St Donat's Castle dates back to the 12th century and had a number of notable owners, including William Randolph Hearst the very successful American magazine mogul. Hearst bought St Donat's Castle in 1925 and brought to it many famous visitors including Charlie Chaplin and John F. Kennedy.
Antonin Besse purchased the castle and donated it to the governing body of Atlantic College which was founded in 1962 by German educationalist Kurt Hahn. His concept being to engage young people from all nations in finding peaceful means to bring together a world divided by political, racial and socio-economic barriers by learning from one another.
Since its opening, over 7500 students from over 100 countries have benefited from the inspiring and innovative educational experience promoted at Atlantic College. The college has also continued its tradition of famous visitors including HM Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Lady Diana, The Emperor of Japan, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Rhys Ifans and most recently the new Dr Who, Matt Smith!
In 1967 the movement became known as ‘United World Colleges' and Lord Mountbatten became the organisation's President. Since then a further 12 UWC's have opened and they can be found in each continent.
The original aims and objectives of the movement continue to be relevant today with the additional consideration of our natural environment. One of the first colleges in the world, and the first in the UK, to follow an international curriculum and promote international understanding, Atlantic College continues to be a pioneering educational establishment.
After creating the International Baccalaureate Diploma alongside teachers from the International School of Geneva and the UN School of New York, Atlantic College was the first school in the world to solely teach the IB and move away from its national curriculum. To this day the college remains an integral part of the success of the Diploma through the creation of school-based syllabi including Political Thought, Peace and Conflict Studies, World Religions and Environmental Systems (now Ecosystems and Society).
Atlantic College still leads the way in developing new options for the broad-ranging IB Diploma and continuously updates its own educational programme to ensure a highly regarded and unique education for all of its students.