Beyond the formal curriculum


Sport

Extra curricular sport has always played a significant role in the life of Westwood. Students have the opportunity to compete in sport in inter-house competitions which run throughout the year, as well as at county level and even national level, or simply for the joy of a sport or to maintain fitness. The P.E. department offer a range of sports throughout the year, including table tennis, tennis, badminton and use of the multi-gym. Students are encouraged to get involved in these sports which run during lunchtimes depending on the time of year. After school team sports on offer include basketball, netball, hockey, football, rugby (during winter months) and rounders and softball (during summer months).

The Westwood inter-house competitions run annually where students have the chance to compete for their House in sports including: netball, football, rounders, basketball, badminton, softball and dodge ball. The year of sport culminates in Sports Day at the end of each academic year where the inter-house champions are crowned.

The District runs many sporting competitions, including: tennis, rounders, cricket, athletics, football, basketball and netball – sports in which students compete against other local schools.

We also enter students for certain county or national competitions, particularly in rugby, football, tennis and hockey and Westwood students have even enjoyed success at equestrian, orienteering and cheer-leading competitions in recent years.

Keep an eye on the school’s Facebook feed for regular updates of which sports will be taking place and when.

 

Art

The Art Department has a thriving extra-curricular offer beyond the classroom. To enhance the teaching and learning which goes on in the classroom and build students’ cultural capital, we have recently made visits to London with our Sixth Form Art students where we visited Tate Modern, The Royal Academy of Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum. This visit is long established and a permanent feature of our extra-curricular offer. We also offer Sixth Form Students the opportunity to visit Paris and New York as part of a wider program of international visits; in recent visits students have visited the Musee D-Orsay, The Lourve and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and in New York City the MOMA.

Celebrating Success

A number of our Year 11 students have had their work displayed at the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek, allowing the superb work of our hardworking students to be appreciated by the general public. A-Level photography student Victoria Sheldon has also had her work published in ‘Amateur Photographer’ magazine. Past students have also won awards in the Rotary Young Photographer Award. Our talented students have gone on to study the subject at well-respected universities, including Goldsmiths University, Royal College of Art, Edinburgh school of Art and Staffordshire University.

 

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary, non-competitive and flexible programme of cultural and adventurous activities for all young people aged between 14 and 25 years old, whatever their background or ability. At Westwood we currently offers all three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold Award) to Years 9, 10,12 and 13. Currently we have over 70 students participating, including a group of 9 students currently working towards their Gold Award – a first for Westwood (2022).

Our students complete a variety of activities in the different sections of the award.  Some of our students are trying out new activities to maintain a healthy mind and body, such as yoga, hill walking, rowing and even joining local gyms.  For the ‘Skills Section’ of the award, some of our students are learning to cook, to learn a language and even learn how to sign, whereas others are learning to play a musical instrument for the fist time or trying their hand at coding.

The students at Westwood have clocked up 100s of hours volunteering at various places in the local area. Activities include: making tea in care homes, litter picking and conservation projects, as well as helping out at local clubs, primary schools and charity shops.

During the Expedition phase our students have had the opportunity to develop their orienteering and survival skills, alongside softer skills such as a team work and compromise.

Through the DofE experience we offer at Westwood it is a real pleasure to see our students thrive in a different context to that of the classroom.

“I would definitely recommend the Duke of Edinburgh Award to anyone considering it – every aspect is fun and constructive. For example, I developed my crochet skills and can now make my own jumpers, cardigans and more. I took up boxing training which was really fun and helped increase my fitness and stamina. For the volunteering part, I worked in a charity shop, which really helped me to become more confident around people, as I was working on the till. The expedition was challenging, but extremely rewarding, and I wouldn’t change it at all – except maybe the part where I was almost chased by some sheep!”

Yr12 student (2021-2) Bel Copsey

 

Oversees visits with Languages

Westwood has a long and well established relationship with two schools in France and Germany; the Collège Henri Guillaumet in Mourmelon, France and the Theodor Heuss Realschule in Walldorf, Germany. For close the 40 years students from Westwood have visited these schools as part of our exchange programme, partnering with a pen-pal and staying with host families in country. Students have had the opportunity to spend time in school in France and Germany, visit local sites, experience local foods and speak the language they learn in the classroom. We have always considered this experience invaluable and, following a hiatus due to Covid in recent years, we are determined to resurrect the programme and give our future students this memorable opportunity.

Other visits offered by the Languages Department and in collaboration with other departments include: a cultural visit to Paris, a visit to Berlin for Sixth Form students of German and History and a visit to Barcelona for lower school students of GCSE Spanish.

 

Step-Up

In 2017, Westwood was fortunate enough to be selected by New College, Oxford University to work in partnership with them to support our most academically able A-level students. Step Up is a ‘rolling’ programme which supports our current highest achieving Y12 students during the two years of their A-level studies to apply to so-called ‘elite’ universities. Our partnership with New College, Oxford is a wonderful opportunity for sustained support with potential Oxbridge applicants. The outreach team at New College meet with our Step-Up students several times over the two years and offer unrivaled support. Lively academic activities and tutorials with Oxford tutors from a range of disciplines form the backbone of the programme, with visits by tutors to Westwood and vists by Westwood students to New College, Oxford. In the autumn of the second year, the Step-Up outreach team advise students (by then in Year 13) on preparing for admissions tests – a necessary part for selection at most Oxford and Cambridge degree courses and other top universities. Also, in the autumn term, they will support our students with interview advice and practice.

 

Throughout, the Step-Up team support Westwood teachers on how best to help our most able in applying to top universities. We have always found the Step-Up team to be welcoming and contactable at New College, Oxford! We continue to work very successfully with New College, Oxford who have supported us with Oxbridge applications year-on-year.

 

Eco-School Committee

Updates coming soon

 

Young Engineer of the Year

Year 10 students at Westwood have the opportunity to take part in the Young Engineer of the Year competition organised by KMF, a precision engineering company based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.  The team is required to use their scientific, engineering and problem-solving skills to address a challenge provided by KMF.  In recent years, such challenges have included sending an experiment to the edge of Space, building and racing an electric go-kart and a Robot Wars style competition.  This is an excellent opportunity for students to work as part of a team and apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems faced in real-world situations.

 

Drama

Updates coming soon