Bright future ahead for Health Futures UTC students
Less than three years after it opened Health Futures UTC was labelled 'inadequate' after its first ever Ofsted inspection.
But nine months later staff are ringing the changes at the school in West Bromwich which has turned around its fortunes.
And the team, including principal Ruth Umera,h have been praised by the education watchdog for the improvements that have already been made following a monitoring visit in February.
They are also getting ready to launch a new curriculum designed around core care values including respect, communication, empowerment and dignity next month.
Mrs Umerah, who joined the school in April last year - only four week's before the Ofsted inspection, said "I'm pleased that Ofsted recognised that the things we are putting in place are having a positive impact on the progress of the students.
"The recent visit found that Health Futures now has “clear, direct and strong leadership” and that “leaders are taking effective action”."
The school, which is sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton and has partnerships with Sandwell Council and numerous health trusts including West Midlands Ambulance Service, opened its new multi-million pound building in September 2015.
It offers students, aged 14 to 19, an education with a specific focus on health care and the health sciences combining traditional academic qualifications such as GCSEs and A-Levels with technical and practical learning experiences.
When Oftsted visited last year, the school was described as 'failing' in its leadership, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for pupils and in its sixth form programmes.
But Mrs Umerah said significant changes had already been made and the school was investing in its facilities and equipment.
"We've improved the areas of teaching, learning, behaviour and leadership and we will continue to make good progress," she added.
Facilities at the school include a simulated hospital ward with interactive computerised ‘patients’ and a high-tech visualisation suite used to immerse students in virtual environments.”
In September, a 'reception' and waiting room will be added to help the pupils learn how to talk to patients and improve their communication skills.
Health Futures is also fully equipped with a roof-top games area, fitness suite and gym, where all our students will participate in regular PE lessons.
The school works with more than 20 partners in the health and social care industry who provide an insight in the world of work and help to ensure the students are learning the skills that will help them in their future careers.
"We talk to our partners about how they want their future employees to be trained and the skills they want them to know.
"All students learn first aid and sign language and skills such as how to take blood, set up a drip and how to lift patients," explains Mrs Umerah.
The principal, who previously worked at the JCB Academy in Staffordshire, says Health Futures has plenty to offer students to ensure they are well prepared for their future careers.
"I believe passionately in this type of education. It's tough for this generation, having a university degree doesn't necessarily guarantee them a career but learning the skills that will set them apart from others will give them a head start," she adds.
And Mrs Umerah believes the school has put its troubles behind it and has a bright future ahead.
"There is so much potential here, the students are lovely and there is a very committed team of staff," she says.