It is pleasing to see how well all of you have settled into life at our College and the lovely way in which you are conducting yourselves around the campus. Already, many of you have begun to access the additional support provided by the departments and are benefiting from the staff experience.
Attendance at the new parents’ evening and at the student Flyers’ evening in September has been excellent. All of you will now have completed your first Standardised Assessment and will be in the process of reviewing feedback on your performance. Remember that you are only here for two years and you must make the most of your time at College. It is really pleasing to see all of the extra PCs being utilised in the Library. As I explained in my talks, we are currently looking at expanding our catering provision and to offer you alternative facilities.
We have received our destinations data and I am really delighted that last year 87% of our students were successful in getting to university and that just under 25% of these (130 students), have gained entry to the Russell Group of Universities. Our record for entry into employment is equally impressive with the large accountancy, engineering, media, communication and software companies ‘cherry picking’ our students for higher level apprenticeships and sponsorship. I am so proud of your achievements and never fail to be amazed by what you can do. I believe that a high-quality general education continues to be the best preparation for future success.
On the theme of destinations, we continue to be the largest provider of students going on to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science at university. I do believe that our medics’ programme is outstanding. Recently, I was privileged in being invited to participate in our mock interview programme for medics and was delighted to witness the range of test situations that presented themselves. Indeed, today I will be involved in your mock Oxbridge interviews at Hull University, where over 35 of you will be ‘put through your paces’.
I have reflected on the start of the new academic year and realised how much I miss the friendship and presence of a ‘sage’ and colleague who retired last year. His wisdom, support and advice continue to be invaluable and I really miss our meandering observations about life in our weekly meetings. He gave us some great advice and left us with pearls of wisdom:
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
“Even better if….”
“And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. This above all else, to thine own self be true.”
This ex-colleague worked here for many years and made a real difference to the quality of what we provide at our College. I am certain that he will be doing the same in Pocklington where he lives.
The adage, “… time waits for no man…” is so apt. We are already into our second Open Evening and I want to thank all of you for volunteering to come and talk to prospective students. The first Open Evening was the busiest that we have ever been and I was incredibly moved to hear so many parents talking about you (our students).
Our College is beautiful because of what happens inside the fabric of the buildings – the support, the achievement, the friendship, the care, the relationships……..
We have a colleague on the Senior Team who frequently says:
“So…hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea….. Or “Here’s one for you……”
This boundless enthusiasm combined with intellect and humility is the essence of what we are about – long may that continue because it is only by continuing to think of new things and better ways of doing things that we will improve and remain outstanding.
I would like to thank all of you for the way in which you have ‘embraced’ the concept of lanyards. You can see the necessity of having this and for the overwhelming majority of you, you have co-operated. After all, I feel that all of us should be proud of being ‘members’ of our wonderful College but our College is nothing without you.
On a different note, I am quite concerned about my beloved Leeds United. After a wonderful start, we have faltered and already the ‘knives are out’. I hope that there is no knee-jerk reaction and that the international break will allow time for reflection, practice and self-belief (which is sadly lacking in a team that is devoid of confidence).
Sometimes in life one has to ‘draw up the hatches’ and focus fully on the task at hand. As Colin Powell said:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure”.
Enjoy the second half of this term.