Health and Happiness

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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 sundry to tuck their shirts in is overwhelming.’

We are here, the long summer is over – the official start to Autumn has begun and school is in full swing already. The school does not feel right when there are no children here – it has no heart, no lifeblood. Despite the fact that huge amounts of work are completed over the summer break, it all seems very strange when classrooms are empty. Fortunately as we are an all through school we still had Nursery and young children here throughout July and August and it was a pleasure to see them enjoying the freedom of Billinge House!

Sometimes teachers have to remind pupils that they too are human and do have a life outside school – despite our default mode regarding stationery, dress code and chewing gum! The long summer break is a chance to rest, renew family bonds, research new teaching ideas, read, plan for the year ahead and (if teaching exam classes) celebrate results with GCSE and A Level students. Schools such as Westholme have a wonderful chemistry that can absorb us body and soul. The sense of belonging is palpable and the ties are strong here….this is a connection we are proud to develop and strengthen.

We have chosen our theme this year as Mental Health, Mindfulness and Wellbeing. As a school we are committed to develop all aspects of the children in our care; this includes their emotional wellbeing as well as their physical, spiritual, creative and intellectual qualities. We are acutely aware of the myriad of challenges that children face in our modern digitally enhanced world and most importantly we are aware of the stress these can cause. We often talk to children about learning from their mistakes and showing determination in the face of adversity. Sometimes, for a whole host of reasons, this is incredibly hard to achieve. Life can throw some serious curve balls for adults but for most of us, at least we have the experience, knowledge and confidence to deal with them. Youngsters are still growing and finding their way, so it is really important that we give them the support and personal skills to understand and respond to challenge.

‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ – a healthy mind in a healthy body. Our Westholme motto has never had such relevance and resonance as it does today. For our new starters in Year 7 making the transition from Primary to Senior School; for our teenagers dealing with a bereavement or loneliness; a junior child coping with parental divorce or a Sixth Former weighed down by examination pressures. These are all part and parcel of the ups and downs of school life – our teachers play a crucial role supporting, guiding and counselling our young people, well beyond the remit of homework and marking books. We are privileged to do so and understand the importance and sensitivity of such responsibilities.

As we embark on the new academic year our commitment to the health, happiness and wellbeing of all children at Westholme remains our priority.

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