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iceland 2019

Land of Ice and Fire

By | Biology, College Trips, Course News, Geography, Mathematics | No Comments

The visit to Iceland was undertaken by the Geography Department in March.  Cyril Clark and Kerry Thompson took 24 geographers to the island of ‘ice and fire’ to study landforms and processes associated with constructive plate boundaries and glaciation.

The trip was highly successful partly because of the exciting itinerary but mainly because of the fantastic group of students that took a great deal of interest in the geographical landscape.

It was an early start on the first day.  All students were up and ready in the hotel reception at

4.45am ready to check in at the airport.   All students were wearing their bright red Wyke hoodies and followed all instructions in a military fashion to ensure swift clearance of luggage check and customs.  By 11am we were in a very cold snowy Iceland.

Our tour guide, Steffan (also a professional opera singer and huge fan of Wyke students), took us to our first destination, Gunnuhver, where we could walk among mud pools and steam vents generated from the geothermal reservoir beneath the rift valley.  We then drove past lava fields and crater rows to the Bridge between Continents, spanning a fissure acknowledged to be the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs through Iceland.  Crossing this symbolic bridge, we witnessed the effects of continental drift.

Our next stop was Stampar Craters where we could walk among pahoehoe and aa lavas that formed 800 years ago in eruptions known as the “Reykjanes Fires”.  These were fissure eruptions along a 4km fault which created the spatter cones called the Stampar crater row.  These lava fields are in an active rift zone which is prone to frequent but very small earthquakes.

We then visited Reykjanesviti, Iceland’s oldest lighthouse and Mt. Valahnúkur, composed of tuff layers, pillow lava and breccia.  The mountain was formed in a single eruption and shows evidence of the different phases of the eruption.   A drive along the coast allowed us to observe relic cliffs formed from the isostatic uplift following the end of the last glaciation.

The highlight of the day was dressing in hard hats and crampons to tunnel underground in a hollowed out lava tube.

We stayed at Snotra Hostel in the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull, where Cyril instructed the students on completion of their fieldwork booklet.

The second day was equally impressive.  We started by visiting SKogafoss a wide, thundering curtain of water 60m high and then made our way to Solheimajokull to trek on its frozen glacial snout careful to avoid the deep crevasses.  Our experienced glacier guide taught us how to use basic ice equipment, crampons and ice axes.

After lunch, we visited Reynishverfi where we could walk along the black volcanic beach to see magnificent basalt cliffs and caves.  Then to Dyrhólaey – the name means ‘door hill island’ – with its 120m high natural rock arch, this prominent headland is likely to have been formed in a submarine eruption similar to that of Surtsey Island in 1963.

After visiting another spectacular waterfall, it was back to the hostel for more fieldwork tasks and quiz night.  After the quiz we went to seek the Northern Lights with high hopes from the promising forecast – unfortunately none were to be seen.

The last day was the highlight for some students (me) as we were able to relax in the hot waters of the Secret Lagoon. With the steam rising into the air, the place has a magical feeling.  The water stays at 38-40 Celsius all year round and is perfect for bathing.  We soon cooled off during our next stop at Gullfoss.  These double falls drop around 33m then plunge into a mile-long gorge – one of the coldest moments of my life!

We then went to visit the site of Geysir, a spouting hot spring that gave its name to all the world’s geysers. Although it doesn’t often spout nowadays, its neighbour ‘Strokkur’ erupts every 10-15 minutes reaching a height of around 30m.   We then had a quick stop at Efstidalur dairy farm so that everyone could enjoy an ice-cream whilst standing in a blizzard.

We really appreciated the warmth of the coach as it took us to our last stop frequently used in The Game of Thrones for cold locations.  This National Park is where Iceland’s parliament was established in 930AD. The site straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, its rift valley forming where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates pull apart at an average of 3cm a year.

The last night was spent in Reykjavik, where we came face to face with the storm that was to cause havoc in the UK the next day.  A windy walk to the Hard Rock Café for tea and then bed after an exciting and exhausting three days of spectacular geography.

