What is a UTC ?

new type of school industry experts real challenges practical & academic change your life



University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are a brand new way of learning for 14-18 year-olds and more than 60 are now open or being prepared across the country.  You learn practical skills alongside academic subjects and work regularly with employers and experts from a university to develop your employability skills.

South Wiltshire UTC focuses on Science, Computing and Engineering and is open from 8.45am to 5.00pm for 39 weeks a year.  This gives much more teaching time than most schools and means you learn practical skills that employers want as well as GCSEs and A Levels.

The UTC is backed by the University of Southampton and by many of the area’s world class employers.  All our staff are qualified teachers who are experts in their subjects and many have had relevant industrial careers to help them link learning to the real world.  The UTC will use real challenges from industry to bring your learning to life and experts from the University and local employers will explain to you how they apply Science and Engineering ideas in practice.

Where is it?


We opened in our stunning our £8m refurbishment of the former police headquarters site on Wilton Road in Salisbury in September 2015.  The site is just a few minutes’ walk from Salisbury Railway station and well-served by both public buses and buses from the Salisbury park and ride car parks.  In addition to around 4000m2 of fully refurbished workshops and classrooms we have 1000m2 of new build that includes the dining area, a 6th form café space and a 152-seat lecture theatre.

The UTC is attracting applicants from a wide area, from Westbury in the North to Ringwood in the South and from Shaftesbury and Gillingham across to Andover and Romsey.  You can travel easily to Salisbury from Warminster, Southampton, Romsey, Andover, Gillingham and most of South Wiltshire.  We are working with all local bus and rail companies to make sure that you can get to and from the UTC easily.

But the UTC isn’t just be a building.  We’ll take you out to the University of Southampton and our many partner employers to see Science and Engineering in action and introduce you to people who are world experts in their fields and are keen to pass their expertise on to you.

Who is behind UTC ?


South Wiltshire UTC is an independent Charitable Trust.  It has been created by a special partnership of organisations to provide a new and exciting option for young people.  Our supporters include employers like QinetiQ, Dstl, Public Health England, NAIM Audio, MG Cannon, Tetricus Science Park, Stannah, Cobham, Chemring, Preformed Line Products, DEG Signals, Stannah, GILO, Meggitts, Salisbury Hospital Trust and Perfect Bore.  We also have strong links to all three Armed Forces including 1 (Artillery) Brigade, REME, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Signals and the Royal Navy.

Our education partners, The University of Southampton and Wiltshire College will work closely with the UTC to ensure you have a wide choice of relevant qualifications.  Wiltshire Council will help ensure a smooth transition from your current school and link us in with strategic economic developments in the area.

1 (Artillery) Brigade and the Royal Navy will help develop your leadership and teamworking skills and a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) will be available for students who are interested.  Leading local employers, many of them world leaders in their fields, will show you why Science and Engineering matter.  For example read about the students’ recent work with GILO industries.

University sponsor


The University of Southampton is a “Russell Group” university which means that it is one of the best universities in the country.  Its involvement in the UTC will be led by the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment and we also have excellent links with the Education, Medical and Life Science departments.

The University was recently ranked the best in the UK for Mechanical Engineering and it has close links with the Armed Forces.  The University will make sure that the UTC offers the right combination of courses to help you aim for the best universities if you wish.

Whatever your goal, you will work alongside the University’s expert lecturers and be supported by students from its innovative student ambassador’s programme.

Supporting employers


The involvement of employers is a key feature of UTCs and many of the area’s world class employers are working closely with us.  Their role is to make sure that the qualifications and skills you will gain will give you the best possible career options.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Guest lecturers from local employers will work alongside you in the classroom to bring your learning to life and you will visit their companies to see how they apply the skills and concepts you are learning.

You’ll get a chance to go out on work experience and test out possible future careers and your learning across all subjects will be linked to real challenges faced by industry.  This is an exciting benefit for students and also means that you will be expecting to behaviour in a dedicated and businesslike way at all times.  Coming to the UTC is a real stepping-stone towards your successful adult career.

Questions we’ve been asked


The nuts and bolts!

All the questions below have been asked by potential students and parents.

