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Principal’s Blog: Peace Within

As the end of term draws near, there are so many events and projects at Westholme that feel uplifting, often involving collaboration between students, colleagues and parents. These bonds and experiences are such an important part of our community and culture here.

Chicago, Sports Day, Prizegiving, Leavers’ assemblies, and Student and Staff entertainment all provide wonderful experiences for those involved, as well as those watching. Our community is stronger together and we are always seeking new ways to affirm our shared values and expectations.

To quote the late Jo Cox, ‘We have far more in common than things that divide us’. This year tragic news stories from New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, as well as recent events closer to home such as rising knife crime, show starkly that we can never take such matters for granted.

I hope that all our young people and colleagues who are moving on from Westholme this term can reflect upon the bonds that we share and remember the positive and life affirming experiences they have had within our school family. I trust they feel valued for their individuality as well as their attributes. I thank them for their service and contribution to our school.Our school is our community and we keep moving forward, evolving and growing together

‘What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.’ Ted Kennedy

Peace go with you

For quiet within the noise

Hope within the uncertainty

Rest within the toil

Compassion within the challenge

Peace go with you.

Lynne M Horner, Principal

Taking Care of Young Minds

  There is much focus on mental health in the media currently and especially in relation to adolescent health. In school it is absolutely essential that we are not only alert to the warning signs of difficulty, but also proactive in promoting positive mental health in the same way we advocate physical activity to keep…

This year I will…..

As 2019 has arrived with talk of ‘Veganuary’ and many other lifestyle changes for better health, at school this is of course our second New Year.  Our first in September always gives our pupils the chance to start afresh and embark upon the new academic year with gusto.  I wonder if New Year resolutions of…

The Gift of Freedom

This weekend past has seen three days of Remembrance as we reached the centenary of the end of the Great War.  When the Prime Minister David Lloyd George addressed Parliament after the Armistice in November 1918 he said, ‘I hope we may say that this morning marks the end of the war to end all…

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…

A Community of Hope for the Future

As we move towards a Royal wedding there will undoubtedly be a proliferation of red, white and blue and union flags fluttering amidst that quintessential Britishness surrounding such an occasion. Hopefully this may be underpinned by a warm sense of bonhomie celebrating the Royal nuptials. Amidst the usual Brexiteering we have been shocked by the…

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…