This was an amazing trip and one the students will never forget.

Washington DC Tour 2019

By | College Trips, Course News, Economics, Government & Politics, History, News, Sociology | No Comments

Visiting Washington DC in the spring-time was a trip to remember. This year the Wyke cross-college trip was scheduled later in the year, the weather was mild and the iconic cherry blossom trees were in full bloom, as twenty five politics and history students toured Washington DC.

Over the six day break, the group visited all the key monuments, historical sites, educational establishments and political institutions. The Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorial, the White House, Georgetown University, the Smithsonian Museums, Arlington Cemetery and Capitol Hill, were all visited in a packed itinerary. The visit to the Capitol Building was especially rewarding as the Senate was in-session, giving the students the opportunity to observe American politics in action.

The entire trip linked into the A level syllabus, a point that was constantly referenced throughout the tour. James Goodchild, A Level History teacher and John Whitaker, A Level Government & Politics teacher, took it in turns to deliver mini-lectures at all the landmarks. Catherine Eariss, A Level Sociology teacher, also drew connections to the social changes that the USA experienced during the 20th century.

It wasn’t all museum, landmark and statue. Following the success of last year, the group booked in to watch the Washington Wizards basketball game and others went to see an intense baseball match at the newly renovated National’s Park stadium. Add to this there was even time for shopping at the enormous Pentagon Mall.

To see more of Washington DC 2019, search Wyke Washington DC on Instagram or visit the Wyke Flickr account to download and keep.

Planning is already underway for 2020.

students standing in front of the remains of the Berlin Wall

Stasi, Spionage und Showbusiness in Berlin 2019

By | College Trips, Film Studies, German, History, News | No Comments

In the very wee hours of the morning, the Berlin trip departed from Wyke Sixth Form College for 4 very full days of history, culture, participation in the Berlinale film festival and German language!  17 students, largely from the German and Film departments and 2 staff enjoyed a veritable smorgasbord of activities throughout the week and fell into bed exhausted every night, after averaging 22,000 steps each day!

On the first day we ascended the Berliner Fernsehturm, the tallest building in Europe. In the 1960s, the GDR government arranged to have the TV Tower built at its current location, with the aim of demonstrating the strength and efficiency of the socialist system in mind.  Today the Tower defines the silhouette of Germany’s capital city – a symbol of the reunified Germany, just like the Brandenburg Gate. We also saw a very moving Japanese film called ’37 seconds,’ which followed the struggles of a 23 year-old woman with cerebral palsy as she navigates the world of work and sexual relations. A real eye-opener, providing food for thought for all.

The next day we all visited the highly informative DDR museum, a vast treasure trove of East German artefacts and memorabilia with real insights into life behind the iron curtain. A well-balanced experience, the museum described the underbelly of socialism – how the elite, whilst preaching equality for all, creamed off the luxury goods, had private healthcare and escaped to secret holiday destinations.  The students experienced life in a Stasi prison cell and the lack of creature comforts in the Plattenbauten (GDR concrete apartment blocks). On the other hand the interactive displays described a happy life under socialism – where nature was appreciated, sport was encouraged and a feeling of community was engendered.  Because of the shortage of basic goods and the lack of choice, materialistic consumption was not an issue and people enjoyed sharing with one another, camaraderie and building a life for the greater good.  After time for shopping and eating, which all thoroughly embraced, we headed over to the Zoo Palast for our second film screening, namely ‘Bulbul can sing,’ an Indian European premiere about 3 teenagers on the verge of adulthood.  The experience of first love puts them under the pressure of high expectations and strict moral codes of the villagers, resulting in tragic consequences.  Students gained a real insight into the cultural differences across the globe, especially when the director appeared live on stage to do Q&A.  We also found time to pay our respects to the victims of the terrorist attacks of 2016 when a truck drove through the Berlin Christmas market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaechtnis-Kirche, a bombed church, deliberately left in its post-war ruined state to act as a daily reminder of the horrors of war.  In the evening, after a delicious curry, we had an audio tour of the Reichstag, the German houses of parliament which had previously been burnt down during Hitler’s reign and had been re-built with a glass dome by architect Norman Foster, enabling one to look down on the government when they are in session, the idea being that the people are ‘above’ the government. Germany’s aim was to create an open building where politics are ‘transparent’ and not hidden, unlike those of the Nazi era. On the return to the hotel, we happened upon a very lively German busker who was keen to indulge their requests – I shall never hear John Denver’s ‘Take me home, country roads’ again without reflecting on how our jolly bunch sang and danced along!

