Wednesday, 13 December 2017

No Substitute for Hard Work

Untitled Document As the 1st term draws to a close, I would like to congratulate the following and express how proud I feel to be a part of our College:
  • Our footballers in reaching the national quarter-finals.
  • Our netballers on becoming County Champions (again) and on reaching the regional finals.
  • Our students on reaching the regional finals in the Bar Mock Trial in Leeds.
  • Our actors in being so highly commended in the Shakespeare for Schools competition.
  • Our incredible dancers on reaching the next stage in the dance finals and for their performance in the Dance Showcase last week.
  • Your success in the Oxbridge and medical applications: over 24 of you have been invited for an interview at Oxford or Cambridge and a significant number of you are awaiting interviews for medicine, dentistry or veterinary science.
  • The selection of two of our netball students to represent England in the National Colleges’ competition.

Three weeks ago, we were selected for a short Inspection by Ofsted.  I would like to thank those of you (students and staff) who were ‘fortunate’ in being able to spend time with the Inspectors.  The inspection was extremely successful and our College was highly commended on our excellent careers education and guidance, our work-related programme, the destinations of our students, our safeguarding and the work that we have done in relation to “British” values.  Inspections are rarely ‘enjoyable’ but I am pleased that we were able to demonstrate so much that we do extremely well.  Inspections also provide the impetus to continue to improve and we will certainly aim to do so.  We cannot be complacent.
In the last two months, we have had two ‘mornings in action’.  These provide an opportunity for prospective students and their parents to visit our College on a ‘normal’ working day.  I believe that these ‘mornings’ are an excellent way to show prospective applicants what happens in our College without the razzmatazz of Open Evenings.  Interestingly, during the first ‘morning’, it came to my attention that two fairly senior staff from a 5-19 school in Hull came to our ’morning in action’ under the guise of being a married couple with a son as a prospective student.  They then proceeded to visit many lessons and spent nearly two hours in conversation with our staff about “their son”.  It has subsequently transpired that they do not have a son in Year 11 and are not a ‘couple’.  Whilst somewhat flattered by this, I am also quite alarmed by their dishonesty.  We have not got a problem with bone fide visits during an ‘Open Evening’, but to blatantly ‘lie’ and take up so much of our time is unforgivable.  I do wonder what sorts of ‘stories’ will be told about our College to their students.
On Thursday, our winter examinations begin and I hope that all of you have prepared as much as you can.  I believe that your grades will certainly reflect your efforts and that these examinations will be the first clear indicators of your progress to date.  Remember, as Thomas Edison said,
“There is no substitute for hard work”.
The importance of taking control of our own lives cannot be underestimated.  Too often, I hear people talk as if things are inevitable, and thereby become victims.  All too often, some people are negative about the future.  My perspective on this is one that Barack Obama has commented on in The Audacity of Hope:
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.  Don’t wait for good things to happen to you.  If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
I love this festive period and look forward enthusiastically to spending time with my family and friends.  All too often, Christmas becomes a commercial activity and we lose the ability to appreciate the benefits of spending time together, eating, laughing and doing the simple things together.  I was inspired by this quote,
“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things,” 
Change we can believe in - Barack Obama

During the Christmas period, I will have the opportunity to watch my beloved Leeds United.  I hope that “we” have now “turned the corner” and look forward to going on a decent run of results.  I am so glad that we did not engage in any knee-jerk changes.  Change has to be planned very carefully and embraced so that it can have the desired effect.
As Mahatma Gandhi said,
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
……Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in Harmony”.
Have an excellent festive break.

