Wellington College China (WCC) aims to establish schools that, over time, can flourish with high levels of autonomy. All schools are legally and financially independent with their own governing boards (School Affairs Board, SAB). However, the schools are not independent. They all operate under a clearly defined common framework. We have consistent standards and policies in many aspects across the group. At the senior leader level, we share some group level targets and work together to nurture the group talent pool. The Central Office is a shared group resource. The WCC Executive Board is established to make group-level strategic decisions and govern the Central Office. It has 6 members who are drawn from existing school SABs.
All 15 members of Wellington and Huili SABs, plus Masters are given the title of Wellington College China governors.
Wellington SAB members are appointed by both Wellington College China and Wellington College International. Huili SAB members are solely appointed by Wellington College China. School Masters are ex-officio non-voting members of their school’s SAB and therefore ex-officio WCC governors.
Annually all the WCC members meet to:
Evaluate the effectiveness of governance and plan for improvements
Share group level information and long-term development strategy
Engage in training and development
There are 3 full-time governors: The Chair, the CEO and the International Business Director (IBD). The Chair and CEO serve on all Wellington and Huili SABs and the IBD serves on all Wellington SABs. All other governors are non-executives and serve on one SAB only. The combination of paid full-time governors and unpaid non-executive governors provides a balance. The full-time governors have the depth of knowledge and overview of the group and are responsible for much of the governance administrative work, while the non-executive governors provide a broader range of expertise and ensure openness and transparency in our governance.
The SAB meets 3 times a year. It oversees the work of three sub-committees, to which much of the decision making has been delegated:
Facilities and Services (FaSC)
Finance and HR (FiHRSC)
The aim of the sub-committees of the SAB is to provide a more detailed and practical level of governance to the school. It allows for deeper analysis and discussions and has delegated authority from the SAB to make certain decisions.
The sub-committee members are made up of SAB members, school leaders, Central Office (CO) representative(s), and parent members. This combination is intended to offer a balanced view. The SAB members attending the sub-committee shall decide if any item needs referring up to the SAB.
Wellington College China governance undergoes an annual evaluation process to examine the effectiveness of its strategic leadership. This is done through self-assessment by all governors, collecting feedback from school leaders, as well as working with external consultants to compare ourselves with the most effective school governance worldwide. The Board works with an experienced UK school governance specialist who supported the development of the current structure and provides ongoing training and support to all the governors. This continuous self-improvement process helps to keep the board professional and adaptable to each school’s, and the group’s, growing needs.
The role of a governor is to be a ‘critical friend’ to the school leaders. ‘Critical’ in order to continually strive to raise the bar and hold the leaders accountable to deliver ever higher standards. ‘Friendly’ because the role is supportive as we work towards achieving a mutually shared vision.