The ethos of the School resides in the tradition reflected in the 1560 Elizabethan Charter, which declares: “The youth which is growing to manhood [today we would properly say adulthood], as tender shoots in the wood of our state, shall be liberally instructed in good books to the greater honour of the state”.
Westminster is a highly academic school where individual and institutional excellence are expected and promoted in an atmosphere of open-minded enquiry without dogma, prejudice or unthinking conformity. This is what we mean by ‘liberal’, enshrined in a broad curriculum which supports the widest possible range of disciplines and activities and encourages the search for deeper understanding which goes well beyond any examination syllabus.
Central to Westminster’s approach is the open dialogue between teachers and their pupils, both inside and outside the classroom. This dialogue inspires passion for the subject, conveys knowledge and develops skills of informed, rational, independent thought which sustain a lifelong love of learning. What makes Westminster so special is that enjoying one’s learning, seeking true mastery of a subject, is warmly encouraged by pupils and teachers alike, supported by the administrative and support staff whose work enables everyone to flourish in an atmosphere of mutual respect, generosity and compassion.
Thus, while academic and other attainments are highly prized, the School is fully committed to the development of each pupil’s moral, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing and development. Westminster pupils are all individuals, but they tend to share a commitment to the pursuit of excellence, critical engagement and ethical action. These qualities equip them for admission to the top universities worldwide, and for success and fulfilment in whatever careers they choose to pursue as well-informed, well-rounded and kind, responsible adults.
The atmosphere at Westminster is happy, busy and purposeful. The pupils are intellectually, socially, morally and politically engaged. They enjoy opportunities to articulate their views, and to listen to other perspectives. Everyone is welcome, and all may have a voice.
Just as the Founder wished, the School seeks to prepare responsible young people to lead good and useful public and private lives far beyond their formative years at Westminster.