Westminster is an ancient school in the heart of London, the only one still to occupy its original site, immediately next to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Its origins can be traced to a charity school established by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of St Peter, and it is more than likely that this spiritual and educational tradition goes back as far as 960 AD.
After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, King Henry VIII personally ensured the School’s survival by statute. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, confirmed the royal patronage in 1560 whereby the Abbey and School formed the one collegiate foundation. She is therefore celebrated as the School’s Founder and her importance is marked by a statue in Little Dean’s Yard by Matthew Spender OW, unveiled by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 2010.
Today, Westminster is one of the leading academic schools in the country. Pupils achieve exceptional examination results and entrance to some of the top universities in the world. It is a busy, passionate and purposeful place where independent and deep thinking is enjoyed, encouraged and respected by all, and where holistic excellence is nurtured and valued.
Fundamentally, we want our pupils to engage in a constructive, thoughtful process of “loyal dissent”. While we encourage them to embrace the principles of a liberal education, respect genuine scholarship and appreciate a deep and rigorous learning process, they are equally encouraged to challenge, question and explore the content of that learning, to push boundaries and overturn expectations – mindful at all times of the feelings of others.
Most importantly, we want our pupils to use their skills and intelligence to help others, to build up not put down, and to benefit society. For centuries, Westminster School has been the educational cradle of some very distinguished people. Our task is to help future generations of pupils to follow in their footsteps and make a positive difference in the world.