In addition to developing our pupils academically, we want to see them mature socially and ethically.
At Westminster we are committed to providing a holistic education with Enterprise being a central part of the boys’ learning: allowing them to realise what it takes to live as compassionate, contributing citizens both now and in the future. Giving to good causes and having an awareness of the world around us is a major part of the School’s ethos.
Broadly speaking there are three main components to what we do: fundraising, community involvement and sustainability. Enterprise is such a staple feature in the day-to-day life at the school that each form has a specially assigned Enterprise Man to coordinate these events.
In an average year, the Under School raises somewhere in the region of £50,000, allowing us to support a range of charities. When selecting charities, we look at those that may provide as immersive an experience as possible, meaning the boys feel involved in the process; thus, fundraising has been focused on two charities in recent years: The Hands Up Foundation, which provides replacement limbs for individuals caught up in the Syrian conflict and the Cardinal Hume Centre which houses unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and is just a stone’s throw away. Activities which support this run throughout the year including the Christmas Fair, the Summer Fête and the Readathon. Other smaller events that we support range from Jeans for Genes, Children in Need, Christmas Jumper Day, Woolly Hat Day, World Book Day and Comic Relief. Initiatives pioneered by the boys themselves including a foreign coin collection, an ice-lolly sale, a hot chocolate sale, and an unforgettable ‘laughathon’.
The wonderful thing about community involvement is that it provides positive experiences on all sides – our boys often get as much out of it as the recipients. A number of our boys regularly volunteer at a local primary school, reading or maths with younger children where English is, for many of them, their second or even third language. Additionally, once a week we play bingo and other activities with the elderly residents of Norton House Care Home: it is often the highlight of the week for both the residents and the boys.
We also hold an annual book festival. We donate 200 hundred carefully selected second-hand books to a local primary school, and our boys read these to the younger children, for many of whom English is an additional language. These children take the book home with them and it is often the first English book in their household and as the child has started the book, they are more likely to open it at home.
We are also fortunate to enjoy an incredibly high standard of facilities, in particular our playing fields and Sports Centre, so we are committed to making sure that less well-equipped schools also have the chance to access and benefit from our resources. We partner with a number of local primary schools and nursery groups who use our sporting facilities for play and outside activities throughout the year and three primary schools hold their annual sports day on our playing fields each summer.
To address the concern shown by the boys we have a number of initiatives. We mark Green Week and Earth Day with assemblies highlighting the devastating effect mankind is having on the Earth, We hold a Spring Clean where the boys’ unwanted items are donated to homeless shelters, youth clubs and charity shops. We collect plastic which is melted down and transformed into outdoor furniture for Vincent Square. Also, in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we grow and eat our own vegetables with the three vegetable patches cared for by a handful of our green-fingered juniors.