Jay Trivedy

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

If it doesn’t Challenge you, it doesn’t Change you

challenge As we begin the second half of this term, it is worthwhile reflecting on the first eight weeks of the new academic year.
It is pleasing to see how well all of you have settled into life at our College and the lovely way in which you are conducting yourselves around the campus. Already, many of you have begun to access the additional support provided by the departments and are benefiting from the staff experience.
Attendance at the new parents’ evening and at the student Flyers’ evening in September has been excellent. All of you will now have completed your first Standardised Assessment and will be in the process of reviewing feedback on your performance. Remember that you are only here for two years and you must make the most of your time at College. It is really pleasing to see all of the extra PCs being utilised in the Library. As I explained in my talks, we are currently looking at expanding our catering provision and to offer you alternative facilities.
We have received our destinations data and I am really delighted that last year 87% of our students were successful in getting to university and that just under 25% of these (130 students), have gained entry to the Russell Group of Universities. Our record for entry into employment is equally impressive with the large accountancy, engineering, media, communication and software companies ‘cherry picking’ our students for higher level apprenticeships and sponsorship.  I am so proud of your achievements and never fail to be amazed by what you can do. I believe that a high-quality general education continues to be the best preparation for future success.
On the theme of destinations, we continue to be the largest provider of students going on to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science at university. I do believe that our medics’ programme is outstanding. Recently, I was privileged in being invited to participate in our mock interview programme for medics and was delighted to witness the range of test situations that presented themselves. Indeed, today I will be involved in your mock Oxbridge interviews at Hull University, where over 35 of you will be ‘put through your paces’.
I have reflected on the start of the new academic year and realised how much I miss the friendship and presence of a ‘sage’ and colleague who retired last year. His wisdom, support and advice continue to be invaluable and I really miss our meandering observations about life in our weekly meetings. He gave us some great advice and left us with pearls of wisdom:
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
“Even better if….”
“And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. This above all else, to thine own self be true.”
This ex-colleague worked here for many years and made a real difference to the quality of what we provide at our College. I am certain that he will be doing the same in Pocklington where he lives.
The adage, “… time waits for no man…” is so apt. We are already into our second Open Evening and I want to thank all of you for volunteering to come and talk to prospective students. The first Open Evening was the busiest that we have ever been and I was incredibly moved to hear so many parents talking about you (our students).
Our College is beautiful because of what happens inside the fabric of the buildings – the support, the achievement, the friendship, the care, the relationships……..
We have a colleague on the Senior Team who frequently says:
“So…hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea….. Or “Here’s one for you……”
This boundless enthusiasm combined with intellect and humility is the essence of what we are about – long may that continue because it is only by continuing to think of new things and better ways of doing things that we will improve and remain outstanding.
I would like to thank all of you for the way in which you have ‘embraced’ the concept of lanyards. You can see the necessity of having this and for the overwhelming majority of you, you have co-operated. After all, I feel that all of us should be proud of being ‘members’ of our wonderful College but our College is nothing without you.
On a different note, I am quite concerned about my beloved Leeds United. After a wonderful start, we have faltered and already the ‘knives are out’. I hope that there is no knee-jerk reaction and that the international break will allow time for reflection, practice and self-belief (which is sadly lacking in a team that is devoid of confidence).
Sometimes in life one has to ‘draw up the hatches’ and focus fully on the task at hand. As Colin Powell said:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure”.
Enjoy the second half of this term.
Jay Trivedy

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Wyke Welcome

Principal's Blog Welcome to our College and to the start of the new academic year.  I hope that you have had a great summer and that you have achieved the grades that you deserve.  It has been a wonderful summer for our College with some outstanding results, excellent staffing developments and news coverage, record recruitment and further development of our accommodation.  I believe that the extension of our library makes it one of the best study facilities for students in the area.
As I drove home last Friday I reflected on the numerous comments that were made to me by our newest students and parents.  As always, in an effort to retain students (against their best interests), the usual "mistruths" and negativity about our College were aired by some 11-18 schools:
  • "Wyke is too big."
  • "You won't know anyone and you’ll be lost".
  • "You will only be a number at Wyke".
  • "You will struggle to make friends".
  • "Wyke is too academic…"

Indeed, a few of the schools have even "promised the earth":
  • "You can be the lead in the school production and choir".
  • "You can have access to the most amazing work experience".
  • "You will have a personalised reference from the headteacher".
  • You can captain the netball team"….

