Thursday, 19 December 2013

An Amazing Year

Isn’t it funny how young people educate you.  Our ‘boys’, they are 22 and 20 respectively, have been doing so for a number of years.  A few years ago, they introduced me to ‘Vampire Weekend’ and I love their music.  Whilst travelling in to work today, I heard a track titled, “Unbelievers”.  Words from this song resonated about our college:

“I’m not excited, but should I be?

Is this the fate that half the world has planned for me?”

In the last five weeks, I have been to a number of meetings in Yorkshire, Birmingham and London.  During each of these meetings, a range of people have come over to me to congratulate us on our excellent Ofsted report and all have said that we were very ‘unlucky’ not to receive a ‘straight’ outstanding judgement.  The comment from Tiger Woods, (I believe Gary Player first said it), when asked if he had got ‘lucky again’, made me smile.  He said, “Isn’t it funny but the more I practise, the ‘luckier’ I get”.

Yes, we know that there are many things that we can do to make us even better but it has been an amazing year so far:

·         the best set of results achieved at Wyke and the resultant points scores which will be published in the performance league table in January;

·         an excellent enrolment;

·         a very, very good Ofsted inspection;

·         buoyant applications for 2014-2015;

·         a brand new building with a Performance and Fitness Studio which will be available for use on the 6th January.

So we should be excited and the words of the Lead Inspector in October come back to me:
“Don’t be content with being in the top 10% of colleges nationally, Jay.  Wyke SFC could become one of the top colleges in the country.”

Clearly, the last week of term and the build-up to Christmas is always hectic.  I would like to thank you for the tremendous work that has been done this term and for being so understanding during the ‘new building’ process.

Next term promises to be equally exciting.  Have a brilliant Christmas and New Year, come back safely and be prepared for the critical Mock examinations in January.  It will be an excellent indication how you are likely to do in June 2014.

Best Wishes.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

High Levels of Student Enjoyment, Participation and Intellectual Curiosity

"Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide open………
For the times they are a-changin’”.
Bobby Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin'.”

As I sit and reflect on the term so far, it has been a real rollercoaster: with our outstanding results in August; a record enrolment, so that for the first time in our 25 year history, we were full; a really successful induction programme which was planned and delivered by our own staff, and the numerous accolades that we have received about our success as well as our new building beginning to take shape and be ready by the end of this term. 

Well, if this wasn’t enough, we were informed that we would be inspected during the first week in October and we had our first Awards and Open Evenings of the year. I guess the adage about waiting for buses comes to mind.

The Inspection has been completed and I am delighted to inform you that in all of the subject specialist areas that were selected by Ofsted for examination, we were judged to be Outstanding.

“Provision is outstanding in science and mathematics, languages and literature. These areas are characterised by high levels of student enjoyment, participation and intellectual curiosity”.

What is really interesting is that there are at least 18 subjects that the Inspectors looked at and were deemed to be outstanding. Wow!

The Inspectors were also highly positive about our students and the academic culture of success that exists at our College.
"The College provides a harmonious environment in which high aspirations, positive community values and the growth and care of the individual are nurtured and promoted. Intellectual and spiritual enquiry are encouraged and embraced by many. Inspectors were highly impressed with the students' maturity, personal development and high levels of confidence. Students have a very positive attitude to learning".

I believe that what was even more interesting were the "off-the-record" comments that were made to all of us in the Senior Team. Comments such as:
"… It is unusual for Inspectors to be "excited" about being here".
"You should not be content with being in the top 10% of all colleges; you could become one of the best in the country".
"We have never experienced a library where there is such a work ethic".
"The culture of success and achievement is incredible".
"Your students are amazing".
On that last note, I have to agree to feeling so proud of all of you, the way that you conduct yourself and your attitude to learning.

