Wellington College Marks 40 Years Since Girls First Joined the CCF
This month marks 40 years since the first girls entered the Wellington College Combined Cadet Force, in September 1979.
This month marks 40 years since the first girls entered the Wellington College Combined Cadet Force, in September 1979. At that stage they were only permitted to join the Royal Naval section, as it was felt that this was “better able to accept them and to provide training in which they were interested”. Today, all sections of the CCF are open to girls and, this year, the senior cadets in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force sections are all female. Emily G, who has recently been awarded an Army Scholarship, will head up the Army section; Molly S takes on the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force section is in the capable hands of Natasha M.
At Wellington, we are fortunate to have a flourishing CCF and much depends on the dedication of our staff, who are brilliantly led by Contingent Commander Ian Frayne. Many members of the teaching staff are involved on Wednesday afternoons and some, like Maths teacher Clare Edwards, go above and beyond.
Clare is a Senior Officer in the RAF section at Wellington, but she is also heavily involved in the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) outside College. As a volunteer on the Air Cadet Leadership Course, held at RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire, Clare guides cadets towards their Gold Award, the gold standard leadership badge for cadets. She also volunteers at the South East Area Cadre, held at RAF Henlow, where she trains cadets for the bronze and silver leadership awards. So significant is Clare’s involvement in the ACO that she has recently been asked to take part in a marketing campaign for the RAF section, the aim of which is to encourage more adult volunteers into the Combined Cadet Force.
Clare commented: “Wellington’s core values are Respect, Integrity, Courage, Responsibility and Kindness, and these of course overlap the RAF’s own values of Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. As my father had been an officer in the RAF it was a natural choice for me to join the RAF, and I can honestly say it has been the best decision I have ever made”.
Wellington College Danceathon Raises Over £3000 for Mental Health Charity, Mind
Congratulations to sixth former Lottie L for organising a brilliant 24-hour Danceathon, in aid of the charity, Mind.
After delivering a powerful address in assembly, in which she talked about the need to “eradicate the stigma” around mental health, Lottie called for us all to “start talking and listening” to each other. Lottie’s message was a powerful one: “We are living in the 21st century, our technology has advanced leaps and bounds, so let’s not forget about our friends and family”. Lottie encouraged all members of the Wellington Community to join her Danceathon and to “boogie [their] stress away!” After such a rousing speech, it was no surprise that pupils and staff came in their hundreds to support the event.
Throughout the day on Thursday 19th September and into Friday 20th, the Old Gym was buzzing with energy, as people emerged from all corners of the College to join Lottie on the dance floor. By early on Friday morning, there was no sign of the energy levels dipping. This Tweet from the Master sums up the atmosphere perfectly: “With 10 minutes to go, Old Gym is rocking to the sounds of YMCA. Brilliant atmosphere and an amazing cause. Well done, Lottie!”
Thank you to everyone who took part and well done to members of the Combermere Upper Sixth who danced through the night.
Mind is a charity that works to provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The charity campaigns to improve services, to raise awareness and to promote understanding. Lottie’s original aim was to raise £1,500 through a GoFundMe page and bucket collections, but to date she has raised nearly £3100.
Lottie’s assembly address, along with the success of her Danceathon, has shone a light on teenage mental health, and this is a topic we will revisit time and again this year. This term, a new pupil committee has been formed to promote mental health and, as a community, we will mark World Mental Health Day on 10th October.
In Lottie’s words, “The most important thing to take away from this is to please look out for each other, no matter what time of day. Don’t look down at your phone all the time; look up and see the world and the important issues that really matter. Love and care for each other, be there to hug someone. Tell them it’s OK, because you never know what someone is feeling inside. Only we can change the way we see the world, so start doing it”.
Thanks to the dedication of Delyth Lynch, Deputy Head (Safeguarding) and Head of Running, along with her team of running enthusiasts, the College has been recognised as a #RunAndTalk organisation.
Wellington College has a proud history of cross-country running, stretching back to the 1860s; in more recent years, the College has acquired a name for Wellbeing, being one of the first schools in the UK to pioneer the teaching of Wellbeing as part of the curriculum. This year, these two traditions will combine. Thanks to the dedication of Delyth Lynch, Deputy Head (Safeguarding) and Head of Running, along with her team of running enthusiasts, the College has been recognised as a #RunAndTalk organisation.
