On 17 Aug 2018 at 9:15pm Alwyn wrote:
I sent this email to Maria Caulfield back on July 5th and never got any response except an automatic acknowledgment...
Dear Ms Caulfield,
As a Year 12 student at UTC@harbourside, I am devastated at the news that the college is to close. I understand that you are keen for the college to remain open on a 16-18 model, and I strongly support this proposal.
I've been at UTC for almost a year. I'm 17, studying Physics, Geography & Engineering. I have read the Ofsted report, which is appalling. I agree that chaotic management let the college down, but the report claims that the teachers didn't know their subjects. My physics teachers have been amazing; they managed to make even the driest parts of physics exciting, which only made me look forward to the practicals even more and when students are engaged they learn things. My geography teacher is an ex-oceanographer and my engineering teacher sailed across the Atlantic in a boat he'd designed and built himself. If they don't know their subjects I'd like to know who does!
For me, what makes UTC different from regular colleges is its University feel. It's not just a sausage machine churning out grades - it's a like a science museum where people go to learn and where the grades that it does produce actually mean something. At Harbourside I can have conversations with my teachers that go beyond the course and allow me to learn things that I couldn't have done anywhere else. Although I can still finish my courses, if I had been born a year earlier I would not have been able to even start them.
Harbourside could be a powerhouse for one of this country's most precious resources - innovation. After spending so much money and time on this college, it's a titanic waste to let it close. The college needs to be reformed and managed properly, not closed.
But perhaps it was a mistake for the college to try to be a school teaching GCSEs. Also, when UTC was first opened it took on the troublemakers rejected by other schools. This would never have happened if it was a sixth form college. It tarnished the UTC brand putting students off going there, leading to the money problems which finally doomed it.
It's ok to make mistakes as long as you can learn from them. Once the college has been closed something will surely have to replace it to fill the education vacuum it leaves in Newhaven and Sussex. If Harbourside were to be resurrected with a new brand, a new message and improved management then it will greatly boost other aspects of the Newhaven regeneration project.
I'm writing this letter not just for myself but because I believe I'll be letting any future scientists or engineers in Sussex and especially Newhaven down if I don't. I would hate to be one of the last group of students to enjoy learning at Harbourside. I really hope that the building can continue to be used to teach science and engineering, perhaps with a more explicit focus on design (which is part of engineering anyway). Whatever happens I am determined to make sure my last year at UTC is successful whatever problems we face as the college winds down because of this sad decision.
On 17 Aug 2018 at 9:36pm Horseman7 wrote:
Dear Alwyn, you are a credit to your generation and a broadside to anyone who says young people can't string a sentence together. Your eloquence puts many twice your age to shame. You must feel really let down on your own, your fellow students' and your teachers' behalves. What a shame that the person you've turned to for help, namely your elected Member of Parliament, has not acknowledged you. This country is so short of competent engineers, let alone inspired ones, of which I have no doubt you will become one. I wish you every success in your future studies and thank you for caring about not only your own educational welfare but also that of the wider community. Best wishes, H7 (female, 64).
On 17 Aug 2018 at 9:57pm Ken wrote:
She's probably too busy in the Commons bar to reply.
On 18 Aug 2018 at 9:18am endoftheouse wrote:
Who was running this shambles? By the results that this school/college obtained I'd say it was the type of person similar to Camila Batmanghelidjh of the infamous Kids Company.
On 18 Aug 2018 at 9:25am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think it's really sad that this college is closing. I have friends and colleagues with children there, or planning to go there. They all chose Harbourside because it was the only place where they could do their chosen combination of subjects.
On 18 Aug 2018 at 3:51pm Theresa's Philip wrote:
Contacted dear Maria via Twitter this morning. She says she's replied to every contact regarding UTC. Suggest you contact her via Twitter - she's very sensitive to adverse social media criticism & tends to respond immediately - endangers CaulfieldPLC progression, I suspect.....
On 18 Aug 2018 at 4:11pm Maria Caulfield wrote:
Alwyn I responded to your email on 29th July . Happy to resend if you did not get it
On 18 Aug 2018 at 5:38pm Alwyn wrote:
Maria: no reply was received except an auto-acknowledgement, so please do resend. And thank you Horseman7 & ACT for your kind comments.
On 18 Aug 2018 at 5:45pm Moaner wrote:
I have heard of a different experience - students not given course work till near end of academic year, shambolic management, etc - nearly cost students their places at university. An utter disgrace, causing so much worry and extra work for students and parents having to salvage students' progression to uni. #endoftheouse as usual you have no clue
On 18 Aug 2018 at 5:48pm Maria Caulfield wrote:
I have forwarded on the reply I sent on July this afternoon . Let me know if you don’t get it
On 18 Aug 2018 at 5:59pm Alwyn wrote:
Maria: thank you, I have now received your re-sent reply.