremely confident that no visitor could fail to be impressed by either the conduct or the progress of our students, students who day in and day out are such a joy to work with.

Lincoln UTC, which is much smaller than most schools, is a very close-knit and supportive community. As the Principal, I guess I felt a bit like a proud parent when the inspectors spoke in such glowing terms about our ‘outstanding’ students. In the words of the inspectors, “Pupils’ behaviour and conduct are impeccable. Pupils work diligently and with enthusiasm. They have exceptionally positive attitudes towards their learning.”

2019 was the UTC’s most successful year ever in terms of both examination results and, importantly, in terms of the onwards destinations of the students who left us … with students either getting onto their first choice university course or securing prestigious apprenticeships.

As a parent, I am conscious that my own children (and I have four of them for my sins) sometimes feel a pressure to live up to the successes and achievements of their older siblings. As the ‘proud parent’ of the UTC ‘family’, it is heartening that our current students appear to be undaunted by this. It isn’t that they are unaware of how well previous students have done but that they have the confidence and the determination to excel. Listening to them talk about their New Year resolutions and their plans, it is clear that they appreciate how the UTC experience (as opposed to an ordinary schooling) is helping them prepare for their futures.

If you are a student (in year 9 or in year 11) who is looking ahead to the New Year and wondering about what the future might hold, why not come and have a look at the UTC. Our next Open Evening is on Monday 13th January. The UTC curriculum isn’t right for everybody but it could (and I’m paraphrasing the Ofsted inspector here) be “the best New Year’s resolution you ever make”.

John Morrison