Virtutis Fortuna Comes
Wellington College is one of the UK’s — and indeed the world’s — great coeducational boarding and day schools. It seeks to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and character to serve and help shape a better world. Its innovative and interesting use of technology in the classroom combined with its emphasis on pupil-centred learning ensures that Wellington is at the forefront of educational advance.
An exciting fusion of heritage and modernity characterises our educational philosophy. Our curriculum, facilities, and teaching methods are constantly adapting to the challenges of preparing young people for the ever-changing world of the 21st century. Wellington College is a school which is dynamic in every sense of the word, and yet all that we do is rooted firmly in our five College values — Kindness, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Responsibility — values which underpin every aspect of life at Wellington.
The College is celebrated not only for its academic achievements but also for its world-renowned sporting, artistic and dramatic provision. Stellar examination results, a richly varied co-curriculum, and a raft of national accolades contribute to the College’s national and international reputation.
Wellington has won many awards for the pastoral support it offers its pupils. There are 17 boarding houses, each with its own dedicated team of HMs, Tutors, Matrons, and domestic staff. A newly built co-ed Sixth Form house will open in 2024. Pupil and staff-led mental health initiatives and our nationally recognised Wellbeing curriculum not only help our pupils successfully navigate their teenage years, but also prepare them for healthy, happy, and successful lives after school.
House life lies at the heart of each pupil’s experience, and it comes as no surprise that every Wellingtonian is convinced that their House is the best. Housemasters and Housemistresses, dedicated tutor teams, matrons and housekeepers all ensure that the House truly is a home away from home.
A focus on mental health with both staff and pupil ambassadors, a unique Mental Health Day for parents and pupils, several national awards for Safeguarding, a recent educational initiative on Sex and Consent, and a newly appointed Head of EDI help ensure that Wellington provides a safe and healthy environment for pupils and staff.
Our nationally recognised Wellbeing curriculum (we were the first school to introduce happiness lessons) focusses on embedding growth mindsets and building grit and resilience: the positive coping strategies that our pupils learn not only allow them to make the most of all the opportunities available to them at Wellington, but also prepares them for healthy, happy, and successful lives after school.
Wellingtonians study GCSEs, followed by the IB Diploma or A Levels and, whichever route they take, results are superb. In 2023, 37% of grades at GCSE were 9s (the most common grade for Wellingtonians) and 86% 9-7, with 10 students achieving a clean sweep of 9s. The combined total of IB and A-level grades was impressive: 31% of grades achieved were A*/7; 74% A*A/76. Remarkably of the 234 pupils in the Upper Sixth, 50% of the year group secured either Higher Level 7s and 6s at IB or A* and A at A-level, with 19 students achieving straight Higher Level 7s or A*s.
100 Wellingtonians have been offered Oxbridge places over the past five years, while 20-25 move on each year to American universities, including several to Ivy League universities.
In 2022/23 there continued to be over 20 different sports on offer at Wellington, involving 200 teams in around 1500 fixtures, and it was yet another bumper year for Wellington Sport. Over 30 Wellingtonians were involved in National level sport, with 12 teams or individuals taking part in National finals.
Boys’ sport continues to be an integral part of a Wellington education, with Rugby yet again proving a real strength, seeing not only success at First team level in prestigious Festivals, but also international call ups for four boys and a professional contract for one of the leavers. Boys’ hockey is enjoying a real renaissance with success at First team level and both Under 15 and 14 sides reaching national finals. The cricketers had a fine season, capped by the 1st XI lifting the Cowdrey Cup, a competition that brings together the strongest schools on the southern circuit. There is no doubt whatsoever that Wellington Football goes from strength to strength, and this is highlighted by more pupils – both boys and girls – playing football than ever before in the Lent term, which has also seen more grounds at Wellington made available for Football than at any point in its history.
The strategic focus to raise the profile of girls’ sport saw the continuation of Friday evening showpiece sporting events in Hockey and Netball: matches under lights, street food for spectators, live commentary and music created a brilliant atmosphere that saw the girls take centre stage. The girls also celebrated national successes in Netball, Tennis, Hockey, Rackets, Shooting, and Equestrian. More girls than ever before are playing cricket, with the 1st XI recording a memorable victory over the MCC and then going on to shine (alongside the boys) in their first BOWS festival.
Over 400 pupils play tennis regularly in the summer months, the golf team were victorious at the HMC Strokeplay Championships, and on the Rackets and Real Tennis courts many pupils shone at Queen’s. It was an incredible year for the shooting team, with 11 members of the Smallbore squad being selected for England and the Fullbore team excelling at Bisley. Basketball is a popular option, as is Athletics, Cross-country, Squash, Swimming, Sailing, Triathlon and Polo.
In 23/24 we hope to continue to deliver a world-class sporting experience for all pupils, ensuring both challenge and support at all sporting levels: Wellington remains committed to adding to its reputation as one of the UK’s strongest and most diverse schools on the sporting front.
