The six IDEALS or ‘pillars’ that make up Round Square (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service) are fully integrated into life in both Junior House and Senior House. Girls in every year group are elected to positions of responsibility including service captain, environmental captain, adventure captain and Round Square Representative. Meetings take place each week and girls have a voice in determining the direction and planning of Round Square activities.
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Outdoor Education is termed Adventure at Westfield. This is due to School being part of Round Square and Adventure being one of the IDEALS pillars – Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service.
Our innovative Adventure programme sets Westfield School apart. It allows girls to push their personal boundaries and develop the extra skills that are so vital for a successful life beyond school. Every girl has the opportunity of taking part in Forest School, Beach School, Adventure Days and exciting and rewarding residential courses helping girls develop teamwork and communication skills, tenacity and self-awareness.
Students realise that they are capable of more than they could ever imagine. They are inspired to embrace challenges and become well-rounded, resilient, confident and independent thinkers. The early years attend Forest Schools and begin a programme of Junior Adventure which continues until Upper 4. In Senior House, Upper 3 and Lower 4 visit Ford Castle in Northumberland; Upper 4 and Lower 5 travel to Kielder Water for water-based activities and challenges and Upper 5 to Upper 6 take part in an increasingly demanding set of activities with the Wilderness Centre in Teesside.
As pupils move into their GCSE years, they have further opportunities to take part in Round Square activities including a Slice of Africa and the Round Square Adventure Race. The Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award is offered. In the Sixth Form Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award is offered along with a wide variety of opportunities to travel and engage in service and adventure globally through Round Square. In recent years girls have taken part in international projects in South and Central America, India and Africa.
There are opportunities for exchanges with other Round Square schools and taking part in conferences and collaborative adventure opportunities.
In an ever-changing world young people need to be adaptable. Supporting the academic subjects, our Adventure Programme enables students to engage in personal development outside the classroom. It aims to produce individuals that are not only confident, tenacious, independent, and happy, but resilient; willing to fail and try again. Thus, allowing girls to maximise their potential in all areas of life, including academia.
As a member of Round Square, Service forms one of the six pillars or IDEALS of Round Square that underpins the philosophy of the school. At Westfield, girls are involved in service at all levels in both the local and wider, international community. We see service as a vital part of personal development, fostering empathy and understanding of the needs of others. Girls are actively involved in raising funds for good causes through House and whole school activities. These good causes are a mixture of local and national charities such as the North of England Children's Cancer Run, The People’s Kitchen and Cancer Research UK. Each year, Westfield girls raise over £1000 in pay the fees for our sponsored pupil at Starehe Girls School, Kenya.
Through their own initiative girls have served their own local community as well as their school community. During our annual Enrichment Week, girls participate in a whole day of service to others. This includes working with pupils who have additional educational needs in local schools, caring for the green spaces of Newcastle by assisting the maintenance work of Urban Green and working with Junior House pupils and teachers to enhance their learning environments.
Many girls continue service through to the end of their school career by participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, serving in a variety of contexts with their local communities.
Westfield has a long history of pupil participation in the Round Square International Service projects. As the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic continue to ease, such opportunities will be available to our students once again.
International Service Projects unite students from across the Round Square network in positive action for communities in need. The Service Projects also give participants the opportunity to experience local culture in countries such as South Africa, Cambodia, Peru and India.
Environmental Awareness, being one of the IDEALS or pillars of Round Square, is an important part of life at Westfield. Participation in Forest Schools and projects in the school grounds has also helped raise awareness as have projects at our partner schools.
Girls have also taken part in Zoom calls with representatives from other Round Square schools, helping to maintain an open and inquisitive attitude towards our environment. The pillars of Round Square form a sound basis from which girls can aspire to be confident and informed custodians of tomorrows world.
Our girls learn about the importance of attending to the future of the planet. Through defining and promoting a sense of environmental awareness Westfield develops and promotes opportunities both within and outside the curriculum for our girls to explore proven problems and to play a practical role in tackling environmental issues.
Our girls understand humanity’s place in the universe, the forces that shape our surroundings and the impact we have on those surroundings. A systems-based appreciation of the interdependence between human beings and the planet highlights the fine balance needed to make that relationship a healthy one.
In addition, mindfulness in connecting with the surrounding world underpins peace and ease with natural cycles. This creates a connected appreciation for the beauty, complexity and fragility of the environment which often inspires creative expression – landscape painting, photography, poetry and creative writing.
Our girls demonstrate practical action in tackling issues of sustainability, reflecting on the impact they have on their school environment. Various forums, including Environmental meetings, are used to voice environmental concerns and plan suitable actions in response. This helps pupils to sustain their consideration of the environmental impact of every-day school activity.
Exchanges with other Round Square schools
Girls from all year groups have the opportunity to interact with other Round Square schools. There are opportunities for younger students to participate in Junior and Young Round Square conferences aimed specifically at their own age groups and usually held in the UK or Europe. During the current restrictions girls have been able to do this remotely. In the last twelve months girls have taken part in Global Issues conferences hosted by another Round Square school and they have also taken part in ‘Virtual Exchanges’ with schools in South Africa, Tasmania and Germany. One pupil has helped edit a book on pupil perspectives of the recent pandemic. We are looking to extend this to include language exchanges with schools in South America.
Girls have also taken part in Round Square Postcard meetings and virtual conferences. The virtual Round Square platform allowed girls access to activities that were not available during the pandemic