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German

German Students Recognised by Oxford University

By | Course News, German
Two of Wyke’s second year German students, Libby Darcy and Alastair McLelland, entered a literature competition held by Oxford University’s German network, for which they had to read a piece of literature, Die Verlobung in St Domingo by Heinrich von Kleist, and to then write a detailed, fully referenced 1500-word essay, answering 1 of 4 questions – all throughout the summer holidays!
Alastair McLelland (year 2) came 3rd and has won a £100 prize plus has an invitation to attend an award ceremony in June 2022.
They received over 50 entries this year and only awarded prizes and commendations to eight essays and ‘fully appreciate how much time, effort and thought goes into completing such a substantial essay on a challenging piece of literature, especially when it goes far beyond the school syllabus and is completed independently of teacher input.’ 

Oxford German network were very impressed by the overall quality of all the essays: ‘they were generally as good – and in many cases better! – than the work that our first-year undergraduates produce. Indeed the essays we asked you to write were exactly the kind of essays we ask students to write at Oxford.’ Head Judge Professor Ritchie Robertson commented that the essays were of a particularly high standard this year and contained many insightful observations about Kleist’s story, which made for very engaging reading.

They also wrote; ‘If you’re thinking about applying to study German at university and are wondering if you’re good enough to write essays about German literature, the answer is yes! The very fact that you decided to spend significant time over the summer reading Die Verlobung in St. Domingo, familiarising yourself with secondary literature on it, and writing your essay shows that you have just the right approach. This kind of dedication and passion is exactly what we and other universities are looking for in candidates for a Modern Languages degree. The fact that your essay was selected as one of the strongest entries by the judges only underscores this.’

In response to Alastair’s essay, they explained, ‘This clear, well-written, and well-structured essay makes many insightful points about Kleist’s story by analysing well-chosen examples from the text. For example, there is sophisticated analysis of projection in the second paragraph, and of Gustav’s combination of racial and gender stereotypes in the third paragraph. There are many more excellent observations like this, confirming the author’s engagement with the story. ‘

Congratulations to all the entrants! This is a fine example of engagement in supra-curricular activities which support UCAS applications. Libby and Alastair should be very proud of themselves.

Journey to Number 10

By | Course News, French, German, Spanish

Former Wyke and Winterton student, Rebecca Johns, has recently started working as a communications officer for 10 Downing Street after taking a varied career path inspired by her love of languages.

During her time with us, Rebecca studied French alongside Biology, Chemistry and Maths. She had clear aspirations to become a doctor, but chose to study French after deciding that she wanted to keep other options and career pathways open to her.

She said: “…it was always another point of interest that I have, and it was something different that universities and employers look for on CVs. It shows a really good skillset and taps into a bit of a different learning style compared to what I was going to be studying.

“The most enjoyable thing about learning a language is that you don’t just learn about the language but also about the culture, through books and films that you wouldn’t normally come across.”

Upon completing her studies at Wyke, Rebecca went on to study biomedical science, but soon realised that becoming a doctor was not the right career path for her. She soon moved on to looking at the different options that were available to her. During her time at university in Liverpool, she spent two summers working as an au pair in Madrid, an experience which she credits her language studies for. After graduating, Rebecca moved to China for a year and studied Mandarin, after securing a scholarship with the British Council.

She said: “I didn’t think they’d pick me because I studied a STEM subject and not a language at university. It’s another reason why I’m so glad I did French at A Level, because I think it showed that I did have language skills.”

Upon returning to the UK, Rebecca joined an events company, producing various business events and working her way up to become a project manager, which allowed her to utilise her language skills when producing international events. She has also worked for Just Eat as an account executive, which included managing a portfolio of restaurants and working with them on social media campaigns.

“Working for a big tech company is completely different to events, and I think that when you study a language you can show that you’ve got versatility especially if you study it alongside other subjects.”

At the beginning of March, Rebecca joined 10 Downing Street as a communications officer for the Prime Minister’s office. It is something that she has wanted to do and hopes to move on to work for the Foreign Office in the future.

