The Wellington College Computer Science Department, or WellyCompSci has had an incredible year. Upper Sixth student, Will M, shares his thoughts:
Our motto? “Run by students, for students”
The WellyCompSci team at Wellington is pioneering student-led education worldwide, by teaching programming and other industry relevant skills to an exceptionally high standard. With interest from all areas of the College, we now have a dedicated team of pupils from every year group. Our motto? “Run by students, for students”.
WellyCompSci was formed around the idea that practical skills, like programming, are very much ‘hands-on’ and cannot be truly grasped within the realms of a classroom. Therefore, the initial idea of WellyCompSci was to create a teaching platform where we can deliver high-quality training, in the form of videos, to pupils (and staff!) interested. Along with the training, the plan was to:
- Invite students to be ‘interns’ within our company, receiving training videos and other material.
- Interns, once they have finished the video series, create a ‘mini-project’ to showcase their skills.
- The Interns would then request an informal interview with the current President/Vice-President (myself & Arjun in this instance) to highlight what they had learnt during the course, and their ambitions for the future.
- After the interview, Interns would formally join the company as a ‘Junior Programmer’.
The foundations of WellyCompSci really began with the creation of the Monday Night Football website. Monday Night Football, or MNF, is an internal football competition at Wellington run by students. I was approached by some of the students that ran it, asking if I could help modernise the organisation of the league, and create a website to show the results – and I said yes. This was the perfect partnership between two student-led bodies. The overall result was a public website for all College users to use, utilising the skills I had taught myself. The website shows the upcoming fixtures between houses, results, goal-scorers and more.
Having shown the MNF website to Mr Hooper, the head of Computer Science, he suggested we should promote WellyCompSci around the College, and that’s when the first College-wide email was sent around.
From there, it all took off. We had a number of students apply for the roles – not only programmers, but writers, graphic designers, business students, video editors and more. We started to create a blog, record podcasts, revamped our social media and rebuilt our homepage website to fit our new theme and design ideas. Now WellyCompSci was starting to take shape – a team of people that have a wide range of skills.
From start to finish, my time as President of WellyCompSci has been filled with success for all involved. We have received nothing but praise from students and staff alike about what we have been doing with WellyCompSci. Leading the members to be the best members they can be, has been truly rewarding and I’m proud to say that this will be my legacy at Wellington, and I intend to leave it in the capable hand of Arjun, who will be taking over as President next year.
One final note, none of this would have been possible without the help, guidance and counsel of Mr Jonathon Hooper who has been rooting for student-led learning for years and I am sure that he will be proud of the work he has put in motion as he leaves at the end of this year also. We couldn’t have done it without you, sir – it has been a pleasure.
One of the major issues we had been hearing from students, even before the inception of WellyCompSci, was how prep is managed at Wellington. At the time, a team of us consisting of the Lower Sixth at the time, and myself in Fifth Form decided to embark on a website where a student could manage preps from their day to day lives at College.
I contacted IT services to see if we would be able to get class set lists, and very helpfully, they were able to do so – and so we set to work. I managed to set up a system where we could authenticate school users and download their timetable. Roy H (HI), Max Al-Hasso (M) and I managed to coordinate, as a team, how to display the data and what tasks needed to be accomplished by the 3 of us. At this point, we had now reached the end of the summer term, and had to say farewell to Max and Roy, who as the original Computer Science ambassadors, had managed to kickstart the department.
At this point, I was the only one left. Until I heard from the Head of Computer Science himself that we were due to receive our first Computer Science Scholar, by the name of Arjun – a person who had already succeeded in completing a similar project to ours at his previous school. Naturally, the first thought going through my head was “Computer Science Scholar? Not jealous at all…” (I think I may have actually said that aloud) but then Mr Hooper told me about the app he had created, and how it was similar to ours. So, I thought that Arjun could definitely help.
During the first couple of months of the new year, we began setting up WellyCompSci as detailed above. We brainstormed to see what new projects we should take on, to fulfil our mission statement. We had many different ideas, but I pitched the project we had already started, and in our first meeting we came to the conclusion that we shouldn’t just develop one singular app but create a platform upon which future projects could build. That was the end goal, a system for students that as a starter, contained their timetable, could create/set preps by teachers for their students. It was designed so that it could be extensively built upon in the future.
Skipping forward to a few weeks into the Summer term, we were preparing for our launch in assembly. We planned and created a launch video to highlight some of the problems we have at Wellington to do with technology, and on the assembly day, we launched to great reception.
The mobile apps were released shortly afterwards, and the feedback for both platforms was superb. I am proud to say that I have led this team to create a blossoming app for the entire College community to use for the future and have educated a developing group of individuals who have such a bright future.
Now for me, my next step is to go to Birmingham University to study Computer Science, where I have my degree apprenticeship with Vodafone waiting for me.
Will M (Bn, 2019)
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