The third day saw us split into 2 groups, in which film students went to see an American teen film about the disappearance and subsequent death of a schoolgirl. The film bordered on experimental and was reported as being somewhat absurd, with the events driving the inhabitants into a nightmare of angst and suddenly revealing strange personal details about themselves. Students found it quite quirky yet sinister, however they appreciated the creativity of the director in her use of bizarre visuals.

The German and history contingent spent the morning meandering down the Bernauer Strasse, a famous ‘memorial street’ which was cleaved in half overnight as the Berlin Wall was constructed. Locals jumped out of their windows to avoid being trapped in the GDR, some being caught in blankets held outstretched by the West German fire brigade. Many of these horrifying escape attempts ended in death and the street tells the poignant stories of many individuals who did not escape unscathed, serving simultaneously as a museum and memorial. The tall visitor centre enabled us all to look at a preserved section of the Todesstreife (death strip) with its bleak watchtowers and barbed wire fencing.  In the afternoon we ventured to the East Side Gallery, the last remaining section of the Wall, 1.3km in length, upon which political / controversial art is exhibited.  Students really enjoyed interpreting the meaning of said art and graffiti, for instance where Honecker is kissing Brezhnev, in a supposedly fraternal gesture of friendship, although many view it as satirical.  Later we all reconvened to visit the Holocaust memorial and to reflect on the horrors and magnitude of the suffering of the Jews under the Nazi regime. The memorial consists of 2711 concrete pillars of varying heights erected on a slope, with the ground underneath undulating.  As you walk deeper into the memorial, the blocks become taller, shutting out the light and you easily become disoriented. Many students experienced uncertainty, a feeling of oppression, a sense of giddiness and felt that the smoothness of the concrete left no way of vertical escape. A moving plenary followed this.  We watched our penultimate film screening at the rather glamorous Haus der Kulturen der Welt which was ‘Guo Chun Tian’, a Chinese film about a teen smuggling iphones across the Hong Kong border, in a bid for independence and to raise money for a long-desired trip abroad. We experienced the ups and downs of the girl’s emotions and experiences and most enjoyed the insight into the people who commute daily between Mainland China and Hong Kong. The subsequent Q&A with the director and main stars was riveting and provided some great tips for budding filmmakers, such as our students!  We then sauntered to the fabulous Lindenbräu restaurant in the impressive Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz where we all gorged on some very tasty and satisfying Bavarian fare.

Our final day saw us heading to Checkpoint Charlie, a famous crossing point on the Berlin Wall and was accompanied by a trip to the Mauermuseum there: Haus am Checkpoint Charlie where gruesome stories and documents describe attempts to escape over, under or through the Berlin wall; many of which were near misses.  In the afternoon we split off again with the German students delving into the very strange world of global secret service organisations at the interactive Spionage Museum.  Upon discovering an early German enigma machine and other gadgets utilised by secret agents, I fear our students were a little too keen to join MI6! They rather overlooked the whole ‘risking your life’ element and assassinations by Bulgarian umbrella.  The film students were meanwhile watching a screening of ‘We are little zombies’, a tale of 4 orphaned Japanese children and their lives after the deaths of their parents, involving a good dose of tragedy, comedy and social criticism, as they start a rock band together.   Finally, after a hearty lunch and final chance to spend our remaining Euros in the Arkaden at Potsdamer Platz, we hefted our luggage back to Schoenefeld airport in readiness for our return flight to Manchester. We were back at Wyke at 0100 on Friday morning, exhausted but uplifted.

