Meet Mr G. Birditt

This is what Mr Birditt has to say about Westridge High School.

Question:

Mr Birditt when did you join Westridge High School as its Head, and what is your background in education?

Answer:

I started as Head at Westridge High in January 2020.    For more than fifteen years, I was head of a non-profit organisation that was also the responsible authority for three kindergartens, four primary schools and one secondary school in Zimbabwe.

Question:

Why do you think education is so important to Zimbabweans?

Answer:

I think the world-over education is seen as the key to future success.  In fact a child’s right to a quality education is a duty that all parents and all governments must deliver on.  I have already met some parents at Westridge High and I am happy to say that they have great ambition for the future of their sons and daughters.  In my view parents are as important as government when it comes to a child’s education.

Question:

You mentioned parents having “great ambition” for their children what is yours for Westridge High?

Answer:

Well, where do I start?  The school was established twenty years ago, it has a solid foundation and has grown in to a good school, but what I want is for it to go from good to great!  I am fortunate that all stakeholders in the school also want exactly that!   Being a great school, though, means different things to different groups.  Some believe a great school is one that always achieves the very highest grades in public examinations, others think it is all about being unrivalled in sporting excellence.

Question:

In your view, what will make Westridge High a great school and how do you intend to get there?

Answer:

First of all, to be a great school does not mean trying to be like another school that may have an enviable reputation.  I am reminded of what the CEO of the Association of Trust Schools (Zimbabwe) told me during my induction as incoming head:“Make Westridge High the very best school that Westridge High can be.This does not mean trying to imitate another school and lose your own special and unique identity and offering”.

So, if Westridge High is a great school it has a vision that all stakeholders believe in, it has a mission that gives the school traction and has values that guide our behaviour and interaction inside the school community and outside.  I would invite anyone reading this to take a look at the parts of our website which describe our Roots, our Vision (Home page) our Mission and our Values (About Us page).

Question:

I have read that and wanted to ask about the vision – what are “21st century skills”?

Answer:

At Westridge High School we want young people to not only be educated (as some define by Cambridge examination results) but to also have the skills that will prepare them for tertiary education and equip them as contributors in the workplace.  Remember these skills are nurtured as much on the sports field as in the classroom.

Question:

Can you give me an example of what you mean, exactly?

Answer:

Yes, of course.  Important 21st century skills of team work and leadership are instilled, in the case of team work, when youngsters participate in regular sports practice on the field or courts and in the case of leadership, this is often built when representing their school in fixtures against other schools.

Question:

My final question for this interview (as I hope to have more questions for you in future interviews) is this, is there anything you want to highlight about the school’s motto of Knowledge, Enlightenment and Service?

Answer:

I would like to highlight that whilst service is often overlooked it is vital to the development of a young person’s character.  In fact, more and more we see employers and universities paying particular attention to the character and personal qualities of applicants as much as to their academic/training qualifications.  As humans we gain fulfilment in reaching out to others in service.  This will be encouraged not only through the Interact Club at Westridge High but by other service projects and initiatives as well as through volunteerism.

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