It saddens me to hear this but I listened to a song by Labi Siffre in the car, Something Inside So Strong, which I found very inspiring, almost as if it had been written about our College:
"The higher you build your barriers
The taller (we) become
The further you take (our) rights away
The faster (we) will run…
The more you refuse to hear (our) voice
The louder (we) will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well, we know better
Just look (them) in (their) eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
Something at (Wyke’s) so strong, so strong
Though you're doing (us) wrong, so wrong…"
Labi Siffre     
So a great summer of success for our College: students and staff returning safely from Thailand and South Africa; having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; progressing to the 'top' universities on some of the most prestigious courses and so many happy stories on results day on National TV (the BBC).
As the new term begins, I cannot help but get excited for the year ahead.  On Wednesday, the new students will arrive with fresh faces, excited but nervous too.
A verse from Coldplay's Lost comes to mind:
"You might be a big fish
In a little pond.
Doesn't mean you've won
‘Cause along may come
A bigger one
And you will be lost".
Let's hope that none of you get lost this week and that you thrive in a new, more adult environment.
Enjoy the "new adventure", learn, smile and get involved in all that our College can offer.  Don't believe the doubters and remember that so many students have already trodden the path to success.  Be positive and be determined to begin successfully the new chapter in your Wyke career.
My optimism stems from so many great bits of news that we received about our College and things that happened this summer.  No doubt, the purchase of an extra 200 new PCs will be a real bonus in terms of private study facilities as well as the option of exploring other catering provision on site.
I am also excited about my beloved Leeds United and the stability (finally) around the club.  We finally own our ground and some excellent staff have been recruited from all corners of the globe (much like our College).
Finally, it would be remiss of me to not mention the fabulous "Story of Mick Ronson: The Spider from Hull".  It was certainly one of the most enjoyable evenings that I have had with incredible live music (involving our Wyke music students and staff).  Full credit must go to Garry Burnett and Rupert Creed who wrote and produced the show and performed to a ‘packed house’ for 13 consecutive days.
Have a great start at our College and welcome to aspirational success and the enjoyment of learning.
I will leave you with two quotes from WH Auden and Dolly Parton:
"Among those whom I like or admire,
I can find no common denominator,
But among those whom I love, I can;
All of them make me laugh",       WH Auden.
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain",                                                                                                                      Dolly Parton.
Jay Trivedy

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Mobilisation of the Young

As the academic year draws to a close, I am very conscious that I must take the opportunity to reflect on some of the key events that have impacted on our College.

Sadly, all of us participated in the minute’s silence in honour of those affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower last week.  This was the third occasion in the last few months when we have had a minute’s silence, and as always, you have been immensely respectful as a 'marker' of our sadness about the tragic loss of innocent lives.  We live in troubled times but we must endeavour to acknowledge so many of the positive things that are happening in the world.

 Sophocles said:
"Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all".

In the case of the Grenfell fire, a line from Bobby Dylan comes to mind,
"Money doesn't talk, it swears".

What is particularly encouraging is the mobilisation of the young to be involved in social issues and to be committed to bring about change.

"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe.  You have to make it fall,"
Che Guevara.

"In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall", Bobby Dylan.

Stories of ordinary folk like you or I, who have risked their lives and showed incredible generosity are really heart-warming.  I am delighted when I see many of you looking concerned as you read/hear the news on our College screen.

I am even more pleased when I hear you in animated discussion about social issues.  We all need to be engaged in shaping our world and be optimistic about the future when we witness amazing kindness and heroics. 

As Marcel Proust said:
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul blossom".

As Bobby Dylan said:
"The hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom".

Let us all be heroes and aim to create a better world.  Our small but individual actions and acts of kindness should not be underestimated.

This is the time of year when we say ‘goodbye’ to the second year students and wish you luck for the future.  I do believe that we make our own luck and that we shape our destiny.  As the first cohort since 2000, when our examination systems switched to modularity, you have participated in linear A-levels.  Clearly this requires a different approach to passing examinations and I do believe that you have adapted very well.  I haven't spoken to a single person who has come out of an examination in a distraught manner.  I believe and hope that you will achieve the success that you deserve.  So many of you have worked incredibly hard, accessed all of the support available and you deserve to achieve your dreams.

As Bobby Dylan said:
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours".
I look forward to sharing your dreams when you collect your results in August.  In the meantime, as long as you have done your best, no-one can ask for any more.

This is also the time of year when we say ‘goodbye’ to a number of staff who are retiring or moving to other promoted posts.  I would like to thank you for all that you have done for our College and our students.  Many thanks for your work in ensuring our success at a time when our College has grown by nearly 50% and the outcomes improved so significantly.  We wish you good health and good fortune for the future.

 As Morrissey said:
"Age shouldn't affect you.  It's just like the size of shoes – they don't determine how you live your life.  You're either marvellous or you’re boring, regardless of your age….."

