Making the right decision

April 2, 2019

Mr Neil Walker, headmaster of Gosforth-based independent school for girls, Westfield, shares what you should look for when choosing a school for your daughter

League tables and historic Ofsted reports are not the be-all and end-all of choosing the right school and there are different drivers depending on whether your daughter is three, seven, ten or 15. The key answers every parent needs to know about a school are (a) will she be happy there and (b) will she be successful. There is a wealth of evidence that shows that the most important aspect of school life are the relationships a child builds with their friends and teachers.

How relevant are these ‘relationships’?

When a child feels secure she is able to take risks, it is only by moving outside our comfort zone that real learning can happen. How a child feels when in school impacts on their overall experience and what their outcomes and achievements are. If they feel loved, safe and happy they will explore their world and create the amazing experiences that live with them for the rest of their lives.

What makes Westfield different, why is it such a special place to be?

Our academic performance is obviously central, but it’s our ability to bring out the best in everyone that is really important. All our girls have particular talents: some may be academic, some sporty, some creative, some have superb people skills. It is our job to give the girls as many opportunities as possible to discover their talents, then develop and celebrate them. Some of our girls may need more nurturing than others but all our girls are challenged to be the best they can be. At Westfield we build ambitions for the future, open a girl’s mind and make sure each girl knows how important she is as an individual.

Every girl is different and every girl is unique

At Westfield, our deliberately small classes mean that every girl receives individual attention; she is not just another face in the sea of a big class or a huge year group. Our class sizes mean that your daughter is our focus – every day, every term, until the day she leaves us. We are also non selective – we look beyond what a girl can achieve in an entrance test to what she could achieve in her life.

When considering a school for your young daughter it’s important to look beyond the classroom. Are there green spaces to play in, are there plenty of creative opportunities to help her grow and develop, does the school feel happy? At Westfield, our teaching styles and extra-curricular activities complement the girls’ academic achievements and help them grow and flourish. The corridors are genuinely filled with laughter at Westfield, come along and see.

At Westfield, we welcome girls from a large variety of backgrounds and at any stage of their educational journey. Typical entry points may be at Reception, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 9 but, as a small school, we work hard to ensure that girls settle into school life at whatever point they arrive.

Happy and settled girls achieve more, they gain more confidence to tackle things that they may not have imagined possible before and furthermore, they are far more strongly armed and prepared for their journey beyond school.

When they leave us, our girls are successful, rounded individuals who are accepting of others and comfortable with themselves. They are confident in public situations without being brash and they carry their successes with humility and determination.

Development and building foundations for the future.

Westfield School was founded in 1960 to provide a positive alternative education to what was on offer at the time – we believe we are still doing that. We are currently in the middle of exciting new developments as a brand new STEM facility is being constructed and we are due to start work on a new art and design facility. Our junior classes will be moving to a purpose-designed new space within the main school site from September, leading to a totally seamless educational journey from nursery to sixth form.

Westfield School

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