Here at Wellington, we take seriously the need for children to learn more about the world in which they live and to see the world from different perspectives. A rich variety of partnerships with other schools around the world makes it possible for every pupil to benefit from overseas visits during their time here.
Recently, for example, we celebrated 25 years of our partnership with the Mallinckrodt Gymnasium in Dortmund, Germany. In November 2015, a group of about 40 musicians travelled to Dortmund and were immersed in the German culture for a week, staying with families in the city. The culmination of this wonderful exchange visit was a joint concert as players from both schools came together to produce music that will be remembered for many years to come. Just in case anybody felt left out, the German musicians came over for a reciprocal visit in March 2016 and another magnificent joint concert, with a completely different programme, was held in the splendid surroundings of Ayr Town Hall.
This is only one of the partnerships that are at the heart of internationalism at Wellington. Equally strong links exist with St Dominique, close to Paris and a recently established partnership with a school in Torre Pacheco in Murcia, Spain, has got off to a flying start! The decline of interest in language learning is often in the headlines, but there is no evidence of this at Wellington. Almost all pupils take at least one language to National 5 level and many continue to Higher and beyond.
India is not a country that features on every schools list of exchanges, but Wellington enjoys particularly close links with St Edmunds in Jaipur. Returning from a week long Hogmanay visit with senior pupils, the Headmaster, Mr Johnson, said:
“There were so many highlights to this trip. I am not sure whether my favourite was riding up to the Amber Fort on the back of an elephant or getting up at 5:30am to visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. More seriously, all of the pupils on the trip were struck by the warmth of the welcome that we received at St Edmunds and the amazing hospitality that we enjoyed everywhere that we went. The sights and sounds of India are so different to what we are used to at home, but we all returned richer in spirit and with a greater understanding of this complex world that we live in.”
In recognition of the work that it does to give pupils an international perspective, Wellington has been granted International School status by the British Council. Through the Erasmus+ scheme, funded by the British Council, pupils travelled in the course of last year to Romania, Slovenia and Bulgaria in order to work on a project Art Nouveau, Art Renouveau alongside pupils from six other schools.
The opportunities available to Wellington pupils really are endless. In summer 2015, a group spent five weeks in Peru working on a range of local projects and trekking to the fabled ruins of Macchu Picchu. The next expedition of this kind, in summer 2017, is heading to Cambodia and fund-raising is already well underway for this exciting adventure.