Winchester College is a full-boarding, 7 day a week school for around 700 boys from every kind of background, and has occupied its current location for an unbroken 600 years. Distinctive in its combination of intellectual tone, promotion of high culture and civilised pastoral care, the School is a vibrant community with all 90 teachers, or Dons, residing on site with their families. The admissions system, in which every boy is interviewed at length before being accepted, is unique.
At a glance
The Dons strive to cultivate disciplined organisation, clarity of thought, a love of learning and a broad view of an education which will nourish a lifetime. This is achieved at least in part through ‘Div’ in which a Don takes his or her Division of the boys beyond the structure of traditional subject matter. Success in Cambridge Pre-U examinations is another consequence of the College’s approach, with on average 32% of leavers going on to Oxford or Cambridge and 44% to premier US universities.
The 11 boarding houses are all within easy reach of the School’s mediaeval buildings, classrooms and facilities. Each house is a self-contained community, presided over by a housemaster and a matron, to which the boys return from classes or games to study, eat and sleep. Supported by teams of tutors, chaplains and Div Dons, the housemasters offer care with a light touch, so that the boys have a sense of freedom to take responsibility for themselves whilst knowing they are being guided and looked after.
Opportunities abound to take part in numerous sporting activities and the playing fields are extensive, with excellent cricket and football pitches. There are squash, rackets, fives and tennis courts, and golf is played at the nearby Hockley Golf Club. Rowing is based at the superbly equipped boathouse on the River Itchen and sailing takes place on the Solent. The facilities and level of coaching provide the boys with the opportunity to reach the highest level of performance in their chosen field.
Music has always been central to life at Winchester – two thirds of the boys learn an instrument with many learning two or three, resulting in over 700 instrumental lessons a week. Drama is vibrant, with boys acting in and producing plays of the highest quality throughout the year, supported by a full-time professional theatre manager. Participation in art is encouraged by the Drew Jug inter-house art competition, involving collaboration between the boys and their housemasters.
Did you know?
- The College owns around 4.5 miles of the famed River Itchen – one of the best chalk fishing streams in the world.
- In 1382 William of Wykeham made provision for 16 choirboys, Quiristers, who still provide the treble line for the Chapel Choir today.