Roots and Wings
The first week back after the easter break has been positive. Much of the focus for staff has been on firming up the preparations for assessing our year 11 boys, in line with the guidance issued for the awarding of GCSE grades this summer. It has been an especially disrupted year for our Y11 boys, but they have dealt with this in an impressive way, reflecting well on the ambitions we have for our boys. I was reminded of this with a quote from some of my reading over the recent break. The Weimar based Goethe had the view; “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”
For me this encapsulated much of what we try to do at West Hill School. Our roots are our values and ethos. Built around our traditions, the discipline and routines we ensure all our boys adhere to. There is an element of conformity; the uniform, the rules, the expectations we place on our boys to be Ready, Respectful and Responsible. However, there is a balance as we also have a duty to give our boys their wings. As they grow with us, we build in them the skills and attitudes to allow them to leave West Hill as fully engaged citizens. This is move away from simplistic compliance, as we foster an independence of thought within our boys. Their actions follow a code of decency, not because of a rule, but more importantly they act in ways they believe in - they do the right thing. This growing maturity is well represented amongst our current Year 11 boys, it is part of a legacy through generations past of what we recognise in the West Hill boy.
Today a group of our Year 10 boys are involved in the process of becoming our next group of leaders, as they are being interviewed to become prefects. The boys are required to fill in application forms and then face an interview panel comprising teaching staff, current prefects as well as trustees. The process is rigorous and challenging. Those who are successful will then be involved in a training programme, enabling them to take on the roles when our current year 11 boys leave us in June. From this body will then emerge our head boy, as well as his senior team. This process is even more demanding, as befits the position. There are in depth interviews with our most senior teachers, hustings when the boys make speeches to staff and their peers, followed by a vote to elect the next recipient to take his place in the long line of prestigious names that have carried this honour.
For those of us who are privileged to witness our boys, who not so long ago arrived in Year 7, articulate their own vision about West Hill and what it means to them, “roots and wings” are most evident.
Posted by Mr Owens on 16 April 2021
Category: Headteacher's Log Book