Winchester College(24 Posts)
My son is going to Winchester college this year. Any advice? We live in Asia.
happygardening's ds is there so hopefully they will be along soon with some tips.
My advice would be to get him to start looking forward to it now - my son is in his 3rd year and loves it .
2 pieces of practical advice
1.When you get the list for sports kit , don't do what I rather dimly did and assume that because trainers were listed twice , it was a mistake. They do need 2 pairs , one indoor , one outdoor.
2.Although they say everything has to be nametaped / labelled , also do not do what I did and spend time nametaping every sock. They get given little bags with their names on for socks for the laundry and they are all washed in this and returned. Those were hours of my life I will never get back
DS was allocated a 2nd year when he started to make sure he knew where he was going etc and we met him at a meetup for new parents in the House. If you and your son is able to go to that and meets his person then he would potentially have someone to ask questions of over the summer if he wants to , or if you can't make it then if you had the boy's name and he was happy to take a call in the holidays , same result.
As musu says HG is a wealth of information .
Dont buy too many rugby shirts actually they're not called that erm I think ?zephyrs we have three completely unworn ones about to wing their way to the second hand shop. Let the school sort out any problems that arise that is what they are there to do. If your DS has a problem report it straight away to you housemaster he'll sort it out. Don't keep ringing every day let him call you.
Agree about new mens lunch/meeting with 2nd year its worth going too although my DS didn't contact his during the summer break his and when it was his turn his didn't call.
Watch the timings on exeats/end of terms they tend to vary.
Finally Win Coll is quirky they don't always take the logical route there's no point fighting it jut let them get on with it and go with it. It works for us and my DS is very happy.
Do PM me if you want to know more.
I changed my chatname from Swatt1964 to be Asianmum64. Thank you for all posts . That's very useful for me. I decided to join newmen's lunch then. Since we live so far away, I wish to arrange things in this trip as much as i can.
@Ursula ; DS was allocated a 2nd year.... What is that allocate?
@happygardening ; What does the second hand shop sell, books and uniforms?
Is that possible to buy school uniforms and books in this trip?
In addition, my DS is so addicted to text messaging . The school wouldn't be happy with his habbit. I would like to know how the school will control this.
"Allocate a second year"; each new first year has a named second year who looks after him in the first few weeks.
I believe the second hand uniform is open on on the "New men's lunch" they sell all clothes bar underwear and pyjamas. The boys have an account with a local book shop and buy all their books from there.
Those caught using their phones when they shouldn't have them confiscated, they get taken for quite a length of time decoupled of weeks rather than days no phones in lessons. There is also no WiFi at Win Coll and no lap tops until at least the second year and in some houses the third year there are house computers.
The boys are very busy and work very hard my DS isn't addicted to texting but does txt if I txt him he usually replies that evening sometimes the next day.
I am guessing because of the timing of your post that he did Election so will be in College? If so he will have lots of people around him in the same situation - lots of boys from the far east in College (guess is about a quarter overall).
My DS has the place offer at WC too. His name is in registrar list. I have no idea how it's different from boys who get the offer from housemaster. He will sit an entrance exam in 2014. I heard that the boys who get the firm place, rarely to fail. Is that true? Thanks in advance for suggestion
As far as I understand places come up because boys with places in houses get scholarships and end up in College and a couple will fail the entrance exam as well. Check with the admissions office they've always been really helpful whenever I spoke to them.
Thanks for your reply. My friend's son is in WC's reserve list. His son sat the exam in 2013, the result has not come out yet. My friend really wants his son to get in WC. Do you know how much chance for the boys who are in the reserve list?
I think they're a difference between the registrars list and the reserve list. I could be wrong but I thought those on the registrars list have a definite place but no house on bring offered the place two years before entry. Those on the reserve list will get offered a place if someone who has a definite place either drops out or sometimes is they do unbelievably well in the entrance and someone who has a definite place does unbelievably badly.