The trip participants were absolute an absolute pleasure to lead around Berlin. Punctual, organised, enthusiastic and at all times respectful – even waiters commented on their politeness and overall comportment.  They soaked up all the experiences offered to them, asked pertinent questions and were cautiously adventurous. Harvi and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with them – they were a delight, keenly trying out new foods and Berlin specialities.  Have any of you tried Currywurst, a Spezi, Kaiserschmarren, Gulasch mit Knödel und Rotkraut, a proper Turkish Döner or a KiBa? Go on. I dare you.

 

Heather Lorch

Teacher of German

A Level Film Studies

Extra Work For Film Students

By | College Trips, Course News, Film Studies, Media, News, On Campus | No Comments

Both first and second year A level Film Studies students had the opportunity to step in front of the camera when they became “extras” at a feature film shoot.

The title of the film is a closely guarded secret and students had to commit to a non-disclosure agreement with the film producers. This meant no mobiles on set and an agreement not to distribute material through social media.

The film, a psychological thriller based around an enigmatic relationship, will be released in UK cinemas in 2019. Students spent the day at the KCOM stadium, the location of a flashback sequence, shooting the days rushes.

Harvi Kaur, A Level Film Studies teacher, coordinated the opportunity and said, “Taking part in a real film shoot enabled students to experience the technical process and the scale of production required to create a feature film.”

Film Studies at Wyke is one of a family of courses that supports creative students. These include Media Studies, Creative Digital Media, Photography, Graphic Design and Performing Arts. Applications are now open for 2019 and interviews are currently beginning scheduled. To avoid disappointed, we recommend that students apply by February 2019.

Students on a visit to Thailand

World Wide Wyke

By | College Trips, News | 4 Comments

Alongside offering an excellent array of Level Three courses, our College offers a multitude of trip and enrichment opportunities to our students.

Only five weeks have passed in the new academic year and we have already confirmed that 29 different trips will be on offer to our students over the upcoming year.

From climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to the Duke of Edinburgh expedition to Keswick, all of our visits add a richness and depth to learning a subject by actually giving our students the opportunity to visit the key locations they are studying.

Our visits also provide our students with once in a lifetime experiences, building memories that they will treasure long after leaving the College.

BSF

British Science Festival

By | Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry, College Trips, Community, Course News, News, On Campus, Physics | No Comments

A large contingent of Applied Science students will be visiting the British Science Festival next week as this prestigious event comes to Hull for the first time.

The students will be attending two lectures held at the Hull University campus. “Space Medicine” looks how space exploration affects the health of astronauts. The second talk, “The Weight of Expectation”, explores the health debates surrounding the obesity crisis.

Both lectures are not only informative; they also directly link into the student’s assessment and qualification. One of the units on Applied Science, “How Scientists Communicate their Work”, is supported by the information available at the festival.

The British Science Festival is the longest-standing science Festival in the UK. Organised by the British Science Association, it grew out of the tradition of the annual meetings of the Association – first held in York in 1831, and annually at cities across the UK. The four-day event is one of Europe’s longest-established science festivals, which each year travels to a new part of the UK, bringing a vast array of events, performances and exhibitions with a scientific twist.

Working in partnership with the University of Hull and other organisations in the Humber region, the British Science Festival is a flagship event as part of Hull’s City of Culture legacy focusing on three key areas – energy and the environment; health and the medical sciences; and exploration, movement and discovery.

Victoria series 3

Back to the 1850s

By | College Trips, Community, Course News, Drama & Theatre, Film Studies, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Media, News, Performing Arts, Photography | No Comments

BTEC Creative Digital Media students will be stepping back over 150 years as they visit the set of an internationally acclaimed television period drama.

