The Eric Westley Award for Maths Improvement
The Eric Westley award is sponsored by Eric’s son Mike and awarded annually to pupils who have significantly improved in maths during the past year. Each prize winner receives a token for £25 and a certificate. The overall winner also receives a trophy.
Mike Westley Writes:-
Eric Westley, was my dad, and spent the whole of his teaching career at Moseley from the 1960s to earlier 80s. Here is a little taste of his teaching life and his enthusiasm for mathematics and encouraging pupils to be their best.
Eric began teaching in the late 1960s, teaching mathematics and part of the school’s remedial department – this enabled many children who needed more help and encouragement to thrive and find where their talents lay.
Eric had every child’s interests at his heart, and earned everyone’s respect through a lot of hard work himself. He understood how important it was to nurture children’s talents, whatever they may be, helped and gave extra time to those who needed it. He would also visit the homes of ‘ill’/missing pupils after school, to ensure that the pupils ‘stories’ were confirmed by their parents.
Lessons with ‘baldie’ (as many of his pupils affectionately called him – out of earshot mostly) were never boring. He would take many a day-to-day item or gadget to school from home to explain a mathematical puzzle and subsequently gained the interest and enthusiasm of many pupils who others might have found ‘hard to handle’.
The school was known as ‘Moseley Modern’ when Dad joined, fresh out of Teacher Training College at Huddersfield (around 1965). Eric had a varied and colourful career in Engineering (such as at Triplex, Land Rover and Dunlop), before turning to teaching in his 40’s.
This knowledge of the ‘world outside school’ helped him encourage students to learn the skills and talents needed, as well as ‘doing your best’ in exams and studies. This is something that I also benefited from in our conversations during ‘homework’.
One thing that he would not have been good at teaching, though this never stopped him travelling in the UK, was geography. His stories about training as an RAF navigator, getting lost somewhere over South Africa, became more humorous (and extravagant) each time they were told!
He was popular too amongst his colleagues, the teachers, and helped them with advice. I recall one time he was advised by a colleague that I (son Michael, at Moseley until 1979) was amongst a group of pupils making a bit of trouble outside during a lunch-break. His response was fair, funny and direct – “OK, don’t give him any special treatment because I’m his dad, you saw it, sort it out”.
He was also a teachers’ union representative for many years, and helped many overcome their issues with great kindness and professionalism.
Eric was also an enthusiastic contributor during School Plays and Concerts – sharing his finance / maths knowledge and creating programmes for many events. These non-curricular activities, which also included a chess-team, are an important part of every school-person’s development; particular associated with public-speaking, team-working and project planning.
It is never too late to learn either – post retirement he studied for and passed an A-Level at the then Perry Barr Polytechnic (now part of Birmingham City University). Keeping that connection with young and old, he continued to tutor privately and as a volunteer at a local school in Acocks Green after his retirement.
This years Eric Westley Awards for Maths Improvement were presented to the following three student who have all shown particular improvement in Maths over the last year and were recommended by the Maths Department at School.
Hafsa Akmal – Year 9 Girl – Mansfield House M3
Areeb-Ur-Rehman Qureshi Shaheen – Year 7 boy – Mansfield House M2
Mandla Nkiwane – Year 10 boy – Keble House K2
As well as a Certificate each received a special glass trophy from Mike Westley, son of Eric Westley.