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Winchester College

Winchester College

Type of school

Boys school

The language of the school

Winchester is quirky and has its own vocabulary known as ‘notions’. Most of the notions which are still in use relate to school-specific activities, but some are more generic, e.g. ‘goive’ which is roughly the equivalent of ‘whatever’!

Schools’ Location

Winchester, Hampshire, England

The Curriculum

The boys study IGCSE courses in the lower school and Pre-U in the sixth form.

Division: Winchester’s unique liberal studies course runs throughout the school. In the lower years, boys explore a range of areas including history, using the Winchester archive and Warden’s Stables museum; art, participating in the Kenneth Clarke prize; and exploring philosophical and literary ideas. In the sixth form, boys explore philosophy, economics, history of art, music… anything which migh inspire them!

Number of pupils

685 pupils

Brandon’s view

For bright, inquisitive boys, Winchester is hard to beat. The Medieval campus is beautiful, and the teaching is truly inspiring. There are 30 different sports on offer in addition to houses and school drama, house music competitions, art displays and talks from visiting dignitaries; something for everyone!

Case Study: Studying at Winchester

This is an interview with P, who joined Brandon Learning Centre at the age of 9 and which won a place at Winchester.

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1: What was the big difference between lessons at Wincoll and your HK local school?

I felt that I was definitely more motivated by my teachers at Winchester to explore more about the topics I was interested in outside of the classroom. While the idea of researching myself seemed a bit daunting, being a boarding student meant that I had access to the tutors who supervised my house every night. These tutors were actual teachers, and it was very convenient to be able to ask them about my homework or something which I was curious about. The classes at Winchester were also more discussion-driven ( similar to university), meaning I was encouraged to ask questions and share my thoughts in class. Listening to my peers not only allowed me to learn more, but also made class less mundane.

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2. What advice would you give to someone boarding for the first time?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Being in Winchester gave me the opportunity to try so many new activities which I didn’t know I liked, such as cross-country running, tennis, and athletics. The sooner you are willing to take that first step, the less time it will take for you to discover what you truly love doing.

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3. Was there anything surprising about studying in the UK?

So many things. The food took me sometime to get used to. British slang was very confusing at first. I also had a lot more freedom in terms of what I can do during my free time.

Hey! I am first heading line feel free to change me

4. What changes did you experience going to the US?

Perhaps more a college thing, but definitely how independent I have become during my time in NYU. This is partly because unlike in Winchester where my housemaster always kept an eye on me, there is really no one in college to supervise you or tell what to do. My time in the US was never boring because I have grown to become self-motivated, which in turn allowed me to take the initiative to try the things I wanted to do.

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5: Did your UK studies prepare you for the US?

I think being in boarding school in the UK made me more confident when meeting new people, and taught me how to better interact with others around you. I was also more far more outgoing and sociable that I was before studying at Winchester, because I was already comfortable with the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone and exploring new things.

Classes P took at Brandon...


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  • Public Speaking
  • UK English & Maths


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  • Interview Prep
  • UK English & Maths
  • French


Hey! I am first heading line feel free to change me

  • UK English, Maths & Science
  • French


Hey! I am first heading line feel free to change me

  • UK English, Maths & Science
  • Humanities
  • Essay Skills Workshop
  • French

Winchester College

This post is part of an occasional series based on meetings with Winchester College registrars.

Brandon had a visit from Mr Andrew Shedden, Registrar of Winchester College this week. Winchester is an extraordinary institution and, for a wonderful month a year over five years, I was blessed to be a part of it.

To summarise some of Mr Shedden’s points:

Who thrives at Winchester?
Academically curious, engaged boys who are willing to think beyond the classroom.

How does the school identify suitable students?
The first stage is the ISEB pre-test. Should your son do well in the pre-test, he will be invited to an interview during which he may be given a verbal, non-verbal and logic test and school reference will be requested.

What is a Winchester interview like?
Unexpected! The purpose of the interview is to try to see what makes the boys ‘tick’.

Wise words?
Boys need to be guided to develop resilience and independence. They should be willing to take risks and to learn how to cope with failure.

We at Brandon share this philosophy: we will all fail at some point in our lives, and it is how we pick ourselves up that makes a difference. There is a school for every child and, wherever your son or daughter goes to, hopefully their early training will lead them on the path to success.

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