Clearly, as in any Inspection, there are some things that we need to do to become even better and we will be doing so with urgency because we owe it to you to become one of the best colleges in the country.
Our first Awards Evening of the year was extremely enjoyable and amusing, not least because Manjeet Kler (despite being reminded that the Principal’s trophy was made out of glass), proceeded to drop it in the ensuing excitement. Only Manjeet could have done this! It was amazing, however, to be a part of so much success and celebration. Our Guest of Honour, Neal Hodgkinson, the Editor of the Hull Daily Mail, was equally impressed and proceeded to give an amusing and inspiring speech on 'being young' and 'aspiring for greatness'. It was lovely to be a part of this and to have so many parents and students thanking me on behalf of our College. I likened it to 'being the best man at a wedding' when you are actually a 'part' player but everyone is on your side and willing you to do well.

Our Open Evening a week later was also incredible. If only I could measure the ’positivity’, it would be off the scale. The largest number of students and parents that we have ever had, our wonderful 'Student Crew' and student helpers and the general vibe as one walked into the building was amazing. It confirms that whilst our accommodation is really good, what happens inside is truly beautiful!

The second part of the Autumn Term is likely to be equally busy: on Thursday we have 16 visitors from Thailand (from the world of business and education); a planned visit by the Shadow Further Education Minister; next Tuesday evening we have our first ever poetry and piano recital, "Manifesto dream", which is a part of the Humbermouth Hull Literature Festival as well as our second Open Evening.

Life at our College continues to be busy and I am also aware of your successes in the National sports trials and championships: we had 7 of our netballers taking part in the England trials as well the successes for our footballers, badminton players, cross-country runners and for the first time (again), we have a member of the Great Britain Sailing Squad at our College. Auditions have also taken place for our first cross-College production of "Little Shop of Horrors", and I suspect that rehearsals have already started.

Of course, academic life and focus on academic work continues. I am pleased that we have had at least 10 students who have applied to Oxford or Cambridge University and a similar number for medical, veterinary or dentistry courses. I am delighted that many of you are already receiving offers and invitations for interviews. I must urge all second-year students to get their UCAS forms submitted and of course, all of you need to focus on the forthcoming mock examinations in January. These will certainly be as demanding as any module examination that you may have taken in the past.

My problem is that when I start, I cannot stop. I feel guilty that I have not referred to any of the national and international developments: the budgetary stalemate in America; the phone tapping of the French, German and our own, leaders; the price ‘hike’ by the energy companies; schools only being allowed to enter students once for their GCSEs and the (slow but sure) ascendancy of my beloved Leeds United.

Remember, work very hard, play hard and you are really amazing.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Do not be worried about "standing out"

“And what is good, Phaedrus,
            And what is not good _____
            Need we ask anyone to tell us these things”.

            Robert M Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

Yesterday at around 4.00 p.m. (Monday), I found out that I had lost a very close friend of mine after a short but serious illness.  I felt very upset and numbed by the experience and I could not help reflecting on our friendship as I cycled home.  To compound my reflective state, I had a puncture (another) outside the same farm as the previous week.  I thought about our conversation, 10 days ago, when I visited him at his home in Stafford.  As he sat in a wheelchair, he quizzed me about our results, enrolment and successes in his beautiful Irish accent.  The two of us have worked together for almost 15 years and he has certainly been a source of inspiration to hundreds of students and myself.  I told him about our outstanding results at A2, AS and on our BTEC courses, the high increase in the number of top grades at A* and the success of our Oxbridge and medics.  As I informed him about the growth of our College, the new building that is being constructed and some of the superb staff that we have appointed, he smiled in that knowing way, which was his style.  It is interesting that our fortunes are followed in different parts of Yorkshire, the rest of the country and even in Europe and the States.
            John Maynard Keynes once said,
            "When I see objective data I change my views.  What do you do?" 

This is poignant because one of our "partner organisations" in Hull has been advertising in the local press and claims to be the best sixth form college in Hull.  Apart from the fact that it is not even a proper sixth form college but an 11-18 school, the data would not support the fact that it is anywhere near the best.  That combined with offering mini iPads to entice students in the sixth form would appear to be a little desperate.  But enough about that, what about us and what can we offer? 

