Monday, 30 April 2018

The "Right" Thing

The "Right" Thing

This morning I listened to a track by Bob Dylan called “Buckets of Rain”.  It inspired me and made me think about our College and my role:

“Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all the buckets coming out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand”.

As Principal, the vast majority of my time is spent attempting to solve problems and find acceptable solutions.  Sometimes on my own but mostly with different teams of staff, students and of course, our Senior Team.  Sometimes this involves making tough decisions but always with our whole College in mind and ultimately, with what is in the best interests of you (our students), to enhance learning and success.  In the course of my daily dealings, I encounter so many “moonbeams” that it reinforces what is so special about our College.

“I been meek
And hard like an oak
I seen pretty people disappear like smoke
Friends will arrive friends will disappear”.

Trying to do the ‘right’ thing is always very difficult and cannot be taken lightly.  With a College community of nearly 2000 students, 180 staff plus the associated parents and external partners, pleasing everyone is impossible.

“Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well”.

However, within all of this, the “moonbeams” shine through, lighten our hearts, make me smile about our purpose and raison d’être.  On a daily basis, I hear beautiful conversations and meet with so many selfless people who are prepared to go the “extra mile” for our College.

“I like your smile
And your fingertips
I like the way that you move your hips
I like the cool way that you look at me”.

At Easter, I was privileged to take part in the visit to Poland.  Throughout the trip, I kept pinching myself because I could not believe how special it was.  Apart from the emotional (Auschwitz), physical (walk to the top of the mountain in the snow) and intellectual (salt mines) challenge, the trip was by far the best that I have been on.  Throughout, there was laughter, support of one another, deep intellectual conversations and reflection.  I found it extremely gratifying to witness the next generation of leaders emerging.  Our College (and society) is extremely safe and in great hands.  The support and encouragement that I got on the walk was incredible and the experience is one that will always remain with me.

As we approach the examination season, it is imperative that we are all extremely focused on what is required for success.  I felt humbled earlier this week when I talked to some of you at 4.30 pm, as you were having a “break” from your “stint” in the Library.  Our conversation was wonderful and it reinforced just how committed you are to ensure that you succeed.  This combination of friends was also very interesting.  It made me think about a metaphor that I have heard from a close friend of mine.  There are energy givers (radiators) and energy sappers (drains).  During this period and in the future, ensure that you are a roaring radiator (positive, finding solutions, optimistic and taking control of your life) and not a drain.  Surround yourself with roaring radiators and avoid the drains.  From my experience, the radiators tend to gravitate towards other radiators and the drains are drawn to other drains.  I love this quote from Nelson Mandela:

“I never lose.  I either win or learn”.

I would like all of you to be winners and to have this attitude to life.

Earlier this week, when so many of you were arriving through the main entrance and I was concentrating on checking lanyards, one of you came up to me and offered me some sweets.  It made me smile and once again, I thought of “moonbeams”.

Finally, remember to believe in yourself.  We all have an inner strength that we need to harness and try on “different faces” but remember your ‘real’ face.

“Well we all have a face
That we hide away for ever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone.
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They’re the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on”,                 Billy Joel.


Good luck in the examinations.  You can never be over prepared.


Jay Trivedy

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Making the right choice

The Easter break represents a crucial period in the academic calendar.  All of you are at a point in your Wyke career when the choices that you make will greatly influence the degrees of success that you are likely to achieve.

The Rag Week is in “full flow” and I have just been downstairs to witness the students vs staff games as well as the Super Mario races.  There is a great atmosphere and a tremendous level of energy throughout our campus.

Amidst all of this, many of you, students, teachers, support staff and members of our Corporation are involved in choosing the next Principal for our College.  How do we reconcile such divergent and complex things that surround us?

So much is going on and the decisions that are made will have a significant and profound influence on us all:

  • What do I need to do to improve my grades?
  • Which events should I participate in during Rag Week?
  • How can I influence the choice of our “new” Principal?
  • What sacrifices do I need to make now in order to achieve success in the future?

The complexity and connectedness of things that happen at our College and that we do are a testament of the beauty of all that happens.  Albert Einstein said:

“Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex”.

So the appointment of the Principal will occur and whoever is chosen to lead our College to the next stage will be an excellent choice.  I am certain that the “new” Principal will want you to make the necessary sacrifices at Easter, to get involved in all that happens at our College and to listen to your voice about how your experience can be improved.  Remember that all of us have to work exceptionally hard in order to succeed.  Albert Einstein said:

“Inspire others by the way you deal with your struggles, your heartache, your imperfections”.

