We are acutely aware of the impact this virus is having and greatly appreciate the support and understanding of families at this exceptional time. A regular newsletter for parents, Winchester Weekly, was launched in April 2020 to help keep us all connected. Additional documents and information are hosted on the Parent Portal. Parents may also wish to follow our social media channels on Twitter and Instagram, where we share news that connects us a community.
On Wednesday 18th March 2020, following guidance from the Government and extensive internal discussions, boys had to return home. Remote learning was established across all year groups and worked successfully throughout Cloister Time.
We were delighted to welcome pupils back in September as normal, with a phased approach to ensure their safety, starting in House bubbles before moving into a whole-school bubble. The school has established effective hybrid learning models, which are in place for the very small number of pupils who are continuing their learning online. Maintaining continuous education for our pupils remains a top priority, alongside their good health and wellbeing.
The third national UK lockdown, announced in January 2021, meant the re-establishment of remote learning for all as pupils began Common Time at home. The school continues to follow Government guidelines and looks forward to pupils returning to Winchester later this year.
In addition to the support the school is providing to those parents in financial difficulty due to the crisis, we have set up a COVID-19 Hardship Fund. If you would like to support the Fund, further information can be found on the Winchester College Society website. Winchester is proud of the diverse backgrounds and financial circumstances of the parent population, and we are grateful that this is recognised and valued amongst the wider community as a strength worth supporting.
Winchester has a very strong school community and, as expected, everyone continues to pull together through these difficult and unprecedented times.
Volunteers from across the school community worked hard to support those across the city of Winchester, wherever needed. Winchester College was the main responder for Winchester City Council's Response Team, supporting vulnerable residents with a variety of tasks. This included delivering prescriptions and shopping. Our volunteers continue to support numerous local families.
School volunteers also supported the NHS Telehealth Service at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital; a new service that provides NHS 111-style support for care homes, paramedics and GPs, with an emphasis on localised, timely and specialised help. Volunteers delivered prescriptions to residential and nursing homes.
The school also provided free accommodation for carers working for the Together for Mental Wellbeing charity, based in Winchester.
Working in partnership with Trinity Winchester and the Salvation Army, the school made over 3,000 microwaveable meals for vulnerable people in the city between May and August. The school's catering manager and one of our school chefs used a school kitchen and ingredients to produce280 meals a week, which are then delivered by one of our minibus drivers in a chilled van.
Working with First Bite, local catering company Red Radish also provided free meals to those who need them and the school provided additional support to ensure they reached even more people.
Colleagues distributed PPE supplies to Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire Ambulance Service and the RHCH. In total, over 2,500 gloves, 100 pairs of safety spectacles and 100 disposable aprons were delivered. In addition, a sewing group, established in one of the boarding house, made additional face masks. The school received a further delivery of masks for the community, kindly sent by a past parent.
Mill was put to good use thanks to the efforts and skills of DT colleagues who created a prototype face shield and, following consultation with an NHS colleague, went into production, with 120 delivered to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Online Learning Opportunities
Our four-week primary maths programme went ahead online after lockdown. 30 pupils (Years 4, 5 & 6) from several local primary schools, including Weeke, St Peter’s, St Bede, St Faiths, Western, Stanmore and Awbridge, took part. The club aims to support able and enthusiastic young mathematicians and mentor them for future mathematical Challenges. Pupils completed bespoke online quizzes during the sessions and were provided with excellent explanations from sixth-form pupil Oliver Goodall. A PowerPoint with full solutions was sent to the parents at the end of each session. The school is grateful to the Mathematical Association for use of their material in the online quizzes. Feedback from parents has been positive and we look forward to continuing maths outreach next term in whatever format is required.
A number of Enrichment Opportunities for local pupils continue to be offered online.
If you organise or volunteer for a local support group and require assistance, please do get in touch.
The school closed to all external visitors last year, in line with government advice, to limit the spread of the virus. This includes the Sports Centre and Treasury museum. All guided tours have been cancelled and visits related to admissions have been postponed. However, as part of Heritage Open Days 2020, the school created films and a podcast exploring our rich history, art and architecture. Find out more.
We very much hope to welcome everyone back soon.
For parents with any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your son’s Housemaster. Alternatively, please contact the main school switchboard on +44 (0)1962 621100.
The school's Designated Safeguarding Lead has provided an addendum to Winchester's Safeguarding and Child Protection policy with details of our individual safeguarding arrangements during the school closure.
The following organisations have issued advice and offer the most up to date information about the virus:
The Government's reponse and the latest advice of the Chief Medical Officer can be found on their website.
24th January 2021
The Head of College explains why, despite being an ineffective player himself, he is an ardent fan of Winkies for the team spirit it builds and the traditions it upholds.
19th January 2021
Starting the spring term, known as Common Time, in the UK's third national lockdown, one of Winchester's Head Boys encourages the whole school community to keep mentally healthy by setting personal goals, remaining physically active, and participating in the challenges and inter-house competitions being set by senior pupils this term to keep up morale.
8th December 2020
The Winchester College community continues to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and has received recognition for its efforts.
19th November 2020
An active participant in the school's Community Service outreach programme and A-Level art student, Felix, wanted to use his skills to support the local homeless shelter at this very difficult time for charities.
7th September 2020
In the first of a series of insights into school life during this unique time, we hear from Ben Wen who recently joined the school as a JP in Furley's, spending the past two weeks with his brother in quarantine. Ben looks back at his first impressions of boarding life.
2nd July 2020
In our last postcard from home this term, Anvesh explains that, whilst he misses friends and school life, he has enjoyed spending time with his family, learning recipes from his older sister and playing games with his parents.