            Just plain "outstanding teaching".
            Brilliant student outcomes:           
            Excellent results at A2 (99.6%); AS (94%); A* - B grades at 49%+;
            Superb support;
            An abundance of trips and visits;
            Exceptional facilities.

Questions about the outcomes of students are always poignant and worth seeking answers to through the plethora of (sometimes deceptive) marketing and publicity material.  So many new students - it is wonderful to see you all coming in in the morning, getting used to greeting me with a wonderful smile on your faces.  I have been particularly impressed by your willingness to come up with solutions at lunch and break times, finding nooks and crannies for shelter and comfort.  The new building will be ready later this term and should provide more space and additional facilities.  My advice is to be patient because the new provision will certainly be worth waiting for.

On Monday lunchtime, I went out to see the large number of students and staff participating in team trials: 60-70 boys and 50 girls playing football; 40+ girls playing netball; 40 boys playing rugby and over 30 students practising basketball.  What an amazing turnout – no wonder that PE is so successful at our College.  It got even better; as I went searching for one of our music staff, I found myself in the Theatre where nearly 30 students were rehearsing a song in preparation for their auditions for Little Shop of Horrors. 

This is only the first full week and I know that other enrichment sessions: choir; jazz band; debating; Law Society; medical careers; the Maths Olympiad, will begin later in the week.  I cannot help feeling that this reinforces our message about our College,

            "The more you put in the more that you will get out". 

I can only reinforce this message and urge all of you to get involved in things, be enthusiastic, do not be worried about "standing out" and continue to smile.

Seeing all of you and witnessing the efforts of our magnificent staff certainly makes me so happy and able to escape from the sadness of losing my wonderful friend.  I know that he would have been so proud of you.  This blog is dedicated to Sean Hayes - Rest in Peace dear friend.

            "It's not time to make a change….
            Just relax, take it easy.
            You're still young (but)
            I know (you) have to go away".

            Cat Stevens, "Father and Son".

Monday, 26 August 2013

Wyke - Top 10% of Colleges and School Sixth Forms

As the new academic year approaches, I have thought long and hard about how I should begin my first blog of the year: perhaps a quote from Bobby D, Sixto Rodriguez or even mention of my beloved Leeds United. No! There is only one place to begin.

Congratulations and a heartfelt Well Done to all of our students, parents and staff for the amazing success that has been achieved by their hard work, sacrifice, support and commitment.

Our results are exceptional: 99.5% pass rate at A2 level; 93.6% pass rate at AS level; a fourfold increase in the number of A*s at A2 level to 85; 49% of our students achieving A* - B grades at A2 level; the largest number of Distinctions and Distinction*s on our BTEC courses. This also means that there has been a substantial increase in our average points score per candidate and per entry. National data indicates that our College is now amongst the top 10% of Colleges and School Sixth Forms, nationally. Wow, how brilliant is that? It confirms that provided that students who come to Wyke are prepared to work hard, listen to the advice and guidance offered and to get involved in all that our College has to offer, there is no limit to what can be achieved. I genuinely believe that we have some of the best teaching staff in their subjects and that combined with the other support that students receive and our superb facilities, we have the recipe for outstanding success. Behind the statistics, there are so many individual success stories: all of our Oxbridge students have been successful; so too in all of our medics and vets: some of our students are the highest achievers in comparison to any National successes. Our “partner” organisations that have previously “re-interpreted” the official performance league tables and may have spread misinformation about Wyke, BEWARE. There is no hiding place now.