Performing Arts are equally strong. Music, Dance and Drama are stunning, with 60% of pupils taking instrumental or LAMDA lessons with some 1,000 lessons taking place each week and over 50 visiting teachers. 22/23 was an outstanding year for the Arts at Wellington. Not only have we continued to provide a whole range of activities for our students, but we have been externally recognised by being awarded Arts Mark Platinum and being nominated for a TES Excellence in Creative Arts Award for our Festival of Musical Theatre, the finale of our wonderful Arts Festival back in October.
Music has a well-structured routine of activities and events, with flagship ensembles performing regularly at high-profile concerts; with regular recitals every Tuesday evening; regular concerts featuring the Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Band and Big Band; and weekly services featuring the Chapel Choir, who also sang at Exeter Chapel, Oxford and Chichester Cathedral. The Concerto Concert, which saw three pupils perform Mozart, Saint-Saëns, and Barber backed by a full orchestra, emphasised our pupils’ aspiration to perform concerti – no surprise given the successes at Diploma level, with 13 Diplomas awarded this year. Singer-songwriter concerts, a recording studio, the Jazz Orchestra, and the a cappella group, the Wellingtones, all provide a range of opportunities for our musicians.
Wellington Drama’s strength in depth and ingenuity was emphasised by the success of the re-branded House Drama competition, House Fives, where houses were limited by a minimum of five actors, at least five minutes in length, including five drama techniques with five lighting states and five props as well as five music pieces and/or sound effects. On the main stage Shakespeare in Love, Legally Blonde, 1984, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona all played to packed houses.
Dance saw over 100 students in the Christmas show, a much-anticipated House Dance competition with 750 students in the audition process, and a variety of Curriculum events, proving that dance is integral to a Wellington education. To the theme of Wonderland, the Dance Show showcased a range of Contemporary, Lyrical, Contact, Street, Commercial, Ballet, Tap, Acro, and a breath-taking Silks routine, high above the Annenberg stage, was a highlight of the year.
The Speech Day show, in a 4,000-seater Big Top, provides a fitting finale for the Wellington Performing Arts year, with musicians, singers, actors and dancers able to reprise many of the highlights of the year.
Leadership, service to others and developing an international outlook are also central to the College’s core values which is why co-curricular activities include CCF, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and a pioneering Global Social Leaders scheme, in which pupils learn to create and run innovative social action projects, tackling local and global issues.
Clubs and societies range from Green Power Racing to the Field Gun team, from WTV (Wellington’s own television company) and its pupil-run radio station DukeBox, to a full range of more traditional pastimes such as Photography, Creative Writing, Debating and the Model United Nations society.
Widening access to Wellington is at the heart of the Governors’ and Master’s vision for the future of the College. All financial aid in terms of fee reduction is therefore awarded via a means-testing procedure (details on our website and from the Chief Operating Officer’s office). Our aim is to enable an increasing number of families, who otherwise would not be able to afford the fees at Wellington, to send their son or daughter to the College. Means-tested fee assistance may be up to 100% of College fees, depending on individual family circumstances.
Means-tested Fee Assistance
For children with exceptional talents whose families would not be able to afford the full Wellington fees, we offer awards ranging from 10% to 100% of fees. Eligibility for an award is generally assessed – via means testing – at the time of an offer being made so that a family can accept the offer knowing that the required level of fee assistance is available.
An average year might see 20 pupils be admitted (at 13+ and 16+ entry only) with an average of award of c. 50% remission. Any family wishing to make an application for fee assistance will be invited to apply as part of the broader admissions process. A confidential ‘statement of financial position’ form will be sent after the registration deadline to families requesting fee assistance. Fee-assisted places are not always linked to scholarships but some are named, such as the Jimmy Higham Award (supporting a talented sportsman or sportswoman), the Seb Foundation Award (for talented rugby players) and the Sir Anthony Seldon Arts Award (for talented performers, musicians and artists).
The Prince Albert Foundation
The Prince Albert Foundation is a scholarship programme aimed at widening participation to families who would not normally consider or be able to access independent education, and for whom we can offer a genuine shift in opportunity. Currently there are 10-15 fully funded Prince Albert Scholarships awarded each year and we are aiming to increase this in the coming years. Children who are eligible for Prince Albert Scholarships are those whose families are on national average income or below; there is often a further relevant need for boarding.
Candidates must meet our minimum criteria for entrance, and we will assess potential as well as current achievement. The Prince Albert Foundation is not a programme designed to recruit pupils with specific talents. It is very unlikely that a pupil who already attends an outstanding or selective school or one already in the independent school system would be eligible.
Very generous remission, including free places based on means-testing, are available for the sons and daughters of deceased military servicemen and servicewomen and of others who have died in acts of selfless bravery, subject to entry requirement and according to the rules of the Foundation. Further details are available from the Chief Operating Officer’s office.
“Wellington just seemed to be more colourful – more music, sport and societies” The Good Schools Guide
“Thoughtful, contemporary education and first-class leadership” The Good Schools Guide
“At the forefront of every educational innovation” Tatler