Whilst the rules surrounding the formation of ‘Christmas bubbles’ may be complex; the intention is clear and simple. Christmas is a time for families to come together and the one-day relaxation in the restrictions should allow this to happen.

In a year where the opportunities for social interaction have been so limited it is worth reflecting on how lucky we are at Lincoln UTC… lucky to be part of a learning community that genuinely feels like an extended family.

Lincoln UTC is smaller than most schools and we get to know every one of our students on an individual basis and in a way that we couldn’t if we were a larger setting.

The relationships that exist between staff and students are uniquely positive. We have had to put a number of precautionary measures in place to keep everyone safe through the pandemic but we haven’t allowed it to compromise the experience for our students or the atmosphere in the college. It has been and continues to be a real tonic to come to work and leave the worries of the world behind.

2020 has been a year in which Lincoln UTC’s reputation and popularity have increased. In September we welcomed 110 new year 10 students, the largest cohort we have ever had. We feel that our ‘family’ is now pretty much the perfect size. We took the decision, after consultation, to reduce the college’s admissions number. Historically we have had nominal capacity to accept up to 160 new students each year.

Going forward, the college has set a maximum number of 120 in each year group. That family feeling is precious and we don’t ever want to lose it by growing too large. Despite the lockdown and the cancellation of our open evenings, the number of applications for September 2021 is already up on previous years. We’re not quite at the maximum of 120. There are still a few places left but it does look like we will be full next year and, sadly, we may have to turn some students away.

If you are interested in one of the remaining opportunities for either year 10 or year 12 give us a call. We are still offering individual tours (socially distanced). We are also hosting an open day on Tuesday, January 5. Places on the open day are limited due to our Covid precautionary measures and need to be booked in advance. Bookings may be made via the college website.

John Morrison is the Principal of Lincoln University Technical College (UTC)

If you are somebody who loves New Year, there can be no better job than to work in education. We have the good fortune to have two New Year celebrations every twelve months … September and January.

What I love about the New Year is the positivity and sense of achievement that we can all get from looking back on the successes of the previous year and the optimism and confidence that we get from looking ahead to the coming year with resolution and purpose.

Looking back on Lincoln UTC’s 2019, one of the highlights has to be the visit from Ofsted.

We had taken the unusual step of actually writing to them and asking them to come and inspect the school…supremely confident that no visitor could fail to be impressed by either the conduct or the progress of our students, students who day in and day out are such a joy to work with.

Lincoln UTC, which is much smaller than most schools, is a very close-knit and supportive community. As the Principal, I guess I felt a bit like a proud parent when the inspectors spoke in such glowing terms about our ‘outstanding’ students. In the words of the inspectors, “Pupils’ behaviour and conduct are impeccable. Pupils work diligently and with enthusiasm. They have exceptionally positive attitudes towards their learning.”

2019 was the UTC’s most successful year ever in terms of both examination results and, importantly, in terms of the onwards destinations of the students who left us…with students either getting onto their first choice university course or securing prestigious apprenticeships.

As a parent, I am conscious that my own children (and I have four of them for my sins) sometimes feel a pressure to live up to the successes and achievements of their older siblings. As the ‘proud parent’ of the UTC ‘family’, it is heartening that our current students appear to be undaunted by this. It isn’t that they are unaware of how well previous students have done but that they have the confidence and the determination to excel. Listening to them talk about their New Year resolutions and their plans, it is clear that they appreciate how the UTC experience (as opposed to an ordinary schooling) is helping them prepare for their futures.

If you are a student (in year 9 or in year 11) who is looking ahead to the New Year and wondering about what the future might hold, why not come and have a look at the UTC. Our next Open Evening is on Monday, January 13. The UTC curriculum isn’t right for everybody but it could (and I’m paraphrasing the Ofsted inspector here) be “the best New Year’s resolution you ever make”.

John Morrison is the Principal of Lincoln University Technical College (UTC)