#RunAndTalk is an England Athletics initiative supported by Mind, the mental health charity. The idea is to improve mental health through running by getting people talking, sharing their experiences and removing stigma. The #RunAndTalk programme will be a great addition to Wellington’s Wellbeing programme: staff and students will have the opportunity to be trained as Mental Health Ambassadors and Mental Health Champions, providing additional support and guidance to raise awareness of mental health issues. Delyth Lynch and Sarah MacKenzie (HM Combermere and a member of the running club) have recently trained as Mental Health First Aiders and Delyth, Sam Gutteridge and George Wells have completed their courses in Mental Wellbeing in Sport.
#RunAndTalk is the latest in a long line of running initiatives at Wellington and will join such traditions as the annual Kingsleys races, in which more than 1000 enthusiastic students and staff weave their way through Wellington’s 410-acre site, a 5K challenge that culminates in a plunge through Swan Lake. The Boughey Run, a more recent but nevertheless a much cherished tradition, sees 18 gutsy individuals, one from each House, attempt to run from Front Quad to Swan Lake and back in the time taken for the clock to chime twelve (a near-impossible feat, but contested in true Wellington style). This term kicked off with The Welling10K, another annual event, in which pupils, OWs, staff, parents, and members of the wider Wellington Community run to raise bursary funds in memory of a much-loved member of staff, Jimmy Higham. Other events, such as the Waterloo half-marathon and the Pink Pavilion Dash, mean that running remains at the heart of the Wellington experience. This year two way-marked running courses will be set out in the College grounds to encourage students to run as part of their wellbeing and in the Summer Term, the College also hopes to host its very own ‘Park Run’ equivalent for the students, staff and parents.
Wellington College Peace & Conflict Institute: a year to remember
Denise Brown, Head of the Wellington College Peace and Conflict Institute, shares her thoughts on a year of reflection, discussion and active engagement.
Following our successful trip with Sandhurst School to Rwanda in February 2018, the WCPCI started the 2018-19 school year with a larger group coming to the Wednesday afternoon sessions to learn how genocidal conflicts grow in conditions of ignorance, indifference and denial; and how as individuals we can make a difference to the lives of others and our own society’s future by informing ourselves about power, privilege and propaganda, and by challenging intolerance when we see it.
We studied how the ways people deal with conflicts around identity can be manipulated by bad actors to create toxic environments in institutions and societies, creating the conditions for hate crimes and, ultimately, genocide. Preparing for a planned return visit to Srebrenica, the site of Europe’s most recent (1995) genocide, we examined parallels between 1930s antisemitism and the all too many examples of contemporary hate-crimes committed against Jews, Muslims and Christians in their places of worship. After the Christchurch mosque shootings, we wrote letters of solidarity to the local mosque in Camberley; we were shocked when we went to deliver them to find it under police guard, but our letters opened a dialogue on which we are keen to build over the next school year.
In discussions about how the media can generate and magnify attitudes of intolerance, we examined how the press covers incidents of gender-based violence and homophobia as well as racism. Conversely, journalists who challenge public ignorance and apathy about the human suffering caused by conflict featured largely in our ‘role models for peace’ series, and the tragic murder of journalist Lyra McKee in April brought this home as we considered the possible consequences of Brexit for peace in Northern Ireland.
The politics of the global refugee crisis also featured largely last year. In the Michaelmas Term WCPCI pupils befriended Syrian refugee children living in Bracknell, inviting them to Wellington for regular help with their English and Maths, some art, and a game of football. More Wellingtonians wanted to get involved in practical work for refugees so, over the final weekend of term, 13 Wellingtonians and three teachers made the trip through Eurotunnel to volunteer for Care4Calais, working in the warehouse and going out to meet people in camps in Calais and Dunkirk. We were shocked by what we saw and heard there about the violence and political instability people are fleeing in their home countries; seeing the consequences of the UK government’s ‘hostile environment’ for ourselves filled us with resolve to spread the word at Wellington and other schools, to go and help, challenge all too familiar damaging narratives around immigration and use the privilege of our education and connections to act as advocates and friends for those suffering the effects of conflicts we hardly even hear about in the news.
We are delighted to announce that Wellington College won the Boarding Research Award at this year’s Boarding Schools’ Association Awards.
This award recognises the brilliant work of Delyth Lynch, Deputy Head (Safeguarding), who has recently completed a BSA research fellowship, exploring what makes boarding schools vulnerable and what we can do to create a safer culture.
