Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Best of Times

As we approach the end of an academic year, this comment from Dickens is poignant:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us……."
- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
A period of great change for our country and for the education system.  The outcome of the Referendum is certainly very unsettling and even the "experts" are uncertain about what this will mean.  A series of questions remain unanswered:
  1. What will happen to employment?
  2. What will the companies, who rely on exports, do in response to the falling value of sterling?
  3. Who will be our next Prime Minister?
  4. Will there be a credible opposition and who will lead it?
  5. What will happen in relation to the border controls in France?
  6. Will Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom?
  7. Will the outcome of our Referendum trigger further exits from the European Union?

However, tumultuous changes at the macro level invariably cause changes at the micro level.  Changes to education mean that almost all Sixth Form Colleges will introduce linear A-levels.  All Sixth Form Colleges will also be deciding on whether they will and/or be allowed to convert to Academies, in the future.
Change is inevitable and our role, as a Senior Team, is to manage the change whilst ensuring that the quality of experience that you have continues to be of the highest standard.  Our role as a College is to ensure that all of you can fulfil your potential and proceed on to the next level in your careers.  The changes within the College include:
  1. The movement from six to four new faculties.
  2. New staff base rooms and accommodation for many subjects.
  3. The departure of some excellent staff to 'retirement' or the next stage in their careers.  This includes two staff who have served the College for over forty years between them and one who has inspired generations of students over the last two/three decades into the love of politics.
  4. The creation of new IT areas in response to the many requests from you for more study space. 
  5. New displays and ways to celebrate your amazing success and experiences.
  6. The appointment of exciting new staff: Business; Science; Law; Sociology; PE; Dance; Health and Social Care.
  7. The appointment of support staff so that we have a new Administration Manager, a UCAS/Careers Coordinator and a Work Experience/Careers member of staff.
  8. New catering arrangements in the Elm building.
  9. A new and exciting visit planned to enable you to experience Thailand and the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language.
  10. Changing the nature of our Awards Evening in January so that we are not constrained by the size of our Theatre.
  11. In line with changes at national level, becoming a linear College so that all of our A-levels will be examined externally at the end of two years of study.
  12. Introducing the idea of Electives for all students in their first year.
  13. Introducing a small number of new courses for prospective students.
  14. A new Student Executive that will function in a harmonious way to enhance the experience of our students.

So the year comes to an end and yet again, disappointingly, our country will not be in the latter stages of the European Championships, much like our country "choosing" to be out of the European Union.
As always, I am excited about the future of my beloved Leeds United: a new, young management team; some anticipated arrivals into the squad and a 'fresh' approach to the 2016-2017 season.  I cannot wait for it to begin.  No doubt, the Championship will be incredibly tough – some 'big' clubs have been relegated from the Premier league.  Leeds United will need to adapt.
"The snake which cannot cast off its skin has to die.  As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind," Friedrich Nietzsche.
Enjoy the summer.  For those who are going to 'new pastures', good luck in the future and for those returning, come back reinvigorated and ready for a successful new academic year.  Remember:
"The times they are a-changing," Bobby Dylan
"Fashion changes, but style endures," Coco Chanel 
We will continue to do what we do best.
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples," Mother Teresa.

Jay Trivedy