It would be wrong not to reflect on some of the highlights of what has been, by any standards, a most successful term. Several stand out most obviously: the wonderful concert at LSO St. Luke’s, where our musicians played alongside renowned professionals; the energetic and entirely joyful Anything Goes; the Under 16 girls being crowned national hockey champions; the inspirational series of entrepreneurial lectures that have brought new life to Monday evenings are all things to be justifiably proud of.
However, my own personal highlights often happen on a smaller scale: dropping into lessons to see the inspirational standards set by both teachers and pupils; visiting the courses set up by the Maths and English Departments for parents; listening to Dr Ruth Lexton and Dr Alistair Dunn talking about Medieval Language have all provided real moments to treasure, as indeed have the regular performances of our pupils at the assemblies that take place so frequently throughout the term. Every week I see the curricular and co-curricular “teams of the week”, and get to meet six teams every week. This term I’ve met house debating teams, service teams, orchestras and ensembles, sporting teams (not just first teams, but often the D or E teams), and have shared the excitement of their achievements, whether at national, local, school or house level: what characterises all of them, of course, is a desire to make the very best of themselves and the joy they get out of the special bond that true teamwork brings. More than anything it is these teams that help me to understand just what being a Wellingtonian is all about.
Earlier this term I shadowed the Head Boy, Jonny McCausland, for a day. The experience was both inspirational and exhausting, and gave me a real glimpse of what it is like to be a busy student here at Wellington. It certainly impressed on me that our pupils’ time is precious, and that it is incumbent on us to make sure we don’t waste their time: with so much going on for them every day we need to ensure that all of their lessons (both curricular and non-curricular) are exciting and stimulating – but also that they have the space to reflect and learn for themselves. It also reaffirmed the crucial importance of our children’s wellbeing: good food and proper rest are essential, and we must keep educating them to take proper care of themselves. I realised that every day at Wellington helps develop essential qualities of grit, resilience and mindfulness.
This Easter holiday provides an incredibly important three weeks for our Fifth and Sixth formers as their public exams loom ever nearer on the horizon. It is a precious time for them: free from the pressures and constants of the school structure they have the chance to build securely on the foundations they have been laying for the past five terms. If they show genuine commitment and diligence there is no reason why they should not go on to achieve the results that will make this summer a spectacular one for them. They will not get this time again, and I always advise students to take this holiday most seriously. As a parent myself, I know that this is the time when your children are likely to protest that they need you the least, when in actual fact it is probably the time when they need you the most. You can help them so much with the way they structure and organise their time, and experience suggests that even if you have had to resort at times to what seems like good old-fashioned discipline, they will thank you for it in the long run! The way they work now really will make all the difference.
Good luck to our Under 15 Boys who play Warwick School in the NatWest final at Twickenham on Wednesday: please do go and support them if you are able.