All Together Now…
Steeped in such fascinating and abundant history, Westholme School is driving towards a significant milestone in 2023 when it celebrates its centenary, writes Meena McDonald
Starting in 1923 when Emily Singleton set about providing a unique educational experience for all her pupils in a house called ‘Westholme’ on 167 Preston New Road in Blackburn, all the way through to becoming the highest achieving school in Lancashire in 2021, the visionary grit, determination and aspiration has been a defining characteristic of all Westholmian boys and girls throughout the last century.
Academic success in the classroom has always been a given, but the full educational philosophy of Westholme’s remarkable ethos is completely rooted in developing the whole child – inside and outside of the classroom.
Over the years the school has experienced many advancements, ensuring it stays at the forefront of educational developments, investing in the facilities throughout the school.
This was very apparent during the headship of Mrs Lillian Croston, the fourth principal who led the school for 25 years between 1988 and 2013. Her drive, passion and vision led to the development of a state-of-the-art science wing at the school providing students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the science laboratories and partake in exciting, informative and fun activities.
The Sixth Form facilities were also the inspirational brainchild of Mrs Croston and this now houses the young adults who experience incomparable 1:1 support and guidance during every step of their Sixth Form journey.
The Croston Theatre, named after Lillian Croston, who had the determination and ambition to create such progressive performance facilities, is a true Westholme gem, encouraging students to build their confidence, team building and leadership skills through performance.
These innovative investments all demonstrate that at the heart of Westholme’s holistic education, is the equal importance of every subject and activity.
At Westholme, it is the wonderful balance of happy, fulfilled children, loving their time at a school that results in academic rigour and success. Inspiring teachers inculcate the acquisition of key skills within the curriculum, essential to the world of work, and do not become fixated on teaching to the test. The unique educational philosophy at Westholme deems this unnecessary and the proof is in the pudding – with their top echelon of incredible exam results.
In 2021, Dr Richard Robson joined Westholme as the school’s sixth principal. His vision is to build on the unrivalled holistic excellence set in motion 100 years ago, but also look to strengthen the all-through nature of the school, particularly the impact of the Sixth Form, as the student leaders of the school.
Today, the INSPIRED Sixth Form is an important raison d’être of Westholme, rooted in the acquisition of essential 21st century skills vital for the rapidly evolving modern workplace. Westholme’s young adults enjoy the independence to choose from a plethora of opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
From September 2022, all students will be educated within the Wilmar Lodge campus on Meins Road following the construction of the new state-of-the-art Prep School to house younger pupils aged four to 11.
The excitement is building at Westholme as 2022 is a defining moment within the school’s history providing an all-through education for its four to 18 family on one site. This was the stated aim of Arthur Rouse, Westholme’s second principal, in that he wanted to bring the whole Westholme family together in one place. His vision comes to fruition with the completion of the brand new Prep School opening in September.
This opening leads perfectly into the centenary celebrations in 2023, which will comprise a whole array of exciting activities, including:
• Centenary Carnival 19th April 2023
• Centenary Ball 1st July 2023
• Centenary Party Night 2nd September 2023
• Centenary Fireworks Night 5th November 2023
• Centenary Carol Service 7th December 2023
Looking ahead, the path is very clear for Westholme. A first-class education for all pupils aged four to 18, on the beautiful Wilmar Lodge campus on Meins Road, will continue to ensure that Westholme is the school of choice and the market-leader in Lancashire. There is a momentum and a constant drive to provide the very best state-of the-art facilities – never more evident than in the very recent multi-million pound building projects.
The first 100 years has been an incredible journey for Westholme and they are fully committed to ensuring a further 100 years of unrivalled holistic excellence continues to benefit Blackburn. The warmth, family feel, academic rigour and holistic balance will enable many more generations of Westholmians to thrive in the future.
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Wilmar Lodge, Meins Road
Blackburn BB2 6QU