Atlantic College

This article is about a college in Wales. For the university in Puerto Rico, see Atlantic College of Puerto Rico.
UWC Atlantic College (United World College of the Atlantic)
St Donat's Castle
Llantwit Major

Coordinates 51°24′05″N 03°31′57″W / 51.40139°N 3.53250°W / 51.40139; -3.53250Coordinates: 51°24′05″N 03°31′57″W / 51.40139°N 3.53250°W / 51.40139; -3.53250
Type International Baccalaureate
Established 1962
Principal John Walmsley (Appointed 1 January 2012)
Staff 100
Grades Sixth Form
Number of students 350
Campus size 30 Hectares
Campus type Residential
Colour(s) Green and Blue
Affiliation UWC (United World Colleges)

UWC Atlantic College (also known as the United World College of the Atlantic or Atlantic College and often abbreviated to either UWCAC or AC by its students and staff), is an international IB Diploma Programme independent (private) residential Sixth Form College in the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales.[1] Founded in 1962, it was the first of the United World Colleges and was among the first educational institutions in the world to follow an international curriculum. It is known for its liberal, progressive and radical education, its global ethos and its strong focus on local and global sustainability. It is attended by approximately 350 students from more than 90 countries. In addition to the International Baccalaureate curriculum, the College places student participation in community service at its core.


It was founded by the German educationalist Kurt Hahn, who had previously set up Gordonstoun School in Scotland and the Schule Schloss Salem in Germany. Hahn founded the institutions as a practical response to the search for new and peaceful solutions in a post-war world riven by political, racial and economic divisions.

Hahn had been invited to address the NATO Defence College, where he saw former enemies from several nations working together towards a common goal. With a number of colleagues Hahn realised how much more could be done to overcome the hostility of the Cold War if young people from different nations could be brought together in a similar way. He envisaged a college for students who were already grounded in their own cultures but impressionable enough to learn from others. Drawn from all nations, the students would be selected purely on merit and potential, regardless of race, religion, nationality and background.[2]

Atlantic College was hailed by The Times as "the most exciting experiment in education since the Second World War." The College was the fruit of Kurt Hahn's vision and the work of individuals such as the founding Headmaster Rear Admiral Desmond Hoare, Antonin Besse, who donated St Donat's Castle for the college's premises,[3] and Air Marshal Sir Lawrance Darvall. Robert Blackburn was also influential as founding Deputy Headmaster and Director of Studies.

In 1967, Lord Mountbatten of Burma became President of the organisation and the title United World Colleges came into existence. Mountbatten was an enthusiastic UWC supporter and encouraged heads of state, politicians and personalities throughout the world to share his interest.[2] He was personally involved in founding the second UWC – the United World College of South East Asia – in Singapore. A further College followed in 1974: Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson had dreamed of establishing an institution like Atlantic College in Canada and it was fitting that the Lester B Pearson United World College of the Pacific became Canada's living memorial to its much-respected leader.

In 1978, Mountbatten passed the Presidency to his great-nephew, HRH Prince Charles The Prince of Wales. The current presidents of Atlantic College are Queen Noor of Jordan, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, and until his death in 2013, Nelson Mandela of South Africa.


The college's stated mission is to "make education a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future". Students from over 90 countries participate in Atlantic College's rigorous two-year programme in which they combine academic studies with activities and service. Admission, and scholarship awards, are decided by national UWC committees around the world, which also send students to the other United World Colleges.

At the beginning of the two years, students are obliged to select a service that they will carry out for at least four hours a week for the duration of their time at the college, with the choices including manning and running the RNLI lifeboat station at the college, working on the college’s own organic farm, providing music therapy for dementia patients or running activity sessions with disabled children. Students can choose from 4 'faculties' through which they complete their service. These are the Environmental Faculty which includes working in the college's kitchen gardens, MEMS (Marine Environmental Monitoring Service) and a Sustainability Campaigns group; the Social Justice Faculty which includes work with refugees in Cardiff; the Outdoor Faculty which includes the running of children's swimming sessions and a lifeguarding program; the Global Faculty which does work with issues of global importance.


The College has a strong tradition of boat design and boat building.[4] It has an active lifeboat station within its grounds, and its Atlantic 75 class boat is manned by staff and students from the College. Much of the development of the Atlantic 21, 75 and 85 classes of lifeboat took place here.[5] ILB training vessels are still built on-site by students and are in regular use in practice and training of the RNLI crews at the station.

Atlantic class 21

What was to become the world’s most widely used craft for inshore rescue, the rigid inflatable boat (RIB), was conceived, designed, and built at Atlantic College under its founding headmaster, retired Rear-Admiral Desmond Hoare.[6] The B Class Atlantic Inshore Lifeboat was named by the RNLI after its birthplace, the College. It has often been claimed that, had the College earned royalties on every rigid-hulled inflatable boat now in service, its scholarship fund would have never looked back. But Desmond Hoare, who finally patented the design in 1973, handed over all rights to the RNLI for the nominal fee of one pound. He did not cash the cheque.[6]

David Sutcliffe, a member of the founding staff of the Atlantic College in 1962, published The RIB The Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Lifeboat and its Place of Birth The Atlantic College in 2010, a book that tells the story of the inception of the RIB (rigid inflatable boat).[6]

In 2014 the college helped design a new boat in conjunction with companies in Japan, to help in the aftermath of a tsunami.[4]

Grounds and facilities

St Donat's Castle in 1775

Atlantic College is located at St Donat's Castle, a 12th-century castle near the town of Llantwit Major on the South Wales coast, overlooking the Bristol Channel. The castle has been continuously inhabited since it was first built. The extensive grounds also include the 12th-century St Donat's Church and the historic terraced gardens, as well as preserved woodland, farmland and heritage coastline. St Donat's Castle is the impressive main building of the College, housing the Tudor Great Hall, the Gothic Dining Hall, the Bradenstoke Hall used for assemblies and performances, an extensive 25,000-book Library, staff offices, student common areas and certain academic departments such as History, Economics and Theory of Knowledge.

