Bah Humbug or ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’?

The festive season is well and truly upon us and this is evident all around our school at every site. Christmas trees festooned with tinsel, nativity plays, mince pies replacing Westholme shortbread (surely not I hear you say!), carol singing at the Cathedral, arrangements for Christmas lunch and end of term celebrations.

I recently spent three days this week at the GSA (the Girls’ Schools Association) conference in Newcastle and this quotation came from one of the inspirational speakers, Sir John Jones.

Job Description – Principal
“Wanted – a miracle worker who can do more with less, pacify rival groups, tolerate low levels of support from some, process large volumes of paperwork and work double shifts. You will have carte blanche to innovate but cannot spend much money, replace or upset anyone.”
Although always feeling guilty for being out of school, such conferences are an opportunity to step out of the Headship bubble and discuss education with professional colleagues and sometimes reconnect with the reasons for doing the job! As I am currently working through hundreds of school reports I am reminded with each page turned that Westholme is all about the boys and girls in our care; encouraging them to grasp all opportunities available to them and reach for the skies!

On Tuesday, whilst crowds gathered in Johannesburg, at the Senior School we also took time to remember the inspirational life of Nelson Mandela. Although he began his early career as an anti-apartheid revolutionary and was imprisoned for 27 years, he never gave up his struggle to abolish the unfair apartheid regime and achieve freedom and equality for black South Africans. He was released in 1990 after an international campaign and became the first black president of South Africa in 1994. He achieved his aim to abolish apartheid but remained committed to the ideals of racial reconciliation and advocated forgiveness. I would encourage all our pupils to commit to their goals in life; this could be in music, drama, sport, their studies or any other interest or talent. But it is equally important that we encourage all boys and girls to commit to core values that are based around a moral compass ensuring that we treat one another with respect, kindness and consideration.

As the end of term approaches – and the end of my first Westholme term too – in my Christmas blog next week I will re-submit the Principals job description as a reflection on my first 4 months in purple and green!

The ethereal ghosts of Christmas past, present and future appeared on stage in ‘A Christmas Carol’ last week and made us think about our own approach to the season of goodwill. In the carols we sang at the Cathedral and the music of our wonderful infant nativity plays, I hope we all can take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
(Calvin Coolidge – the 30th US President)

Lynne M Horner
12 December 2013