The Cost of Leadership

This week, we welcomed teachers from across the country to our Independent Learning Conference. Key-note lectures and discussions, led predominantly by Wellington teachers, explored the strategies we have put in place to develop a culture of independent thinking, learning and coping. Meanwhile, Wellington teachers have been busy writing subject reports. Their comments, informed by a term of teaching your daughters and sons, will reflect the strategies they have put in place to develop independent thinkers, learners and copers.

Over the last few years, we have reshaped our curriculum with the intention that it will inspire students in the present while equipping them with skills for the future. Likewise, we have adapted our reporting methods to reflect the attributes we feel are important for future happiness and success. Our four Learning Descriptors (Disciplined Work Habits, Curiosity and Deep Learning, Collaboration and Engagement, and Independence, Initiative and Self-reflection) spell out exactly what we are trying to achieve. It is heartening that, in all my discussions with industry leaders, variations of these words occur time and again: collaboration, independence, initiative, reflection. We are heading in the right direction, of that there is no doubt, but what often gets lost, is the understanding of why. Why do we believe so strongly that our students must learn to think, learn and cope independently?

As I was delivering my opening remarks to conference delegates in the newly re-named Driver Leadership Room on Wednesday, I realised that one answer to this question was right in front (or rather to the left) of me. Next to the lectern in the Driver Leadership Room, stencilled onto the wall, there is a quotation:

‘Wellington leaders have the character, passion and skills to serve and make a positive difference in the world.’

Not only are we preparing our students for a world that is changing, but we are preparing them for a world that is in need. Now, arguably more than ever, the world needs creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators. Above all, it needs individuals with the ability to see an alternative perspective, individuals with the ability to collaborate effectively, individuals with the ability to act with kindness and empathy. This is why it is important to look beyond the classroom to really appreciate what we are trying to achieve with independent learning at Wellington. Excellent academic achievement will be one outcome, but there is so much more.

You only need look to our Global Citizenship Programme to appreciate the impact that independent thinkers, learners and copers can have. On Wednesday afternoons, Wellington students can be found mentoring pupils in local primary schools, supporting dementia patients in neighbouring care homes, and creating healing gardens for members of the community to enjoy. Beyond this, there is our Global Social Leaders programme, which sees students engaged in social entrepreneurship on an international level. These experiential learning opportunities are powerful, and often transformative, for those involved. Not only are they are integral to our culture of independent learning, but they reflect and support our College Values: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage and, above all, Kindness.  As members of the Wellington Community, we hope you too will be inspired to play your part. Please read the message from Katy Granville-Chapman below to find out how you can help.

By encouraging our students to think, learn and cope independently, we hope they will be equipped to lead happy and successful lives; by encouraging them to look outwards, and beyond themselves, we hope they will be inspired to make a difference in the world.

There is another quotation on the wall of the Driver Leadership Room:

‘The cost of leadership is self-interest’.


Become a GSL Hero – a message from Katy Granville-Chapman

Over 300 schools from 70 countries have signed up for our Global Goals Inter-School Competition, which we run as part of Global Social Leaders (GSL). GSL is the name of Wellington and Future Foundations’ transformational leadership programmes that give young people the inspiration, skills and support to design and carry out high impact social action projects and build social enterprises. The winners of our Global Goals competition will be announced at our annual GSL Festival on 20th June 2019, which is part of Wellington’s EdFest.

We are delighted to invite members of the Wellington Family to become a GSL Hero – you can mentor students (online); write feedback on project ideas (online); speak at one of our programmes (here, at Wellington College); or help us to raise funds to support bursaries or to run our ‘Catalyst’ programme in other parts of the world. So far GSL has been delivered in the UK, India, China and the UAE. In 2019, programmes are also taking place in Romania, Turkey, Mozambique and South Africa.

To express interest in becoming a GSL Hero please do click here.

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