Clearly, we are proud of all of our students and every student’s success has a ‘story’. I would like to mention just some of our highest achievers. Calum Barnett and Lydia Edwards (previously Kelvin Hall); Lydia Bloomfield to read Veterinary Science at Cambridge (ex-Longcroft School); Conor Fowler to read natural Sciences at Cambridge (ex-Kingswood High School); Louise Smith (ex-Malet Lambert); Harriet Hobday (ex-Beverley High School); Alex Worrell to read English at Oxford (ex-Hull Collegiate); Millie Bardsley (ex- Hull Collegiate); James Clark (ex-Hymers); Riley Wong (ex-Newland School for Girls); Alice Fairless (ex-Hessle High School); Sol Yi Nam (ex-Hull College); Jacob Phillipson (ex-Cottingham High School); Jennifer Railton (ex-Kelvin Hall); Ian Parr (ex-Winifred Holtby); Ashleigh Davidson (ex-Driffield School); Leanne Burton (ex-South Hunsley School); Christina Tarbotton (ex-South Hunsley School)Hollie Dearing (ex-St Marys); Harry Jarvis (ex-Beverley Grammar); Birgul Onay (ex-Sydney Smith); Katazyna Vaikovska (ex-Endeavour); Amandeep Kaur (ex-Malet Lambert); Rebecca Howman (ex-Malet Lambert); James Ireland (Sirius); Ruth Hill(home educated); Charlotte Green (ex-Hessle High School). We are so proud of all of our students.

Enjoy the remaining holiday to our prospective students, and remember, don’t be put off by what you may hear second hand. Come and judge for yourself. As ever, just as I am very optimistic at the start of each football season for my beloved Leeds United, I am extremely confident about our College success.  

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Outstanding Results at Wyke Sixth Form College

A Level pass rate 99.5%
100% pass rate in 38 subjects
AS Level pass rate 93.6%
100% pass rate in 18 subjects

Yet again, students at Wyke Sixth Form College have shown a combination of talent and hard work to achieve outstanding success.  This, combined with superb teaching and the best possible facilities, has meant that 99.5% of students have achieved a pass grade at A Level with 38 subjects achieving a 100% pass rate.  There has been a three-fold increase in students achieving the much coveted A* grade and 48% of students achieving A*-B grades.

At AS level the pass rate is 93.6% with 18 subjects achieving 100%.

No fewer than 70 students achieved at least three grades at A* or A and particular congratulations go to:

            Calum Barnett 5 A*
            Harriet Hobday 3 A*
            Morgan Mills 3 A*
            Lydia Edwards 3 A*    
            Connor Fowler 2 A*                
            Lydia Bloomfield 2 A*
            Leanne Burton 2 A*
            James Clark 2 A*
            Emily Craddock 2 A*
            Charlotte Failey 2 A*
            Aiden O’Connell 2 A*
            Jennifer Railton 2 A*
            Jessica Whitfield 2 A*
            Alex Worrell 2 A*

The BTEC results at our College were outstanding with the following students achieving the top grades of at least 2 A* or equivalent:

            Alexander Holliday
            Thomas Bottomley
            James Ireland
            Jonathan Jackson
            Sharma Jorgensen
            Saul Kirk
            Tom McAlindon
            Luke Parker
            James Stephenson

Principal, Jay Trivedy, said:

“These are another outstanding set of results and reflect the tremendous work that is done at our College by all the staff and students.  The age range of 16 – 19 is, in my opinion, the most exciting period when young people are fully exploring their own lasting potential.  It is a pleasure to be able to work with them and a privilege to be able to lead such a wonderful College.

The staff at Wyke show year on year their expertise in bringing the best out of each and every student.  Post-16 students are our sole focus and the students at Wyke show what can be achieved when the right teaching, support and facilities are there for them.

I am absolutely delighted particularly with the large number of students achieving the top grades and I know that our College will continue to provide the best possible education for the widest range of young people.  We have consistently shown what can be done in the city.  It is an engine of confidence and achievement for the future.

I am especially pleased that all three of our Oxbridge applicants and all of our medical applicants have been successful.  However, I am delighted for all of the students and their achievements.  I would like to thank the families and staff (teaching and non-teaching) who have been so supportive of our students.”

Mr John Wilson, Chair of the Wyke Sixth Form College Corporation, added:

“Once again our students have achieved a fantastic set of results.  I congratulate them for their hard work and wish them well for the future.  Thanks must go to all the College staff for their hard work and dedication.”

Jay Trivedy

14th August 2013

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

One of the Best in the Country

We believe our College will provide all that you need to be successful for the next stage in your career.