So even in retirement or at the next stage in your career, seize the day and make informed choices.  Morrissey also said:
"Age gives you a great sense of proportion.  You can be very hard on yourself when you're younger but now I just think "well, everybody is absolutely mad and I'm doing quite well…"

For all of you, I hope that the year has been immensely productive and a time for growth, development and friendship.  I would like to thank all of you who have been involved in the series of appointments that we have made.  I believe that the new appointments are extremely exciting and will enable our College to become even better.  I hope that the friendships that you have developed will serve as a foundation for future success.

Helen Keller said:
"The greatest gift of life is friendship.
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light".

For those of you who will be returning for the start of the new academic year and those who will be joining us in September, as Bobby Dylan said:
"Yesterday is just a memory, tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be".

Finally, the year has been extremely successful and one in which there have been many challenges, great opportunities and significant triumphs.

My highlight has got to be winning the National Colleges' Football final so convincingly at the Walsall Stadium.  An extraordinary feat against some of the largest Colleges in the country.  Winning the final is something that I will always remember, even if I did have to dry-clean my suit.  I hope that this success will be replicated by my beloved Leeds United, who have a "new" management team (again).  Have a great summer and remember:

"A bore is a man who, when you ask how he is, tells you," Bert Leston Taylor.

Jay Trivedy, Principal

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Final Push

Untitled Document I hope that you have all had a great Easter and are ready for the 'final push' to the end of the year.  I do know that all of you have worked hard but the ability to work at one's own pace in one's own environment and without the structure of College, is itself, restful.  Many thanks to all of you who came into the College for revision, further preparation for the forthcoming examinations and those who journeyed with you to Scafell, poetry competitions in London and the national sports competitions.

Clearly the focus this term is very much based on the classroom, attending lessons and any support sessions that are organised by departments.  Races are often won on the final lap and it is never too late for the last minute push to succeed.

Just before Easter, I had the privilege to travel to Beijing in China, with a colleague from Hull University, Dina Lewis (who is on our Corporation), and Andy Grace, the Principal of the Boulevard Academy.  All of us worked together and individually presented 'papers' on some of the innovative liaison work that we are engaged in, as three separate organisations.  Dina’s paper on the ‘engagement’ of Hull University with the community was the focal topic, which was extremely well received, and around which both Andy and I were able to tell "our" stories.  Our hosts at Beijing Normal University were wonderful in ensuring that we were very well looked after, and able to visit a school and be involved in discussions about some of the educational issues facing China (many of which are similar to the ones we face in the UK).  I found the whole experience very moving and as always, it enabled me to reflect on our College.  We met some incredible students who were highly articulate, very positive, amazingly bright, generous and confident and were superb hosts.  They also had a wonderful sense of humour which made the whole experience fun, enjoyable and enlightening.

These characteristics are universal.  I witness them throughout our College on a daily basis in members of our College community who are positive, hard-working and only want our College to be successful in everything that we do.  This is what so many visitors say to me when they come to our College and the reason why I believe that our College is so special.

Just before I went to Beijing, we had dignitaries from Thailand who came to our College to meet some of the staff and students who will be visiting Thailand in July.  They were overwhelmed by their reception, the performance of our musicians, dancers and even our 1st team coaches, Nick and Michael (aka Pugg), who ‘popped’ in to "say hello".  Our friends from Thailand left Wyke feeling welcomed with warm/lovely memories of the day.  I have absolutely no doubt that this hospitality will be reciprocated to our students and staff in July.

The line from Lord Tennyson in Ulysses comes to mind:

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield".

This has become a call to the human spirit to never give up even in the face of adversity.  I believe that it was also used as an inspirational maxim to greet the world's athletes at the entrance to the London Olympic Village in 2012.  I believe that travel and reflection are great motivators to continue to strive.  I would urge each and every one of you to continue "to seek" and to be true to your values during the final few weeks before your examinations.

"A person doesn't have to change who he is to become better",   Sidney Poitier

As the football season draws to a close, like on many occasions, my beloved Leeds United have fallen short of all the promise that was evident a few months ago and like all lifelong supporters, I am deeply saddened.  Indeed, both James Goodchild and I can be found lamenting on what could have been.  However, I am really pleased that Hull City (the Tigers) are likely to survive.  In this Year of Culture, Hull desperately needs a team that is in the Premier League and to benefit from the accompanying investment as well as publicity.

