Today as I stood in the entrance at 8:45 am, I saw so many of our new students coming into College for the first time. What a brilliant feeling! I too had butterflies in my stomach – a new place, so many exciting opportunities, smiling and apparently confident faces. What a wonderful period but also very scary. I could almost see the 'thought bubbles' full of trepidation:
"Will I make new friends?"
"Will I fit in?"
"What will my teachers be like?"
"Is what I am wearing acceptable?"
Well, if the rest of the year is anything like today, it will be brilliant. I could sense the atmosphere in the theatre during my talks - the focus and commitment on your faces clear to see. Remember, believe in yourselves. You have been accepted on 'merit' and now you will 'fly'. You are joining a College where it is the norm to be successful, where you will work hard, be pushed and enjoy your learning experience. Ofsted mentioned the 'amazing culture of learning at Wyke' and you are now part of it. You are following in a tradition from where students have gone to the most prestigious universities, the top courses and superb employment prospects. Remember to be yourself, become excited about learning and get involved in the range of experiences that are on offer: music; sport; drama; debating; dance; business; film….
The adage, "you only get out what you put in" is so true. Our students succeed, not only because of the top grades achieved, but also because of the other experiences and skills that they have acquired. The words from Coldplay's "Us against the World" come to mind. Through all the changes, you need to walk a clear path and be confident.
"The tightrope that I’m walking just sways and ties".
It is hard being a young person in 2014 (wasn't it always the case?). You will have already received many 'invitations' to choose other options. Hold your nerve:
"Through chaos as it swirls.
It's us against the world".
You have made the right choice and you will now have a brilliant two years.
Tomorrow we welcome back our second years who have been incredibly successful. I am really looking forward to seeing the happy faces that I saw during results day. Remember that this year will 'whirl by' and before you know it, you will be preparing to go off to university. So don't waste a single second, be focused from the outset and be prepared to build on your outstanding AS and BTEC results.
At this time of year, I always remember a close friend of mine who I lost last year and when I heard this from the same track, I felt very pensive. It made me realise just how quickly time passes and how we need to make the most of each other:
"Like a river to a raindrop
I lost a friend."
So no Bobby D this time and my beloved Leeds United have a "new" team but no manager to lead us to the ‘promised land’. Perhaps, soon.
At Wyke, welcome back to our staff whose dedication and commitment are second to none. It is through our team effort that we continue to be a leading College nationally. Our ALPs grades of 2 (AS); 3 (A2) and 2 (BTEC) place us amongst the highest performing sixth form colleges throughout the country. Welcome, too, to our new staff about whom we are very excited. In my fourth year at Wyke, I believe that this year we have our "strongest team”. This means that not only have we recruited some excellent colleagues (at different levels within the College and some who will join us in January), but that the staff in key roles are best placed to make our College even more successful.
Enjoy the start of the new academic year.