This week my thoughts turned to the words of the 1993 hit for M People – ‘Moving on up.’
I attended the Society of Heads Annual Conference in Cheshire this week and our theme was “The Heart of the Matter – putting children at the centre of education.” It is always refreshing to meet colleagues from other schools and share ideas and good practice. There were some inspirational speakers and the focus was very clearly on care for the individual child in our schools and the responsibility of guiding them through their school journey to adulthood. What a privilege this is!
Every Westholme boy and girl has a unique experience and journey with many twists and turns. Transition from year group to year group can be tricky; examination pressure takes its toll; friendships go through ups and downs; the line between success and failure maybe precarious; there is a steep learning curve and adolescence brings its own challenges. In school we can never stand still and we must always look to improvement and the next steps. As Year 9 gathered for their crucial Parents’ Meeting this week to choose their GCSE options, they are faced with important steps towards their career and future goals. With our new curriculum, all students have the opportunity to focus on their skills and academic strengths whilst retaining breadth and balance of study. It can be daunting to make decisions at 14 years old but we see this as an exciting time of choice and aspiration – looking forward to a bright future.
I believe that this journey goes beyond school, university and work and we should see our life as a journey with lots of detours, wonderful sights and various drop-off points! As Robert J Hastings describes in The Station…. “Sooner or later we must realise there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.” As we encourage our students to seize every moment and make the most of every opportunity, this also applies to our staff. In that context I am very proud to announce that our wonderful Deputy Head, Miss Nicola Edgar is ‘moving on up’ as she has been appointed as the new Headmistress of St Martin’s School for Girls in Solihull from September 2014. Although I am very sorry to lose such a valuable colleague, it is a positive reflection on our school and shows ambition and aspiration to staff and students alike. There will be time for formal farewells as the year progresses but our thanks go to Miss Edgar for her loyal service over 18-plus years and we wish her well. Congratulations!
In school too we have been moving onwards and upwards as we improve our facilities. Our Maintenance Team have completed a fantastic job converting L61 to a dedicated drama/dance studio and L60 into a fitness room (complete with TV!) for Sixth Formers and senior students.
Needless to say Miss Roberts and the Drama Department are delighted and I am confident that both areas will be well used and be a brilliant addition for our students. Thank you to Mr Galvin and his ‘band of merry men’ for their hard work!
At school we are all on a journey – as a staff member or Principal, member of Year 6 moving up to Year 7, from Billinge House to Junior School, from the Sixth Form to University or a teacher perhaps moving to another school. The choices we make along the way greatly affect our journey having an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. The Chinese have a saying ‘The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.’ As we look forward to ‘moving on up’, wherever that takes us and taking that single step, we should remember not run through life so fast that we forget not only where we’ve been, but also where we are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way.
Lynne M Horner
7 March 2014