To enter Wellington College, in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is as if to arrive at a stately home that’s open to the public. There are the smart signposts, the security box, the manicured lawns (with the requisite ‘keep off the grass’ signs). When I visit, it is the summer holidays, so there are no children littering the playing fields. Instead, the mower keeps on mowing, and the buildings enjoy their last bit of peace and quiet before term starts.
But that is where the stately similarities end. Wellington’s headmaster, Julian Thomas, is not of that ilk, he is proud to say. Thomas, 50, the former head of Caterham School in Surrey, was appointed the 14th Master of Wellington in 2015, after the departure of Sir Anthony Seldon.