Wymondham College
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Wymondham College: An education with real character

Awarded both the ‘National Secondary School of the Year’ teaching award and securing the prestigious Character Education Kitemark in 2022, Wymondham College is a special place. According to the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, it is “an environment in which children absolutely flourish.”

History, tradition, ethos and values

At the heart of Wymondham College campus sits a lone Nissen hut, originally constructed in 1943. It is one of several dozen that served as a hospital for American airmen, casualties of the Second World War, who, with courage and sacrifice, came to fight and defend the freedom we now enjoy.

The inspiration and vision of Sir Lincoln Ralphs and fellow founders recognised that those same huts could harness the vitality of youth and the energy of great teachers into a unique school, offering a world-class education locally. Ever since, the College has been synonymous with excellence in education, with a national and international reputation for the academic, sporting and cultural successes of its students. 

Today, a wonderful fusion of heritage and modernity characterises its educational philosophy. With 640 boarders from the UK, Europe and beyond, its community is an exciting and unique blend of young people. With its constant bustle of activity, its powerful heritage and its forward-facing attitude, its boarders are brilliantly prepared to serve in and shape the world of tomorrow.

Wymondham College

All residential staff at Wymondham College are driven by a common goal of ensuring boarders are happy, healthy and well cared for. Source: Wymondham College

Unparalleled pastoral support

The school is incredibly lucky to live and work on a spectacular 83-acre site which includes extensive sports pitches, a floodlit AstroTurf, new tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, modern classroom buildings and specialist teaching spaces, five main school boarding houses and Lincoln Hall (winner of the South Norfolk award for Design Excellence in 2008). As the largest State Boarding School in the UK, its provision has a breadth and depth that few others can match.

However, staff members here understand that moving away from home and changing schools can be both exciting and daunting in equal measure. The prospect of meeting new people, being presented with new opportunities and living in harmony with others is exhilarating, but there are bound to be some nerves too. Thanks to the school’s experienced boarding house teams, the journey of each and every one of their 640 boarders is uniquely special.

At Wymondham College, boarding houses are overseen by dedicated residential Heads of House and Deputy Heads of House. They are supported by a team of Matrons, young graduates (Boarding House Assistants), non-teaching daytime pastoral workers (House Support Assistants), tutors and boarding tutors. All are driven by a common goal of ensuring boarders are happy, healthy and well cared for. Through the carefully constructed routines of the Wymondham College boarding day, boarders learn to be independent in a safe and supportive setting. Each benefits from the advantage of having been taught how to motivate themselves, having been guided to develop personal and professional relationships and having had the experience of looking after themselves.

Wymondham College

Wymondham College sits on a spectacular 83-acre site. Source: Wymondham College

The Wymondham life

“The school has demonstrated the capacity to ensure that pupils and staff benefit from an authentic and ambitious commitment to character education which is built in rather than ‘bolted on’,” said the Character Education Kitemark in June 2022. 

Here, progress is measured not only by academic attainment but also by the journey of boarders into confident, happy, resilient, curious and caring young people. Wymondham Life represents its extensive range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities. The programme is rich and diverse, with over 70 clubs and societies running weekly — from the outstanding Combined Cadets Force to the Concert Band or Jazz Orchestra. Staff provide opportunities linked to curriculum subjects such as ‘Young Engineers’, those that support well-being such as ‘Cuddly Critters’ and ‘Mindfulness’, and alternative off-site sports such as scuba diving, horse riding and skiing. Sporting clubs, both competitive and recreational, are extensive, as are opportunities to participate in drama, music and debating.

Opportunities within boarding houses are just as rich. Boarders can serve on their House Councils or Food Committees or apply for leadership positions, supporting junior boarders or leading the in-house entertainment programme. Whether writing or producing the house magazine, performing at an end-of-term pantomime, competing in the inter-house swimming gala, supporting a charity initiative, working on the house allotment or shaping the glorious house Formal celebration evening, there is so much for the taking.

Lincoln – a stepping stone to university

Boarders in the Sixth Form enjoy all that is on offer to their main school peers. However, their lives and dorms are in Lincoln, Wymondham College’s bespoke Sixth Form Centre. The largest boarding house in Europe (222 dorm spaces exclusively for Year 12 and 13 boarders), Lincoln is different. It feels grown up. The reading rooms, IT suites, music rooms, café, piazza and atrium create an environment close to that of a university campus. 

Here, boarders experience even greater freedoms and opportunities for independence are even more pronounced. Thankfully, support is never far away — this might be pastoral support with a Boarding House Manager or preparing for a university interview with graduates from Oxbridge and Cambridge, otherwise known as Lincoln Fellows.

“The school is a very successful school, and this is undoubtedly due to the commitment of the entire community to ensure the development of the whole child,” reads the June 2022 Character Education Kitemark. “The quality of relationships across the community foster a culture of trust and mutual understanding where both staff and students are able to flourish in equal measure.”

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