Winchester College, known informally as Winchester, is considered to be one of the finest independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom. It is one of only five independent English boarding schools remaining which offer an all-male, all boarding school education.
Level taught: 13 – 18
Curriculum: A' Level, GCSE, National Curriculum for England, Pre-U
Number of Children: 614
Emirate and Area: United Kingdom, Winchester
Tel and Web Address: +44(0)1962621100, 0044(0)1962621247, [email protected], www.winchestercollege.org
Principal and Owner: Dr Ralph Townsend (Headmaster)
Year Founded: 1394
Winchester College, known informally as Winchester, is considered to be one of the finest independent boarding schools in the United Kingdom. It is currently one of only five independent English boarding schools remaining which offer an all-male, all boarding school education. However, Winchester College will open the school to girls for the first time after discussing the issue for more than 100 years. From 2022 it will admit girls into the sixth form as day students; girls will also be able to join as boarders by 2024.
Located in Hampshire, Winchester College currently educates around 700 students. From 2022, girls will be allowed to join in a 50-50 split with boys to study for their A Levels. Traditionally a boarding-only school, Winchester College will also admit boys as day students into the sixth form for the first time.
Headmaster, Dr Tim Hands, said:
"We concluded that opening the school to girls (initially for A-Level) would bring benefits in terms of intellectual challenge and diversity of thought, as well as wider advantages in terms of preparing all our pupils for the world outside Winchester. We also believe, on the basis of experience elsewhere, that this change will bring pastoral and extra-curricular benefits to both sexes."
Winchester College sets itself apart in the independent sector for its extremely high academic entrance requirement, and intense development of the academic abilities of its students. Winchester consistently secures places for over 35% of its sixth form to Oxbridge. Winchester College caters to 614 pupils between 13 and 18, around half the number of Eton.
Students are drawn from a variety of nationalities and backgrounds. 20% of pupils come from overseas. 9% are students whose first language is not English. 50% of Winchester College pupils are drawn from London and the Home Counties. Special learning support is offered to students whose first language is not English on an individual basis but there is no separate SEN faculty.
The school scores good or higher in the Independent School’s Inspectorate report across all main areas of investigation completed in 2009, but excels in the provision and rigor of its academic education. The school’s focus on academic development, and unique teaching and development focus for its students, may well account for the disparity in its scores. Winchester has a focus on discipline sufficient to ensure “good order” to support its academic focus. Prefects have the authority to sanction and sanctions used vary between houses.
Winchester was rated Excellent in its most recently available ISI Educational Quality report (2015).
Its pupil to teacher average ratio is a class leading 6:1. Winchester ranks first in the independent feeder schools to Oxbridge. For academic performance it is unmatched.
Sports provision is diverse, but focused on cricket, tennis and association football. Pupils are given choice as far as possible in their physical education and facilities include a 25m swimming pool.
Entrance to the school is by unique and highly competitive tests. Winchester has its own testing regime and does not use Common Entrance. Prospective pupils must be registered any time after their eighth birthday and before the end of Year 5 (9+ to 10+). They are usually at least 13, but under 14, on 31 August in the year of entry to the School.
An offer of a place is subject to a short test and interview. However, confirmation of a place is subject to the prospective pupil passing the Entrance Examination or Election in May of the year of entry. Failure of the Winchester Entrance Examination does occur. Winchester College does take into account the needs of international students and balances the results of entrance testing with a “serious” view of academic promise.
Sixth form entry is restricted. Candidates should be under 17 on 31 August in the year of entry. Most boys in the Sixth Form take three subjects (Cambridge Pre-U). Any available places will be offered to boys of high academic caliber who can also make a significant contribution to the School. The absolute minimum standard for entry to the Sixth Form is six A/A* grades at GCSE.
The school’s religious focus is Christian and worship and religious development are treated as intrinsic to the development of its pupils.
Winchester Collage fees offers bursaries according to merit and circumstances. 100% full fee remission bursaries are only available only in “extreme cases.” Winchester has changed its historical scholarship and bursary system to determine fee waiver according to means and as part of the test both parents are expected to work. Equity in homes is also taken into account. Winchester College aims, in the long term, to be able to offer 100% bursaries to 10% of pupils and part fee remission to 20% of pupils on this basis.
A’ Level grades secured at A*/A/B (Pre U equivalent) 90.6%
A’ Level Grades A*/A (Pre U equivalent) 79%
A’ Level Grades A* ((Pre U equivalent) 50.5%
Winchester College has an extraordinary, and deserved, reputation for academic excellence. This is secured by the most competitive, bespoke, testing of pupils prior to acceptance at the school. For the extremely gifted child, where the requirement is for an all boy, all boarding school, with excellent results and a very strong focus on developing academic ability, Winchester College sets the benchmark in Independent sector education worldwide. However, stretching entrance examinations, intense competition for places and highly targeted means testing will present a stumbling block to many parents. Winchester’s academic focus, whilst balanced with an extraordinary breadth of extra-academic activities, will also not provide the best fit for all children.
The archetypal, best in class, all-boy, all-boarding school
Heads league tables for academic performance
Extraordinary success in Oxbridge entrance
Relatively weak IT provision; traditional text books dominate
Potential to produce an exam “hot house”
The very brightest children
Those seeking a blue-chip, all boy, all-boarding
Those who value tradition and discipline
Children who are not academic
Parents seeking a Liberal education (Eton and Westminster are better)
• Boarding number: 690 pupils
• Day number: 6 pupils
• Sixth Form: 276 pupils
• Number of full time teaching staff: 111
• Address: Winchester College, Winchester, SO239NA, England
• ISI Rating Education: Outstanding
• ISI Rating Personal Development: Excellent
• ISI Rating Governance: Good
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