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Winchester College Open Day

(346 Posts)
bico Thu 30-May-13 09:47:56

Anyone going this Saturday? Ds is in year 4 and keen to have a look, I think mainly because they have an 18 hole golf course grin.

OldBroom Wed 14-Aug-13 14:54:54

Nice to see that all the bashing seems to have stopped. It's probably obvious to point out that every school (state or private) has generated good and bad impressions. For Winchester, ours are all good.

On food: all I can say is that our son LOVES WinColl food, and having had many dinners myself in his hall, I can say that he's right. Sunday roasts, wonderful homemade crumbles, weekly BBQs on the Warden's Lawn in summer ... it all tastes homey, and he gets as much of it as he wants. Friday morning fry-ups are a treat. I could go on and on. In my son's house, food is not a problem.

As DS is an only child,sleeping in a dorm is what he always wanted. Pillow fights, seances, midnight feasts, running around after hours, hiding, and not getting caught by dons: it's straight out of a boy's own story, and again, he absolutely loves it. Being lonely is what he feared most (he'd never boarded before) and I know he would have cried himself to sleep in a single study-bedroom.

No posters on bedroom walls? Quite right. I agree with the housemaster, who bans them on grounds that the boys are there to concentrate on learning, not while away their time on frippery. Having said that, DS has a huge Ferrari poster in his toys.

Use of computers in first two years: Being a university academic, I see what comes out of all sorts of schools, and have to deal with students who think that serious research is done on the internet. It is not. What passes for knowledge on the web is mostly crap, and it's refreshing to find a school which acknowledges that, and teaches boys to read and write weekly essays by hand. I cannot speak highly enough of WinColl's practice of banning computers in lower years. However, blind eyes are turned on mobile phones, and if your son wants to talk to parents and grandparents, he can do that. To the bemusement of most new parents this year, we found that our sons had no time to phone or text us at all. They were too busy either studying, going to extracurricular activities, or playing British Bulldog in some weird WinColl version. Working and playing very hard, and having lots of fun.

Where do the boys kick a ball? My son does it on the Meads. I accept that there are many beautiful school grounds up and down the country, but come on .... you have to agree that the Meads, and the banks of the Itchen, and all that green territory behind the buildings, is absolutely gorgeous. Also, My DS is out on the sports field or skulling on the river in literally minutes. Few other schools are that close to their sports facilities (notably, Eton itself. The Olympic Lake is all very well, but it's distant from the school).

Where do the boys go to relax? My son goes to his chambers, where there are comfy chairs and, in winter, an open fire which burns all day long. The living room in matrron's house is another favourite place. This is where any boy can even go to sleep (she has beds waiting) should they want a quiet night. When DS is extra tired, he goes there and matron looks after him. She's absolutely wonderful.

Not much organised on SUndays: I agree with that one. After compulsory Chapel, the vast majority go home. We're too far away to do that regularly, but came down one Sunday to take DS out for lunch. He was tacitrun throughout, until we wormed it out of him that he'd planned to use the afternoon for music practice and work. At 13, that's pretty self-responsible. If your son will develop that way, this is the school for him.

We went to no open days, for Winchester or any other school. We did not register DS when he was 8. But, based on decades of academic experience in universities, we knew that WInchester produces wonderfully rounded, polite, genuinely modest and original-thinking boys. We just knew it was perfect for our son, who likes to think outside of the box, is not geeky, but sees through much of what passes for culture these days. The top Old Wykehamists of the last century are historians, philosophers, scientists, and LABOUR politicians. Therefore we chose Winchester, and never even thought of any other school. A Housemaster showed us round; DS was invited to live and study at WinColl for 3 days in the Autumn of the year of the entrance exam (that was the mechanism by which we were shown the School--which is pretty impressive), and the Headmaster never interviewed either us or the boy. That, of course, does not mean that he wasn't aware of what was going on. He just lets people get on with things. We didn't even catch sight of him until he gave his speech on the first day of school. We don't find him forbidding. He's just a typical academic. So, from the time of first thinking that DS should change schools, to having him accepted, was no more than 12 months. My point is that you don't need to get so het up years in advance. If it's the right place for your son, WinColl will make every effort to find him a place ... as long as he passes the exam, of course (Election, in our case). It's a fantastic place, and I don't have a bad word to say about it ... which does not adversely reflect on any other school either.

