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Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Welbeck College
Welbeck DSFC logo 2.png
, ,
LE12 8WD[1]

Coordinates52°43′58″N 1°12′35″W / 52.732741°N 1.209821°W / 52.732741; -1.209821
Former namesWelbeck College (1953–2005)
TypeIndependent, boarding,
sixth form college
Established1953; 68 years ago (1953)
Closed2021 (expected)
Local authorityLeicestershire
Department for Education URN130784 Tables
Chair of GovernorsAndrew Roe[2]
PrincipalPeter Middleton
Age range16 to 19[1]
Enrolment309 (2018)[3]
Campus size70 acres (280,000 m2)[4]
  • Alanbrooke
  • Nelson
  • Portland
  • Stirling
  • Trenchard
PublicationThe Welbexian
School fees£6,900 per term (2019/2020)[5]
AffiliationHeadmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (Associate)
AlumniOld Welbexians

Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College (stylised as Welbeck – The Defence Sixth Form College),[6] formerly named and often referred to as simply Welbeck College, is an independent, selective sixth form college in Leicestershire, England.[7] The school is an associate of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC).[8][9] Following an announcement made in the House of Commons on 11 March 2019, the school is due to close in 2021.[10]

Although run as a sixth form college, the school is an institution of the Ministry of Defence and part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. Its curriculum is tailored to prepare students for careers in the armed forces and the Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) in the Ministry of Defence civil service. As of 2019, 53% of sponsored pupils from the school have successfully completed degrees at one of 11 participating universities on the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS).

Founded in 1953, the school was originally based at Welbeck Abbey, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, where it provided A-level education for boys planning to join the technical branches of the British Army. By 2004, the school accepted both male and female students for all three branches of the armed forces and in 2005, the school was re-opened and relocated to a purpose-built site in Leicestershire, where it also began admitting potential civil servants for the DESG within the Ministry of Defence.



Recognising a decline in the number of cadets passing to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, particularly from the north of England, in 1951 the Army Council appointed a committee to consider ways to attract young boys to take commissions in the army. The committee concluded that either a system of scholarships should be established to encourage boys to stay at school until they were 18 before graduating to Sandhurst, or that the army should open a school of its own. The second method was preferred by the council, who appointed a second committee which selected Welbeck Abbey—previously an army college for adults—as the site for the new school. The report was approved by the council, and in the autumn of 1952, work commenced to convert the abbey, which was let by the Duke of Portland to the Ministry of Defence,[11][12] into a teaching facility.[13]

Following several meetings throughout September 1953 to finalise some last details, Welbeck College was officially opened on 25 September 1953.[13][6]

Expansion and re-opening

The original school was located at Welbeck Abbey from its foundation in 1953 until 2005.
The original school was located at Welbeck Abbey from its foundation in 1953 until 2005.

In 1992, female students were permitted to join the school for the first time.[14]

In 2002, the Defence Training Review resulted in a decision to expand the school to accommodate candidates for the engineering branches of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, starting from 2004. Having operated out of Welbeck Abbey for half a century,[11] the review also resulted in the decision to close the school at the abbey and open a new Defence Sixth Form College on the site of some disused barracks outside Woodhouse, near Loughborough.[15][14]

The purpose-built site was selected for its proximity to the M1 and the East Midlands Airport, and reportedly cost £38 million to develop.[16] The school officially re-opened as Welbeck – The Defence Sixth Form College on 7 December 2005.[6][14] Upon its re-opening, the school continued to admit potential officers for all three branches of the armed forces as it had started doing the year prior, and began admitting potential civil servants for the Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) within the Ministry of Defence.[6]


On 11 March 2019, it was announced in the House of Commons that the school will be closed in 2021. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence acknowledged that the school had "produced some excellent young graduates" but said that the school was "not meeting Defence’s requirements or providing sufficient value for money".[10]

In a parliamentary debate called by then-conservative MP Nicky Morgan on 30 April 2019, Defence minister Mark Lancaster said that "the scheme as it stands has consistently failed to deliver the required number of engineers and technical officers to Defence since its establishment in 2005" and that "on average only 53 per cent of entrants have completed [the scheme] successfully, and a proportion of those have not achieved STEM degrees." He also noted that "the scheme has cost the Ministry of Defence and the taxpayer some £200,000 per student who has become a STEM graduate".[16]


Although run as a sixth form college, the school is an institution of the Ministry of Defence and part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, and is operated on their behalf by Minerva Ltd as part of a public–private partnership.[6] It is governed by a board including senior armed forces personnel, civil servants, individuals with technical and industrial experience, directors of Minerva, as well as staff and parents. The board acts as an advisory, rather than a proprietorial body, overseeing the day-to-day running of the school, the facilities, and the provision of education and pastoral care. There are two sub-committees—academic and pastoral, and facilities—which report to the main governing board.[17]


As a selective school, it requires prospective pupils to satisfy one of the Single Service Selection Boards and meet minimum academic requirements.[6] Candidates had to be British citizens, or hold dual-nationality with one being British. Candidates were required to have an A grade in GCSE maths (or equivalent), a B grade in the equivalent level science, and a C grade in the equivalent level English language.[18] A 2018 Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report noted that pupils at the school came from a very diverse range of backgrounds from across the United Kingdom.[6] A similar report in 2014 noted that just under a quarter of the students were girls.[17]