What advice does Rebecca have for upcoming students?

“Be organised from the beginning and revise, revise, revise! It will make everything so much easier.

“It’s taken me two and a half years to get to where I want to be, but none of it is a regret because I’ve have such good experiences and gained so many skills from doing the different jobs. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and I knew a year or two into university that I didn’t want to follow that career path. So don’t think that what you study at A Level means that you have to follow a certain career path.

“I’d always advise people to study a language because it gives you that little bit of flexibility and shows that you have a different skillset.”

Watch Rebecca talk about her experiences of Wyke, university and work on our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/SXOoergvIsQ

#MakeItHappen

James Hendry

Enjoying my Life and Music

By | Awards, Course News, English, German, Music

From Winifred Holtby Academy to Wyke, from Wyke to the Royal Northern College of Music, from RNCM to the Royal Opera House and more. Former A level Music student, James Hendry has achieved so much since leaving college. He is now working in Hannover, Germany, as Principle Conductor for the country’s state opera house. With so many questions to ask, we are thankful to James for keeping in touch, to share his Wyke highlights and to offer some excellent advice to our current students.

What are your best memories of Wyke?

My best memories of Wyke must be the seasonal concerts we did at the end of each term. When I was a student at Wyke, the college had a really great choir made of students and also staff members. It was a great way to mix with other people who didn’t study the same subjects, as everyone was welcome to come and sing. I would also say that I made some excellent friends at Wyke, and I wouldn’t be able to explain every one of the memories otherwise I would have to write a book.

How did your Wyke studies help shape your future?

The music department at Wyke has always been known for its high standards. Wyke gave me a great grounding in my musical studies, and my other subjects included English Literature and Language which really complimented my musical studies. Wyke also helped me grow as a person into an adult whom was responsible for my own learning and my own future prospects, this must be the most vital thing that Wyke gave me. It enabled me to go to university with a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve and a focus that was self-driven.

What advice would you give our current students?

Take every opportunity that the college gives you. Try something different and challenge yourself whether that be joining a musical group/lunchtime club, sports or drama. Do something outside of your subjects to give you a balance. Also, set your goals and don’t give up on them, but remain open to the twists and turns that may come along the way that may lead you down an altered path, that can be jarring but also very exciting. When I was at Wyke I didn’t think I would be working in Hannover, Germany as the Principle Conductor for the State Opera. I knew I was interested in working with people and singers but conducing was something that came much later for me. It was a path that I explored and it worked out for me, you have to be willing to take the chances.

Describe your time at Royal Northern College of Music?

I had a great time at the RNCM, first I studied Solo Piano and gained a first class Honours degree, I then went onto do a master’s degree there in repetiteur skills which I passed with distinction. RNCM was an extremely exciting place to be with many opportunities to take part in and also see a wide range of music and other performances. Manchester as a city is the best place to be a student! I worked extremely hard at the RNCM and was constantly busy both with my own studies but also playing for other peoples lessons on the piano or conducting local student theatre groups. RNCM gave me not only the skills but also the contact to the people in the music business.

Discuss the highlights of your professional life and the awards you have received.

I was lucky enough to get a full scholarship to study for my masters at RNCM, otherwise it really wouldn’t have been possible. I then went onto the prestigious Jette Parker young artists programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. I would say my time at the ROH is one of my highlights so far, Working with Antonio Pappano, who was a great mentor, really inspired me and taught me so much, but everyone who I worked with there was absolutely fantastic both on and off the stage, it really is a place of the highest possible creative standards.

Other highlights would include making my debuts with ENO and Opera North and now gaining the post of Erster Kapellmeister at the Staatsoper Hannover. My awards include being the winner of the degree category of the British Education awards for the amount I achieved during my master’s degree, and most recently being made an Associate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Of course receiving awards is great, but for me I am just doing my thing and enjoying my life and music.

