Fireside Talks at Wellington

Every Monday evening, the Master opens up the sitting room of the Lodge and invites in an outside speaker to share their experiences. The main aim is to make the students think and question their preconceptions, rather than teach them about a particular topic. The Q&A, a major element of the talks, is often animated, drawing questions from pupils of all ages.

Highlights so far this term include Oxford University history professor Peter Frankopan. He asked pupils to question why they focus so much on UK specific history, such as Henry VIII’s wives, rather than looking at the history of China and South Asia and considering the perspective of the rising powers of the East.

Former England cricket captain, Sir Andrew Strauss, discussed how to achieve the seemingly unachievable through marginal gains, breaking a mission down into achievable steps.

Talan Skeels-Piggins was left paralysed from the mid chest down after an accident, but he explained how he set about his goal to represent GB in the Paralympics. His determination and sheer willpower were inspirational: “It’s what you do that defines you”.

Prof Matthew Goodwin explained the rise of national populism and the need to engage and deal with challenging issues in our society.

Gareth Patterson QC outlined his role as a prosecutor, working with police to build a case and prove a suspect’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

We have lined up an exciting programme of talks for next term including Sir Anthony Seldon on politics and leadership, the British Ambassador to Romania talking about 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Prof Chris Budd discussing whether mathematics can save the whales.

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