A small number of private pupils were admitted annually,[6] who pay £6,900 per term as of 2019/2020,[5] although the majority of students are classified as 'sponsored students' and have their tuition fees paid for by the Military of Defence.[18] All students' parents are expected to contribute toward maintenance costs, including board, lodging, uniform, and any other services provided, though the amount varies based on gross annual household income and several other factors.[18][19]



Aiming to prepare students for careers in the armed forces, the school has traditionally focused primarily on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects,[6][10] and offers a choice of 11 core subjects.[20] All students must take four AS-levels in lower-sixth including mathematics and physics, and all must continue mathematics at A-level in their final year. An enrichment programme is also available, whereby students can attain additional qualifications such as in further mathematics, developing language skills or completing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).[17]

A 2018 Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report noted that A-level results from 2014 to 2016 were above the national average for sixth formers in maintained schools,[6] similar to the 2014 ISI report which further found that over two-thirds of results were graded A* to B in 2013.[17] Pupils of the school are given preferred entry to the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS), which aims to further prepare students for careers in the armed forces.[21] Pupils typically go on to read science, engineering or management degrees at one of 11 universities on the scheme.[21][22]

Combined Cadet Force

The school CCF on parade outside the main building
The school CCF on parade outside the main building

Unlike most schools, participation in the school's combined cadet force (CCF) is a compulsory part of the curriculum for all students.[21][17] The school CCF does not follow the usual cadet training programme, instead holding sessions twice per week and placing more emphasis on skills and leadership, in order to better prepare students for officer training.[23]

The school CCF holds an annual passing out parade to an audience of family, friends and invited guests. Awards are given to the best cadet from each section and two special awards—the Welbeck Sword of Honour and the Prince Philip Medal—are also presented.[22]

Extracurricular activities

A wide range of sports are offered at the school, and students participate in regional and military sporting events. In addition to compulsory sports and CCF activities, students are required to participate in at least one further activity per week from a range of sporting and non-sporting options. These activities include local volunteering as well as participation in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme.[17]

School site

The school has operated out of a purpose-built site outside Woodhouse, near Loughborough,[24] since its re-opening in 2005.[6] Built on the site of some disused army barracks, the school site is close to both the M1 and the East Midlands Airport, and was reportedly developed at a cost of £38 million.[16] The school buildings are grouped into four distinct zones adjacent to a large area of sports fields, and include dining facilities, a medical wing, student club areas, a learning resource centre and computer laboratories. Five boarding houses accommodate up to 380 students, while residential house staff are provided with separate accommodation.[25]


Welbeck College educated the following notable alumni in the armed forces:



  1. ^ a b "Welbeck - The Defence Sixth Form College, Leicestershire". ISBI Schools. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  2. ^ "DSFC - Board of Governors". Welbeck DSFC. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  3. ^ "ISI Report" (PDF). Independent Schools Inspectorate. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Former pupils condemn government decision to shut Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College". Leicestershire Live. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Private student fees". Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Regulatory Compliance Inspection Report - Welbeck the Defence Sixth Form College (February 2018)" (PDF). Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  7. ^ Welbeck College Independent Schools International Website
  8. ^ "HMC Associates List". Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College". Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Martin, Dan (11 March 2019). "Shock Government decision to axe Welbeck Sixth Form Defence College, near Loughborough". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Last parade at military college". BBC News. BBC. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  12. ^ "60th Anniversary of Welbeck Defence College". ITV News. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  13. ^ a b Dennis, Jim. Welbeck College - The Early Years Part 1 (PDF). Old Welbexian Association (OWA). p. 4. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  14. ^ a b c "WELBECK DEFENCE SIXTH FORM COLLEGE". Army Cadets. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Defence Sixth Form College - 28 January 2003 Volume 398". House of Commons - Handsard. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Martin, Dan (2 May 2019). "Government reveals 'credible interest' in Welbeck Sixth Form Defence College site". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Integrate Inspection Report - Welbeck the Defence Sixth Form College (April 2014)" (PDF). Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  18. ^ a b c "Welbeck DSFC: how to apply". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Sponsored student fees". Welbeck the Defence 6th Form College. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Welbeck DSFC - Academic Information". Welbeck DSFC. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  21. ^ a b c "House of Commons - Defence Committee: Written evidence from the Ministry of Defence". Parliament UK. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  22. ^ a b Baker, Andy (13 July 2017). "Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College's annual passing out parade". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  23. ^ "The Welbeck Curriculum - Combined Cadet Force". Welbeck DSFC. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Defence Sixth Form College - 28 January 2003 Volume 398". House of Commons - Handsard. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Defence Sixth Form College, UK". HICL Infrastructure. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  26. ^ Max Arthur (22 October 2011). "Obituary: Brigadier Andrew Massey". The Independent.
  27. ^ "Brigadier Richard Cripwell". Welbeck College. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Bill, Lt Gen. Sir David (Robert)". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U43796. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  29. ^ ‘URCH, Maj. Gen. Tyrone Richard’, Who's Who 2016, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2016
  30. ^ "Major General Peter Davies". King's College London. Retrieved 7 January 2019.


External links

This page was last edited on 10 January 2021, at 04:10
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