You can never have too many name-tags/labels. There is a natural temptation to pack a lot of clothes and other things given the distance between school and home, but it might be better to not overload him. Add a couple of spares by all means since socks etc may go missing for a while before they eventually find their way back to him. Despite the laundry bags, things do go missing though typically not permanently. Don't have anything delicate or require dry cleaning only. A woolen jumper went down about three sizes by half-term! It was nicely put in one of the letters for new men: school laundry is "efficient but not subtle". It may be a good idea to have a few spares already name-tagged at home or at his guardian's so that you can send him replacements at short notice. Football gear often end up in the second hand shop almost new, unless of course he is very keen on football (different rules though).
If you do not have an address in the UK, getting a SIM card subscription may be tricky, but O2 has perhaps one of the best international top-up cards which has 1p per minute voice rate to most Asian countries. Reception in WinColl is not the best. If he is in College, he will have to go outside to certain spots to get a signal. O2 also has pretty good data packages. Phone usage is pretty strictly controlled. For the first few weeks, try not to text him during school hours just in case he forgets to silent his phone - you don't want to cause him to lose his phone if it rang say during chapel or meal times. It happens.
They are prone to misplacing belongings or have them misplaced by others (often with good intentions).
Airfares may well be cheaper if you buy London-Asia-London instead of the usual Asia-London-Asia return. If he is going home for half-term and Christmas, you should book your tickets now. Many airlines are also very fastidious about procedures for children traveling on their own. You may want to check with them. If he is a British or EU citizen, they can get very jittery about him not having a return ticket back to the UK (child abduction fears).
There are a few very reliable cab drivers in Winchester who are well organized and very used to taking overseas boys to and from the airport.
They discourage boys from having ATM cards. For boys living abroad, it is probably necessary to have debit and ATM cards. For Asia, HSBC is probably your best bet.
Swimming is the main sport during his first term. So, be sure that he has the gear for that. The pool is said to be quite heavily chlorinated.
If he is in College, a desk lamp is almost redundant.
Spare shoe laces may be a good idea.
There are probably a whole range of other things but these are the main ones that come to mind.
Thanks a lot for your very deep detail that can clear all my concerns.
"They discourage boys from having ATM cards"
Interesting not my experience! They discourage boys from having cash on them and large sums of money in the bank. There is considerable variation between houses which some people outside of EWin Coll find bizarre I like it we received a very comprehensive information pack from our HM before the New Mens lunch what is expected of you and your DS is clearly stated.
We've also never lost a sock unlike at home where I have a drawer full of lost socks. Space certainly in my DS's house is at a premium so don't send too many clothes. Both Duvets and duvets covers are provided if you want although we provide our own cover pillow case sheet and you do have to bring home duvets etc at the end of the year we've never had to do this before when boarding.
Sorry I did not mean to mislead. Happygardening is right, it all depends on the house. Keeping cash is also discouraged. So, the HM or house tutor looks after they boys' cash and they withdraw when from him when they need it. It is probably a good idea to do that. Going to an ATM as a JP may be quite awkward (again house dependent) as his house may require at least three or four boys to go out together.
Unless guardian/grandparents/family members are there to pick him up, he will need a hundred plus pounds for the ride to Heathrow, both for the journey and for the cab driver to wait there with him for a while if the airline insists. Do ask about their unaccompanied minors policy. They are all different and sometimes not written down anywhere. The waiting time could cost as much as the cab fare and the drivers always prefer cash.
There are quite a number of boys residing in Asia, in Hong Kong in particular (not just or necessarily Asian nationals). There is a good likelihood of finding someone to share a cab with to catch the same flight. There is usually no lunch on the last day of term. So, he might need cash to buy lunch in town or on his way to the airport, though a debit card is just as good for that.
We get the matron to book taxi transfer to/from airport with a taxi firm and blue-billed us, so he does not need to pay the taxi driver with cash. And the fare is confirmed with the taxi firm beforehand, and we don't have to pay for extra waiting time(but most likely already included in fare). Many do share taxi to the airport, so let the matron know his travel schedule, she can organise it.
My son is joining Winchester College this Sept 13. We live in Uganda. We shall be arriving UK 3-4 days earlier and plan to do shopping for my son from UK. Any advice for me, what is the best place to do shopping - trousers, shirts, etc.
