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.