Even Virtual School is so much more than Just Lessons

While it is right that schools should focus on ensuring the academic progress of their pupils is in no way compromised by inconveniences such as lockdown, we were all determined that as far as possible the unique features of an all-round Wellington education should remain unchecked.

The move to virtual has seen remarkable ingenuity. The Master paved the way with our first ever distanced End of Term Assembly back in March, and since then Full School and House Assemblies have kept all pupils connected with their teachers and each other. Group tutorials, and one-to-one Tutor periods continue as important moments in the life of each pupil, and Wellbeing classes remain a priority.

The new Chaplain, Father Adrian Stark-Ordish, has ensured that Wellington’s spiritual flame has continued to burn brightly on its new online platform: Sunday and midweek services have continued, with prayers, readings, sermons and talks; congregational music has also featured, autocue text of favourite hymns accompanied by real time organ accompaniment (and special thanks to Mr George de Voil for his exemplary playing and imaginative reharmonizations) giving a lift to all our spirits.

Monday evening Fireside Talks, WellingTens and visiting (virtual) speakers across many departments and subjects have been beamed across the ether ensuring that at this time of all times Wellingtonians continue to look outwards and beyond the narrow confines of their own worlds. There has also been a significant growth of online student-led academic societies.

Houses have set up a variety of challenges, some for the sheer joy of connection, others to maintain their charitable purpose. The 2.6 Challenge in late April provided much needed variety, purpose and fun, from prodigious feats of physicality to astonishing ingenuity in the kitchen and baking world.

Music, Art, Sport and Drama

The Montgomery Singing Competition and the Junior Instrumental Montgomery are both taking place online this term, as is the House Ensemble Competition, where teams of four or more record and submit their entries. The Eve of Speech Day Concert moves online from its traditional setting in the Combermere Quad, but will still be broadcast live.

Art is very much not in lockdown as the House Art competition continues to provide inspiration. Not only for individual entries but also testing the collective ingenuity of all the students as they strive to come up with online collaborative pieces. Dance workshops continue throughout the week, regular weekly yoga sessions allow for moments of calm reflection, and the Sports Department encourage all pupils to join them for their regular live workouts, led by our crack fitness and conditioning coaches.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, featuring a cast of students from Wellington, will be broadcast on Dukebox throughout June, and this year Shakespeare in the Master’s Garden is being replaced by Shakespeare from their Gardens, with students and staff recording and submitting their favourite speeches, which will then be spliced together for a stunning final College collage.

And to the future: virtual Visitors Days, online admissions interviews with students from around the world, and Open House mornings all continue to take place as parents still seek to secure places at Wellington, knowing that whatever the future holds, a Wellington education will best secure that future for their youngsters.And, of course, what would a Wellington year be without Speech Day to celebrate. Not this year in the Big Top – but still a glorious occasion and virtually certain to stay long in the memory!


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