Wellington college

(11 Posts)
toobusytothink Sat 21-May-16 10:59:12

Hello. Considering Wellington college for ds and dd in 2019/2020 and would need to register ds by end June if we want it to be an option. Have managed to get a date to look around but only dh can go (can't get time off work). Have read reviews on here but none recently and obviously there's been a change in HM. Other thing I've heard is it is very "londony" whatever that means ... Could anyone advise on the general feel of the place. Both ds and dd bright and very sporty. Thx

katemiddletonsothermum Sun 22-May-16 20:53:21

They'll need sharp elbows to thrive.

Millymollymandy66 Thu 02-Jun-16 11:14:37

Hopefully things might have improved/settled down by 2019/20 but at the moment I would not be sending another child to Wellington - largely because of the uncertainties around the change in headship. There is an awful lot of PR fluff and not a lot of substance backing it up. I say this as a current (ds3) & past (ds1&2) parent. For what it's worth I will break my views down. Sports wise there is probably not another school to beat it: both in terms of the breadth of sports offered and the quality of coaching and success acheived. If you child is super sporty they will thrive. Academically results are very mixed. For a school that makes a huge song and dance about being academically selective there is a surprising mix of abilities. Personally I'm not in favour of hothouses so have no problem with this although the quality and consistency of teaching is variable. Some teachers/departments are world class; some are worryingly weak. Staff turnover is far too high. The Master: Anthony Seldon may have polarised opinion but he ran a tight school where parents and pupils were actively involved and engaged. Everyone knew who the Master was and what he expected of them. He may not have always been liked but he was omnipresent! The new Master is the polar opposite - charming, socially adept... but seemingly overawed by his surroundings, inexperienced and out of his depth. He, and the rest of the senior leadership team, were boo'd by the pupil body at a recent school event. That would NEVER have happened to AFS! I don't know about 'londony' but a large number of the pupil body do come from London or the London-belt. Like many schools the majority of pupils live within 45mins drive (it is de facto weekly boarding) which sort of self-selects in terms of London-centricity. Wellington can probably also be fairly described as a 'flashy' school in terms of swanky cars, new money, first time buyers etc. Again I don't have a particular problem with this - with fees at £35k+ a year it's hardly surprising - but if you are the sort who wants battered barbours & muddy Landrovers you may want to look elsewhere. Happy to answer any other questions if you have them.

Flum Sun 05-Jun-16 05:09:41

This scares the shit out of me. My daughter is down for this school and really keen to go.we live overseas so could only see a few school easily and her heart was set on his one anyway. I liked Bradfield a lot. I would not say she has sharp elbows and is definitely not Londony, she lives in a tiny community, very protected. Oh blimey! I need a Xanax!

changingschools16 Sun 05-Jun-16 16:48:42

Flum - DS is joining in September and I'm very happy with our decision. We don't live in London, don't own a flashy car and DS is a sensible, quiet, studious but sporty type. Although I don't have the direct experience that Millymollymandy has I do know quite a few parents with DC at the school, all of whom are very happy (with the teaching and the new Master). I should add that none of them live in London either. Millymollymandy has given a very honest analysis but I guess what I'm saying is that there are over 1000 pupils and you are only reading the views of one parent..........

ThunderMental Thu 16-Jun-16 19:10:38

Hi toobusytothink.

My DS currently attends Wellington and is very happy there. He is not at all sporty but is highly academic (in top 1% for intelligence in the UK) and is being challenged very well in all subjects. He had his pick of the most well known public schools but chose WC. He's a full boarder and often enjoys spending weekends at school as we live almost 100 miles away (not in London).

I've met the Master several times having received a number of personal invitation to special events. Most recently I was invited to lunch at the Master's Lodge on Speech Day and to the official opening of the Living Legacy Garden (featured at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 and now rebuilt on the school grounds). I also accepted an invitation from him to attend an event at the Duke of Wellington's London home. He has always been very friendly, approachable and confident and is clearly passionate about his role as 14th Master.

I can't comment on his popularity among his colleagues, staff, the pupils, parents, etc. but from what I've heard from other parents and from what I've witnessed, he is definitely committed to making the school the best it can be. Let's be honest...he has some pretty big shoes to fill after AS and while I definitely think he has the potential to do just that, I think it would benefit the school even more if he simply continues to make his own shoes fit comfortably.

As for what other parents drive...I wouldn't allow that to influence your decision as to whether your children should attend Wellington College or any other school. The quality of education, teaching staff, facilities, opportunities on offer and how your children feels about the school are what, I personally think, matter most.

I think it's a great school. Good luck!

Millymollymandy66 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:06:02

Hi Thunder and Changingschools,

I'm very pleased that you are both happy with your choice of school and hope it continues that way! My intent was to give a fair and balanced review (in the face of far too many ill informed 'I hate Anthony Seldon' WC reviews on mumsnet) not to damn Wellington to all comers! WC is a school I know extremely well; both as a past parent, parent and over multiple generations. It is a school with great strengths but, at this moment, (in my view and also I'm afraid in the view of a number of other parents of senior year pupils), a school going through a period of not entirely happy transition. Julian Thomas is charming, and presumably able, but after a year in post needs to 'step up'. He was appointed as a consolidator after the revolutionary Seldon years - but there is a fine line between consolidation and stagnation.

How lovely that you have been invited to so many events Thunder! I was also invited to the Speech Day lunch and no one puts on a glitzy show like Wellington! However, as I'm sure you are aware, these invitations are issued by the development/fund raising team and not personally by the Master!

bojorojo Thu 16-Jun-16 22:52:53

Like all schools, invitations go out to those who are likely to give them money! Inclusive? Not really. There are better schools in my view.

gobbin Sun 19-Jun-16 21:51:27

The only way I can contribute to this thread is my experience using WC as a base for a group of adults during the summer holidays (we've been 6 times). The accommodation we have used has been very variable and, frankly, if I was a parent spending £35k I'd be expecting hotel-quality accommodation, not what's on offer there.

The beds are rock hard and bedding has a peculiar not-quite-clean despite having been washed smell, in one house where the window didn't shut properly (and I froze my tits off in August) the poor kids are told 'no heaters or fans', another house was like an oven on the top two floors, some houses have great down-time facilities, others have next to nothing, some are spacious some are cramped.

Fab sports facilities and stunning setting though.

Crumbs1 Wed 24-Aug-16 17:00:14

My daughter has just left and was beyond happy there. We are not flashy Londoners - more green welly, curry on a Friday night types. Not fabulously wealthy either (although some are) . She was a scholar and had a bursary which helped. House wise they are all much of a muchnesswe but Anglesey is more chilled than some, perhaps. Sports was not something our daughter did - she was a rarity and sport is a real strength but not the entire picture. Academically they do very well but are highly selective - so they should top the tables. Hard working and supportive teachers generally but no feeling of hot housing. It is the fun stuff that made it different - running through muddy lakes, Who's the Duke, cheese and wine club, crawling around the tunnels etc. The recognition that they are very privileged is also good with high emphasis on service and duty. New head is nice. Daughter says he is better and actually bothers to learn their names and show interest. Anthony was always about Anthony - a great showman but very egocentric.

nmhra2016 Mon 19-Sep-16 21:03:13

Is there anyone that can shed some light on the Wellington & Charterhouse entrance exams now that they are administering their own private exam for international students?

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