Next week our Under 19 Boys' football team will be playing in the Association of Colleges' national final at the Walsall Stadium.  This is an amazing achievement and a great honour.  It is a 'first' for our boys' team and one that is thoroughly deserved particularly as we have been competing against some of the largest Further Education Colleges in the country.  Clearly, I know that we will give a 'good account' of ourselves and hopefully, that we will win.  However, regardless of the outcome, this needs to be celebrated and as a College, we will all be rooting for our team in Walsall on 4th May.

I am immensely proud and would like to thank all of the staff who have been involved with the team: the coaches, the referees, the squad of players, the whole of our magnificent PE Department, the cleaning staff and our minibus drivers.  This team ethos is one that can achieve at the highest level and the metaphor of the success of our football team can be used to illustrate your "drive" for success in academia.  Ultimately, you will be judged by your performance in the examinations (much like our football team).  However the "team effort" in College in preparing you should not be underestimated: the departmental staff; support staff, the tutors, examinations team, our library staff, minibus drivers, premises staff, IT staff….  The list is endless and each of us has a part to play in your success.

"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."                              William Shakespeare

Remember, that all of us have to work extremely hard and that success has to be earned.

"So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune",                                                                   Ruth Ginsburg

Finally, to return to our wonderful team and the cup final in Walsall, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, voted athlete of the century in 1999, said:
"The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning",     Pele

Work extremely hard and play hard.

Jay Trivedy


Monday, 13 March 2017

Level of Commitment Sets Us Apart

Welcome back after the well-deserved half-term break.  As the daylight hours increase, I feel increasingly optimistic about our College and the range of activities that you are engaged in.
  Only last week, students returned from Florence (Mathematics), Berlin (Film Studies and German), Cern (Physics), New York (Media Studies), and I am delighted by the brilliant comments made by staff.  You continue to be such outstanding ambassadors for our College and I am certain that your experiences will stand you in good stead for the future.  Of course, none of these trips would have been possible without the tremendous commitment and dedication of our wonderful staff.  Organising such excellent experiences is certainly not easy and can be extremely demanding, both physically and mentally.  These trips also mean that our staff are away from their immediate families.  However, we are blessed with such commitment and we know how beneficial these trips can be.  I do believe that this level of commitment sets us apart from almost all of the post-16 providers at 11-19 schools and colleges.  The fact that the following trips are organised for later this year is testament to this: Thailand (July); South Africa (July); Tanzania and Kilimanjaro (June); Paris (June); Washington (April); Iceland (March). 
  So much has happened since I last wrote both at our College and in the world. 
  Recently, I had the fortune of spending time with four wonderful students who "volunteered" to take part in the Youth Speaks Competition.  It was such a privilege to experience the development of an argument about role models; the thoughtful, sensitive way in which the group supported each other and the passion with which Sarah Magaharan delivered the argument.  It was no surprise that Sarah’s speech won the day but the team effort was incredible.  There is a great line from the writer Calvino,
  "I speak and speak, but the listener retains only the words he is expecting.  It is not the voice that commands the story: it is the ear."
As our group finished their presentation, one noisy adult behind me said,
  "Wow!  Who said young people don't care.  Doesn't it give you hope for the future, Jay?"
  Last week was 'Book Week’ and it was great to see evidence of reading, the book of Wyke, quotes and to hear famous lines.  After all, as an educational establishment, we are nothing without books and the written word.
  "The desire to have many books, and never to use them, is like a child that will have a candle by him all the while he is sleeping", Henry Peacham
"The pen is the tongue of the soul", Miguel de Servantes in Don Quixote.
Two weeks ago, some of our photography students won prizes and accolades for their outstanding work.  I am hoping that their work will soon be displayed at our College so that we have the opportunity to 'enjoy' their creative endeavours.
Our boys' football team have progressed on to the national semi-finals (once again for the third year) and it is an incredible achievement for a College of our size.  We are participating in a competition where most of the colleges are at least five times our size and we continue to "punch above our weight".  I am immensely proud of our students, the manner in which they conducted themselves on the day and our outstanding coaching staff.  I will certainly be attending the semi-finals in Crewe and hope that we can progress on to the finals.  I have always maintained that when one achieves or reaches a certain level on merit, there is no stopping them.  This applies in all walks of life: academia, music, drama, sport…… It is crucial that you believe in yourself and the evidence is in your success, whether it is being accepted at the top universities, on the most prestigious courses or in a competitive environment on a national platform.
On Friday, our dancers will travel to Liverpool to take part in the National Dance Competition Finals.  I wish them luck because it is an honour to compete at a national level against some of the best dancers in the country.  It is certainly something that you will never forget and at a level that we have never achieved at our College.
On Wednesday I went to the first night of our College production, Your House, and loved every minute of it.  As always, the team of staff and students decided to push the boundary.  The live music was performed in the atrium and digitally transmitted into the theatre and to the cast.  Clearly, the acting, singing and music had to be synchronised.  What a difficult challenge to set ourselves but the outcome was truly amazing.  Well done to all of the cast, the musicians and the staff.
As we approach the examination period and that time of year when judgements are made, I am really convinced that you should be true to yourself:
"Above all, do not appear to others what you are not".   Robert E Lee
Hold your counsel and be focused on the next stage:
"A bore is a man who, when you ask how he is, he tells you,"      Bert Leston Taylor
Take control of your life and do not expect others to make things happen for you:
"The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is right.  You have to make it fall,"
Che Guevara
The world is a more uncertain place at the moment with the changes at national and international level.  However, I believe that truth, like quality, always rises to the fore.
"Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things and discloses all,"                                                                                                              Sophocles
Finally, I will leave you with one of my favourite quotations from an English "convict", imprisoned for hunting and poaching:
"The Law locks up the man who steals the goose from the common, but leaves the greater villain loose who steals the common from the goose".

