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 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.
The decision has been made that, unfortunately, we will not be able to return to on-site education at the school this term, in any year group. The Headmaster wrote to parents on 5 June to explain this decision. Winchester has consistently wished to return to meaningful on-site schooling at the earliest opportunity, if at all possible. However DfE restrictions on the percentage of pupils allowed to return within individual year groups, makes the required combination of on-site and remote learning impractical and undesirable with the numbers concerned. Reopening the school for a period of less than two weeks would have been logistically inadvisable. Therefore the focus for the summer term was on improving and developing our remote learning provision, and are being advised by the consultants Cairneagle.
Plans are now underway for a return to school, for all year groups, in September.
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 continue to support numerous local 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 and the Salvation Army, 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
29th June 2020
Struck by the terrible hardships facing vulnerable communities in his home city of Bangkok, Toh started making nutritious, tasty food to be delivered to those most in need. In an inspiring postcard, he explains how he's balanced his charity work with his school work.
22nd June 2020
Denied a public stage on which to act out the drama that is such an important part of his life, Oscar has improvised whilst in lockdown and created his own set, costumes, and cast family members, to bring theatre to life inside his home.
18th June 2020
Tristan is finding new enjoyment in classically British pastimes and literature, as well as finding the increased independence required of online learning the perfect preparation for university.
15th June 2020
Volunteering in his local village and cycling for charity, Alfred is using his time away from school in a particularly inspiring way.
11th June 2020
Writing from Hong Kong, Seb is missing dorm life in his boarding house. He's working his way along the main island's walking trail, to escape his apartment whenever possible.