I have purchased "stitch-on" name tags. I will have to stitch on these name tags on all the new cloths that we buy. Do you know any tailor in or around Winchester who can stitch these tags for us.
Meenapatel, we buy the trousers and shirts from Marks & Spencer. Get those with adjustable/elastic waistband to allow room for growth, and non iron shirts. And you can order in advance with the sports shop to get all the sizes for his PE/sport kit. The school wil provide you with the list of things that he will need.
And like what Gbxpat said don't have anything too delicate, and require dry cleaning. We got my DS wool trousers to begin with and all shrink within the first term. And for shoes, get those with rubber sole. We got him leather sole shoes and was ruined within a term, as they walked a lot to and from lesson and house, and you know it rains a lot in England!
We got him an overcoat to wear for the very cold winter months (Dec to Feb). He also has a good umbrella.
I did the name tags for him, if he has anything need to be name tagged, he will give it to the matron. May be you can write to the matron in advance and ask if she can arrange someone to do it for you for a fee.
meenapatel, it would be good to leave a pack of name tags with matron. Am I right in thinking that your DS is in College (noted one boy from Uganda on the Roll with name similar to your nickname)? If so, an overcoat may not be that useful. He can wear it under the gown but apparently no one does that (quite annoying). So, good underlayers are very useful and you can buy them from ski wear shops even online. Gowns are quite thick and reasonably rain resistant thankfully. Warm and wearable casual clothes and always useful as they do spend a lot of time in them.
Agree with mama88 especially if he is in Coll, flint is very punishing on shoes and there is nothing worse than damp soles and damp socks. Shopping is probably more productive either in London (if you are staying there first) or in Southampton if you are in Winchester. You can always order duvet and pillow ahead online. Tailors are rare in the UK (and doubt if they would provide sewing service) but if you ask matron, she may have suggestions for local services.
If he is in College (unsure about other houses), he will likely not find it so easy to go to town to get things - in JP he needs to find 3 other boys before they can go out together.
Leave spare clothes with his guardian.
hi, my son is going to Winchester in September and am wondering why and if they would actually need two pairs of black shoes?? also what type pf greys trousers? just the basic school grey trousers or jeans ? thanks
My DS started last September and I would say they do need two pairs of black shoes. One pair has been worn almost every day and the other pair are kept for Sunday dress, chapel etc. The pair worn every day have survived the year but certainly look well worn. The second pair still look like new but I think that is the point. We bought shoes from men's section at Clarks. DS had reservations about this but they look trendy enough, were properly fitted and have not fallen apart. He says lots of his friends were wearing shoes which were falling apart by the end of the year so he wants Clarks and not a fashion brand for next year too.
We bought standard John Lewis grey school trousers and a navy wooden blazer as I was told most boys in the earlier years wear that rather than suits. In our case that was very wrong and at Easter we bought another suit as almost all first years (according to DS), were wearing suits and he felt the odd one out. Next year he will return with suits only and two pairs of trousers for each jacket.
I agree two pairs of shoes, some houses are quite a walk from the school and they walk back and fourth 6-8 times a day. My DS alternated them every day. We started off with Clarkes by the end we bought more expensive ones (£150) a pair as they last longer.
We also bought wool mix trousers from JL for the first year jeans are not allowed for lessons and a navy blazer also from JL. My DS also wore a suit to lessons from his second year like Abear's DS he said the majority were wearing suits by the second year.
They can wear home clothes whenever they're not in lessons so they need quite a few pairs of non uniform trousers t shirts etc and shoes.
An umbrella is useful if your DS is in one of the further houses and a winter coat. Also something to carry books etc back and fourth.
DS just got his firm offer for WC in his top House, he's over the moon as it was his top choice, seemed just best fit for his own quirky, maths/physics, creative writing, and super-logic/analytical personality. (He was talking with awe about the orbitals, ProgSoc, DT quadro-copter, science library, kind housemaster, and table of elements on wall since the first tour). His current school normally sends boys to Eton not WC, but they say he could try for elections to college, he's entering in 2019 so... shouldn't we start preparing already? Are there good tutors who can brief us? (PS sorry for multiple postings on different threads, trying to find an active one...)
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