New UWC Atlantic College Principal is…

John Walmsley

The announcement was made official today by the UWC Atlantic College Board of Govenors in an announcement at Assembley and on the school website.

Candidate: John Wamsley


Head, Sidcot School, North Somerset, UK [co-educational boarding and day school, 3-18, GCSE, A Level, IBD, 125 international students from 30 countries, 170 in sixth form] 2001 – to date

Raised in the UK. Bachelor of Science, Geology – University of Leeds. Teaching qualifications. Founding principles of his current Quaker school resonates strongly with the UWC mission. Previous leadership experience: Assistant Head, Simon Langton Girls’ School, Canterbury (1995-1998); Deputy Head – Academic, Sidcot School, North Somerset (1998- 2001). Earlier in career, spent two years at Greengates School, Mexico City as Head of ICT (1987-1989). More recently, has introduced the IB Diploma to Sidcot, now onto its fourth cohort with an average score of 32 points for each of the first two years. SHMIS (Society of Heads of Independent Schools) committee member. Career encompasses leadership roles in UK state schools as well as 12 years at a co-educational boarding school.



The Governors of UWC Atlantic College are pleased to announce that John Walmsley, currently Head of Sidcot, North Somerset, has accepted their offer of appointment as Principal of UWC Atlantic College and will take up the role on 1st January 2012.

Stephen Cox, Chair of Governors of the College said:
“I am delighted John has accepted our offer. His track record of running a successful IB school for over 14 years together with his very broad experience of education in a wide variety of environments makes him an ideal Principal for UWC Atlantic College at this stage of its development and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure we remain at the forefront of international sixth form education.”

Paul Whitehouse, Chair of Governors of Sidcot said:
“We are delighted that John’s hard work at Sidcot has been recognised by another school which very much shares our vision and values. In the last 10 years as Head, John has been instrumental in building the school’s academic success leading Sidcot to be the best non-selective Independent school in Bristol and Somerset for GCSE, A Level and IB. It is now our responsibility to ensure that John’s legacy of ‘happy children learn’ will continue with his successor. We thank John for his commitment to Sidcot and wish him and his family well in their new venture.”

On accepting the offer, John Walmsley said:
“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the UWC Atlantic College community as Principal from January 2012. UWC Atlantic College and the UWC movement is an educational idea that I have been interested in all my professional life and it will be an immense privilege to lead the college in the next stage of its development. The founding principles of the UWC movement have more relevance than ever in today’s complex world. One of my main aims will be to confirm UWC Atlantic College as a world centre of excellence for truly international education that promotes peace and cultural understanding and that works to remove the roots of conflict. I very much look forward to moving to St. Donat’s with my family in January of next year.”

From a strong field of over 60 applicants, three candidates, together with their partners, spent two days at the college during which time they met students and staff; current members of the college’s senior management team; and underwent three separate interviews with the Board. Following this exhaustive process, the Board was unanimous that John was the ideal person to assume leadership of the college as it celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its foundation. We were impressed with his clear vision for the college, his commitment to international education and to the ideals which drive UWC Atlantic College and the whole UWC movement, his detailed understanding of the International Baccalaureate which he so successfully introduced to his current school, his comprehensive appreciation of the opportunities which a sixth form boarding environment offers its students, his command of the regulatory framework within which we operate and his proven track record in the management of a successful school.

We look forward to welcoming John, his wife Barbara, and their family to St Donat’s, and in the meantime, Paul Motte will continue his excellent work in the role of Acting Principal.

Stephen Cox
Chair of Governors


One comment

Comments are closed.