Monday, 28 November 2011

"Bowled Over" by Wyke

As I reflect on the last month, I cannot help feeling really pleased and satisfied about the tremendous team effort of the students and staff in making the Awards Evening and the two Open Evenings such a success.  It was lovely to have a meal together in anticipation of what was to come and energy that would be required.  Much like preparing for a big football (Leeds) game.

A parent of a prospective student told me that he was "bowled over" by the enthusiasm, friendliness and knowledge of our students at our Open Evening.  A few said that they really did not know much about us but that they were "stunned" by the beauty of the building, the atmosphere and ethos that exists at Wyke.  I feel really proud, long may that continue and I look forward to a different (equally positive) and my first Open Day on Saturday morning.

This is a particularly busy period for our students in the lead-up to the modular examinations, completion of UCAS forms and revision.  I cannot help thinking of some lines from Bob Dylan’s, “Street Legal” album:

"There’s a long-distance train blowing through the rain…
In the last hour of need
We entirely agreed
Sacrifice was the code of the road”.

For me, this symbolises the journey that most students are on at Wyke and as they approach the 'last leg', all have to make sacrifices for future success.

Christmas is particularly important in re-charging batteries and at the same time ensuring that revision and coursework are not forgotten.  This means not engaging in too much part-time work, isolating oneself from some family celebrations and having some sort of structure to do academic work so that January is not such a shock.  The period after Christmas is incredibly pressurised and seems to pass really quickly, so we must all be well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Students should get ahead of the game and make some early New Year’s resolutions by revising, planning, preparing and practising papers.  Start accelerating down that road to success.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Award Winning Students at Wyke

This week we have the first of our celebratory evening events: the Awards Evening on 13th October is for students who have performed particularly well and progressed onto our second year.  I am really looking forward to meeting the winners and their parents.

As I will be reading a short description written by departmental colleagues for each individual winner, I thought that I would share some of the key characteristics that are common for most of the winners.  These are: that all of the winners have worked extremely hard; all are well-organised and show great commitment; all have made tremendous progress since coming to Wyke and are team players; all are willing to listen and take advice about further improvement; all have gone beyond what is expected of them and are a real "pleasure to teach".

I am certain that these characteristics are shared by "winners" in all walks of life, whether it is captains of industry, academia or sport.  I can imagine Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Trevor Bayliss as well as Alex Ferguson, Brian Clough, Bill Shankly or Don Revie using similar descriptors for their "star" players.  The adage that "the more you put in, the more you get out" seems so true of our Wyke winners.

We have a particularly busy period ahead: a parents' evening for our "Flyers", the 75 students who all have mainly A* and As at GCSE.  We have put together a unique and exciting programme to meet their needs and to enable them to fulfil their outstanding potential. Thereafter, we have two Open Evenings in November when we hope to meet our prospective students/parents and to "show-off" our wonderful College.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Welcome to the New Principal's Blog

As a new Principal, I am delighted to say how welcome I have been made by all of the students and staff at Wyke.

My first encounter with a student was on the first day at the main entrance when I was asked about my “educational philosophy”. I must confess that this was a first for me and I was somewhat taken aback. I did recover and informed her that “I believed in the power of education to transform lives” and that this was my experience as well as that of my family and friends. I realised that I should ask her for her philosophy and was delighted to hear a clearly thought out perspective from someone so young.

My experience at the entrance continues to amaze me. A returning student came to shake my hand, introduced himself and welcomed me. Wow! Is this what I can expect form all students at Wyke? I would not have had the confidence to do this even as a new teacher.

Thereafter, straight into the cycle of results, reviews, student talks, staff meetings and enrolment analysis. I am really pleased to say that despite the apparently chaotic nature of the first few days, everything seems well organised and all of the staff and students know what to do. Roll on the first Parents’ evening, the “whole” College photograph,  Awards evening in October and the first of three Open evenings in November.