July 2021 Newsletter

Bucks UTC
5 min readJul 15, 2021

Message From The Principal

Wow, what a year 2020/21 has been. Once again testing student, staff and parent and family resolve to get through a very challenging time.

Despite this students have worked hard and produced some great work as part of various employer projects, of particular note are the McAfee Coding project and the Cloudy IT project. The BMW Group project will continue for year 11 students on their return in September so that we can all enjoy the final race day!

We are looking forward to welcoming new year 10 and new year 12 students in September when we can finally meet you properly face to face in the UTC!

I would just like to add a final enormous thank you to all of the staff, students, supportive families and of course our employer sponsors and partners for their commitment to the UTC.

Hoping that you and your families remain safe and find some time to enjoy the summer break.

Sarah Valentine

Staffing Updates

We say goodbye at the end of this academic year to Kamal Khan, Alan Bailey and Sunjeet Kaur. We want to thank them for all that they have done to support students here at Bucks UTC.

We also want to welcome Chandrika Pushon and Vanessa Carr to the computing team, Meghan Hughes to Science and Matthew Ferguson permanently to the student support team. Matthew has worked with students in a part time capacity since Easter 2021. Students will meet the new staff in September.

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.

Table of key term dates

Refer A Friend

Our ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme for current students is still active until August. Encourage a friend who has an interest in Computing or Building Studies to apply to join us in September, and receive a reward (dependent on the number of people you refer). Try and refer as many people as you want! Simply tell them to apply here, and enter the name of the student that referred them in the ‘How did you find out?’ entry.


Thank you to Sarah Wood who has worked hard in earning some accreditations and collaborations for Bucks UTC. One is the National Literacy Trust, who we are now officially working with and delivering forward-thinking Literacy initiatives, such as DEAR time, introduced last year. We have also achieved the National Online Safety ‘Safe Remote Education’ accreditation and look forward to receiving more.

Open Events

We hosted our first in-person open event in over a year in June, welcoming potential students and parents for the first time. It was a fantastic environment, and it was lovely to have our employer partners there as well. Visitors were given tours of our facilities and introductions from staff members using a time-slot approach. We will share more details about future open events later this year.

Cloudy IT Project

Students worked in groups to design and develop an app for young people to express their views on through the Aylesbury Youth Survey. They developed skills in marketing, videography, design and development and had access to professionals in all areas to provide support and expertise. A total of seven groups were narrowed down to just three through presentations to a judging panel.

These then visited the Buckinghamshire New University campus in Aylesbury to present to representatives from the community, including local MPs and the Mayor. Congratulations to team UPSKILL that will now have their app developed by Buckinghamshire Council for young people to use!

BMW Group Project

Students have been placed in teams and tasked with designing a car, which will eventually complete a set of challenges. Team members have taken on individual roles and have been incorporating their Maths, Science, DT and Enterprise skills to complete the project. Mark from BMW Group has been overseeing the work and regularly meeting with teams. The final presentation and challenge day will now take place in September, when another BMW Group employee will also attend to judge.

Student Views

We know how important it is to hear from students about their experiences when joining a new school or college. Some of our former and current students from most year groups and both Computing and Building Studies specialisms have provided what they think about their time at Bucks UTC. It should provide an insight into the progress our students are making. Learn more about what they think on our new Student Views page. Thank you to Crina (Year 10) Ben and Nathan (Year 12) and Anna, Charlie and Nathaniel.

Induction Days

This year, our induction days for Year 10 and Year 12 were virtual. Our new Year 10 students experienced two days of online fun and were introduced to staff members and their soon-to-be peers. Firstly, we ran an exciting virtual tour of the UTC facilities with current students. Icebreaker activities and work with some of our employer partners also engaged everybody. With Mario, students used a variety of graphic design applications to create a personal profile.

New students also enjoyed pitching to judges in a Dragons Den-style activity, incorporating team work and business-focused skills. We are grateful for the support from McAfee, NCS, Flannery Plant, Insight6 and Taylor Wimpey.

How The Education System is Responding

As part of the UTC (University Technical College) community we know that the learning is different than other schools. We describe ourselves as “a journey with destinations in mind”. Lord Baker, former Education Secretary, has been in the news so much recently emphasising the technical gaps of careers in the UK and how the UTC concept is the key to managing the gap for our future economy.

I was lucky enough to be included in a zoom meeting with Lord Baker; there was a consistent message that a UTC education will be in more demand and growing in popularity. Covering how education is responding to shortages of acute skills, support the specialism on offer at UTCs. With the projection that additional impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) will reduce employers needing as many senior managers. The digital age is here and whether our students are studying Computing or Building Studies there is even more need to establish a technical skill foundation in sectors that are growing locally as well as nationally. Our employer Sponsors and Partner, Taylor Wimpy and BMW Group and others are always on the look out for Bucks UTC students as there next recruits, so please encourage all participation in the employer projects, this will get you noticed and an opportunity to stand out with whatever your skill set is.