britishsummer Mon 05-Aug-13 21:08:00

I know my question was a bit random Grovel but have pity on me, I have never been able to tackle cryptic crosswords and the image you have created is rather psychedelic! I always thought of Flamenco as being intense and soulful quite unlike Peteneras' humour which is rather Private Eye, even more so if an Eton parent as he/she is able to apply
satire to his/her son's school as well as to others.

grovel Mon 05-Aug-13 16:24:14

Peteneras is a flamencologist whose soul is in Cadiz but whose body is in Scunthorpe. An Eton parent to boot.

britishsummer Sun 04-Aug-13 20:43:13

Apologies for this random question (but this thread has become rather zany anyway so I am only following suit) and please ignore me Peteneras if you would rather not comment, but I am guessing from your syntax that you were not educated in Britain? Would also explain your ability to view with gentle humour private school establishments such as Winchester and Eton and all of us who seem to think so highly of them.

peteneras Sat 03-Aug-13 20:38:13

Much have been said about the grotesque sub-standard food at Winchester College. It’s scandalous to hear comments from both prospective and present Win Coll parents alike saying things like, ” the food was terrible! if what they served parents is an indication of what they serve boys . . .”; “Judging from the awful smell in the dining room of the house we visited, I assume we were truly given a taste of what the meals are like...”; “Win Coll food is notorious . . .”; “dining room (which reeked of stale food)”; “I asked one boy what he did if he was hungry between meals. He said he never eats between meals”; “I'm not surprised so many looked pale and thin..”; and “while we were having 'lunch" on the lawn outside New Hall . . .” blush

Not much of a “lunch”, I know, but I hear your cry. Win Coll should be utterly ashamed of itself - what, with its boast of more than half a millennium boarding experience for boys? Parents who’d paid an arm and a leg to send their little darlings there have been massively short-changed!

C-mon Win Coll, precious little boys given to you in your care at a vital stage of their growth, a time when they morph from a giggling child to a (hopefully) young, strong and healthy adult, need the best nourishments under the sun to lay the foundation for such. The damage done to health due to malnourishment at this delicate stage of growth could be irreversible. As it stands, from what I’ve learnt, I wouldn?t send my dog to Win Coll.

Perhaps WC should glance behind its shoulders just once more to see what its nemesis under the Windsor flight path is doing for food and take a cue from there. Or rather, should I say, what they were doing for food in the last century (1993) - never mind today.

peteneras Sat 03-Aug-13 15:49:26

Bursting into song . . . .

talking about sounding loopy . . . grin

peteneras Sat 03-Aug-13 15:32:34


Ozankoy Fri 02-Aug-13 22:04:47

Ladybird Ladybird fly away.
Don't come back on another day.

britishsummer Fri 02-Aug-13 14:49:32

You've certainly managed to inject some comedy into the thread. You deserve the drink (whatever type)

peteneras Fri 02-Aug-13 12:08:07

Thank you britishsummer. Glad that you can see the funny side of education and especially the comedy in this thread.

Thank you also, Gunznroses, you’re too kind.

And the next round of Roséwine is on me!

[Hmm . . . didn’t realise your invitation extended beyond me . . .] confused

Gunznroses Fri 02-Aug-13 10:53:36

Ozankoy you posted a sarcastic and rude reply I don't think i'll join you in the pub. Peteneras sounds loopy to me. Paralysis by (over) analysis to a post intended for Peterneras, (i thought his/her take on the discussion was well thought out and very well written). I replied in kind in that you best go and lie down.

Ladybird65 Fri 02-Aug-13 08:15:17

Because ozankoy this thread has, up to the point you rudely hijacked it with a base attack on bico, been a well thought out train of thought from (a) contributors who have not made up their minds whether to spend a great deal of money on educating ds's at WC or if not at WC, at another establishment of equal or similar standing;with (b) a great deal of information given by helpful and knowledgeable contributors who already are spending that money at one or another of the target schools. This latter group don't always agree but their (largely co-operative) debates have been illuminating for those of us who are still in doubt. You, ozan, clearly have made up your mind already. This is evident from the language you use. If you truely prefer a school at which there isn't a sniff of it doing you a favour (or whatever language you used) then Billaracy Comp should perhaps be the school of your choice. You, therefore are very unlikely to be able to contribute thoughtfully and considerately to any on going debate that is still possible on this thread.

britishsummer Fri 02-Aug-13 00:56:38

If they liked him enough at interview they would have taken him, if there was an equally impressive candidate at interview from a more poorly performing state school that candidate would have had the edge, simple as that. Your friend's DS can look back on a fantastic privileged education and will have that for the longterm.