You will be taught and supported by outstanding staff in a superb learning environment.  The quality of relationships within the College will ensure that you work to your full potential and achieve at the highest level. Our vision is “Inspire and support all students to achieve exceptional success.”

As the largest A level provider in Hull and East Riding, the statistics are straightforward: students do very well at Wyke.  The percentage pass rate at A level in 2011-2012 was 99.9%. At AS Level, the pass rate was just under 95%, which is also one of the best in the country. This means that out of 1250 entries, only one student in one subject was unsuccessful.  Our points score and progression data according to any national measures places Wyke at the top end of performance criteria.

Wyke is the perfect place for meeting new people and learning to handle and enjoy new situations.  You will be joining students from all over Hull and East Yorkshire.

Please visit the College and see for yourself.  Talk to our students, staff and find out about the range of experiences on offer.

In short, come and find out how you can maximise your achievement and have fun at the same time.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Not Worrying about the Establishment’s Blues

Over the last 4 weeks, I have been listening to the music of Sixto Rodriguez, after watching a brilliant documentary entitled, "Searching for Sugar Man". It is the story of the very talented Rodriguez, who produced two albums during the late sixties. Neither of these sold more than 100 copies in the States but unbeknown to him, these were huge hits amongst young people in South Africa who were campaigning against apartheid. The words are really poetic (even more so than Bobby Dylan) and his music is an amalgam of Dylan (with a better voice) and the music of Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. The documentary is about how they searched for Rodriguez and eventually found him as a shy man living in relative poverty in Detroit. He has subsequently performed to packed audiences in South Africa and the UK and has given his money away to friends and family.

What has this got to do with our College, I hear you ask?

Well, in "The Establishment Blues ……….." he sings,

"Woke up this morning with an ache in my head
I splashed on my clothes as I spilled out of bed
I open the windows to listen to the news
But all I heard was the Establishment’s Blues".

At the moment we hear a lot about the establishment's blues:

Higher prices for petrol, gas and electricity;
Ofsted concerns about underperforming schools and colleges;
The horrific execution of the British soldier in Woolwich;
Footballers biting fellow professionals;
The Coalition's troubles.

What I find difficult is reconciling the amazing things that I see around me:

Our wonderful students working hard and not worrying about the establishment’s blues;
The commitment and dedication of our wonderful staff – teaching and support (last week one of our senior team counted 19 separate revision sessions during a lunchtime);
The energy, enthusiasm, good manners and kindness of our students;
The humour of our students (and staff);
The success stories that I hear every day, whether it is sports; Mathematics Olympiad; Youth Speaks; performing arts; music…. but the biggest success is being a part of such a wonderful community. As I write this, I have just had a student who has popped into my office to say “thank you”. He has not been a ‘perfect’ student (who has?) but has matured, will be very successful and was quite reflective and emotional.

At lunchtime today, I witnessed one of our Learning Support Assistants sprinting from one end of the campus to the next, so that students would not be disadvantaged at the start of an examination. How brilliant is that?

At this time of the year, we are busy planning for the new academic year and dealing with some of the related issues. For those of you who are returning, you will find a number of changes:

  • A new building being constructed next to the Wilson building;
  • The appointment of 15 new teaching staff, some of whom will be Heads of Department as well as subject teachers and tutors;
  • Two new science laboratories;
  • New changing rooms;
  • Auditions for all students to take part in two Cross-College productions;
  • The abolition of January module examinations;
  • A large screen, above the whole College photograph, where you will be able to see College events;
  • Some new ICT equipment;
  • An additional six/seven College minibuses to transport students to and from College.

There are also a number of new subjects and other curriculum changes.

Finally, good luck to all of our leavers. We wish you every success and all that you hope for in the future. We are extremely proud of you and hope that you will always have great memories of your time at Wyke.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Key Factor in the Success of our College

As the examination period approaches, I cannot help but marvel at the tremendous work that is being done throughout the College.  At lunchtimes, in the evenings and before the start of the day, students and staff can be seen beavering away on revision sessions, techniques for learning and any "last-minute" explanations.  This is a critical period and a key factor in the success of our College.  I would urge you all to take the opportunity available and listen to the advice and guidance offered by the staff.