So my message to you, and one that underlies everything that I have previously said, is that you need to take control of your life and look for positive solutions to the issues that you face.  Do not look for others to solve the everyday issues that concern you.  Be part of a team in which your positivity helps to bring about the greater good.  My close friends and the ones that I value are all people who are “energy givers” rather than “energy sappers”.

“The essential challenge is to transform the isolation and self-interest within our communities into connectedness and caring for the whole”,          Peter Block

My beloved Leeds are faltering but have a new manager who I am confident will lead us to success, perhaps not in 2018 but 2019.  But then again, I am just an optimistic fan.

Have a great Easter.

Jay Trivedy

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Celebrate all that is excellent

Celebrate all that is excellent All employers, pre-or post-university, look for candidates who have a range of characteristics which include: resilience; the ability to communicate effectively; an excellent work ethic; the ability to provide solutions to problems; the ability to work effectively in a team and to have a track record of success.  An excellent attendance rate, punctuality and presentation are essential and should never be underestimated.  Indeed, no employer will want an employee whose attendance is infrequent, who is frequently late and cannot be relied upon to complete tasks effectively.  I believe that these skills are essential for success in every ‘walk’ of life and at every stage.  Our role as a College is to ensure that we are outstanding role models in the development of these skills.

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself”,                
Chinese proverb

Many of you will have certain goals that you want to achieve, some of you may even have certain resolutions for the New Year.  Our family have started the “30 Day Song Challenge” where each of you has to think of a song which you link to certain memories (good and bad) and with certain titles, for example, a song that makes you sad, a song that moves you forward, a song that breaks your heart… This has been a very revealing exercise and meant that I have listened to songs that I have never heard before: “Boy from School”, Grizzly Bear or “Chi Mai”, by Ennio Morricone; “Halfway Round the World”, Aurora or “She moves in her way”, Kooks…..

The term has started well and it was wonderful to meet up with last year’s leavers on the Awards Evening.  So many students returned to collect their awards and I couldn’t help thinking how they have changed in such a short time period.  The whole evening made me realise what a fantastic College we have and I felt incredibly proud of the amazing achievements.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work that is necessary to make this happen and long may that continue.  I particularly enjoyed the performance of our musicians and dancers who demonstrated the extremely high standards that they have been set.

“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word”,
Mata Hari

I would like to congratulate our 1st XI football team who were selected by the Hull Daily Mail as the Team of the Year last week.  What an honour and my thanks to Nick and Puj for all that they did last year. 

There is a great line from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

“Experience shows us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction”.

I believe that this is what we all need to do to look together in the same direction and celebrate all that is excellent about our College:
  • The record number of offers (11) that you have from Oxford and Cambridge Universities;
  • That over 600 of you have submitted your UCAS applications;
  • You continue to excel in sports, music, the arts and academic achievement;
  • Many of you will be travelling to New York, Washington, Berlin, Thailand, Iceland, South Africa….
  • The wonderful mentoring work that many of you engaged in with Year 10 and Year 11 at the Boulevard Academy;
  • Your impending visit to the London Universities;
  • Our first ever trip to Poland at Easter;
  • Our Rag Week in March and the monies that we will raise for MIND;
  • Our hosting of and participation in the Youth Speaks Competition;
  • Our cross-College production of Grease (first performed 30 years ago at Wyke), in February.

There is so much going on but we must remain ‘grounded’.  As DH Lawrence said:

“The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure”.

Being grounded at our College means that all of us must work very hard for a common purpose, take control of our fate and talk to each other rather than on relying on hearsay and gossip.  Vincent Lombardi in “The Chase” said:

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up”.

We have to learn to be resilient.  My beloved Leeds have had a bad run of late (again) but as ever, I remain optimistic and continue to “draw” lessons from their fate:

“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning”, Pele.

So aim for the best and push yourself to strive.  Leeds have certainly made it difficult for themselves but their eventual success will be all the sweeter.

“You are never really playing an opponent.  You are playing yourself, your own high standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy”,
Arthur Ashe

In aiming to do so well, it is your high standards that you have to reach.
As the racing driver, Mario Andretti, said:

“If everything is under control, you’re not going fast enough”.

Enjoy the remainder of this term and the start of spring, it will come and go in a flash.

“A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds”.
Jesse Owen

Jay Trivedy

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