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, has been launched to help keep us all connected. Additional documents and information is hosted on the Parent Portal. Parents may also wish to follow our social media channels on Twitter and Instagram, where we will continue to share news that connects us a community.
On Wednesday 18th March, following guidance from the Government and extensive internal discussions, we asked parents to make arrangements for boys to return home. Remote learning has since been established across all year groups and has been working successfully. Cloister Time began, with remote teaching, on Tuesday 21 April.
As soon as the Government provides an update on a change to the restrictions and advises that schools should open, we will endeavour to provide parents with at least one week’s notice in order to make arrangements for boys to return and resume boarding.
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.
The school is truly grateful to all those who continue to work, whether on site or at home; in many cases working even longer hours than normal. Many have also volunteered for roles outside their ordinary work and this is truly appreciated. Winchester has a very strong school community and, as expected, everyone continues to pull together through these difficult and unprecedented times. As an employer, the school will continue to provide as much reassurance and job security as possible.
Volunteers from across the school community are working hard to support those across the city of Winchester, wherever needed. Winchester College is now the main responder for Winchester City Council's Response Team, supporting vulnerable residents with a variety of tasks. This includes delivering prescriptions and shopping. Our volunteers have so far helped over 45 families.
School volunteers are also supporting the NHS Telehealth Service at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, which is a new service that provides NHS 111-style support for care homes, paramedics and GPs, with an emphasis on being a more local, specialised and quicker service. Volunteers will deliver prescriptions to residential and nursing homes.
Working in partnership with Trinity Winchester, the school is making microwaveable meals for vulnerable people in the city. The school's catering manager and one of our school chefs are using a school kitchen and ingredients to produce 75 meals per day, two days a week, which are then delivered by one of our minbus drivers in a chilled van to Trinity.
The school is also providing free accommodation for carers working for the Together for Mental Wellbeing charity, based in Winchester.
Working with the Salvation Army and First Bite, local catering company, Red Radish has been working hard to provide free meals to those who need them. The school was happy to provide support to ensure they can reach even more people.
We are grateful to our colleagues for distributing PPE supplies to Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire Ambulance Service and the RHCH over the past two weeks. In total, over 2,500 gloves, 100 pairs of safety spectacles and 100 disposable aprons have been delivered. In addition, a sewing group has been established in one of the boarding house to make additional face masks. The school has received a further delivery of masks for the community, which has kindly been sent by a past parent.
Mill has been 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.
If you organise or volunteer for a local support group and require assistance, please do get in touch.
In March the school closed to all external visitors, in line with government advice, to limit the spread of the virus. This included the Sports Centre and Treasury museum. All guided tours have been cancelled and visits related to admissions have been postponed. 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.
1st June 2020
Two brothers write of their experiences of lockdown together, with one studying for exams, and the other continuing his singing, remotely.
30th May 2020
Reconnecting with old friends, catching up on reading, and studying hard; Damian is making the most of his time back home but missing boarding house banter and being in the Winchester environment.
26th May 2020
Deeply missing Winchester, Rtvik reflects on his favourite things about the summer term, from BBQs to swimming in the river.
20th May 2020
It would have been his last term at Winchester so Zefaan is understandably nostalgic about the things he will miss this Cloister Time. His choice of 'Leavers Photo', outside Chantry with his Div don and class illustrates the impact on pupils of this unique approach to learning and exploration.
18th May 2020
Charlie has been making the most of the weather and local countryside to run for charity and can't wait for the end of lockdown.
16th May 2020
According to his Div don, "more people have climbed Everest" and the final stages of an endurance event, such as this, will be the toughest, but sixth form pupil Freddie remains unfazed and focused on raising money for a charity close to his heart.