Westminster’s academic pre-eminence is a result of our pupils embracing intellectual enquiry and debate and applying these skills with a relish well beyond the prescribed syllabus. It is thanks to this avowedly liberal academic ethos that pupils achieve exceptional public exam results and gain entrance to the top universities worldwide.
Each year around 45% of pupils are accepted by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, 50% choose courses to suit them at the country’s other leading universities and 5% (a growing number) take up places at leading universities in North America. Westminster parents also choose the School for their sons and daughters (the Sixth Form has been fully co-educational for almost half a century) for the astonishing range of opportunities beyond the classroom, for example in music, drama, sport and debating. Pupils are also keen to look outward and to play their part in the life of the local community through a programme of civic engagement rooted in close relationships with neighbouring maintained schools, both primary and secondary, charities and other organisations, both in the UK and overseas.
Around a quarter of Westminster pupils are boarders and the School’s boarding ethos, with its extended day and week, benefits both boarders and day pupils alike, marrying the energy of a day school with the breathing space afforded by boarding, and all in a unique central-London setting that is second to none.
The nurturing of each pupil’s interests and talents to the highest degree means that there is no such thing as a typical Westminster pupil, all of whom are encouraged to make their school experience their own, supported by a staff who care about them as individuals and by an excellent system of pastoral care. In addition to their academic development, pupils throw themselves into a whole host of other pursuits. Two whole afternoons each week are devoted to sport (with pupils able to choose from an eclectic range of options at a level to suit them), while earnest debate about all matters under the sun (whether organised or just a passing conversation in Yard) is a staple of Westminster life. What they have in common is that they emerge from Westminster articulate and confident, with a strong sense of social responsibility, ready for university and to make a difference in the wider world.
The School’s unique setting, which it has occupied for centuries between the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (our de facto School Chapel), embraces everyone who lives, works and studies here in a very special atmosphere. Politics has been an abiding interest throughout Westminster’s long history and the importance of spiritual and moral reflection is deeply embedded within its educational tradition. The proximity of London’s museums, galleries, concert halls and theatres, and our links with universities around the world, mean that a Westminster education reaches and resonates well beyond the School’s ancient boundaries.
I hope you will come and see all this for yourself on an Open Day or School Tour. Stepping into the secure oasis of Dean’s Yard at the heart of the School, and strolling around the quiet streets and squares behind it where other facilities like the science laboratories, music centre, theatre and sports ground are situated, I trust that you will immediately have a sense of the distinctive education we take pleasure and pride in providing.
I look forward to meeting you and your sons and daughters.
Dr Gary Savage