College is the first UTC in the country to be awarded the highest rating
UTC Reading has become the country’s first university technical college (UTC) to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted inspectors who particularly praised its use of data generated by Progresso, the cloud-based management information system (MIS) from Advanced Learning (Advanced).
The UTC opened its doors in 2013 and runs computer science, IT and engineering subjects for 14 – 19 year olds, focussing mainly on technical qualifications alongside some academic and professional courses. As a new site it currently has 250 students, which will rise to 600 when it reaches capacity. UTC Reading’s partners include Microsoft, Cisco, Network Rail and the University of Reading.
Just before the end of the last academic year, UTC Reading had its first Ofsted inspection and was rated as ‘Outstanding’ in every area. In particular, inspectors praised the ‘robust systems’ in place and the way data generated by Progresso to ‘accurately’ and ‘scrupulously’ monitor students’ progress towards targets, enabling effective intervention strategies to be implemented at the earliest opportunity.
Progresso is used by the school’s 40 staff to record and track performance and attendance. The system records registers, behaviour incidents, contact details, grades and timetables which can be exported to students’ Outlook. Students and parents are also able to access information held in the MIS.
Reports for each pupil are generated every half-term and data is analysed to highlight areas of concern, allowing teachers to take appropriate action quickly. Trends and patterns are easily visible via a dashboard to pinpoint any disparities in performance.
Joanne Harper, Principal, UTC Reading, says, “We are thrilled to become the first UTC to be rated as Outstanding. Progresso provides us with a huge amount of important data in one place, giving a comprehensive view of each student for minimal effort. This information can be quickly and easily analysed, meaning reports are always accurate and up-to-date.
“Ofsted were impressed with the way we are able to use live data to highlight any potential concerns and implement intervention plans as early as possible, ensuring students are on the right track to fulfilling their potential.”
The MIS has been in place since the College opened and was selected from a shortlist of three software providers. The rich functionality of the system and its location in the cloud, meaning less IT maintenance for the UTC and greater data security, were key reasons for its selection.
The way the UTC uses Progresso is continuing to evolve. The flexible system will soon be integrated with their security system enabling registers to be automatically updated when a student swipes in at the start of the day. Reports, such as behaviour, attendance and punctuality, will soon be emailed automatically on a regular basis negating the need for staff to login to the system.
Harper adds, “One of the great benefits of Progresso is that it has the flexibility to develop as your needs change. As a relatively new college we are still growing and our use of the software will continue to evolve with us, ensuring students are always able to achieve their goals and become the next generation of technicians, engineers and industrial innovators.”
UTC Reading is also implementing Donor Strategy from Advanced Learning’s sister company, Advanced NFP in September 2015. The CRM and fundraising management solution will support the College to deliver a new e-learning scheme and alumni network.