Westhoughton News

Getting Teacher And Parent Roles Right

“It’s up to parents not teachers to teach children right from wrong”, Charlotte Rea declared at this year’s Westhoughton Rotary Youth Speaks competition. In their winning presentation, the Westhoughton High School Intermediate team tackled the key subject Parents and Teachers: What’s the Difference?

Backed by chairperson Chloe Pritchard and proposer of the vote of thanks, Louis Fitzpatrick, she deplored the fact that teachers were now expected to teach subjects outside their professional academic expertise. The roles of parents and teachers were becoming blurred as teachers fill in for parents in teaching about the moral aspects of such areas as drugs and knife crime.

Rotary Past President Phil Wood welcomed the teams from both Westhoughton and Ladybridge High Schools saying how delighted the Rotarians and their guests were at the prospect of a keen competition between the schools and their Senior and Intermediate teams.

After the teams drew for the order of presentation, Ladybridge Intermediate spoke first stating that younger generations were not being sufficiently prepared for their future lives and potential careers. Speaker Marc Thompson, chairperson Zahra Inam and proposer of the vote of thanks Yashni Bhudia said that the problem was not just in schools but also in their homes. For example, teachers weren’t encouraging creativity and the over protectiveness of parents was preventing the development of individual resilience.

Next, Westhoughton Seniors asked why our communities were falling apart. As more time was being spent with virtual friends on social networks, people were losing contact with real people with many not even knowing their neighbours. Indra Lilley explained how their students were finding how new contacts with local people through initiatives like ‘let’s share Christmas’ were equally rewarding for both pupils and local older people alike. He told the audience how he’d been learning to play dominoes at the Senior Solutions Carers’ Group. Chairperson Natalie Rea and proposer Evie Munroe added their thoughts on how little things could make a real difference.

Westhoughton Intermediate team then gave an impassioned plea on behalf of hard pressed teachers, worrying that the pressures on them were causing stress when required to teach subjects which could best be learned through parents acting as good role models.

Ladybridge Senior team chairperson Jasmine Ahmad opened a presentation intriguingly entitled We are more than pink or blue by explaining their concern about the constraints imposed by preconceived stereotypes. Amaan Patel said career aspirations were being affected with girls being less likely to study STEM subjects and boys being reluctant to enter nursing. The need for men to be manly or be seen as potential ‘knights in shining armour’ risked depression if they failed to live up to such expectations. .

On behalf of the judges, President Bernard Howes announced the results of the competition saying how impressed they had been with the choice of relevant topics delivered with passion by all four teams. They were delighted how the standard seemed to go up each year with schools building on their experience of previous competitions. .

The overall winners were Westhoughton High School Intermediate team of Chloe Pritchard, chairperson, Charlotte Rea, speaker and Louis Fitzpatrick, proposer of the vote of thanks.

They and the Westhoughton Senior Team would be going forward to the next stage in the competition, to be held in Bolton in February. The Jack Cowburn Cup was then presented to the winners by Bernard Howes & Margaret Cowburn, together with a book token for each winning team member. All of the competitors were congratulated on their performances and presented with individual certificates.

Bernard Howes and his fellow judges, Mrs Sheena Yates and Ms Jeanna Solomon, were thanked for their work. Thanks were also expressed to Margaret Cowburn for her consistent interest and support for Youth Speaks. Tribute was paid to the continuing commitment of the teachers of both Westhoughton and Ladybridge High Schools to their students and this competition.

In closing, Phil Wood added his congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in an excellent and inspiring evening.

Senior team:

Natalie Rea - Chairperson
 Indra Lilley - Main Speaker
 Evie Munro - Vote of Thanks

Intermediate team:

Chloe Pritchard - Chairperson
 Charlotte Rea - Main Speaker
 Louis Fitzpatrick - Vote of Thanks