Common Time 2019

Science School

Winchester Science School
Winchester Science School
Winchester Science School
Kepler on the planets - In the Fellows Library
George Moberly, a 19th century headmaster of Winchester College, wrote to the Oxford Commissioners in 1856 concerning the impossibility of finding scientists of any consequence to teach at an out-of-the-way-place like Winchester: "No one but a very small person would accept [the fellowship] in the first place and would grow smaller and smaller every year." He was being required to initiate science teaching, and he succeeded in his procrastination for another three years. Luckily the appointment of key figures such as William Croft and Llewellyn Garbutt proved Moberly wrong; Croft's enquiring nature and excellent teaching inspired both 'men' and colleagues, yet he found time to continue his research into X-rays and radio.

Since Croft and Garbutt's day, Winchester has been lucky enough to recruit and retain 'big' scientists who have not only loved their subjects and have been inspiring in the classroom, but who have contributed to the national examining system and to science education in general.

Dons help organising the three Olympiad science teams; others are involved in public examining, most recently in writing the Cambridge International Pre-U specification. The Science Common Room is a place of debate and the sharing of good practice; dons are given considerable freedom in how they teach, but have support from each other in doing so. This freedom and enthusiasm is infectious and benefits not only the high flying natural philosophers, but the pupils who find the subjects hard and who need careful and perceptive explanation.

Most pupils take three separate sciences for three years taking IGCSE examinations at the end of year 11. In VIth book (years 12 and 13) the numbers studying are large and include many 'men' who take sciences as part of a Renaissance education rather than being dedicated 'scientists'.

A significant number of boys wish to extend their education in year 13 by meeting challenging concepts in extension courses that will lead naturally to the level of study they may expect at university.

The Department is housed in a neo-Queen Anne building overlooking the playing fields and water meadows. The laboratories are well equipped and the apparatus is maintained by a highly skilled team of technicians. There is a well resourced library and ICT is used extensively in all levels of teaching, but so are pen, paper and practical experimentation!
To celebrate the centenary of the building of Science School the Friends of Winchester College produced a leaflet on its history in 2004.