February 2021 Newsletter

Aylesbury UTC / Newsletters / February 2021 Newsletter

In This Newsletter

  • Message From Principal
  • Key Term Dates
  • Staff Updates
  • Virtual Open Event
  • Achievements
  • NFTS Competition Update
  • Employer Engagement

Message From The Principal

The end of the first half term for 2021 is almost here. I was looking back at newsletters from the spring term in 2020 where I wrote:

At a time when our daily lives have been radically changed, with many of us taking stock of how we operate as human beings on a day to day basis, this is a newsletter I never imagined writing and to be very honest I am not certain where to start. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this is the stage where our students and staff are working from home and this will be our new way of working for the foreseeable future.

Instead I must write to you about the challenges ahead of us, about the inescapable pressure our Year 11 and Year 13 find themselves under at a time of great uncertainty with regards to their final exam grades, qualification grades and their next steps in education, training and employment. At the time of writing this, unfortunately, we are unable to provide any further detail about how grades will be calculated other than the information that has already been circulated via social media. As soon as further information regarding exam grades is available, we will share this with you.

Whilst writing about Year 11 and Year 13, this is not forgetting about Year 10 and Year 12 students whose education, like young people country wide, is experiencing tremendous disruption and uncertainty and for that we are truly sorry. We will continue to work with students remotely through Microsoft Teams and after 4 days of this new way of working, there are some successes. If you need to contact the UTC during this period of closure you can do so as follows ·

Here we are, almost a year later and once again, I am writing to you about the challenges ahead of us. Most of the above holds true this half term, except we are many more than 4 days into remote learning. By the end of this half term alone, there have already been 28 days remote learning and what I can tell you is that both students and staff are better at it! Remote learning skills have been developed by both staff and students and engagement with remote learning has significantly improved from the March 2020 lockdown. Employer sponsors and partners have also stepped up and been part of our remote learning programme and for that we thank them.

Parents, I urge you, if you or your child is concerned about anything, please ask them to make contact with their teachers, they are at the end of an email or an online Microsoft Teams chat, they are available to support you.

My sincere thanks go to the students, staff and the supportive families for working in such a positive way at such a difficult time

We are once again waiting for the outcome of the government consultation about awarding qualification grades for year 11 and year 13. As soon as more information is available, we will share it with you. More about Building Studies and Computing here, while the consultation of A-Levels and GCSE grading can be found on this page.

We know that students and staff are looking forward to a well-earned half term break and we look forward to welcoming the students back to morning registration on MS Teams on Monday 22nd February at 08:45. It is imperative that all students register daily.

In conclusion, we can assure you that staff at the UTC are doing everything they can to support your child and will continue to do so. I continue to genuinely thank students and staff for their contributions to the UTC and we look forward to welcoming you all back to the UTC when it is possible to do so.

Finally, I would like to re-iterate the ongoing message from the government that we all need to play our part in beating this virus, following the national lockdown, stay at home advice.

Hoping that you and your families remain safe.

Sarah Valentine

Key Term Dates

A summary of term dates and upcoming event information can be found on our Calendar page (click here) or below. We will continue to update this with additional key dates that will be important for students, staff and parents or carers. Please note these dates may change due to government guidance.

Monday 15th – Friday 19th February February Half term break
Monday 22nd February 2021 Remote Learning resumes, students online for 08:45
Monday 8th March 2021  Assessment week 3 commences
Wednesday 31st March 2021  End of term reports issued. Year 10/12: grades only Year 11/13: full report
Thursday 1st April 2021 College Closes for Easter break 3pm
Monday 19th April 2021 Inset Day, College Staff only*
Tuesday 20th April 2021 College resumes, students on site from 8:30am*
Subject to change

Updates From Staff

We are sad to share the news that Assistant Principal, Daniel Hayman, has taken the decision to return to Australia permanently.   We knew from the outset that he was a great teacher that truly cared about his students, he will be missed! 

Message From Daniel Hayman

Dear students and parents,

It is with great reluctance that I need to inform you that I will be leaving the UTC after the half term break.  Unfortunately, due to a change in my personal circumstance, I need to return to Australia on a permanent basis to be with my family.

