2016 has arrived and perhaps all across our Westholme community we are full of resolutions and good intentions to work harder, get fitter, be smarter or achieve new personal goals. Whether you are a subscriber to the New Year resolution concept or resolutely opposed to the idea, does not mean that January cannot mark a starting point of some sort. In school we are fortunate to have two opportunities every twelve months to refresh, re-boot and renew our goals and aspirations. This is so important for children of all ages and equally valid for staff – that chance to approach life and work afresh with energy levels for aspiration and fulfilment.
After a holiday the new calendar year gives us the opportunity to reflect on progress thus far and plan next steps on our educational journey. We are only one term through the academic year and at every level there are new challenges for us to face individually, within certain year groups, within each school or as a wider community. Over the holidays many families were unfortunately adversely affected by the flooding that devastated homes and businesses across the region. These challenges were wholly unexpected but it is clear from the news and discussion that local communities pulled together to support one another – as is often the case in times of crisis. It has reminded me to reflect on the very positive and wonderful place we live.
The news of siege and repression in Syria and inhumane acts in other parts of our supposed civilised world reinforce the importance of maintaining our shared values, strength of togetherness and core beliefs at Westholme and within our local community. This week there has been press coverage in the media from school leaders emphasising the importance of tolerance and integration in our society. Philip Britton (Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division) has been blogging about the importance of genuine multi cultural tolerance of different faiths, ethnicity and backgrounds to celebrate Britishness and Richard Cairns (Brighton College Head) has highlighted the importance of tackling homophobia in our schools. Both are key issues for us personally to understand, but in the twenty first century for children growing up in the UK, this is even more important.
At Westholme we are committed to education that goes well beyond the GCSE and A Level curriculum – all schools should share that important mission. We have a shared responsibility with parents and families to ensure that boys and girls of all ages learn and develop emotionally and spiritually framed by a clear social conscience underpinned by moral values. Developing and showing tolerance, respect, consideration and kindness to others within our community is a wonderful start to spreading these messages further afield. So whether we subscribe to New Year resolution or not, at Westholme, our whole undertaking for 2016 should be bold and all embracing – if every person in our school can show and feel greater respect, tolerance, consideration and respect to one another then we will not only improve the day to day life of our school, but also take a small step to building a fairer and kinder world.
Happy New Year!
Lynne M Horner 12/01/2016