South Wiltshire UTC is to close in August next year because of continued low demand for student places making it no longer financially viable, according to a Board of Governors statement and the Department for Education.
The focus now is on ensuring the students remaining in Years 11 and 13 successfully complete their planned two year courses, and pupils who had applied to join the UTC in September find alternative places.
The decision was made after extensive discussion with the Department for Education, the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and Activate Learning Education Trust.
Many options to keep the UTC open were considered, but given the lack of a viable long-term solution, it was agreed in principle to close the school, the Governors said.
MP hopes for a happy outcome
As well as expressing his disappointment over the closure of South Wilts UTC which he strongly supported, Salisbury MP and Economic Secretary to the Treasury (City Minister) John Glen wants to ensure the site is kept for technical education and not sold for re-development.
”I have always been a strong supporter of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), originally established in 2010 to provide a more technical education than other types of schools. Unfortunately, South Wiltshire UTC faced specific challenges which resulted in a low number of students on roll. It would take a number of years to turn around. Rather than let the situation drift with no guarantee of success, the Department for Education and the Board of Governors have decided to close the UTC in August 2020.
I met DfE officials on Monday to ensure that existing students currently finishing year 10 and 12 are fully supported to the conclusion of studies next summer. I also made it clear it is vital the campus on Wilton Road is retained for technical education purposes and not sold off for residential development. We have some excellent local education providers, including Wiltshire College and the Magna Learning Partnership, and I am confident an agreement can be reached for a suitable local organisation to take on the Wilton Road site and expand their services, making use of the investment in the facilities.”