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 the school. Every year group has the opportunity of taking part in an exciting and rewarding residential course building on teamwork and individual challenges.
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 Year 9. In Senior House, Year 7 visit Broomley Grange in Northumberland; Year 8 travel to Kielder Water for water-based activities and challenges and Year 9 take part in an increasingly demanding set of activities at High Borrans in the Lake District. 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 in creating a sense of empathy and understanding of others. Girls are actively involved in raising funds for good causes. House charities raise a substantial amount for their selected charities including North of England Children's Cancer Run, St.Oswald's Hospice, National Blind Children's Society, Action Medical Research and The Children's Foundation, to name but a few. Each year girls raise over £1000 in support of disadvantaged girls at Starehe School, Kenya.
During lockdown girls have worked with local care homes and assisted in providing learning materials for our partner schools in Newcastle upon Tyne. Through their own initiative girls have served their own local community as well as their school community. At KS3 girls have the opportunity to participate in a variety of service projects as part of the Archbishop of York Youth Trust Award. This is a useful stepping stone to the popular Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. During Enrichment Week girls are placed in one of our local partner schools in the area assisting and working alongside pupils with a variety of physical and mental impairments.
Many girls continue service through to the end of their school career by taking part in overseas service projects. Before the Covid-related restrictions girls have taken part in projects in South Africa, Cambodia and Peru.
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 current pandemic. We are looking to extend this to include language exchanges with schools in South America.
Girls have also taken part in Round Square Zoom calls and virtual conferences. The virtual Round Square platform has also allowed girls access to activities that would not have been available during normal times.
Environmental Awareness, being one of the IDEALS or pillars of Round Square, is an important part of life at Westfield. The very proactive Environmental Committee has designed a sustainability plan for the school which encourages girls to participate in all sorts of initiatives from recycling programmes to counting our carbon footprint. Girls are encouraged to reflect on the impact they have on their school environment. Participation in Forest Schools and projects in the school grounds has also helped raise awareness as have projects at our partner schools Hadrian School, Percy Hedley School and Gibside School. 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.