Welcome to the start of the new academic year: new students; new staff; existing students and existing staff. I hope that you have had a wonderful summer, that the results that you have achieved reflect your efforts and that you are ready for the next part of our exciting journey.
Our results are the best that have been achieved at our College in terms of the top grades (104 A*), nearly 50% of students achieving A*– B grades, and a higher proportion, nearly 40%, achieving A – B at AS level. The BTEC results are also outstanding with many students achieving Distinction* and progressing on to University. More students have been successful in gaining entry to University (500) with many going on to the top Russell Group (4 to Oxbridge), and on to highly prestigious courses (medicine, economics, law, engineering, mathematics and natural sciences).
We are really proud of all of our students who have completed their study at our College and wish them success in their future careers.
Your journey begins on Wednesday and Thursday. Our enrolment is complete and we will not be enrolling anymore students for 2015-2016. Mark Twain said:
"20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the boat lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
I would urge all of you to take this advice and make the most of your time at our College. These can be some of the best years of your educational career and you need to make the most of all that you will experience. You will meet many new people (staff and students), experience new subjects, have a range of opportunities available (trips, visits, performances, team games, competitions……), and become a part of one of the best Colleges in the country.
We would like all of you to shine, have fun, further develop the thrill of learning in a new environment and enjoy yourself whilst achieving success.
"Remember when you were young, you shone like the Sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger,
You legend, you martyr, and shine!" Pink Floyd
As you meet many new students and staff, remember that they too may be as nervous as you are. Whilst others often appear calm and confident on the surface, inside, they may be equally anxious and self-doubting:
"What do they think of me?"
"Do I fit in?"
"Do they like me?"
"Am I as clever as they are?"
Are the clothes that I am wearing acceptable?"
The metaphor of the swan comes to mind, calm, peaceful and radiant on the surface but frantic paddling below the water. Remember, that everybody is in that situation.
At Wyke, the emphasis is on being yourself, perhaps more so than at any other time in your school career. Individuality and diversity need to be cherished and celebrated but by becoming a member of our College, you are also a member of the collective. Being a Wyke student carries an expectation about your behaviour, your intellect and your maturity. My advice is to be yourself but also be mindful of which "you" you present. Billy Joel’s songs come to mind:
"Don't go trying some new fashion
Don't change the colour of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care.
I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take ‘til you believe in me
The way that I believe in you", BJ, "Don't go changing".
"Well, we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin, some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They’re the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on", BJ, 'The Stranger'.
Every week each of our curriculum areas have put forward a word for the week to help expand your word horde. This week I have started the ball rolling with ‘endeavour’ (OED definition: try hard to do or achieve something and an attempt to achieve something). I trust that you will endeavour to be successful in all your pursuits this year and look forward to seeing you grow academically, professionally, emotionally and personally.
On a different note, my beloved Leeds United have a much stronger team (like our College), and have started the new season well. I am quietly confident about the future and all of the pre-season changes that have been made. Like Leeds, I believe that our performance as a College will get even better.
Have a brilliant start to the new Academic Year.