United Kingdom / South East England / Winchester / Winchester College

Winchester College Review

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.
At a glance
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Outstanding
Availability 2018/19
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Availability 2019/20
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Annual fee average
GBP 38,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1394
School year
Sep to Jun
Principal
Timothy Hands
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British
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Winchester College
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Outstanding
Availability 2018/19
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
GBP 38,000
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1394
School year
Sep to Jun
Principal
Timothy Hands
Main teacher nationality
British
Main student nationality
British
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First Published:
Wednesday 23 August, 2017

Updated:
Monday 25 September, 2017

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
Fees: £33750
Number of Children: 614
Emirate and Area: United Kingdom, Winchester
Tel and Web Address: +44(0)1962621100, 0044(0)1962621247, admissions@wincoll.ac.uk, www.winchestercollege.org
Principal and Owner: Dr Ralph Townsend (Headmaster)
Gender: Boys
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 one of only five independent English boarding schools remaining which offer an all-male, all boarding school education.

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.

It’s 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.


The Treasury houses the collections of art & archaeology belonging to the College. 

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%

 

Our view
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.

 

Strengths
The archetypal, best in class, all-boy, all-boarding school
Heads league tables for academic performance
Extraordinary success in Oxbridge entrance

Weaknesses
Relatively weak IT provision; traditional text books dominate
Potential to produce an exam “hot house”
Strictly single-sex, all boarding – no exceptions

Best for
The very brightest children
Those seeking a blue-chip, all boy, all-boarding
Those who value tradition and discipline

Not for
Children who are not academic
Parents seeking a mixed-gender sixth form
Parents seeking a Liberal education (Eton and Westminster are better)

 

Fast Facts
• 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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