It has been a very successful year and one that continues right up to the last day of term (28th June).  It is important that all first year students on BTEC and AS programmes of study realise this and refrain from assuming that the academic year finishes after the exams.  I have been a little disappointed by the number of requests for holidays during term time.  On each occasion I have stated that it is College policy that any holidays during term time will be unauthorised and could have an influence on the decision to allow students to progress on to the second year.

As always, apart from the preparation for examinations, this has been a busy term with music concerts at Holy Trinity Church in Hull and the Minster in Beverley; examination practicals in PE, Performing Arts, Music and Science, and the extended examinations in Art and Design.

These last few weeks are critical and can make all the difference between achieving one's potential and not; between getting into the first choice University and the first choice course; between securing a place on the Higher level apprenticeship at a prestigious company and not.  However, it is also the period when the weather improves, with extended daylight hours and the "draw of the outdoors".  With the onset of the “hay fever season” and the rising temperatures, I cannot help feeling that we have not got it quite right.  However, with the abolition of January examinations and the proposed move to terminal examinations at the end of 2 years, many other wholescale structural changes will be necessary to the academic calendar, including the start of the academic term in the school/college/university year.  I cannot but despair at the reports in the press about longer days and the reduction in the number of holidays.  I doubt if it will contribute to raising standards and will have a negative impact on the commitment of staff and students.

The Bank Holiday weekend was much-needed, not least for the beautiful weather but also my football team's 'small' contribution to the success of Hull City.  I think that it will have a big impact on the reputation of the city and all who are associated with Hull.  Staying with the football metaphor, my team has a new manager with a different style and philosophy, a manager that will certainly be 'strengthening' the team and squad for the challenges ahead.  We have certainly been doing that and I would like to thank all the students who have contributed to the selection process by participating in the lessons and offering views.  As always, I am delighted and proud of the insight, perception and kindness shown by all of you in ensuring that Wyke Sixth Form College continues to improve and is ready for the challenges ahead.

As my 'friend' Bob sings:

            "…….. May your wishes all come true
                        May you always do for others
                        And let others do for you
                        May you build a ladder to the stars
                        And climb on every rung
                        May you stay forever young."                   

Good luck to all of you in the forthcoming examinations.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The "Best" in the City

At the onset of Spring, with 5 weeks before the end of term, there is a lot that is happening on the 'world stage’: the horsemeat food crisis; the trial of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa; the gunfight in Las Vegas; the launch of the new PS4; the 4G Auction and of course, the reform of A levels.  I am particularly saddened by the latter and cannot help feeling that returning to an examination system that was flawed will not help our students to succeed.  The madness of it all reminds me of Bobby Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues":

            “…Ah get born, keep warm
            Short pants, romance, learn to dance
            Get dressed, get blessed
            Try to be a success ....
            Don't wear sandals
            Try to avoid scandals
            Don’t wannabe a bum
            You better chew gum
            The pump don't work
            ‘Cause the vandals took the handles".

Since I last wrote, the Performance League tables have been published and once again, our College, as the largest A level provider, is near the top and the 'best' in the City.  This is contrary to what one would imagine after reading the advertisement headlines in the local papers, where some post-16 providers have decided to interpret the tables to put themselves at the top and Wyke Sixth Form College at the bottom.  Ah, there are “..lies, damned lies and statistics..“.

The success of our students continues to amaze me.  This year, for the first time, we have had nine students being interviewed by Oxford and Cambridge universities with three being made offers for Veterinary Science, Natural Science and English.  Five students have already had offers from Medical Schools, prestigious Dance courses, the Northern School of Music and the fabulous success of our Art Students in Cambridge.  It made me smile when I heard that during the interview, the interviewer of one of our outstanding art students went to fetch his colleagues because he wanted other staff to see the quality of our student’s portfolio.  This, combined with the highest number of Higher Education applications and our best set of results, makes me laugh out loud, when I see some of our competitors claiming that their points per entry is the best.  We might not have the best point score per entry but it is more important to be at the top of the Department of Education’s Performance League tables.  Using the football metaphor, it is more important to win the league rather than have the best goal difference.