You can ask your own questions by going to the contact us page or contact the Principal directly at GordonAitken@wiltshire-utc.co.uk.



Q1: What is a UTC?

A1: A brand new institution for young people aged 14-18, specialising in Science and Engineering.  It is driven by the University of Southampton and leading local employers and students and combines high quality academic studies with learning in technical subjects that are valued by employers.

Q2: Where is it?

A2: On the Wilton Road in Salisbury (SP2 7EU) just a few hundred metres from Salisbury railway station and served by local bus routes. The building had an £8m refurbishment to produce a modern and stimulating learning environment and opened in September 2015.

Q3: When can we apply?

A3: Applications open on 1 September each year for entry in the following September.  As we were over-subscribed in our first year you should apply as soon as possible after applications open.

Q4: Does it matter when I apply?

A4: You need to apply as soon as possible as we were over-subscribed last year.  It may still possible to apply for 2016/17 but this depends on the course you want to do so please contact us as soon as possible.  For 2017 entry you try to apply by the end of October (Year 10) or January (Year 12).  You can apply after that time but we cannot guarantee that places will be available.

Q5: Is there any doubt that the UTC will stay open?

A5: The Department for Education has signed a Funding Agreement with us that takes us right up to 2020/21 when we expect to be at full capcity. 

Q6: Do the students formally change schools and what links are there with other schools?

A6: Students attend the UTC full-time so they leave their current schools and join us either at the start of Year 10 (age 14) or at the start of sixth form (age 16).  We are working with local authorities to make sure the process of changing schools is as smooth as possible.  We have also written to all the schools in the area to tell them about our plans and to invite them to talk about how we can work together.

Q7: I live outside Wiltshire, would this prevent my children from applying to attend?

A7: Definitely not; applicants living within a 22 mile radius of Salisbury will have equal priority and there will be no preferences in the application process for Wiltshire residents (the rules prevent that).   Students living further away can still apply and will be offered places if we have spaces available.

Q8: Aren’t there already some excellent schools in the area?

A8: Certainly, but South Wiltshire has a growing number of young people and there is a new requirement for students to stay in learning until they are 18.  This means we need new choices for young people not just more of the same.  Different students thrive in different institutions and the UTC’s balance of academic and technical learning, with a strong emphasis on practical learning and progression to university and employment, will be perfect for many.

Q9: What is the link between South Wiltshire UTC and Salisbury Sixth Form College?  

A9: South Wiltshire UTC and the free school Salisbury Sixth Form College are two separate initiatives opening in Salisbury and both provide excellent new options for young people in this area.  The two institutions are committed to working together to help contribute to a comprehensive choice for young people.  You can find out about the Sixth Form College at www.s6c.org.uk.

Q10: What is different about a UTC?

A10: The UTC’s curriculum has been shaped by the University of Southampton and by world class Science and Engineering employers, who will also provide guest lecturers and set real-world “challenges” for the students.

The UTC is open from 8.45am to 5.00pm.  This gives a large amount of extra time to allow students to study prestigious technical qualifications as well as GCSEs and A Levels and also means there is no need for additional homework.  These opening hours have been shaped around train and bus connections from the whole area.  Download a copy of our Guide to Applicants from the top of this page to find out more.

Q11: What about pastoral support?

A11: This will be a special feature of the UTC.  All students will have personal tutors whose job it will be to monitor their academic progress, ensure good quality careers advice and organise the development of students’ “employability”.  This means all the knowledge, experience and personal characteristics that will make UTC students highly valued by future employers.  The University of Southampton, the Royal Navy and our supporting employers will also play a part in this.  Students will have access to advice from older students, University mentors and experts from local employers.  Personal development at the UTC is all about our six core values:

Respect / Integrity / Judgement / Courage / Resilience / Compassion

Q12: In which subjects will the UTC specialise and what qualifications will it offer?

A12: There’s a detailed description of both the Keystage 4 and Sixth Form curriculum offers in our Guide to Applicants, which you can download from the tab at the top of the page.  The main difference in a UTC is the way our subjects will be taught, not just the range of subjects.  All the learning will be linked to the real world, through stretching challenges set by leading employers.  Our specialism will be Science and Engineering and this context will help make the learning real.

