Manchester

£9m Oldham 'poor performing' technical college to close

Greater Manchester University Technical College Image copyright Google
Image caption The school, which has a capacity of 600 pupils, had just 127 in January 2016

A £9m technical college, ranked among the 10% worst performing schools in England, is to close.

Greater Manchester University Technical College (UTC) on Middleton Road in Oldham, which opened in 2014, will close at the end of the academic year.

Exam results show none of its GCSE students achieved grade A* to C in English or engineering last year.

A statement on the college's website said a shortage of students meant it was not financially viable.

The school, which has a capacity for 600 pupils aged 14 to 19, had just 127 students in January 2016.

Instead of following a traditional school route, students study specialist courses in sustainable engineering, alongside GCSEs and A-levels.

Official figures show that, of the 46 students who sat their GCSEs in 2016, none achieved a grade C or above in English or engineering.

A quarter of pupils gained their GCSE maths, and one in five passed science.

Under the government's new Progress 8 benchmark measure, it is "well below national average" and ranked among the lowest 10% of schools in England.

Principal Lee Kilgour said existing students in years 11 and 13 would be allowed to complete their studies in the summer term and that students will be "well prepared for examinations this summer".

"We will be working closely with Oldham Local Authority and other local education providers to bring about a smooth transition for existing students in Years 10 and 12."

The UTC said: "Resources made available to schools and colleges are irretrievably linked to the number of students on roll and, unfortunately, the fact that the UTC has been unable to recruit enough students within the Oldham district and further afield has meant that it is not financially viable into the future."

College chairman Gordon Main said the closure is "hugely disappointing".

UTC, which is sponsored by the University of Bolton, opened in September 2014 and is yet to be visited by Ofsted.

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