The BSA Research Award recognises ‘research undertaken by a school or individual into how to continue to improve the boarding sector and better meet students’ needs’ and Delyth is a worthy winner. Her research was conducted across numerous boarding schools, and the questions she raised, and the subsequent discussions, have already had a significant impact on the culture at Wellington.
During her career, Delyth has made a significant contribution to the cause of boarding. The impact she has had at Wellington College over the twelve years is undisputed, but her reputation and influence reach far beyond the College gates. With this accolade, Delyth has cemented her reputation as a thought-leader in safeguarding. Not only will her work continue to improve the experience of our boarders, but it will undoubtedly serve to improve standards across the sector.
On 20th and 21st June, the educational world descended on Wellington College for the 10th Festival of Education. Record ticket sales, a stellar line-up, and a footfall approaching 7000, made this a birthday to remember.
On Thursday, the G.W. Annenberg, home to the festival main stage for the first time, saw a diverse line-up of speakers, from hip-hop artist and social entrepreneur, Akala, to Baroness Estelle Morris and Lord David Blunkett. Day two saw Gyles Brandreth tapping into a Wellington favourite with his talk on ‘Making “Wellbeing” Happen’. Elsewhere, classrooms, tents and lecture halls hosted seminars on everything from curriculum innovation to cultural mobility. As always, there was something for everyone. As the festival tagline neatly puts it, ‘EdFest’ is the place “where those who inspire find their own inspiration”.
Julian Thomas, as he opened the 10th Festival of Education, said: “At this time of year, at this event, my belief and excitement in education receives its annual booster shot. I see, hear and meet people from all sectors, age ranges, countries and schools coming together with a single common purpose in mind: to make things better; to serve and educate the children of this country, for the future of this country, as well and as effectively as we possibly can. At this time of year all barriers come down. What really excites me is the sense of collaboration, the way in which we work together to create a better system for all. We don’t protect our patch. We give and receive. We listen and we learn from each other”.
Wellington College Student Wins Prestigious Jefferson Scholarship
Sophie H, an Upper Sixth student at Wellington College, has been awarded one of the most highly selective merit scholarships to university in the United States. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia selected Sophie as one of
Sophie H, an Upper Sixth student at Wellington College, has been awarded one of the most highly selective merit scholarships to university in the United States. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia selected Sophie as one of 38 recipients of the Jefferson Scholarship. She will commence her studies in the fall at U.Va.
To be named a Scholar, candidates must undergo a rigorous, highly competitive, multi-stage selection process. This year, over 2,000 students were nominated for the Scholarship, and 118 finalists were invited to take part in a four-day competition at U.Va., which included seminar discussions, essay and mathematics examinations, as well as interviews conducted by U.Va. alumni and faculty.
The 38 selected recipients of the 2019 Jefferson Scholarship boast a number of significant achievements and Sophie is no exception. During her time at Wellington College, Sophie has excelled in the classroom, on the hockey pitch, in musical performance, and as a leader in the community both at the College and through her extensive volunteer work.
In addition to receiving the full cost of attending the University for four years, Jefferson Scholars benefit from a number of enrichment programmes sponsored by the Foundation, including travel abroad, career networking activities, an outdoor challenge program, and a leadership speaker series.
Wellington IB Students at Bayer for British Science Week
To kick off British Science Week the Lower Sixth IB students spent the day at Bayer’s Head Office in Reading completing a compulsory part of their IB called the Group 4 Project.
Students from different Group 4 (STE) subjects spent the day working together on a range of scientific and technological tasks. The aim of the day was to allow for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be shared, to develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge. The Group 4 Project also aims to allow students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary cooperation and the processes involved in scientific investigation, rather than the products of such investigation.
This was the first time that we have held the event outside of school. Bayer is a world leader in health care and agriculture, committing significant amounts of research and development to solving the major challenges currently faced by humanity and so it was an entirely appropriate place for Wellington students to complete their tasks. It was a fantastic opportunity for students who are currently choosing their field of academic study at university to be exposed to such a company, and to understand that science and technology underpins business and commerce.
Miranda Patterson, Director of Science, Technology and Engineering, commented: “Through conversations with some of the Bayer employees, students learned of the enormous variety of stimulating and challenging careers within STE, many of which do not involve being in a lab or wearing a white coat. Being a scientist in the modern world is so much more than that; the skills that science subjects offer are transferable into all sorts of careers”.
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