While the School enjoys an enviable reputation in public examination performance, its overriding objective is to offer a broadly intellectual, well-rounded education.
Every boy meets in his Division for one period every day. His Div Don therefore sees more of him than any other of his teachers, and it is the Div Don who takes him through courses which are designed to foster in him a love and respect for learning for its own sake. Thus for junior boys History and English Literature are not offered for GCSE but form the basis of a general unexamined programme pursued through Div. In the First Year the Div Don teaches all aspects but in the Second Year Div is taught by English specialists, and in the Third Year by Historians.
In Sixth Book, Div can lead almost anywhere, according to the interests of the boys in the group and the Div Don himself, covering an extremely wide range of history and literature, from Ancient Egypt to the Gulf War, from Plato to Shakespeare, from the history of Cricket or Mathematics or Science to the fugues of Bach or the plays of Tom Stoppard. Opportunities to deepen aspects of the broad knowledge he acquires through Div are afforded through the Task Time, when under the supervision of his Div Don, he will write regular essays based on private interest and research. He will often be asked to offer a presentation to his Div.
Div is the hallmark of a Winchester education. Divisions during a boy's first three years are conducted in Junior Part in his first year, Middle Part in his second and Fifth Book in his third. Sixth Book covers his two final years.