University Technical College in Newhaven chooses its first principal

Marine workshops Newhaven
Marine workshops Newhaven

The principal of the University Technical College in Newhaven has been appointed.

Jon Clarke, 48, will take up his post on September 1, 2014, a year in advance of the college opening in September 2015.

This will allow him to carry out work such as recruiting teaching staff, formulate school policies and engage with prospective students and parents.

He was the vice principal at Chalfont College, Buckinghamshire, which was recognised as outstanding by Ofsted in 2011.

Jon said: “Our aim is to create a college that provides an exciting, outstanding education which prepares students to succeed in an ever-changing world.

“We will have a transformational building to work in and a team of staff who are leaders in their specialisms with a passion to inspire and the care needed to nurture success.

“I am excited to work with our partners and the community to build a truly unique college for Sussex preparing students to take up the great engineering and environmental technology opportunities on our doorstep and beyond.”

The new college, branded UTC@harbourside, will offer 14 to 18 year olds an academic and technical education focused on science, engineering, technology and maths.

There will be a focus on the specialist skills in demand by the growing marine engineering and environmental technology sectors in the region.

It will be based in the listed marine and carpenters’ workshops on Newhaven Eastside with construction due to begin on September 1.

Local companies will work with teachers to create projects for students that focus on real-life challenges and are relevant to industry.

They will also give students experience and provide guidance on careers, helping them stand out in the jobs market.

Chief executive of the Aldridge Foundation Honor Wilson-Fletcher said: “Jon was instrumental in Chalfont College’s transformation into a technology college and being judged outstanding by Ofsted.

“It was clear from our first meeting that he has the commitment, energy, leadership and vision it takes to start a new school - and the specific skill and enthusiasm for teaching science, maths and engineering that his students will find infectious.”

Applications are now open for students from across Sussex interested in entering in years 10 and 12 in September 2015.

University technical colleges are government funded schools that offer 14-18 year olds.

There are 17 UTCs around the country and 30 more will open by 2016.

UTC@harbourside is the only UTC on the South East coast and the only one specialising in this mix of marine and environmental engineering and associated skills.

It has capacity for 600 students. UTC@harbourside is sponsored by educational charity the Aldridge Foundation, the University of Brighton, Lewes District Council, and Veolia Environmental Services Plc.

Jon was born and educated in Bournemouth and has a BSc (Ed) in mathematics/education from the University of Exeter.

He has been teaching for 23 years and joined Chalfont Community College in 1998 where he served as Head of Mathematics, Assistant Head and acting Head of Science and ICT.

He was promoted to Vice Principal with responsibilities for curriculum and achievement and introduced an Engineering Diploma to the curriculum.