A Proud Tradition. Educating for the Future.

2020 has been a year of many things, one of which has been the 10th anniversary of Wellington College China, the group which has overseen the opening of our first sister schools around the globe. Wellington College International schools have opened in Tianjin (2011), Shanghai (2014) and, most recently, in Hangzhou (2018). Our partners in Thailand are now in their third year of operating Wellington College International Bangkok too. In addition, the growth of bilingual schools in China has grown exponentially. These schools, which teach a British and Chinese curriculum through the medium of both English and Mandarin, are known as Huili schools. There are Huili schools in Shanghai and Hangzhou and, in the next few years, will also open in Nantong and Jiashan.

Many Wellingtonians have asked me about our international schools and so today’s keynote address in assembly was given by Mr Iain Henderson, our Deputy Head who, amongst other things, takes responsibility for so many aspects of our international partnerships. He talked of how important our connections with our overseas schools are, the possible opportunities which the future might hold in a world post-COVID, and also of the sheer number of pupils currently receiving a Wellington education outside the UK. We have 1087 pupils on roll here in Crowthorne. There are 4721 current pupils in our various partner schools.

The strapline ‘A Proud Tradition. Educating for the Future.’ belongs to Wellington College China but applies equally to the educational ethos of every school in the Wellington College family. Indeed, the fusion of tradition and heritage with a deeply progressive, forward-thinking and outward-looking approach is one of the many things which drew me to work here back in 2013, and I suspect it was also a significant factor in attracting you to become part of the Wellington Community. A 10-minute stroll around the centre of Wellington College reveals this intoxicating and Janus-esque regard for the past and the world as it is yet to be.

We live in a time when international co-operation and open-mindedness has never been more needed, where we should be looking outwards and connecting with others to find the answers to existential issues ranging from COVID to climate change, from population growth to extreme poverty. But we also live in a time when institutions like Wellington College need to engage with and re-examine their core mission, purpose and values to ensure that they continue to serve the world of today and tomorrow both in terms of what they do internally and the impact which they can have externally.

This is not to deny our heritage – our proud tradition – but it is to accept that we must serve current and future Wellingtonians well by equipping them with knowledge, skills and values fit for the future, not for the world as it used to be. In the coming weeks, we will therefore be launching a consultation process with the wider Wellington Community – pupils, parents, staff of all types and OWs – which will explore key questions around purpose and mission, values and the future. Wellington College must continue to respond to the world as it is today without losing that very special sense of history and heritage which makes our foundation as the national memorial to the first Duke of Wellington so unique.

I am hugely excited by this project which will help shape the future direction of the College not just in a world post-COVID, but as we head more deeply into the 21st century. We will always be immensely proud of our unique tradition, but we must continue to ensure that we are, indeed, educating for the future.

Back to all news