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Short Half 2015

Midhurst Rother College

Winchester's Partnership with Midhurst Rother College     

The partnership between Midhurst Rother College and Winchester College celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2013. Since 2008 the merger of three local schools in West Sussex into MRC under the sponsorship of United Learning has seen remarkable development. A distance of thirty miles has not inhibited the dialogue and co-operation between the two schools.

Between 2010 and 2013 a scheme financed under the provision of SHINE took a group of about fifteen twelve-year-olds from Midhurst to Winchester on a Saturday-morning programme of classes given by Winchester dons designed to stimulate aspiration and confidence about learning among the children and their parents. This connected teachers in both schools. Young Winchester dons now spend part of their training for GTQ at Midhurst. Science dons journey from Winchester to Midhurst to help with teaching practice and to give supplementary teaching to students who show strong aptitude for science study. Winchester helps with practice for university interviews. Tuition is given at Winchester to groups of Year 10 and 11 pupils, especially in Mathematics and Science. There are regular sports fixtures and joint activities of all kinds from photography to Model UN.

Above all, and key to the success of our partnership, Winchester helps Midhurst with effective school governance to ensure support, advice and encouragement for the Principal as he deals with the many issues and problems of staffing, management structure, goal-setting and tone-raising which lifted Midhurst to the outstanding school it became in the OFSTED judgement of 2013. Good governance requires many hours of commitment. At the beginning of our partnership Midhurst adopted a Memorandum of Understanding for governance (endorsed by UL) in which were enshrined independence and the acquisition of a skills-base necessary for sustaining good governance of a good school. Winchester provides a don with a dedicated purpose of liaison and development with Midhurst staff; and three Governors, including a Fellow of Winchester and the Headmaster. The relationships which have developed at both personal and institutional levels have brought about a remarkable transformation at Midhurst and for both schools a new dimension of educational awareness and opportunity between maintained and private sectors. This has proved to be a true partnership.

At the five-year point we renewed our commitment for a further five years (until March 2018) on a revised basis appropriate to the new situation at Midhurst. As Sixth Form numbers at Midhurst expand, Winchester is now engaged in helping Midhurst students to seek entry to Russell Group universities and Oxbridge; and it is sharing its models of senior and middle management to assist the Principal in his development of staff leadership skills and capacities. This is exciting work.