Principal Cherry Tingle with jubilant UTC students

A GROUNDBREAKING Cumbrian college has bucked national trends to become a UK leader with an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report.

Cherry Tingle, head of Workington-based Energy Coast University Technical College (UTC) described the achievement as exceptional, with the outstanding classification spanning every single area of inspection.

With 40 percent of the 14 to 19-year-old students on free school meals and classified as disadvantaged, the industry-backed institution has clinched top marks across the board.

A delighted Ms Tingle, who took over the helm in September 2016, said it was a very significant judgement and that everyone involved with UTC was over the moon with the highest possible classification.

She explained: “Under the latest Ofsted framework, we are the first college of its kind to achieve this. It is rare to see such a steep trajectory of gains from our previous ‘requires improvement’ grading.”

Inspectors said Ms Tingle had ‘systematically and very skillfully developed high-quality leadership skills in all school leaders and managers’. Student results, teaching, employer links and behavior were all said to be outstanding.

The report praised an ethos where pupils’ aspirations were the best they could be and pointed to a transformation in attitudes once they joined the college thanks to ‘excellent support and guidance’.

Ms Tingle said: “When I started, there was a range of problems, from results to the need for improvement in every area. My mantra was, and still is, everything has to be ‘good enough for my child’.

“There’s enormous satisfaction going from there to becoming one of the highest performing UTCs in the country.”

Industry partners include construction giants Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Iggesund, Sellafield, Jacobs and Nuvia. Over 90 percent of students go into apprenticeships in engineering and civil engineering, compared to the national average of just 10 percent.

Alongside excellent GCSEs and A-levels, students gain professional technical qualifications, skills and essential work experience.

Ofsted commended an excellent technical education, highlighting work experience with national and international companies based in west Cumbria. It also hailed sixth formers’ success in securing superior jobs and training.

Ms Tingle explained: “Our young people, described in the report as mature and respectful, routinely achieve excellent academic results and extended work experience. All students study employability skills and work with employers every week on real projects.

“At 16, they will have three practical engineering GCSE-level qualifications alongside English, maths and science. Eighteen-year-olds will have one or two A-level engineering qualifications in addition to mainstream subjects.


“I’m thrilled by the report, but not surprised. What goes on here is extraordinary, but it’s happening every single day. It is absolutely the norm that we expect - and get - a high degree of commitment and excellent levels of achievement.”

The 300 students mainly come from areas in or around Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Dearham, Cockermouth and Egremont.

Nationally, only four percent of schools where above 25 percent of students are eligible for free school meals (FSM) are judged to be outstanding.

“Our percentage of FSMs is 40,” said Ms Tingle. “And, of the country’s 54 UTCs, only one other is classed as outstanding.

“Employment levels are high. Six of Sellafield’s nationally offered recent degree apprenticeships went to our students. Iggesund Paperboard’s intake was all ours, while construction and regeneration company, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, mostly recruited our young people.

“At a normal secondary school, pupils are expected to make three grades progress in five years. Here, they make on average almost three grades in just two years. FSM students make better progress than non-FSMs nationally.

“However, there will be no resting on laurels and we will be striving to get even better.

“We want to help address the area’s skills shortages and boost both county and country with our talent, flair and ambition. Thanks to the outstanding Ofsted rating, our reputation has been well and truly reinforced.”

Sellafield’s head of education and skills, Dr Donna Connor, said: “We offer the warmest congratulations to the whole UTC team for this outstanding success and are proud to be part of a leading educational phenomenon.

“Developing work ready science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) young people will bring long-standing benefits to us, the area, region and country for generations to come.”

Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “Many of the students are from my constituency. I take my hat off to each and every one of them and can’t praise highly enough the skills of Cherry Tingle and her fantastic team. You are credit to us all.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page