How Wellington is setting pupils up for lasting success

  • What does academic success truly mean in the 21st century?

This is a question that educators around the world are constantly reflecting on, as the world becomes smaller, industries change, and there is less clarity on what types of jobs will exist in the future. All of this has been brought into even sharper focus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No one can predict what the future will look like, or what jobs or industries pupils will be aiming for once they graduate from university. Is globalisation itself coming into question, as nations retreat and look inwards for security and a return to more prosperous times? This is why it is important to educate children not only with requisite knowledge, but also with the skills that can be applied to any job, any task and any industry. To develop children who are lifelong learners. Skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, leadership, being resilient in the face of challenges; all of these can be applied broadly, and, more importantly, we can continue to focus on teaching them at this time.

During times of crisis it is reassuring to see a stable education being provided to pupils. Wellington College International Hangzhou combines world-class facilities and resources, highly qualified and carefully selected teaching staff, together with a rigorous curriculum and values-based educational philosophy to teach the skills pupils clearly need in the 21st century. Through the sports, arts, drama, sciences, co-curricular activities and over 200 school activities, pupils experience a range of opportunities that push them to their limits, stretch their imaginations and teach them that trying hard and ‘failing forward’ is often more important than getting it right the first time. This type of holistic education – which values both academic and non-academic achievement is crucial not only now but also in the years ahead.

  • Does providing a holistic education sacrifice academic progress?

There is a common misconception that providing a holistic education, where children are happy coming to school, means that pupils are relaxed and are not progressing academically. We believe the opposite is true; providing a holistic education does not mean a relaxed attitude towards academics but in fact this style of education will result in even better academic performance. Research shows that pupils with high levels of emotional wellbeing are more motivated to study, have more energy, are more independent, more resilient to challenges and overall perform better academically than in schools where pupils are given enormous pressure to cram for tests. Furthermore, as previously outlined, a holistic education also provides opportunities for pupils to develop skills that will serve them well beyond university.

An increasing trend shows that the world’s top universities are looking beyond pure examination results, and are additionally focusing on attracting well-rounded pupils who can demonstrate a passion for life, a commitment to contributing to the university community, and who are able to learn beyond textbooks, taking ownership of their own study pathways. Wellingtonians leave the College inspired by the world around them, ready to take full advantage of all the opportunities waiting for them at university and as a result they are competitive applicants.

  • How else does Wellington set children up for success in university and beyond?

As children move up to Senior School, they embark on the IGCSE (international general certificate of secondary education), which is essentially identical to the GCSE sat by British pupils in the UK but tailored for an international context. IGCSEs are famous for their rigour, but in addition to this, the way IGCSEs are structured means there is no way to “teach to the test”. Pupils are required to learn and apply a range of skills to be successful. In their final two years at the College, pupils take on A Levels, the world-renowned high school qualification that universities globally hold in high regard. When pupils leave Wellington, they have both the knowledge and skills to succeed in life. Not only in university, but well into the future.

Wellington’s approach to holistic education is supported by the results. While Wellington College International Hangzhou is still a young school with no senior school graduates at this time, we can look to the success of our sister schools in Tianjin and Shanghai as an indication of our expectations for Hangzhou. This year’s university admission season has been challenging, with major disruptions caused by COVID-19. However, to date pupils from Tianjin and Shanghai have received nearly 200 offers from top ranking universities. Nearly 40% of pupils received offers from universities ranked among the top 10 in the world.

Wellington understands that one of the key reasons parents choose a school is because they want to help their children get into university. This is why senior school pupils will embark on a four-year higher education pathway programme, working with a qualified University Officer who will support pupils in researching the best-fit universities and courses. The University Officer will ensure that pupils are well-prepared to write their college applications and research the necessary application requirements to excel on their chosen pathway, wherever that may be.