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Our Philosophy

“We aim to provide all pupils with a family environment within a kind and caring community where they can be happy, healthy and, most importantly, who they are. Our commitment to be kind to each other underpins everything we do. We encourage our pupils to look after each other, to look out for each other, and to help each other. We aim for our pupils to be happy and successful – but in that order, and the surest way of making sure we all live and work in a happy community, is to ensure that we are always kind to each other.”

– Alastair Tighe, Head Master

At Wells, we value each pupil as a unique individual and tailor our approach to ensure they have the best possible chance of success. Our motto Esto Quod Es (Be What You Are) is ingrained in all that we do, and we believe that our pupils’ time at school should be to help them on their journey of discovering who they are and how to become the best version of themselves.

To achieve this, we provide a broad co-curricular programme, perspective-providing trips of a lifetime (such as to Sierra Leone and Everest), a wide range of external speakers to inspire and provide new outlooks, and a beautiful environment with amazing facilities in which pupils can safely learn, develop new skills, explore and relax. By taking part in our various activities on offer – music, sport, drama, art, dance, outdoor activities to name a few – pupils grow their confidence and resilience whilst having fun, naturally leading to improved wellbeing!

Mental Wellbeing

Ensuring the happiness and safety of all our pupils has always been our core purpose at Wells Cathedral School and this is why we ensure our pastoral care is pupil-centred and all-embracing. We promote healthy lifestyles for our pupils and ensure pupils are well-cared for, whatever their particular needs, and that the right support is available whenever they encounter difficulties.

Some of our key initiatives include:

  • A focus on mental health in St Andrew’s Lodge medical and counselling centre
  • Our staff welfare group meet weekly to discuss wellbeing issues
  • A counselling service for pupils
  • Engaging with the STEER Tracking programme, a proactive assessment tool designed to support pupil wellbeing and assess how pupils, from Year 7 to Upper Sixth, are coping with the challenges and pressures of adolescent life, both in and out of school
  • Pupil Welfare Captains
  • Our daily Tutor Programme including weekly ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ resources
  • Mental Health Leads
  • Therapy dogs in the Prep School
  • Mind Body Voice (our programme for Years 8-9 to enable them to become confident communicators with a strong sense of self and wellbeing)
  • Training from Girls On Board, an approach which helps girls, their parents and their teachers to understand the complexities and dynamics of girl friendships
  • School Council and other pupil voice channels, including ‘you asked we did’ boards in Houses.
  • Prefect Support Group
  • Inclusivity Group
  • Informal drop-in sessions with a counsellor or Mental Health Lead
  • Wellbeing Hub
  • Pre-Prep ‘Nest’, complete with sensory toys, a dark den, relevant books and resources, games, displays etc
  • Dedicated time in the Pre-Prep timetable each week for ELSA sessions.

Did you know that we have received Optimus Education’s prestigious Wellbeing Award? Developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), the award is granted to schools who are able to demonstrate that they have made significant changes to their long-term wellbeing culture for pupils, parents and staff…


Our dedicated team of staff supports pupils through all the challenges that growing up presents. Our tutors, housestaff, heads of year, form teachers, class teachers, professional counsellors, qualified nurses, doctor and Deputy Head (Pastoral) ensure that each pupil has someone that they can turn to if they need help for anything and everything.

Our staff understand that growing up is a learning process – young adults will make mistakes and need to be allowed to learn from them in a safe, supportive environment. We believe that we must work in close partnership with parents and guardians to ensure each child can develop into their best self. As well as initiating contact with parents and guardians, we always welcome any open and honest communication from them at any time.

To help support our pupils’ mental wellbeing, a large number of our staff are trained as mental health first aiders and/or Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA).

Further Information


Providing a healthy balanced diet is an area that our Catering Department takes extremely seriously, and menus are planned to provide a wide selection of food items – with an emphasis on using fresh produce and ingredients – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Our menus meet and indeed exceed all the criteria of the School Food Trust for food-based standards. Menu changes are made frequently to reflect the seasons and commodity availability. Speciality days are often held to celebrate different food cultures and to commemorate religious and national occasions throughout the year.

We hold regular Food Committee Meetings and have a suggestion box in the Dining Hall to give pupils opportunities to suggest ideas, voice preferences and make an active contribution to the development of the food service available.

We serve our food responsibly and ethically and are proud of our long-standing relationship with local suppliers. Our approach to hygiene is exemplary, and we hold the highest rating of food safety standards awarded by Mendip District Council (currently Somerset Council). Our Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) Award acknowledges that the School is delivering sustainable catering made from fresh, local, honest ingredients.

Special dietary requirements, including food intolerances and allergies, are catered for by our professional catering team to ensure every child has the benefit of a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. In addition, our policies ensure the School site is as nut-free as possible.

Medical Care

The School Medical Centre, St. Andrew’s Lodge, is staffed during term time by a team of registered nurses, a paramedic, first aiders and counsellors. Private physiotherapy can be arranged through the Medical Centre, and all pupils have access to the School counsellors.

PSHE Education

Our PSHE education is a planned, developmental programme of learning through which our pupils acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future. As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. Our Head of PSHE maintains a ‘wellbeing tracker’ to enable pupils to monitor their mental health and to respond accordingly with her support and guidance as necessary.

Wells Cathedral School is a member of the PSHE Association and uses its programme to ensure that it fulfils its responsibility to support pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development to prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Our school motto ‘Esto Quod Es’ and our core values (Creativity, Aspiration, Responsibility,
Endeavour) are central to the core themes taught in PSHE. The core themes are also enriched and enhanced during assemblies, whole school services, events, as well as through a cross-curricular approach. Please see our PSHE Policies for further information.

Religion and Spiritual Life

Through our close relationship with Wells Cathedral, we combine work, study and spirituality in a creative mix that runs in harmony with the whole school family. Our School Chaplain looks after the overall spiritual life of the School and is available to everyone in the community, whether they have a personal Christian faith or not. We have weekly services in Wells Cathedral for the whole Senior School and a Sunday evening service for boarders. In addition, the whole school gathers together in the Cathedral for major Christian festivals.

Being in the regular presence of Wells Cathedral reminds us all daily of the part we are playing in the long history of this School, and which inspires us – even if only subconsciously – to reflect on the things that make us human and challenges us to seek answers to some of the great questions – who am I? What is the purpose of life? How can I be a force for good in the world?

We show the way to live well and happily, and our pupils are inspired to live with integrity and social responsibility, upholding our rich Christian tradition and making a positive contribution to the School and wider world.