MEET THE HEAD
As the end of the academic year fast approaches, new Nursery, Infant and Junior School Head, Rebecca Barnett, talks about her first year at Westholme
Rebecca Barnett, who relocated from her position as Head at Braeburn Mombasa International School, Kenya, tells us how she has settled into Westholme life and what she has enjoyed about her first year.
What attracted you to the role at Westholme which ultimately led to the relocation of your family?
We were looking for a school in the UK that held the educational values and ethos which are important to us. Westholme encompassed everything that we were looking for. It is a school that holds children at the centre of all it does and has a unique family feel with strong community values and links. The staff are focused and committed to bringing the best out of every child.
You are coming to towards the end of your first year at Westholme, what have been your highlights?
There have been some ‘big ticket’ highlights such as the Junior Carol Service in Blackburn Cathedral, our amazing productions, watching the Under 11 boys swimmers qualify for the National Finals and parading with the prefects through Blackburn on Remembrance Sunday. Other highlights though have been smaller in nature but no less big in impact such as watching my youngest pupil in Nursery learn how to walk and proudly watching some of the children perform for the first time on musical instruments.
What have you achieved which you are most proud of?
Seeing Westholme continue to thrive, develop and move forward during my first year of headship. Changes and new initiatives have been introduced over the year, but the dedication and support of the teaching staff and the wider staff team has been constant.
Are there any aspects of education in Kenya that you think would benefit the British education system?
The schools I worked with in Kenya were members of IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) and taught the British curriculum. In terms of the curriculum content and the standards of education provided, they mirrored what you find within British schools. If I had to choose an aspect that I felt was a strength, it would be the sense of internationalism and the numerous cultures and nationalities.
Westholme offers a wide-ranging co-curricular programme – do you think this is important?
I think this is an incredibly important part of a child’s education. I believe in supporting children to become well-rounded and confident individuals ensuring they have the breadth of opportunity to achieve this. At Westholme, we provide a myriad of experiences including public speaking, performance, research, discussion and debate to name but a few. There are also clubs such as performing arts, gardening, junior journalists, twinkle toes, yoga, martial arts, expressive arts and animation, so there really is something for everyone.
What are your vision and future plans for Westholme Nursery, Infant and Junior Schools?
To ensure that the school continues to go from strength to strength whilst ensuring its values and ethos are upheld. Staff, children and parents at Westholme are passionate about their school – they are our ambassadors and my ultimate vision is for Westholme to continue to be the first school of choice for families within the region.
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