Winchester College, founded by William of Wykeham in 1382, is one of the world’s most famous and distinguished schools. The College is defined by its motto, Manners Makyth Man. This motto is hundreds of years old but has a surprisingly modern spirit. Its sentiment is that we should be measured not by birth but by our personal qualities, a surprisingly meritocratic sentiment for a school that was founded in 1382. Its language may sound old-fashioned to a modern ear, but it was radically progressive in its time because it was written not in Latin but in a dynamic, up-and-coming language: English.
Today, Manners Makyth Man inspires the key qualities of Character, Conversation, Curiosity, Foresight and Leadership.
I hope that you will accept this invitation to visit Winchester to see these wonderful qualities in action. It is a truly remarkable place and school, and it will be a privilege to welcome you here.
Dr Tim Hands
Strength of character means having confidence in one’s own individuality. At Winchester College, diversity is welcomed, manners are celebrated and kindness is in abundance. There is a sense of community which transfers to caring within the community at large. But the pupils are free to determine their own path, guided rather than governed.
Our style of teaching encourages the exploration of ideas, the discovery of interests, the freedom to be creative and a love of learning, in academic subjects, music, sport, art or the extra-curricular.
The lifeblood of Winchester is conversation, not just between boys and their teachers but among pupils themselves. During house lunch, on the way to the sports pitch, before lights-out, conversation permeates every aspect of Winchester life.
Pupils emerge from Winchester able to talk to just about anyone, in just about any situation, about just about anything. We believe that in a great education which prepares you for life beyond the school gates, this isn’t just a luxury - it’s an essential.
Winchester’s academic results are renowned, but an education here provides a lot more. Nowhere is this illustrated more powerfully than in our Div lessons which range from the Ancient to the Modern World, investigating historical, cultural, artistic, scientific and philosophical themes. Div encourages pupils to explore topics in the round and to see connections without the constraints of working to an examined schedule. A Winchester College education facilitates the ultimate adventure for the curious mind.
We are inspired by tradition, not constrained by it. It’s all around us in buildings which are a permanent reminder of the beauty and value of learning. But they wouldn’t have lasted so long if the school had been backward-looking. Our founder, William of Wykeham, was a philanthropist and visionary who revolutionised education, and it’s his tradition of looking ahead that we seek to continue.
Winchester was founded to develop leaders who serve society; and it has done so ever since. Many Wykehamists go on to be leaders in their fields, but not leaders at any cost. We admire leadership through ability, not just bravado – a modest and socially responsible model based on an intelligent and rounded understanding of a situation. Modern leadership requires an understanding of complexity and different perspectives, and those are qualities that have always been highly prized at Winchester.
Dr Tim Hands became Headmaster of Winchester College in September 2016 having previously been the Master of Magdalen College School, Oxford, described by The Times as the country’s leading academic school. He comes from a family of teachers – an ancestor was schoolmaster on board HMS Victory – and has extensive experience in the independent sector: as a boarding housemaster at King’s School Canterbury, Second Master at Whitgift School, and Headmaster of The Portsmouth Grammar School. He was Chairman of HMC from 2013 – 2014, and for seven years previously the Chair of its Universities Committee.
Born in London and educated in the state sector, Tim studied the violin at the Guildhall School of Music before reading English at King’s College London, of which he is an honorary Fellow. He has a doctorate from Oxford, where he was a lecturer in English Literature at Oriel College. He teaches English to all those studying the subject in the Sixth Form, and writes regularly on academic topics for a number of journals and newspapers.
Tim enjoys watching sport, writing, and listening to classical music. He has extensive experience as a choral conductor (Conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford 1982-5), and has worked with several of the world’s leading singers and conductors. He is married to Jane, a solicitor, and they have two grown-up sons.