I have been with the UTC for 3 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with technically minded students and staff.  When I first accepted the role of science teacher at the UTC I was sitting in my lounge room back in Australia having never heard of a University Technical College.  In actual fact, it was the uniqueness of offer that made me want to join in the first place.  It was a leap of faith on both my part and that of the UTC but I am glad that it happened.  There have been many highlights in my time at the UTC but they are all superseded by the fact that I have really enjoyed working with students who have a genuine interest in vocational education.

Whilst I may be physically departing the UTC, I will still be continuing with remote teaching until the Easter break to ensure continuity and as smooth a transition as possible.

I would like to thank Kamal and Jon for their help in running a smooth Science Department.  Since I arrived at the UTC we have consistently improved our results from year to year and this is in no small part due to the teamwork and support I had of the staff around me.  I would also like to say thank you to Sarah V for taking the chance on employing a random Australia science teacher permanently from the outset, without any hesitation, and then having the faith and trust to appoint me to the Senior Leadership Team.  I feel in my time here we have achieved many good things and it is a shame it needs to come to an end.

Last, but not least, I would like to wish all students at the UTC the best for their future and want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel part of this community.

Virtual Open Events

We’re excited to hold another open event on Saturday 27th February at 10:30am. We encourage parents and students to share details with friends and family members that might be interested in a career in Computing, Building Studies or Digital Health Technologies.

You can sign up on Eventbrite here and the meeting will take place via Zoom. Hear from our employer partners, alumni students and our great teaching staff. You’ll also be able to ask questions!

If you’ve got any queries about joining our virtual open events, send an email to openday@aylesburyutc.co.uk.


Although lessons cannot be taught in the usual face-to-face manner, students have still been working hard on completing assignments, revision and other work. We’ve also held virtual calls with employer partners and companies that help enrich our student’s knowledge and subject skills.

  • Congratulations to Year 12 Building Studies student, Scott Coles, has successfully achieved his Scouts Young Leader Award.
  • Two of our business support team have successfully completed their Mental Health Champions training with Place2Be!

Poem on Resilience – Charlie D, Year 10

As part of a Personal Development Session, Charlie in Year 10 wrote a very touching poem that’s based on resilience and staying strong, something even more important as we spend more time at home and online every day of the week.

Digital Drawings – Adam F, Year 11

We’re so proud of the work that Adam F in Year 11 has completed in his spare time. It will certainly help him in future Digital Media units in Computing. Adam said that he started a “mini business”, selling custom-made artwork. He gets requests from people that want something created and uses reference images. Adam creates this fantastic artwork, some of which can be seen here, using a smartphone and stylus. Well done Adam!

NFTS Competition Update

Since late last year, our Year 12 Computing class has worked in groups to produce 30-second commercials for the NFTS competition. The production of these involved scripting, storyboarding, filming, editing and working together as a team. All groups did a fantastic job, but huge congratulations go to Liam, Harvey and Charlie’s team: “The Eggs”. Their advertisement for the UTC was creative and earned us third place in the NFTS Commercial Challenge!

You can watch their creative advert on our YouTube channel.

NFTS logo

Employer Engagement

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 is a strong theme where Bucks UTC can shine. Our core difference is the history of students’ futures, progressing to an apprenticeship at the end of Year 11 or moving on to a higher or degree apprenticeship at the end of Year 13 with companies.

Our students are still experiencing employer-led lessons remotely – this half term has been just as packed with employer learning. Year 12 Computing students have been working on website development with Jetfruit, while all of our Building Studies students have had the opportunity to be introduced to Flannery Plant, Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty.

The core curriculum is also driven by specialists; such as BNU’s Senior Lecturer for Journalism/Media, Neil Roberts. He joined Bucks UTC students to engage them in the facinating world of journalism, which included writing sports reviews, music reviews and having a go at being a journalist for a day, seeking out news reports and producing their very own articles. With the help of this employer engagement from Neil, our students were able to take their English studies and apply them into the world of work.