- 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.