The Week Ahead 3 May 2019

Dear parents
I was so pleased to be able to welcome a team of young footballers from our sister school in Hangzhou last weekend. They came up to play in the football tournament we host each year, originally scheduled for the 28th April. A late change to the Labour Day holiday meant that the other teams, both from local schools and clubs, could no longer compete at the weekend, so we had to move the event to Wednesday 1st May. Far from being downcast at this unexpected turn of events, the competitors from Hangzhou relished the mini-festival we managed to stage for them, coming a creditable second and beating the home Wellington team into third.

This could, for many youngsters and their teachers, have been a deeply disappointing day. Having travelled up to Tianjin on Saturday only to find a far more limited competition than they were expecting could easily have ruined the trip for them. Instead, they made the most of the opportunities to play the game they obviously all love, tour the city and finish their short visit with a trip to a trampolining activity centre on the way back to the airport. Collectively and individually, these young athletes and their coaches shrugged off any deflation and created new and lasting memories from the situation they found themselves in.

Wellington is often mislabelled as the school for ‘happiness’, perhaps as a result of a misunderstanding that accompanied the early introduction of the wellbeing programme in our schools across the world. ‘Happiness’ became the lazy catch-all term for the very real research and expertise that has gone into developing wellbeing and mental health programmes in schools, universities and businesses across the world. In practice, we do not espouse unremitting happiness as a universal message, as appealing as that state may sound. Instead we focus on wellbeing and mindfulness education, helping our pupils to come to terms with what can often be confusing, even frightening, emotions in their everyday lives. Such an approach rejects the happy-at-all-costs mantra, focusing instead on coming to terms with feelings of inadequacy, loneliness or anxiety. Pretending that life can be lived without times of struggle or personal conflict would go against all that we promote in terms of developing young adults, fit for the 21st century world beyond our gates.

One of the most common reasons for pupils experiencing unhappiness comes when they find themselves disappointed in an ambition. Humans, both young and old, seem to have an inherent need to measure themselves against others. In the vast majority of occasions, this is an entirely positive experience; it can help to drive us on to greater efforts and can foster empathy for others. As in so many cases, it is often the loss of perspective in a disappointment that brings with it associated, longer-term mental health concerns. Failing an exam, being rejected by a university or struggling through the aftermath of a broken relationship can often become bound up with a single, all-encompassing sense of failure, frustration and despair. Young people who face such challenges need our support and guidance, but the good news is that, through Wellington’s wellbeing programmes, there are things that individuals can do to help themselves:

  • Don’t give up – remember that failure and disappointment are part of life, but they do not need to define a life. Setbacks can be positive learning experiences, with many top athletes and other elite performers using the insight and resilience they have developed in failing multiple times in the past to raise their own performance levels, emerging stronger each time.
  • Don’t let a disappointment become a catastrophe by brooding over it for too long. Psychologists recommend writing down your feelings after a setback, an act by which we can often begin to recognise the real scale of the disappointment, allowing us to manage our emotions more completely. Externalising thoughts in this way can help to break the cycle of negativity which inevitably goes with a setback and can provide a ‘bigger picture’ outlook.
  • Don’t take it personally – it is not always you. Not every failure to get the best university course or job is a result of your own failings: there simply have been other applicants who were adjudged to be better suited to that opportunity than you.

Young people need support and encouragement to work through these self-help stages. It does not always come automatically, and obviously some find disappointment much harder to accept than others, but within the safe confines of a nurturing home or school environment, it can be far easier to deal with than later in life. If you or your child would like any further advice or guidance from the school, please do not hesitate to contact any of the academic team. There is a wide network of trained professionals, both within the school and beyond, eager to help work with your child.

Those young footballers from Hangzhou shed their disappointment and turned a setback into a great weekend they will long remember as they made new friends and played some wonderful sport. Their spirit and determination to enjoy their trip will help give them a far more profound learning experience than a simple tournament competition, and I am sure they will have been enriched by the 36 hours they spent in our school.


Best wishes

Julian Jeffrey



Duke of York’s Room

1400hrs-1515hrs, Thursday

9th May

This week, the Meet the Master slot is aimed at parents of pupils in Years 7 – 11. If you would like to attend, please confirm via email with Ms. Emma Shi


by Wednesday 8th May.


 ‘A-List Education’ Parent Briefing


1800hrs, Tuesday

7th May

There will be a parent briefing on Tuesday 7th May by A-List Education in the Theatre from 1800hrs. A-List Education offers specialist and seamless support for the entire US and UK university application processes. A-List education work with both Wellington College in the UK and Wellington College International in Shanghai to help pupils with all aspects of the applications process.

They also offer help with SAT preparation and have offered to run courses here at Wellington College during school holidays.

If you are interested in the services that they can provide, please come along. Parents of pupils in all year groups are most welcome to join us.


Monday 06 May 2019

All Day

Week A


All Day

A Level Art examination (ii) (MFC) (Main Building)


All Day

Year 4 Camping Trip departs (to 8th) (NC)


8:30AM – 9:30AM

FOW EAL (Beginners) (PF) (MB 235)


3:05PM – 3:45PM

Senior School Assembly (JMS) (Theatre)

Tuesday 07 May 2019

8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW Pilates (ES) (Black Box)


10:15AM – 11:15AM

FOW Mandarin Class (ES) (MB 125)

Wednesday 08 May 2019

All Day

A Level Art examination (iii) (MFC) (Main Building)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW Yoga (ES) (Black Box)


2:00PM – 3:30PM

Glamour Handmade Course (ES) (MB125)


3:05PM – 3:45PM

Junior School Assembly: 5MR Uluru (RA) (Theatre)

Thursday 09 May 2019

8:30AM – 9:30AM

IT Committee (GM) (Duke of York’s room)


9:00AM – 10:30AM

FOW: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (ES) (WCA Room)


9:00AM – 12:00PM

FOW Reading Group (ES) (MB 125)


10:45AM – 12:00PM

FOW: Yoga (ES) (Black Box)


2:00PM – 3:15PM

Meet the Master: Year 7-11 parents (ES) (Duke of York’s room)

Friday 10 May 2019

All Day

Nest: Mother’s Day (DZ) (The Nest)


All Day

Year 8: Bring your mother to school day (RG)


All Day

Interhouse Swimming Gala: Years 2-6 (h) (RG) (Sports Centre)


8:30AM – 9:00AM

Nest Assembly (DZ) (Theatre)


8:30AM – 9:30AM

FOW EAL (Advanced) (PF) (MB 231)


8:30AM – 11:00AM

FOW Art Class (KM) (MB 125)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW Pilates (ES) (Black Box)

Saturday 11 May 2019

9:00AM – 2:00PM

ISCOT Track and Field Meeting: Years 4-6 (IST) (RG)