Wellington School, Somerset

Wellington School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school in Wellington, Somerset, England for pupils aged 3 to 18.

Wellington School
Wellington School, Somerset.jpg
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TA21 8NT

Coordinates50°58′32″N 3°13′31″W / 50.9755°N 3.2254°W / 50.9755; -3.2254Coordinates: 50°58′32″N 3°13′31″W / 50.9755°N 3.2254°W / 50.9755; -3.2254
TypeIndependent day and boarding
MottoNisi Dominus Frustra
(The opening of Psalm 127: If God Be Not With Us, Our Labour is in Vain)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Department for Education URN123930 Tables
HeadmasterEugene Du Toit
Age3 to 18
Enrolmentc.750 pupils
Colour(s)Navy & Light Blue         
Former pupilsOld Wellingtonians
Deputy HeadsPastoral: Rowan MacNeary Academic: Holly Barker


Wellington School is situated to the south of the centre of the small town of Wellington. It was founded in 1837[1] as an all-boys school by Benjamin Frost (Headmaster 1837–1848). It was later purchased and run by Frost's wife and William Corner (Headmaster 1848–1879). The school first came into existence on its present site in 1837, as a private boys school. Girls were accepted in 1972.

The school's arms consist of one quarter of the Duke of Wellington's arms, the dragons represent the County of Somerset and the open book represents learning. The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The school opened a new junior school in 2000, having previously only catered for pupils aged 10 and over. This was renamed "Wellington Prep School" in 2015. In 2003 the Princess Royal opened the Princess Royal Sports Complex, a £2.65 million indoor sports facility.[2][3]

Since September 2007, there have been no lessons on a Saturday. This has been replaced with activities that incorporate music, drama and sport as well as activities for the boarders.

The Good Schools Guide, described Wellington School as "Friendly, purposeful and busy, it is a solid, well-managed school, neat but not glossy, giving its pupils a sound education and masses of high points in developmental experience."[4]


The school has rugby pitches, cricket squares, football pitches, an all-weather pitch, all-weather training areas, tennis courts, squash courts, climbing wall and an indoor swimming pool.

Football was reintroduced in the 2003 school year.

Hockey is the most prestigious sport at Wellington. Many students have gone on to represent the school in county and England hockey, national athletics, county and England fencing and county rugby.[5]


The school's music department, dedicated to the ex-headmaster George Corner, includes a recording studio, iMac suite, and percussion studio as well as many practice rooms and two classrooms. All 15 pianos in the department are by Steinway & Sons, accrediting the school as an 'All Steinway School', the first of its kind in England.[6] Regular concerts are held throughout the school year, performance spaces include the department's 'Small Hall', the school's main hall (Great Hall) and the school chapel which is fitted with an electronic organ alongside a Steinway baby grand.


Drama is offered as part of the curriculum for all pupils in years 7-9 and can be taken as a choice at GCSE and A Level. Wellington boasts several highly celebrated actors amongst its alumni, including David Suchet who opened the school's dedicated drama studio in 2010.


The School Chapel

Built between 1928 and 1931 by C. H. Biddulph-Pinchard, the Grade II listed.[7] red brick building is dressed with stone and has a flat roof which is concealed behind a parapet. It is a rectangular single-cell chapel with a carved stone altar. The Chapel went through specialist restoration work in 2013 which involved the repainting of the ceiling among other maintenance tasks. This restoration was funded partly by the school's Old Wellingtonians' Association

The east end of the building holds choir stalls and an organ loft over the entrance vestibule. The interior is highly decorated with finely carved wooden wall panels and elaborately decorated canopies made of molded plaster.

The Church of England Chapel has a full-time Chaplain who prepares pupils for Confirmation annually. Though some assemblies and concerts are also held in the building, there are Sunday services throughout term time for boarders and members of the public; these involve regular performances by the school's chapel choir. There are also shorter services most days during the week with pupils attending on a house rota basis.

The Chapel was built as a memorial to those who fell during the first world war. George Corner, the then headmaster, wrote to the Old Boys and asked for their support in the project. The 37 members of the Wellington School Community who gave their lives are listed on the walls of the Chapel. Each year a pupil from each boarding house remembers one former pupil specifically, researching how and where they died and a basket of flowers is laid in their memory.