 

class of 2016

First Class Education

By | Awards, Biology, Chemistry, Course News, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, History, Mathematics, Spanish

An official report shows that 33% of former Wyke students, who graduated in 2019, achieved a first class degree classification.

The HESA report, published by the Sixth Form Colleges Association, reveals that the academic performance of Wyke students, who progressed onto university, achieved higher than any other sector average. That includes the independent school sector ( 30.4%) and school sixth forms (28.1%).

For more information about our Oxbridge and Flyer programmes, visit https://wyke.ac.uk/wyke-flyers/. Both these Wyke programmes are designed to further support our students in achieving outstanding success and preparing them for transition to highly competitive universities such as the Russell Group and Oxbridge, further study or progression into competitive industries.

German students speaking

Preparing for Study: German

By | Course News, German

If you are in Year 11 and starting to think about preparing for your A Level German course, there are a variety of free online resources available that we would recommend using; The Open University and Future Learn.

Both websites offer free short courses which go from introductory to intermediate and advanced. Topics range from the history of communication to learning how to speak about people, places and food.

These are really useful for doing some deeper reading, getting a head start on your subject along with exploring university/career pathways and identifying how your subjects relate to everyday life and society.

They also provide a great way to discover potential EPQ topics if you are looking to include this course in your study programme.

Learning Languages

By | College Trips, Course News, French, German, Spanish

Here at Wyke, we really believe in the value of learning a second language. Not only does it offer up a wide range of opportunities both for further study and employment, it is a great way to connect with people from all over the world.

With the A Level exam season fast approaching, on Wednesday 4th March Wyke teamed up with the language departments at the University of Hull, to give our second year language students the opportunity to practice their speaking abilities.

French tutor Nicki Johnstone said: “I organised the day to get students to practise the stimulus card task for the speaking exam in a testing situation. They were speaking to people they don’t know, so they were really out of their comfort zone.

“It is great for them to get feedback from uni staff and students who pick out different aspects of their language to work on and often give their own insight into the topics we have studied.”

31 students from all three Modern Foreign Language courses (French, German and Spanish) took part in ‘speed dating’ sessions. Wyke students were partnered up with a member of staff or a student and tested on various subjects, ranging from culture to healthcare.

Our learners were given lots of helpful feedback and insightful advice about honing their language skills in preparation for their upcoming A Level exams.

Students Olivia Laurie and Eugenie Bweziye said: “The event gave me a lot more confidence in my fluency, and all the teachers and staff were really friendly. It was very informative and they made us feel comfortable about speaking. The feedback was useful about grammar in particular”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to French teacher Nicki Johnstone for organising such an enriching and informative day.

We’d also like to say a massive thank you all staff and students from the University of Hull for their time and expertise.

German students speaking

Why we chose to study A Level German

By | Course News, German, News

Here at Wyke, we think learning a new language is a great way to enhance your learning and broaden your horizons.

Our Modern Foreign Language department offers A-levels in French, German and Spanish, all with fantastic tutors and support staff.

So we sat down with our current year 2 German cohort to discuss the reasons why A Level German was right choice for them.

What made you decide to pick A Level German at Wyke?

Jenny: “I’ve always enjoyed the subject and Wyke was the only college in my local area that offered German as an A level.”
Holly: “German was my favourite subject at GCSE so it made sense to study it at A Level.”
Jade: “I really enjoyed the taster sessions at Wyke Start so they are what made me choose it.”

What do you like most about studying German?

Finn: “I like that there is a mix of different learning methods, so you’re really engaged in class. I really like the variety.”
Jade: “The classes are really laid-back and you get lots of support from Heather and Gabi. They’re both so helpful and Heather is lovely and really funny.”
Anya: “I really like that the class sizes are small – there are only six of us, so there are plenty of opportunities for one-to-one support.”

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of studying German?

