Please enjoy this guest post from Jennie at Scout Bee filling us in about all there is to know about the schools in Winchester.
Winchester Schools – an overview of the Outstanding state-run options
Winchester enjoys a great, and worthy, reputation for excellent schools across all stages. It’s by far the major reason families give us for wanting to move to the area, particularly from London. Virtually all the state primary and secondary schools in Winchester and the surrounding area are rated by Ofsted as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, and there’s always a great deal of competition to get into the most popular ones. It’s worth having a good understanding of the catchment areas and different admissions criteria to stand the best chance of getting a place for your child at your preferred school.
Here’s a quick overview of the “Outstanding” state schools in the area, where location is (almost) everything:
One of Winchester’s top primary schools is St Faith’s Church of England Primary School, which was recently ranked joint No.1 in the country by the Department of Education. It is a small school with a caring, family atmosphere and it’s worth knowing that the previously strict faith criteria have been dropped in the latest admissions policy. With an intake of only 20, it’s now catchment area that is the most important criteria for new applicants.
City centre dwellers are fortunate enough to have the chance to send their children to St Bede Church of England Primary School, which boasts a fantastic location, in the centre of Winchester, right beside The Rec. It is a happy, buzzing school with a long-standing reputation for brilliance.
St Peter’s Catholic Primary School was recently published in the Tatler-approved state schools list and is exceptional, with fantastic grounds, although baptised Catholic children get the priority here for admissions.
If you’re looking for a chocolate-box village school on the outskirts of Winchester, with a wonderful family atmosphere, Sparsholt Church of England Primary is superb, highly regarded – and very picturesque.
Finally, children with special needs are very well catered for at the Shepherd’s Down School in Compton, which is specially designated for children aged 4-11 years with learning disabilities and has also been assessed as "outstanding" by Ofsted.
King’s School is one of Winchester’s most desirable secondary schools and has consistently been rated as Outstanding for decades.
Thornden School, in nearby Chandlers Ford, is in the process of converting into an Academy, and regularly sees families moving into the area, just to get into the catchment of this highly regarded secondary school.
Then there’s Peter Symonds Sixth Form College, which is one of the top performing state sixth form colleges in the country. According to the Sutton Trust report, Peter Symonds has a higher contribution to Oxbridge students than any independent school (excluding Westminster, Eton and St Paul’s). No wonder we often see parents taking their children out of the private system, to attend this state-run school!
The best thing about Winchester is there aren’t really any ‘bad’ schools, so even if you don’t get into your first choice, the second and third options are never going to be horrendous. However, it can be a minefield, finding out all the relevant information to make your choice in the first place. Ofsted reports don’t tell you everything – but a bit of inside knowledge from some local experts can go a long way!
We’ve compiled a handy resource on our website http://www.scoutbee.co.uk/winchester-schools, which links all the schools in Winchester and the surrounding area to their websites and Ofsted reports. In addition, all the city’s private schools are featured there, which are also highly sought after.