Confirmation and all the other occasional offices of the church are open to all members of the school community on request.

Combined Cadet ForceEdit

The school has a marching band and active Combined Cadet Force, founded in 1901. The Combined Cadet Force is open to senior school pupils, and has upwards of 170 cadets across the Royal Navy, Army and Air Force sections.

The cadets learn military based skills such as drill, weapons handling, map and compass, battlecraft, climbing, abseiling and leadership development. There are various CCF camps, military training weekends and cadet competitions each year, during which the cadets go on field manoeuvres in order to apply the skills they have learned in a practical situation.[8] Wellington School is unique in having three field exercises a year, each lasting three days and two nights. A full-time member of staff at Wellington School runs the CCF and acts as the senior officer. He is assisted by an experienced warrant officer. The cadets are required to present themselves for inspection by the masters in charge of each section on a weekly basis.

Notable former pupilsEdit

Notable staffEdit

John Kendall-Carpenter was headmaster of the school from 1973 to 1990. Kendall-Carpenter was President of the Rugby Football Union from 1980 to 1981, the England Schools Rugby Football Union from 1985 to 1990 and the Cornish Rugby Football Union from 1984 to 1987. He was also chairman of the committee that organised the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.[18]

Upon Kendall-Carpenter's sudden death in 1990, deputy head Alan Rogers stood in temporarily as school governors sought a new headmaster. The role was originally given to Jonathan Reeks, but before his arrival he was implicated in a scandal involving a sixth-form pupil at his previous school, and his appointment was revoked. Ultimately Rogers took over the job permanently, and served until 2006.

Rogers was replaced by Martin Reader, who served until 2013.[19] Reader was succeeded by Henry Price, formerly Senior Housemaster at Rugby School.[20] In September 2019, Eugene De Toit former Senior Deputy Head to Trinity School of John Witgift replaced Henry Price who has moved on to Headmaster of Oakham School in Rutland.


  • A maths teacher, Andrew Crozier, was forced to quit in March 2003 after starting a sexual relationship with the 18-year-old head girl.[21]
  • Another maths teacher, Ian Sarginson, was convicted of indecently assaulting an underage male pupil in March 2004 and sent to prison.[22]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Wellington School". Wellington School. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  2. ^ "Princess Royal Sports Complex". Wellington School Trading Ltd. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  3. ^ "Facilities". Wellington School. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Wellington School". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Fencing and hockey honours for Wellington School students". Somerset County Gazette. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  6. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/somerset/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8959000/8959818.stm
  7. ^ http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-487378-wellington-school-war-memorial-chapel-we
  8. ^ "Wellington Army Cadet Force". Wellington Army Cadet Force. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  9. ^ John Fraser Drummond: Background, The Merseyside Few, retrieved 10 September 2010
  10. ^ "Old Wellingtonian appointed Black Rod". This is the West Country. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
  11. ^ "TV chef Keith Floyd dies from heart attack". Bristol Evening Post. 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 17 October 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  12. ^ Miall, Leonard (23 October 1998). "Obituary: Frank Gillard". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  13. ^ "David Suchet — Poirot — to open Wellington School facilities". Somerset County Gazette. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Simon Singh profile: I think, therefore I will not be gagged". The Times. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  15. ^ "Wellington (Somerset)". Guide to Independent Schools. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  16. ^ "Death of Mr H. T. Gamlin", The Times, London (47736), p. 5, 14 July 1937
  17. ^ http://www.mschoa.org/on-shore/about-us/force-biographies/lists/force-biographies/commander-eu-naval-force
  18. ^ http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/9335375.John_Kendall_Carpenter_in_rugby_Hall_of_Fame/
  19. ^ http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/10731566.Feature__Headmaster_Martin_Reader_reflects_on_his_time_at_Wellington_School/
  20. ^ http://www.wellington-school.org.uk/News/School-News/Appointment-of-new-Headmaster-announced.aspx
  21. ^ "Tutor quits after alleged 'affair'". BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  22. ^ "Teacher found guilty of indecently assaulting pupil". Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2010.

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