Recently I have been struck by two news stories and pondered their impact and wider implications. The first has been the headline news for weeks with devastation to families and communities in the South West particularly, due to storm damage and flooding. The arguments about whether more could, and should, have been done to help or prevent this have gathered pace, although record rainfall cannot be countered by human intervention. Businesses have been ruined, infrastructure destroyed, properties damaged and some lives lost. Such circumstances test the human spirit and bonds of any community; yet we have witnessed great resilience and stoicism from all quarters.
The second story has been the ignominious sacking of Kevin Pietersen from the England cricket team following the Ashes whitewash in Australia. KP has always courted controversy but there is no doubting his flair and talent as a prodigious run scorer. However the manner in which his departure has been handled has provoked speculation and criticism of the England set up from the dressing room, through to the Boardroom. It has highlighted the divisions that emerge when a team is no longer winning and when trust is breached; it is very difficult to move forward positively.
There is a message for our school from these events. They show how important it is to have trust and transparency in our relationships with one another and to value our community – we never know when we will need the support of others. A dysfunctional team may get by when things are running smoothly but will break under pressure. The devastated villages and coastal areas have shown how communities can pull together in the face of adversity….the England cricket team have buckled after losing amidst infighting and gossip.
Life in all areas of school is busy and varied. Last week was full of challenge, competition and joy for Westholme students of all ages. Sports Hall athletics for the juniors; girls’ hockey matches; Maths challenges; Young Voices in Manchester; entrepreneurial ‘Apprentice’ style bidding for Sixth Formers at the NEC; our football tournament for under 11s and a ‘Night at the Movies’ charity event. The latter was organised by the Year 10 EPR group for Year 7s and was a great success, especially the chocolate fondue!
On Sunday evening I attended a service of Thanksgiving for Education at Blackburn Cathedral led by the Bishop. It was poignant to have the opportunity to reflect on the important and diverse work we do in school to improve and enrich the lives and prospects of our boys and girls. Trust in our community is an invaluable commodity; we need to be collaborative and enjoy our successes but also resilient enough to withstand difficulties too. Learning to work together, pool our resources and share the highs and lows, is a vital aspect of our Westholme ethos. We need to ensure that we can win and succeed magnanimously; equally we must be able to lose graciously and learn from our mistakes. Being thankful for our community, our staff and the wonderful opportunities we share is sometimes forgotten amidst the busy school day – I recommend that we all take a moment to reflect on our good fortune on a regular basis!
Lynne M Horner
11th February 2014