Jay Trivedy

Friday, 27 January 2017

Try Something New

As we approach the end of the first month in this ‘Spring' Term, it already feels as if the Christmas/New Year celebrations are a distant past.

The mocks have been marked, reports written and all of us are concentrating our energies on the Parents' Consultation Evenings and the areas that need our attention in order to improve.  I have had a number of conversations about the mistakes and silly errors that were made in the mocks.  I have been pleased to hear about the lessons learned and how these will not be repeated.  I am glad this happens during the mocks rather than the actual examinations.  We all make mistakes but only some of us learn from our mistakes.  Einstein said,

"The person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

Mistakes can be made when you take risks, try something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Too many people just "play safe" and as a consequence, never "move on".  I believe that it was Einstein who also said,

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

During January, many of you have begun to receive offers from universities and employers.  It is really pleasing that so many of you are being successful.  Invariably, some of you may be a little disappointed, but remember, that for many of the most prestigious universities and courses it is a bit of a lottery.  I believe that sometimes it is their loss.  They are the ones who will be losing such outstanding students.

During this month, I have had the privilege of speaking to all of you about the next stage in your career and what you need to do to be successful.  Clearly, hard work, commitment, the drive to understand and practice under examination conditions is essential.

Successful people in all walks of life always work extremely hard and are aware of what needs to be done.  I hope that by now all of you have had one-to-ones with your subject staff and your tutors.  I do hope that you are inspired by many of your subjects and that you are accessing all the support that is available at our College.  Einstein said,

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge" …. and remember,… "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough".

At the start of term, we had our annual Awards Evening and it was wonderful to see so many of our students returning to collect prizes and share some of their experiences.  Invariably, the students who received awards were the ones who had a 100% attendance record and who worked extremely hard.  It was a privilege to meet with students whom I last saw in August.

Our musicians and dancers performed in the marquee and I realised the level of talent that we have at our College.  It was fantastic to learn about the amazing success of our dancers at the National Semi-finals in Blackpool.  We have managed to progress through to the National Final in Liverpool despite being the only College that is not a dance school.  I am extremely proud of our students and staff who have taken dance to a completely new level this year.  To return from the competition, laden with trophies and having learned so much, is truly incredible, especially as this is a 'first' for our College.

World events in January continue to be a worry.  The growth of Nationalism and a "Forrest Gump" approach as guiding principles is a concern.

"Nationalism is an infantile disease.  It is the measles of mankind," and … "the world is a dangerous place to live: not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it," Einstein.

I believe in the power of young people, like yourselves, to change things for the better but I also believe that none of us can be complacent.  We all have to believe in what we are doing and strive to make the world a more informed, safer and better place to live.

Finally, I am ever the optimist and as always, believe that this is the year for my beloved Leeds United.

My talks to you were about "time" and academic maturation so I will finish with two quotes from the genius that is Einstein,

"When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second.  When you sit on a cinder a second seems like an hour.  That’s relativity."

"Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature".

My next blog will incorporate quotes from my brilliant EPQ group that is a microcosm of our College.

Jay Trivedy