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Principal’s Blog: Back to School

‘Mum I don’t want to go to school today’.
Come on now, it’s not that bad

‘It is, the work’s too hard, I never know what I’m doing, no one likes me. I don’t have any friends.’
That isn’t true

‘Yes it is. People keep calling me names and saying things behind my back, the teachers don’t like me and everyone says things about me all the time’.
I’m sure it’s not that bad

‘It is. It is. Don’t make me go, it’s horrible’.
Come on now; stop all this, besides you have to go. You’re the Headteacher!

After a long summer break it is often a real shock to the system to return to the early morning alarm; the timetable bells; the challenge of routine and the ups and downs of the school day. However thankfully, I do not have the same misgivings as the Headteacher in the old joke quoted above! On the contrary the new school year is an exciting time filled with opportunity and ambition. It is the chance to start afresh. It is a time of change and celebration. It can be a catalyst for wonderful things to happen.

For all those children changing schools or starting for the first time there are inevitable fears and nerves….making friends, getting lost, not being noticed, being noticed, forgetting something, feeling overwhelmed or simply just wanting to belong and now knowing how. Reassuringly it is the same for everyone, although not everyone has those feelings to the same degree or at the same time. It is also the same for new teachers too!
I know that if I could re-live my school days again, I would do so much more and embrace the boundless opportunities provided day in day out, that only happen when you’re at school. That is my message to the children and students returning this week. Be bold and go for it!

To the teachers and staff returning too, I hope they remember what a wonderful vocation we have in our school, especially at Westholme and it is a privilege to positively shape young lives for the better. Many staff have been working hard over the holidays making sure that classrooms and facilities are ready and improved for the new year – we are all one team and stronger together.

And if I reach that point too soon where the paperwork is overwhelming and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I will remind myself of the joyful smiles I shared with students on Results Day; the uplifting life changing pictures and experiences of #TeamWestholme in Kenya and the sheer variety, fun and amazing opportunities we have at Westholme every day opening young minds, body and souls for the future – how lucky am I?

Priceless!

LYNNE M HORNER, PRINCIPAL

A Community of Hope for the Future

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New Year – New you?

As the New Year is well and truly underway we have reached that awkward point when we can no longer say ‘Happy New Year’ as a greeting, even if we are meeting someone for the first time since 2017 passed. In schools, colleges and universities it is always refreshing to have two opportunities a year…

‘Joy to the World’

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” (Maya Angelou)  As we embark upon the Christmas countdown I enjoyed giving an advent calendar to every class across all three sites on Friday 1st December.  I…

Westholme Magic – Putting the sparkle into education!

Across the country this is the time of year for Open Days and Information events for parents and children of all ages. At Westholme we too have been busy with Open Day on all our sites and a forthcoming Sixth Form Information Evening; on such occasions I never cease to be amazed by our staff…

Success and Change

It is that time of year when students and teachers nervously await public examination results and see the outcome of hard work all round. On Thursday it is the turn of Year 11’s as they receive their GCSE results, but last week it was AS and the all-important A Levels. For Sixth Formers it is…

The Final Curtain?

As the cast took their plaudits for the final performance of West Side Story it marked the final few days of this term and the academic year. It has undoubtedly been a whirlwind year and we certainly finished on a high note. It seems a perfect analogy for our school reflection. Three Sports’ Days in…

Back to the Future

The iconic film ‘Back to the Future’ marked a worldwide cultural phenomenon and was the highest-grossing film of 1985; it launched one of the most successful series in Universal’s cinematic history. In the modern franchise age of the Marvel Superheroes, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, Michael J Fox and the DeLorean car may…

Spring Forwards…Fall Back?

We have reached that time of year when the clocks have moved forward an hour and the days are longer. Summer is just around the corner and everyone enjoys the apparent normality of travelling to and from school in daylight hours. Springtime is always regarded as a time of renewal and hope from the farmers’…

Lighting Fires…

Next week I will attend the Society of Heads’ Annual Conference. This is an opportunity to meet with fellow independent school Heads from all over the country, to hear inspirational speakers at the forefront of their field and attend practical workshops. The theme this year of “Lighting Fires, Not Filling Buckets” has been set by…

New Year – A Digital Detox?

2017 has arrived and, as always in school, we have a second opportunity to renew and refresh body, mind and soul. The Christmas holiday is always a busy one for families – usually enjoyable but rarely restful. However we have now passed the shortest day and we will soon race towards the new green shoots…

Remember Remember or Remembrance

It is November and the time of year when we reflect and mark two very different times in our British history. On 5th November we celebrate and remember the foiled attempt of the Gunpowder Plotters in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament. On 11th November we mark Armistice Day and then commemorate the…

Health and Happiness

You know you are a teacher when…… ‘The New Year means September – not January like the rest of the country.’ ‘You get excited by a visit to WH Smith and a new range of post-its.’ ‘You keep telling your friends to put their chewing gum in the bin.’ ‘The urge to tell all and…

Community, Compassion and Cohesion

A few weeks ago, accompanied by staff and pupils, I attended the Civic Ceremony marking the installation of the new Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen at Blackburn Cathedral. The service is an annual occasion that follows the political proceedings at the Town Hall some days before, when the Mayor from the previous year hands over…

Be Yourself

‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’ – Oscar Wilde There is no doubt that young people are under pressure to conform these days undoubtedly due to the explosion of mass communication and subsequent visibility. Websites, television, streaming, chat rooms, social media, CCTV, tablets, smart phones, 24 hour media coverage are all available 24/7. The dynamic…

‘You were lucky…..’

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www = what, when, why?

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This Year I Will…

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Christmas Wishes

I want to wish everyone in our Westholme family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you to all our catering teams on all sites for the tremendous Christmas Lunch served for the staff and students. Festive music and crackers ensured a wonderful atmosphere as this busy term draws to a close….