Week Ahead

The Week Ahead 19 June 2020

15 July 2020
  Dear parents Despite all the challenges posed by the coronavirus over the past five months, making much of the operation of a conventional school year impossible, I have always maintained that our pupils would not be handicapped in terms of their progress and their ability to achieve. As a result, I am particularly pleased that next week sees us mark the achievements of pupils from across the school. Nest pupils will celebrate their achievements at a final assembly, sharing the highlights of the year and the creativity of all the children. The Junior School will have awards for pupil success in all the core academic subjects, as well as for leadership and modelling the values and Wellington identities. In the Senior School, prizes for effort and attainment will be awarded in addition to the recent round of scholarships for those pupils from years 7-10 who have been judged to have shown exceptional ability and potential across the year. These internal awards, each worth 10% of the tuition fee, are given for academic merit, as well as artistic, sporting and musical distinction. Competitive scholarships, including the most prestigious Shuping scholarship, are awarded to pupils going into the A Level programme. I am delighted to see the quality of our applicants once again this year; it is so important to me that so many outstanding young people see their pathway to the world’s best universities as lying with Wellington’s A Level programme. They will be an inspiration to the generations of pupils coming after them, as well as leading the school community with their commitment to hard work and academic ambition. Of course, I recognise that prizes and scholarships are not for all. If nothing else, it would devalue the awards we made if they became too easily available. They represent just one of the ways in which the school can reward the achievement of our pupils, but they are far from being the only way. Wellingtonians of all ages and abilities can achieve great things in their time in school. It takes no remarkable intellectual or athletic flair to work hard at your goals, for example; even an introvert can thrive on stage or in debating competitions. Success in this way depends so much on intrinsic motivation, the belief in one’s own capacity to shape a future. Young people who believe they can succeed, those who are confident that they have the mental and physical tools to do so, will achieve great things. In this way, it is often factors wholly unconnected to academic, artistic or athletic potential which hold pupils back from achieving more – it is more likely to result from an inability to understand how they themselves can dictate the terms of their own success. Our schoolwide programmes to foster independence in learning, of seeking to reward effort as publicly as we recognise attainment and of highlighting the importance of living our core values each day, all contribute to an environment in which children are encouraged to achieve such personal growth. By helping pupils develop resilience in their schooling and greater independence in their thinking skills, we help to prepare them for a richer life beyond the school. Our celebrations of the achievements of our pupils next week are the result of a deeply held conviction that, as a community, we need to share in the triumphs of others. I hope too that this helps to inspire other puipils to look inside themselves and see there a future scholar, a prize-winner, a prefect or even a head of college. Each one of our youngsters has the innate ability to reach new heights and scale even the loftiest ambition: as we come to the end of a gruelling school year, they will have the chance to reflect on their own learning journey and to look forward to the opportunities still to come. Best wishes Julian Jeffrey MASTER