In Key Stage 4 (Years 10&11) from 2016 all students will study a broad and balanced curriculum, comprising academic and technical GCSEs and qualifications approved by employers.  Everyone will study English, Maths, Double Science and a Double Engineering project worth two GCSEs.  Additional options including Triple Science, Geography, Psychology and Electronics (Systems Control).

In Key Stage 5 (sixth form) students can study A Levels (or equivalents) such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Maths, Further Maths, Geography, Computing, English Language, Electronics and Engineering.  From September 2017 we will be offering high quality technical qualifications equal to three A Levels (Extended Diplomas) in Engineering, Applied Science (microbiology and forensics) and Applied Computing (Games Design and Cyber).  We will also offer the highly-valued Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).  The aim will be to prepare young people for progression to top universities and high quality Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships.

Download our Guide for Applicants below to read more.

Q13: I see the Army and Royal Navy are involved – is the UTC just for students that want to join the forces?

A13: No, although some students may well decide to progress into the Army.  1 Artillery Brigade will be supporting the UTC by providing access to specialist training skills and equipmentThe Royal Navy has adopted us as one of five UTC strategic partners nationally and will provide expert guest lecturers and exciting Engineering competitions and short courses.  The Navy also leads what will become our Combined Cadet Force.

Q14: Will there be any fees?

A14:  No, this is a state academy.

Q15: Is anyone making profit out of the UTC?

A15:  No, the UTC is a not-for-profit organisation run as an independent charitable trust.  The employers that support the UTC with equipment, ideas and specialist staff will do so voluntarily.

Q16: How do the employers fit in?

A16: Employers help advise us on subjects they value and show us the skills they want young people to have.  They also set major “challenges” that we can organise our teaching around, provide guest lecturers and mentors for the students and come in to assess the work students have done.   Our supporting employers include Dstl, QinetiQ, NAIM, Public Health England, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Stannah, Chemring Countermeasures, Roke Manor Research, GILO Industries and Tetricus Science Park.  Lots of other local employers are keen to provide occasional guest inputs and work placements.

Q17: How will the UTC be governed and managed?

A17: The UTC is operated by an independent charitable trust.  The Trustees have nominated a Board of Governors to oversee the running of the UTC and this includes nominees from the University of Southampton, Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire College, local employers, community groups, staff and parents.  The Principal is also a governor and others from our leadership team will attend to brief on key issues.

Q18: Will the UTC have an overtly military atmosphere? 

A18:  No, the UTC will have a professional and business-like atmosphere that will reflect the wide range of employers who are supporting us.  The aim is to produce young people who will be comfortable and effective in a wide range of Science and Engineering workplaces.

Q19: How will the students be selected?

A19: The UTC does not have any academic selection or admissions tests for Year 10 entry.  We welcome applicants of all abilities and what’s much more important is that we want students who understand the benefits of the UTC model and are prepared to work hard to pursue their career goals.  You can download our Admissions Policy, which explains exactly what we will do if we are over-subscribed, at the bottom of this page.  Local people (living within 22 miles of the UTC) have priority as will children from military families and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 Q20: Will there be sports and PE?

A20: All students in Years 10 and 11 will have PE, which we will organise in partnership with local leisure centres.  There is currently an opportunity for all students to take part in optional sports and outdoor activities on Monday afternoons.

Q21: Is there homework?

A21: No, all the work you need to do can be done during the business day.  There will always be work students can do at home to reinforce their learning but no compulsory set homework.  All students will have directed study time during the day.

Q22: Is there a uniform?

A22: Not a uniform, but all students wear business dress.  We supply guidance on what this means.

Q23: Is help available with transport and the costs of attending the UTC?

A23: The system is different depending on whether students are aged over 16 or under 16.  For younger students, we can offer some support based on our allocation under the Pupil Premium system.

For over-16s there is a different form of support.  When the current Government abolished Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) they replaced them with a system of bursaries related to the needs of students.  We use the money from the bursary fund to help students who would otherwise find it difficult to attend the UTC.  The link below will help explain how the system works nationally.



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