An Interview with Dr. Anthony Seldon

_The Phillipian interviews Dr. Anthony Seldon, the Master of Wellington College, who visited Andover last week along with seventeen faculty members. The group looked at three schools: Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy and Deerfield. Last year, they visited Lawrenceville._#What is the reason for your visit? The Wellington Academy was founded in 1859, so our 150th anniversary is coming up. We’re going to rededicate the school for the next fifty years, and we would like for it to be on the cutting edge of Britain and the world… The world is dynamic and you can’t stand still – you have to move ahead more quickly. You have to think, “Where will we be in 2018?” #What do you think of Andover so far? The school is breathtaking. The students are zestful and imaginative. #What are you taking with you from this visit? For one thing – the graduation ceremony. Cressida Henderson, Instructor in Languages at Wellington College, agreed. “It is a fantastic celebration of achievement for each student, that we’d like to take back with us,” she said. Second – student ownership over the values of the school. And third, Harkness Tables. #What are your goals for the Wellington School? We have six areas of focus. First, well-being – happiness, nutrition and balance. Second, focus on multiple aptitudes, an idea heavily influenced by the work of Howard Gardner. Third, links with the public sector. Fourth, relationships with schools abroad and a focus on internationalism. The Wellington School has ties with schools in Bahrain, India and Malaysia. Fifth, we are looking to put emphasis on student leadership. And sixth, curriculum innovation. So that students will not only learn for the exams the government tells us they have to. #Why did you decide to visit America? I’ve always loved America. I love countries; I love people… I hate fish. My wife and I did our doctorates here. Also, British independent schools are very traditional. There is a tremendous energy here. It is one of the world’s greatest schools, and I have the utmost respect for your Head [of School.] #You are the official biographer of Britain’s former prime minister, Tony Blair, and you’re currently writing a book on Gordon Brown. Could you describe each in only three words? Blair is energetic, passionate and Pollyanna-esque. Brown is lugubrious, introverted and… tragic.