Holly: “The small class sizes really enhance your learning. You’ll get plenty of support and one-to-one sessions and everyone is really nice so you’ll make friends quickly.”
Anya: “The trip to Berlin means that you get to put your skills to use, so you get to enhance your connections with other people.”
Jenny: “I really enjoyed the trip to Berlin too, you learn more than just the language. You get to embrace the culture and history of Germany by visiting memorials and museums.”
Jade: “German is easier to learn than you think. I would say work hard and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.”

Interested in finding out more?

Why not come along to our next Open Morning on Saturday 29th February 9am – 12pm?

We look forward to meeting you!

German students speaking

Study German at Wyke

By | Course News, German, News, On Campus

Here at Wyke we have an excellent Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) department, offering A Levels in French, German and Spanish.

Studying an MFL is a hugely rewarding experience which will seriously broaden your horizons, whether you choose to study at university, undertake an apprenticeship or progress straight into employment.

So why choose to study A Level German at Wyke?

We’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons to select German as one of your A Level options:

  1. DESTINATIONS: Did you know that 91% of our A Level German students’ progress to university? Studying an A Level in German gives students the opportunity to study a vast array of university subjects, such as: Law, Maths, Primary Education, Engineering, Dance, Politics and Journalism. Two of our students even went on to read both German & French at the University of Cambridge.
  2. RESULTS: Our A Level German students achieve fantastic exam results. In the last seven years we have had a 100% pass rate. In 2019, 91% of our students achieved A*- C grades, with a further 74% achieving A* – B grades.
  3. EMPLOYABILITY: Studying German opens up a huge range of employment opportunities. Languages are important to businesses and they also show that you can demonstrate your ability to perform under pressure, as well as highlighting that you have great listening and multi-tasking skills and a sense of cultural awareness. Previous students have gone on to work at large-scale companies such as Barratt Homes, as well as a major FTSE 200 company in their internal and external marketing department.
  4. ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES: The A Level German course offers a fantastic range of enrichment activities to support your studies, from the option to apply for the 2-day Linguastars residential university visit, to our annual inter-departmental trip to Berlin. Both visits are always a huge success, giving our students the opportunity to hone their language skills and experience the culture and history of modern Germany.
  5. TOP TUTORS: You will be guided through your studies under the fantastic tuition of Heather Lorch. Heather has 20 years of teaching experience and has been with us for seven years. She is hugely popular with our students and particularly enjoys teaching German grammar and discussing German history. Heather is aided in the classroom by Language Assistant Gabi, who is a native speaker of German and has been with us since 2014. You will attend a 30-minute session with Gabi each week in order to help you practice your German speaking and listening skills, therefore allowing you to expand your vocabulary.

Ready to find out more?

Why not visit us on our next Open Evening on Thursday 23rd January 2020 5:30pm – 8:00pm?

We look forward to meeting you!

#MakeItHappen

International Exchange

By | Course News, French, German, Spanish

Over the last academic year, six students from Germany, Switzerland and Norway have been studying with Wyke on a programme led by Education First.

Education First is a world leader in international education and facilitates students in studying in countries all around the world. Wyke has worked with the organisation for over 16 years, providing fantastic opportunities to study with us and experience British culture.

Our six exchange students have opened themselves up to a world of opportunity, travelling to the UK and living with a host family whilst studying a unique programme of courses.

Claire Michallat, Teacher of English as an Additional Language, has worked closely with the students and seen them develop over the past year; ‘Our exchange students have had an excellent year at Wyke and have all really immersed themselves in the whole education experience. Their English has also flourished as well as their perspective on British culture and education. It has been fantastic to work with them and getting an insight into their own culture too!’

Anna Hanhardt, came to Wyke from Germany to study Health & Social Care, Art and French has summed up her experience; ‘I have really enjoyed being here! The time at Wyke has definitely made me more self-confident. I have also met nice teachers and friends that I will never forget!’

Maud Haugland from Norway enrolled on Sociology, German, English Language & Literature and Applied Law courses; ‘My experience at Wyke has been really inspiring and full of opportunities so I am thankful for getting to experience my exchange year here.’

It has been a great privilege for our College to welcome these students to Wyke and we wish them every success in their futures.

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

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