WBHS is extremely proud to launch the new Student Centre on the WBHS campus, a project which was funded by the Educational Trust. The Centre has been named after the current Headmaster, Trevor Hall, the School’s longest serving Headmaster. He not only attended Westville Boys’ High School as a pupil, but has spent almost his entire working life in service of the School. It is through his vision, passion for the School, leadership and commitment to all round excellence that the School has achieved national and global recognition as one of South Africa’s finest schools. In light of his huge impact on the School, a unanimous decision was taken by the Governing Body Executive and Westville Old Boys’ Association to name this impressive facility as the Trevor Hall Student Centre.
This project has been more than two decades in the making, and was the brainchild of a previous long-standing WBHS Deputy Principal, Tom Stokes. Our contact with other educationists connected to schools in the World Leading Schools Association (WLSA) has led us to realise that a centre of this nature, properly managed, would add considerable value to the academic discourse that occurs in a school, thereby enhancing the quality of holistic education provided.
Several of our existing facilities are already being used as informal ‘student centres’ e.g. the Media Centre, the Art Centre, and the IT rooms. There is no doubt that our boys are now remaining at school much longer than students of past decades. Advanced Programme Mathematics, play practices, pre-season sports practices and personal enhancement courses such as Toastmasters are a few examples of this.
Several Heads of WLSA schools are of the opinion that the quality of their schools can be judged by the prevalence of insightful academic discussions that occur naturally, informally and instinctively amongst the students in their schools. In other words, ‘collaborative learning’. We have seen evidence of this in our tours to tour partners WLSA schools overseas. We have evidence of this at WBHS too, particularly in the Academic Support sessions that occur in the afternoons – apart from the role of our appointed teachers, our motivated academic students have shown much talent as co-learners and also in their role as informal teachers in the Academic Support programme, in whichever free area they can find in the School.
The Trevor Hall Student Centre is expected to be catalyst in enhancing the spirit of collaborative learning in the School, and will not be used simply as a ‘chill out’ area for our boys. We will be engaging with our LRC, Student Leaders and teachers on this prime objective before the Student Centre officially opens. However, we are also open to the idea that, at certain times of a typical school week, the facility might be under-utilised, and could productively be used for other activities such as a refreshment area for parents at sports events, as a dining area for boarders’ breakfasts and dinners, and as a conference area to assist our partner schools.