Monday, 27 January 2014

Go the Extra Mile

Welcome back to the new term.  I hope that you have had a good break, that you were well prepared for the mock examinations and that your results reflect your level of work.

During the last week before Christmas, we had our Leavers' Awards evening for students who have left the College but were returning to collect their subject prizes.  Most notable amongst the returning students was Calum Barnett, who is at University College, London.  Calum's academic achievements are astounding and he deservedly won the prize for outstanding academic achievement (Chemistry A*, French A*, Maths (Further) A*, Maths (Mechanics) A*, Physics A, General Studies A*, EPQ A*).  The reason why I am telling you this is because Calum was unsuccessful (undeservedly) in receiving an offer from Oxford or Cambridge University.  I believe that, on this occasion, Oxford and Cambridge got it wrong.  My message to any of you who have either applied or are thinking of applying to Oxbridge, is remember that it can be a bit of a lottery and that they sometimes fail to necessarily get the best students.  However, I am also delighted that for the first time in our College history, all seven of our students who were interviewed have been successful in receiving offers.  So very well done and I would encourage all AS students who are likely to achieve very high grades to consider applying.

Christmas was a welcome blur.  We returned in the New Year to mock examinations, marking, assessments and our beautiful “new” building, Elm.  I am delighted with it, in particular, the Performance and Fitness Studio.  Elm feels like a natural extension of our campus and I would like to thank everyone for being so patient and considerate during the busy and crowded first term.  I am pleased that we have already started using the Performance and Fitness Studio for lessons, staff meetings and the official opening and celebration of our 25th anniversary last Friday.  The 25th anniversary celebration was an excellent way to formally 'open' Elm and to meet former staff, some ex-students and to talk and listen to the two previous Principals: Martin Ward from 1988 – 2002; Dick Smith from 2002 – 2011.  We were also able to celebrate the service of staff who have worked at the College since the time when it was first opened.  All colleges need a combination of experience and youth, some staff who have been at the College for a large number of years and some new 'blood'.  If there is an imbalance of either then it can be very difficult.

Yesterday the post-16 performance league tables were published and I am delighted that, once again, our College is the highest (non-selective) performer in Hull, East Riding and the region.  Indeed, we were the 12th out of all the Sixth Form Colleges nationally and our value-added score puts us in 6th/7th position nationally.  So very well done and I feel really proud of all our achievements.  However, remember that this is hard earned and all of you must be clearly focused and committed to replicate this in the future.

This term promises to be equally exciting and busy.  We have a number of trips planned: the trip to Washington organised by our Politics Department; the New York visit organised by the Media Department and the South African trip in April.  In addition to this, our netballers travel to Harrogate as County Champions tonight to take part in the Regional finals.  Good luck to our team – I am sure that they will give a good account of themselves.

We now have approximately 10 weeks left of teaching before the external examinations.  It is critical that all of you ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the staff and make the relevant sacrifices.  I do not want anyone to think, "If only I had worked harder…"  Every single one of you should endeavour to 'go the extra mile' to ensure that you fulfil your potential and can be successful.  That is more than I can say for my beloved Leeds United.