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Welcome from the Headmaster


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I have a long association with the School having begun my teaching career here back in the early 1990s and I consider it an enormous privilege to be Headmaster of this School. Westcliff High School for Boys is a School rich in tradition with a fine academic, cultural and sporting record.  It is also a School which fosters deep affection from within its community, from current and former pupils and staff. Founded in 1920, we have a proud tradition of serving our local community and actively promote local entry through our Westcliff Centre for Gifted Children (WCGC) Go for Grammar! programme.

Public examination outcomes are consistently of the highest order; the extent to which attainment at WHSB exceeds national outcomes is not only large but is, in many subjects, growing.  Such levels of achievement, together with the broader perspectives and deeper insights which go beyond the narrow confines of the subject specifications, provide a secure foundation for future study and enable our students to attend the top universities in the UK and further afield.

I believe there are many lessons to be learned at School; some from teachers and advisers and some from fellow pupils. The learning can be collective and individual. Among the most important lessons is the understanding that learning continues throughout one’s life and that experience is perhaps the greatest of all teachers. In my experience, managing that lifelong learning is all the easier when one has firm foundations provided by an effective education. It helps one appreciate that life is not without risk and setbacks, but both can be managed through resilience, by understanding one’s true self-worth and with the support of our community.

It is a joy to be Headmaster of this fine School. We have a tradition of encouraging individuality, strong values and independence of mind amongst our pupils to enable them to develop the potential that lies within. Many years ago, as a young teacher in his first few weeks at the School, I had to stop a young boy in Year 8 for running in the corridor. Having been corrected he raised his head and offered me an apology explaining that he and been ‘quick walking’ rather than ‘running’.  He will have appreciated that I may have thought otherwise, and accepted that he should face the consequences of his actions. Not knowing whether to laugh or reprimand him further I decided to let him off the hook. The last time I heard from this pupil he was undertaking postgraduate studies in Economics at the University of Warwick. In hindsight, and being an economist myself, I should have realised his excuse had all the hallmarks of a budding economist. Twenty-five years on I have many such stories, all of which remind me what a privilege it is to work with such creative, intelligent and talented pupils and staff at this wonderful School.

Michael A Skelly