Common Time 2015

Midhurst Rother College

Winchester's Partnership with Midhurst Rother College     

The partnership between Midhurst Rother College and Winchester College is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. 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. A scheme financed under the provision of SHINE has taken 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 has connected teachers in both schools. Young Winchester dons have spent part of their training for GTQ at Midhurst. Science dons have journeyed from Winchester to Midhurst to help with teaching practice and to give supplementary teaching to students who show strong aptitude for science study. Winchester has given help with practice for university interviews. Tuition has been given at Winchester to groups of Year 10 and 11 pupils, especially in Mathematics and Science. There have been regular sports fixtures and joint activities of all kinds from photography to Model UN.

Above all, and key to the success of these first five years, Winchester has helped Midhurst develop effective governance to ensure support, advice and encouragement for the Principal as he grappled with the many issues and problems of staffing, management structure, goal-setting and tone-raising essential for lifting Midhurst towards the outstanding school it is becoming. Good governance requires many hours of commitment. From the beginning our Local Governing Body 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 has provided from the beginning a don with a dedicated purpose of liaison and development with Midhurst staff; and three members of the Midhurst LGB, including a Fellow of Winchester and the Headmaster. The Chairman of the LGB is an OW. 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 this five-year point we intend to renew for a further five years (until March 2018) the commitment between the two schools on a revised basis appropriate to the new situation at Midhurst. As Sixth Form numbers at Midhurst expand, Winchester will engage with the creation of aspiration among Midhurst students to seek entry to Russell Group universities and Oxbridge; and it will share its models of senior and middle management to assist the Principal in his development of staff leadership skills and capacities. We see this as the next phase of our partnership.