Students live in seven modern accommodation houses named after either ancient Welsh kingdoms or benefactors to the college: Pentti Kouri — Morgannwg — Powys — Whitaker — Gwynedd — Tice — Sunley.

Lessons take place in modern academic blocks built in the 1960s–80s, converted Medieval estate buildings, and the castle itself. Next to the castle are the Social / Gymnasium blocks and the 12th-century tithe barn (used by the college and open to the public as a theatre, arts centre and cinema). This building with its contemporary glazed extension by local architect Chris Loyn, has received much praise in the UK architectural community as well as from groups interested in building conservation. The college owns sports fields, tennis courts, and in addition to indoor and outdoor swimming pools have a range of surf and rescue equipment, kayaks, sailing boats, RNLI training boats, and a cliff suitable for climbing and rescue practice.

In 2004, the college installed a carbon neutral biomass heating system to replace an aging and unsustainable oil based system.[7] It runs on locally sourced sustainable woodchip biomass, and makes the campus the largest site in the UK to be heated in such a way.

The earliest to be built student house, Pentti Kouri (formerly Dyfed), was refurbished in the autumn of 2008 to include technologies such as geothermal heating and an energy usage monitoring system to lessen its impact on the environment. If the renovation proves successful at reducing the environmental impact, while being comfortable to live in, the other older houses may also be so renovated over a period of years.[8]


One of the first colleges in the world and first in UK to follow an international curriculum, Atlantic College continues to lead the way in pioneering new options for the broad-ranging International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.[9][10] Since 1972 the sole academic programme has been the IB, with the first students to study exclusively for the IB having entered the College in 1971.[11] The College was influential in the creation of the International Baccalaureate and continues to be actively involved in its development.

IB graduates are typically accepted at the most competitive colleges and universities around the world, with many enrolling in Ivy League universities in the United States as well as British universities. Students at the college are eligible, after graduation, to participate in The Davis United World College Scholars Program, which funds undergraduate study (based on need) for UWC students at selected universities in the United States. Despite this, the stated aim of the College is that students return to their home communities or regions after completing their studies to enable and encourage social and economic development around the world and across societies, rather than removing those most able to facilitate change from those areas most in need of it.

The class of 2008 were academically the college’s most successful year in its 46-year history. Seventy-six students, almost half of the graduating class of 163, received a total of 151 unconditional acceptances at top US universities, and 13 students were offered conditional places to study at Oxbridge.

Among the offers, there were 21 acceptances to Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Cornell and Princeton.

Middle Lawn at St Donat's Castle.

Notable former pupils



  2. 1 2 Sutcliffe, David (1983), The First Twenty Years of the United World Colleges, The Story of St. Donat´s Castle and Atlantic College, Cambridge: D. Brown in conjunction with Stewart Williams, pp. 85–118, ISBN 0-905928-26-1
  3. Jones, Howard C. (1983), W. R. Hearst and St. Donat´s, The Story of St. Donat´s Castle and Atlatic College, Cambridge: D. Brown in conjunction with Stewart Williams, pp. 69–83, ISBN 0-905928-26-1
  4. 1 2 "'Tsunami boat' designed by Atlantic College students". BBC News. 15 December 2014.
  5. RNLI through time Archived July 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., RNLI, UK.
  6. 1 2 3 David Sutcliffe (2010) (in German), The RIB: The Rigid-hulled Inflatable Lifeboat, Granta Editions, ISBN 1-85757-103-7
  7. Biomass Heating at Atlantic College; Carbon Trust case study Archived March 8, 2005, at the Wayback Machine..
  8. Eco-refurbishment to pioneer new heat pump technology, Building Design, UK, 14 August 2008.
  9. "History of the IB Diploma Programme". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  10. "UWC – School Based Syllabi". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  11. David Sutcliffe. "Peterson Lectures: Alec Peterson — A memoir". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  12. "University of Liverpool – CV" (PDF). July 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  13. "HELSINGIN SANOMAT INTERNATIONAL EDITION - PEOPLE". 23 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  14. "Nokia — Jorma Ollila". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  15. "Bank of Finland — Seppo Honkapohja". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  16. "University of Helsinki — CV". December 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  17. "Tributes after ex-presenter dies". BBC Wales. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  18. "Times Online — Obituaries". The Times. London. 9 July 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  19. "Newswatch Special Feature". 15 November 2002. Archived from the original on 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  20. El Pais (17 April 2005). "El Fernando Alonso del Aire" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  21. "Manchester United Supporters' Trust - Founders". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  22. "Canadian Space Agency - Bio". Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  23. "NASA - Astronauts Bio". Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  24. "The Dutch Royal House". Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  25. "BBC news: MEP Eluned Morgan will step down". BBC News. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  26. "Saba Douglas-Hamilton – Bio". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  27. "Horatio Clare – Bio". Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  28. "Sally El Hosaini — Bio". Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-16.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atlantic College, Wales.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/21/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.