Over three days the cast and crew of Mammoth Screen have been shooting scenes for series 3 of “Victoria” on High Street in the Old Town of Hull. Against a backdrop on cobbled lanes and fine Victorian architecture, the High Street has been dressed to disguise any indication of modern life. Street lighting has been covered with stacks of wooden barrels, period posters have been placed over modern billboards and the yellow double lines have been painted over in a dull grey paint. These simple changes have made one of Hull’s most famous streets the ideal film set.

Rebecca Ives, Head of Media and Film at Wyke, is using the occasion to inform her students about the employment opportunities in the wider media industry. She said, “On Friday I will be talking two groups of BTEC Media students to observe the media industry in action. It’s great for students to experience the scale and professionalism of such a well-respected television drama. Not only will they see the use of camera, sound and lighting, they will also see the supporting assistant directors, the set dressers and continuity assistants.”

Mammoth Screen selected Hull over many other rival locations. The scenes shot on the High Street will form 15 minutes of action on screen when the new series is aired later this year.

Atom Visit

Business Tour

By | Accounting, Business, College Trips, Community, Course News, Economics, News | No Comments

BTEC Business students teamed up with a highly successful local business to investigate the use of physical, technological and digital technologies.

The Atom Brewery, based at Malmo Food Innovation & Technology Park on Sutton Fields, was the revenue for Wyke students as they developed their coursework submission for Unit 2 “Business Resources”. The main activity involved a guided tour of the brewery conducted by co-founder Allan Rice. Aside from gaining an insight to the brewing process, the students were able to discuss the digital marketing strategy adopted by Atom.

Through the use of Twitter, the brewery has amassed nearly 6,000 followers that have help spread the brand across the globe. This combined with an interest in building a face to face relationship with their clients through public tours of their premises, plus a commitment to using the brewing process as a vehicle for education, have laid firm public relation foundations for the business.

Elizabeth Blakely, teacher of Business at Wyke, said, “The visit was a fantastic success. Atom were incredibly helpful, holding two tours to accommodate all of our students. Next year we hope to revisit with even more students.”

The links between Wyke and Atom go even further. Sarah Thackray, co-founder of Atom, also teaches Physics at the College. Next month the “Corn Exchange” in the city centre will open as Atom’s first bar. Besides offering their beers to a new audience, the company are also keen to use the pub as an educational revenue.

Battlefield Tour

History Prepare for Battle

By | College Trips, Course News, English, Geography, History, News, Sociology | No Comments
After last years successful visit to Belgium, the History department are organising another trip to the Flemish countryside to include next years first year students.
 
James Goodchild, Head of History at Wyke, is taking deposits of £75 from current students who want to be on the three day visit. The total cost is estimated to be £295.
 
The tour takes in some of the most famous sites from World War One, including Ypres and Vimy Ridge. The visit also extends to the Napoleonic Wars, visiting the Hougoumont farmhouse, a key location from the Battle of Waterloo.
 
Photographs from last years trip are currently on our Flickr site
 
Contact James Goodchild by email at james.goodchild@wyke.ac.uk for further information. There is also a pdf handout with details of the itinerary, travel and accommodation to download.
Chemistry Hull University

Chemistry Visit University Lab

By | Chemistry, College Trips, Course News, News | No Comments

In preparation for their A level examination, a group of 60 second year Chemistry students visited the Chemistry Department at Hull University.

Besides viewing demonstrations on a mass spectrometer and a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, the students also got supported time in a laboratory to conduct experiments. In small groups they were challenged to assemble apparatus to dehydrate a sample of 2-methylcyclohexanol.

The understanding of this process will help refine the students organic practical skills, an aspect of Chemistry A level Paper 3. It was also an opportunity to explore the fantastic facilities at our local university.

Many of the students are looking to progress onto a science based degree and this experience enhanced their understanding of undergraduate study.

https://www.flickr.com/…/72157667935585348/with/41537457981/