I did n't say anything about schools being overrun, just that impressive overseas candidates are also competing for demand of places in some of these schools.

Ozankoy Fri 02-Aug-13 00:31:18

Son of friend went through Colet and SPS and topped out for his A levels for his year. Pretty blemish free record there under. Good all-rounder too (music and sport). Wanted NatSci at Cantab. Got one interview and rejected. SPS intervened and the college were honest in saying it was a function of the pressure they were under to take more state school kids etc That's the sort of approach I fear.

I think foreign demand is certainly there. But they also seem to like the Britishness of such schools - that's the appeal (partic in a boarding context). So I'm not convinced we'll be overrun anytime soon.

Does anyone know which house has the universally unpopular housemaster that's been referred to in this thread a few times?

britishsummer Fri 02-Aug-13 00:19:53

Not sure what you are expecting for university admissions ozan. It seems perfectly fair that children who achieve high grades in a poor learning environment should be given extra credit for that when applying to universities compared to those who have had a good education in the private / state sector.
For the most popular / 'best' day and boarding schools (however expensive) there seems anecdotally to be increasing demand from overseas and sufficient demand from the uk -although for how long who knows!? If you want some hard sale approach you should probably not look at these except possibly with an exceptional child.

Ozankoy Fri 02-Aug-13 00:08:50

Don't you have anything useful to say?

Gunznroses Thu 01-Aug-13 23:55:42

Ozankoy yes, go and lie down dear.

Ozankoy Thu 01-Aug-13 23:46:02

On the basis that....?

Ladybird65 Thu 01-Aug-13 23:32:28

Okay then ozan you can leave this thread about winchester College.

Ozankoy Thu 01-Aug-13 22:39:15

Well if that's the right interpretation, we can agree. In any event, I'm looking for some serious sell-side activity from these schools. They are SO expensive, there's plenty of competition and our sons will be disadvantaged in UK university admissions processes by sending them to places such as WC (a position that's only going to get worse). As soon as I get a sniff that a school thinks it's doing me a favour, I forget about it (however prestigious). As far as I'm concerned, they are lucky to get my boy and they're going to have to justify having him. (He wants to board, I'd rather a day school - though my view applies equally to the Days too).

britishsummer Thu 01-Aug-13 21:58:05

But that's the point of Peteneras' posts! I was slow on the uptake but he/she is obviously trying to make sure that we don't take all this school stuff too seriously.

Ozankoy Thu 01-Aug-13 20:59:26

I don't think i'll join you in the pub. Peteneras sounds loopy to me. Paralysis by (over) analysis

Gunznroses Thu 01-Aug-13 19:21:34

Peteneras i'd like to buy you a drink smile

britishsummer Thu 01-Aug-13 18:24:58

Peterenas, I've changed my mind, I now think your posts are wonderful. I am starting to comprehend your particular sense of humour.

peteneras Thu 01-Aug-13 18:03:12

As regards a better education and forking out £200,000 to a school widely publicised as very academic and nothing much else in return for just a handful of A*/A (I)GCSE’s and equivalent Pre-U grades, in my opinion, and nobody has to agree with me, that’s pouring good money down the drain because one could get all that for free in a state school.

For £200K I’d expect an education not only in the head but also in the body and soul i.e. a complete education of the individual. Yes, you get that in many good public schools elsewhere. Of course, everyone is entitled to choose and pay for a school they think is perfect for their child.

A quiet, non-competitive, nerdy introvert is not my idea of a man likely to achieve highly in today’s global world, I’m afraid. Not when you have hungry millions of ‘never-say-die’ ultra-competitive Chinese, Indians, Brazilians and the Third World etc. breathing down your neck!

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