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Wellington College

Boarding 13-18yrs
Type: Senior
Pupil Numbers: 635 boys and 425 girls
Entrance Procedure:

Candidates sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test (Oct/Nov Year 6) after which selected pupils attend an Assessment Day at Wellington (Jan/Feb Year 6) consisting of a series of collaborative, problem-solving activities and an interview with a senior member of staff. Conditional offers made in March of Year 6. From 2021 entry, places offered in Year 6 (or subsequently) will not be subject to success in entrance exams, but rather simply to a favourable transfer report from the current school of the applicant.

Fees per term: Boarding: £13,860 | Day (in boarding house): £11,630 | Day: £10,125

Head's Up

Wellington College aims to offer an education that equips our students with the skills, philosophy and mind-set for happy, successful and fulfilling lives. Our students should understand their responsibilities to others and seek to make a significant positive contribution to society.

James Dahl


SNTV interview with James Dahl

The inside track from a current parent

During our two years as Wellington parents we have been thoroughly impressed by the college’s forward thinking, innovative approach to educating teenagers. Pupils are encouraged to think independently, to be inquisitive and self-motivated. There is a palpable buzz about the place. It is inclusive, the student body is typified by its energy and a desire to succeed across all areas of the curriculum.

Wellington is a busy place and there is a collective mentality that it’s good to try hard, work hard and to have a go at things. Every school year starts with an event called ‘Carnival’ where the whole central courtyard is turned into a fair akin to “Freshers Week” with a huge variety of clubs, sports and activities on display. Pupils are encouraged to sign up and get involved. The summer term ends with an event called ‘Maniacs’ where every member of college is encouraged to swim two lengths of the outdoor pool for house points at 7am before the school day begins. It is frowned upon if you don’t show up – winning Maniacs is a badge of honour.

We have been particularly delighted to see how adept our son has become at managing himself. He has developed a mature way of interacting with his masters. Technology is woven into the fabric of his daily school life and he uses it in a very efficient and businesslike manner.

We also feel the weekly boarding aspect suits us all. Our son really puts his head down during the week and engages fully with everything the school has to offer, knowing that at the weekend he can return home and completely switch off and relax. It also affords us the opportunity to keep in touch with his life and hear about all his exploits during the week. For us, it seems like a healthy and modern approach to work & life.

As parents we love...

  • That our son is never bored, he is always busy and fully engaged with school life
  • The weekly boarding aspect – a perfect balance of hard work and relaxation
  • The incredible plays & musicals in the new Annenberg Centre – the performances are staggering

As pupils we love...

  • The co-ed set up – our son has made great friends of both sexes
  • His housemates – Wellington is a large school but it breaks down into smaller, more tight knit groups
  • Being treated as an independent minded young adult

What makes us different

One of the measures of a great boarding school is the extent to which it capitalises on the additional time and space available to staff and students. At Wellington, we are creative: by finding opportunities for experiential learning, by encouraging students to explore their passions, by making use of the outdoor space, by offering over 70 different clubs and activities, including an lecture series with WellingTENs (our own version of TED Talks), we provide learning opportunities that are unique. WTV, our student television station, produces films to rival any professional production company; our student radio station, DukeBox, transmits to all corners of the globe, linking students in Crowthorne to those in our international schools in China.

Wellington is renowned for its pioneering spirit and this permeates all aspects of College life. Our approach to learning is progressive: students experience Harkness teaching; we value independent project work – 933 Wellington students are engaged in independent studies at any one time (a Year 9 project, the HPQ, EPQ or the IB extended essay). We have recently published our own anthology of reading, our own ‘super-syllabus without limits’. The message is consistent: look beyond the syllabus, look beyond the exam. Last year, 22 students gained places at Oxford or Cambridge, 39 gained places at prestigious US universities, with Wellingtonians being awarded some of the most coveted scholarships. Examinations results are consistently high: last year, over a quarter of grades awarded were A* (A Level) or 7 (IB), over two thirds of the cohort achieved A*-A/7-6 and over 90% achieved A*-B/7-5. At GCSE, the results were similarly impressive: the percentage of A*s awarded in the 15 unreformed subjects was the best in the College’s history at 62%; the percentage of A*-A grades reached a record-breaking 89%. In the reformed subjects, the results were equally strong, with an impressive 24% scoring the elusive Grade 9. Meanwhile, a student-led computer science team has recently launched a new app and the College’s entrepreneurship society, Disrupt, is becoming ever more popular with students and parents alike.

The Arts are flourishing at Wellington. We were hugely proud when the Arts Council awarded the College Artsmark Gold, in recognition of our outstanding provision and standards across all the Arts and we have gone from strength to strength since. In September 2018, we confirmed our commitment to the Arts with the opening of the G.W. Annenberg Performing Arts Centre, Wellington’s new 900-seater venue. Expectations were high when the design won the ‘Best Building in Education’ award at the World Architectural Festival in 2015 – and the building did not disappoint.

Sport is central to College life. This year the girls’ 1st XI Hockey team was placed third in the national finals, while the boys 1st XV and Under 15 teams were national champions. There are over 30 sports available, from Lacrosse, to triathlon, to clay pigeon shooting – there is something for everyone.

Wellington epitomises the spirit of adventure, and integral to this is a belief in the educative powers of the great outdoors. Outdoor education brings opportunities for collaboration, for risk-taking and failing fast – all of which build resilience for life beyond school. During the afternoon, the College grounds come alive with the sounds of runners and mountain-bikers; cadets criss-cross the various pathways, while service groups discuss plans for hedgehog rescues and healing gardens. The Kingsleys sees 1000 students and staff taking part in a mass run through the College grounds, culminating in a plunge through Swan lake.

Community outreach in central to everything we do. Our Global Citizenship department is extensive. All students who pass through our doors will be involved in serving their community – and by community, we mean everyone from our closest neighbours (like the students who teach Latin at a local state school) to those much further afield. Our pioneering, outward-facing programme, Global Social Leaders, involves pupils between the ages of 9 to 19 from over 20 countries. Students learn to create and run innovative and high impact social action projects, tackling local and global issues.

At Wellington, we think big, but we also get the small things right. Our ambition is tempered by kindness, the attribute that we place first and foremost amongst our College Values. Face-to-face interaction with people from all walks of life is central to our vision.

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