Wilson's Hospital School

Characteristic Spirit & Ethos

Characteristic Spirit & Ethos


In 1724, Andrew Wilson, a prominent local merchant, stated that in the event of there being no direct male heirs to his estate that it, and all its profits, be transferred to the Church of Ireland hierarchy and used to build a hospital (sheltered accommodation) for aged Protestant men and a school for poor Protestant boys. And so it came to pass.

The Spiritual development of our students is a core feature of our ethos. Daily assembly features an act of worship with Bible reading and prayer. All boarders attend Chapel Services on Sunday night and all students receive Religious Education, using approved NCCA curricula. Students participate in a number services throughout the year such as:

  • Founder's Day (8th September)
  • Harvest Thanksgiving
  • Remembrance Sunday
  • Christmas Carol Service
  • Confirmation
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Easter Services

We are proud of our Church of Ireland heritage. Students of all faiths and none are welcome, provided there is an acceptance of our ethos.

Mission Statement

"Faithful to the Last Will and Testament of Andrew Wilson, made in 1724, Wilson’s Hospital School maintains a distinctive Church of Ireland ethos, fostering Christian practice and teaching, promoting dignity and respect for the individual and constantly committed to the provision of a caring family atmosphere in which education can flourish."

Characteristic Spirit of Wilson's Hospital School

Wilson’s Hospital School is a Church of Ireland co-educational post-primary school with a Church of Ireland and Anglican ethos under the patronage of the of Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland. “Church of Ireland/Anglican” ethos in the context of a Church of Ireland post-primary school means the ethos and characteristic spirit of the Anglican Christian tradition, which aims at promoting:

  • The education of the whole person regarding their spiritual, physical, intellectual, social, emotional aesthetic and moral development in harmony with the Christian faith as expressed in the Anglican tradition, which seeks to be characterised by inclusivity in approach, conveying certain values, being reflexive, affirming of the student, and caring. An Anglican ethos is focused on service to the local community as an out-working of the Gospel imperative to reach out to all people in a spirit of engagement and invitation to “come and see” (John 1:39). The ethos of a Church of Ireland school reflects the communal Scriptural values of the faith community, in a positive and encouraging student-centred understanding of living life in the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:25).
  • An ethos based on the Anglican Christian tradition seeks to nurture and encourage the formation of the intellectual, academic, sporting, social and religious abilities of each child within the framework of the community of faith. A Church of Ireland ethos encourages intellectual diversity of thought and encourages the individual to seek to understand themselves, the world around them and the connection between the world and the Divine. This understanding of school ethos promotes pluralism in thought and living, in the context of a Christian school community. Drawing on its Anglican tradition, the Church of Ireland School encourages parental involvement, highlighting the importance of the family in the social and emotional development of the child, and more broadly, the community of the school and church.

Core Values

The Core Values of Wilson's Hospital School are characterised as comprising of:

  • Faith: Living out the life-changing implications of a belief in the Divine, the person of Jesus Christ and recognises that every person is made in the image and likeness of God; conveying the reassurance and stability of Christian values in the life of the believer.
  • Excellence: Striving to ensure that standards of teaching and the delivery of the curriculum is at the highest level of quality. Pursuing high standards in all things.
  • Justice: Looking for fairness in our dealings with others, seeking to order our lives and the world around us in a context of equality for all people and to address unjust imbalances of power. To embrace compassion for our fellow human beings and to do all we can to make ourselves, our communities and our society conscious of the necessity for compassion, the cause of right and truth.
  • Reflexivity: Open to continually being self-reflective, combatting our own biases, desires and motivations and engaging with pluralism of thought.
  • Affirming: Conscious of the importance of affirming to all students and staff that they are valued, supported and loved. That they are unique in themselves, are entitled to live their own lives and not to be judged by any external standards, other than how we all engage with those around them and the world.
  • Caring: Focusing on the experience of the young person to ensure that their experience of their time in school is accepting, happy and positive.
  • Community: Enjoying the strength from membership of a community and the identity arising from strong tradition.


The Will of Andrew Wilson established Wilson’s Hospital School in 1724 (and the school opened in 1761). This Will is the foundation document of Wilson’s Hospital School. To ensure the implementation of the Will, The Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, and Bishops of Meath, Tuam and Kilmore were appointed Trustees and Guardians of the School. The current Trustees and Guardians are:

  • Archbishop John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland
  • Archbishop Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin
  • Bishop Patricia Storey, Bishop of Meath and Kildare
  • Bishop Ferran Glenfield, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh

The Trustees and Guardians are the patrons of the school and are responsible under the law for the provision of its statement of ethos. Wilson’s Hospital School is therefore to be ordered according to the following principles in order that its ethos may be maintained:

  1. As a boarding and day school for members of the Church of Ireland, allowing that students of other denominations may be admitted according to an enrolment policy which allows preference of admission for members of the Church of Ireland and which ensures that a clear majority of the students of the school are members of the Church of Ireland, and that a clear majority of the students of the school are boarders.
  2. As a secondary school operating in accordance with the rules of the Department of Education and Skills, covering a six-year cycle of secondary education from entrance at first form to the Leaving Certificate at the conclusion of sixth form.
  3. As a school which provides an education balancing the academic, practical, moral and spiritual aspects of life, and which is consonant with the established Anglican ethos of respect for the Christian Scriptures, for the tradition of the Christian Church through the centuries, and for the dignity of human conscience and reason.
  4. As an institution reflecting a religious ethos in the Anglican tradition, whereby religious education, religious worship, and the use of the chapel for religious purposes, in each case consonant with the Anglican tradition, are regarded as integral to the life of the school.

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Wilson's Hospital School
Heathland, Co. Westmeath, N91 AX97, Ireland
044 937 1115
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