Mrs L Cowan
The start of Year 8 will bring, for many, a welcomed sense of familiarity and confidence as students have already navigated the anxieties and challenges of starting secondary school. There is no doubt that students made a positive start to life at Wilmar Lodge last year and left for the holidays with many successes and achievements to reflect on. This, however, can be one of the challenges of Year 8 for some students: the temptation to ‘coast’ along propelled by the comfort of routine and the successes of the previous year. As a school we offer such a diverse range of co-curricular activities, competitions, trip and opportunities that there will be something that students have yet to try or experience and I would encourage them to continue to see Year 8 as a chance to voyage in to the unknown, challenging themselves and therefore maintaining the momentum of last year. For others, the start of Year 8 can be the chance of a fresh start and to address the clear targets that were set by their teachers. Just like their exercise books and planners, September presents a blank page for the year and all students have the opportunity to work on and write their own success story for the year. With careful planning, consistent effort and interesting experiences, each student is more than capable of writing their own bestseller!
This year we will be focusing on the notion of community, not only within the year group itself but also in terms of students’ contribution to the wider school as a whole. We expect Year 8 to be role models for our younger, newer students in their conduct and attitude. Being well versed in the expectations and daily routines of school life means they are well placed to offer support, advice and a friendly face to those students about to start their Westholme journey.
Within the year group itself, we are also keen to continue to develop that sense of mutual respect amongst students, encouraging them to look out and take responsibility for each other, regardless of friendship groups. Whether it is just a simple smile or making the effort with someone new, all of us have the power and ability to make people feel valued and
welcomed. Whilst many solid friendships were cemented in Year 7, relationships can also change as students mature and develop at different rates and opportunities arise to meet and mix with new peers. One such opportunity will, of course, be the move to House tutor groups. This is an exciting time for your son or daughter to work with different students towards a common goal: success for their respective House. I know that the sense of competition will be strong amongst each Form and look forward to seeing students work together collaboratively and creatively.
Finally, in the sense of community, we will be exploring ways in which we can contribute to our wider community, to encourage students to see life from other people’s perspectives, as well as honing valuable skills such as organisation, communication and understanding of the wider world. We already embark on lots within school with cake sales and events such as non-uniform days but I will be encouraging students to consider creative ways to help and support the wider community.
Year 8 is set to be an exciting and challenging year and I look forward to seeing your son and daughter continue to develop and flourish as they begin the next steps in their Westholme journey.
We will continue to keep you updated with regards to your child’s effort and attainment throughout the year via our ‘Parents Welcome’ evening, assessment cards and parents’ evenings. However, if you have any queries, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively contact me via the main switchboard.
Mrs L Cowan
Head of Year 8
Teacher of English