Wellington College, UK

Wellington College is an all-round co-educational boarding and day school where education is for life, not just for passing exams. It seeks to be a vibrant, inspiring and challenging place which opens the minds and hearts of its pupils.

History and Heritage

The Duke of Wellington was one of the leading British military and political figures of the 19th century, most famous for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo and serving twice as Prime Minister of the UK. Wellington College was founded under Royal Charter from Queen Victoria, as the national memorial to the Great Duke following his death in 1852.

Wellington College was opened in 1859 as a boy’s boarding school, for the education of orphans of the British armed forces. It quickly expanded out to become one of the nation’s great boarding schools. In 1976 the school admitted girls for the first time in to the sixth form. In 2006 it took the important decision to become co-educational, and is now arguably the top co-educational school in the UK. In 2019 Wellington attained the highest IB average for any co-educational school in the UK, with one of the largest cohorts also of over 100 pupils, and is one of the top IB schools globally.

Wellington College remains today intensely proud of a fine tradition of service, for boy and girls, and of its continuing close connections with the British royal family.  HRH Queen Elizabeth is our Visitor and HRH the Duke of Kent is our President.

The current school

However much we take pride in our heritage, Wellington College, and Wellington College International, take from the firm roots of this great tradition, to face firmly in to the future, adapting our values and traditions for the twenty first century. Under the direction of the 13th Master, Dr Anthony Seldon (2006-2015), the College acquired an admirable reputation for its approach to education, underpinning an academic foundation with innovative ways of developing the emotional, physical and spiritual sides of its pupils. This has continued ever since, now under the leadership of the 15th Master, James Dahl.

At present there are 1,060 pupils, 85% of which are boarders. Our system of 17 Houses provides strong pastoral provision as well as a vibrant competitive and social environment for all our pupils. The magnificent original Wellington College buildings, which were constructed over 150 years ago, are set in 400 acres of parkland alongside newer arts, science, technology and other facilities. The school has all the facilities you would expect to see in a top-quality school, including a wide variety of sports facilities such as 16 rugby pitches and a 9-hole golf course across our site.

Wellington College also has a preparatory school, Eagle House, which first opened in 1820 and recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. Eagle House educates 400 students from the ages of 3 to 12 and boarding is offered from Year 3.

School Structure & Curriculum

The purpose of learning at the College is to acquire skills and knowledge that will be useful for life, producing young adults who question and think, and who are capable of independent learning. They gain an international outlook and a purposeful attitude to work, service and society that will set them apart as adults and help them succeed in their careers.

Our curriculum encompasses the very best of British and International experience.  In 2019 Eagle House launched a new, bespoke curriculum – founded in the English national curriculum – that is broad and modular with regular assessments that replace the old common entrance model. This approach responds to contemporary employer demands and will prepare our children for success in the future world.  At Wellington College we continue with the national curriculum but again leading to GCSE, followed by a choice of A levels and the IB Diploma programme. The split is around equal each year.

Wellington College is an academic school, with world-leading results in IB (please see link to our results here). Alongside this, Wellington champions and excels in the co-curricular area that focuses equally on both mass-participation and the opportunity for talented students to excel across a wide variety of subjects in sports and the visual and performing arts.

Wellington is also a pioneering school, with an emphasis on holistic and all-around education. We seek to lead in education debate across many areas of the curriculum and school life. A key component of this is the Festival of Education, hosted by Wellington College and now in its 12th year, and now also hosted by all three of our International schools in China.

Wellington hit the headlines for its progressive introduction of ‘happiness classes‘ ie well-being teaching 15 years ago, in collaboration with the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge. This continues today, alongside other world-leading programmes in such areas as co-education, safeguarding, teenage mental health, coaching, leadership, and global citizenship .