The Master’s Voice
Last week, I wrote about the extraordinary successes of some of our recent OWs, who are achieving great things in their respective fields. I am delighted that the good-news stories have kept coming this week. Heralded as sailing’s ‘next big star’, OW Jack Trigger has recently embarked on the Normandy Channel race, as part of his preparation for the Vendée Globe 2020. He has been speaking to the BBC this week about battling gruelling sea conditions and Type 1 diabetes. This solo endeavour has been matched by the incredible sporting efforts of no less than six OWs who have been involved in the current U20 World Rugby Championship in France: Ben Loader, Rory Brand, Josh Basham, Matt Williams and Tom Parton have all been playing for England, while Charlie Jupp has represented Scotland. The boys all left Wellington in either 2016 or 2017, and it is surely an unprecedented event for one school to be so well represented. The final, when England take on the host nation, kicks off at 1800 on Sunday, 17th and can be viewed on ITV 4. Many congratulations and good luck to all the boys.
Sporting success notwithstanding, it is now a recognisable part of the Wellington DNA to be at the heart of Educational thought: we want to make sure that all we do here is of the highest quality, but we don’t always want to follow accepted thinking. Rather we want to question and help frame the debate, especially in those areas where classroom practice perhaps owes more to mythology and wishful thinking than anything more rigorously tested. It is why we have a Head of Educational Research, and a team of staff working with him. Their task is to ensure that all our teaching is informed by evidence as to what actually works best, both in the classroom and also for informing and facilitating the independent thinking, learning and coping that is such a key element of a Wellington education. We also offer a Research Fellowship each year, which allows teachers to take time away from school to research a specific area of pedagogy, the results of that research feeding back into our Independent Learning programme.
It is also why we are so proud to be hosting the UK’s largest Education Festival for the ninth year running next week. Memorably dubbed by Sir Bob Geldoff as “Glastonbury for the mind”, it really is the place where those who inspire find their own inspiration and I am looking forward once again to welcoming so many leading figures not only from the world of education, but also from Politics, Business, Media and Show Business. After all, education touches all our lives, whatever field we finally follow, and it is only right that we should take its transformational quality extremely seriously. Next Thursday and Friday will see Wellington both geographically and symbolically at the very heart of the country’s hopes for its coming generations, a position that was surely what Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had in mind when first they thought of all that Wellington College might one day become.