I am thrilled about the success of our students.  You continue to be our best ambassadors.  Parents and prospective students never fail to comment on your enthusiasm, positivity and outstanding success.  I know that this reflects the tremendous hard work and support from all of you and the staff (teaching and non-teaching) at Wyke.  Long may that continue.

I am delighted that the staff and students who went to New York have returned safely and have been sufficiently stimulated by their experience (despite the inclement weather).  I hope that the Spanish students travelling to Seville and those Religious Studies/Classical Civilisation students travelling to Rome will also return similarly enthused and stimulated.

We have introduced a Parent Newsletter from this term through which we hope we can share some of our successes and highlights of the term.  Any feedback in relation to this would be most appreciated.  We have the elections for our Student Executive coming up.  I hope that as many of you as possible will get involved, either as candidates or to listen to the candidates during the hustings.  The modular results will be available on 7th March and I hope that all of you achieve the grades that reflect your commitment and dedication.

Finally, I understand that the theme for the fancy dress during Rag Week on 18th  March is Pop Culture.  I have already sorted out my costume.  Have you?  All I can say is that I have appeared on many "hit" movies.  As for my beloved Leeds, I'll save that for another day.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Welcome Back

Welcome back and a very Happy New Year to you all.  I hope that you have all had a wonderful break and are sufficiently rested and prepared for the forthcoming examinations.

As I reflect on the autumn term, I cannot remember a term that has been so busy,  frenetic and long.  As the term came to an end, we were all shattered and ready for a welcome rest.  However, the last few weeks in December were also full of positive rewards, fun and celebration.  This began with some wonderful comments from parents at the Consultation Evenings on the questionnaires and in person.  Clearly, I am delighted that so many of you have settled in well and are thriving in the Wyke environment.  For so many of you, it is almost as if you have always been here and that you are being inspired to reach your potential.

Our Leavers' Awards Evening on the last week of term was a wonderful event.  So many of the subject prize winners returned from their universities to collect their awards and met up with the staff who taught them as well as their peers.  To see such outstanding ambassadors for our College, to witness their confidence and humility, was a humbling experience.  Our guest speaker, Layla Guscoth, the Captain of the Under 21 England Netball Team and a third year medic at Oxford, was inspirational.  This is particularly because her message was so aspirational from one so young.  It proves that there is not necessarily a direct link between age and wisdom.

Other highlights during the last few weeks in December included the Christmas Concert at Holy Trinity Church in Hull; the Winter Showcase when so many of you performed for two nights in front of a packed theatre, (next year we will have at least two cross-College productions); the Wyke/Kelvin staff football tournament (which we won on penalties); the carol singing at lunchtime; numerous trips, visits and sporting successes in football, netball and badminton, and Wyke Gangnam Style!  I cannot remember much of this except that I was incredibly nervous and would not have been able to "perform" without the sheer enthusiasm of so many of you and Sol’s encouragement.  My wife is convinced that the reason why this site has had so many hits is because I have logged on so many times to laugh out loud.  Thank you to all of you.  The success of our College is a function of your enthusiasm, sense of fun, commitment and energy.  Long may that continue.

As I write this, I am delighted to receive news of the success of our Oxbridge and medical applicants; Macauley Davy's progression to the next round of the British Olympiad (one of only 200 students in the country), the selection of Duka Ombeni to represent England Under 18 Schoolboys and Sophie Haywood to represent British Colleges in football.  Well done and more on this later.

So what of the New Year?  The spring term is quite short and the focus must be on examination preparation and success.

Bob Dylan sang:

            "The line it is drawn
            The curse it is cast
            The slow one now will later be fast….
            For the times they are a-changin."  

Alas, my beloved Leeds were "thrashed" by the Tigers and the New Year will be challenging if we are to achieve success, but as ever, I am hopeful.

Good luck to you all and I hope that 2013 is even better for you.