Winchester College will admit girls for the first time in its 600 year history

A boys-only public school has revealed it will open its sixth form to girls after 122 years of talks on the issue.

Tim Hands, master of Winchester College, said the Hampshire school hopes to produce ‘leaders of the future’ – which will be made up of both sexes from next year.

Founded in 1382 by William Wykeham to teach 70 ‘poor and needy scholars’, the school is looking to open the school to non-boarders for the first time more than 600 years after its creation. 

It will allow girls to join as day students from 2022 and as boarders from 2024.

Mr Hands told The Times: ‘It took 122 years, notable speedy in our terms. I don’t care what your background is, I want to know what you’ve done with your personality and your opportunities.

Tim Hands, master of Winchester College, said the Hampshire school hopes to produce 'leaders of the future' - which will be made up of both sexes from next year. Pictured, students walking to lessons

Tim Hands, master of Winchester College, said the Hampshire school hopes to produce ‘leaders of the future’ – which will be made up of both sexes from next year. Pictured, students walking to lessons

Mr Hands said the school's motto 'Manners Makyth Man' was gender-neutral and would be kept on after the change

Mr Hands said the school’s motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’ was gender-neutral and would be kept on after the change

‘We are going to produce, we hope, leaders of the future and they will be both men and women.’

He said the school’s motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’ was gender-neutral and would be kept on after the change.

Girls will be allowed to join in a 50-50 split with boys for their A-levels at the school’s sixth form.

The school – one of only four only-boys schools remaining in the UK – charges £42,000-a-year in fees but spends £3.7million of its annual gross fee income of £27.5million on bursaries and scholarships to help poorer children join.

Founded in 1382 by William Wykeham to teach 70 'poor and needy scholars', the school is looking to open the school to non-boarders for the first time, and will allow girls to join as boarders from 2024. Pictured, a pupil offers a tour of the grounds in 1951

Founded in 1382 by William Wykeham to teach 70 ‘poor and needy scholars’, the school is looking to open the school to non-boarders for the first time, and will allow girls to join as boarders from 2024. Pictured, a pupil offers a tour of the grounds in 1951

The school - one of only four only-boys schools remaining in the UK - charges £42,000-a-year in fees but spends £3.7million of its annual gross fee income of £27.5million on bursaries and scholarships to help poorer children join. Pictured, Mr Hands

The school – one of only four only-boys schools remaining in the UK – charges £42,000-a-year in fees but spends £3.7million of its annual gross fee income of £27.5million on bursaries and scholarships to help poorer children join. Pictured, Mr Hands

A group of new students having tea with the second master, his wife and his daughters around 1951

A group of new students having tea with the second master, his wife and his daughters around 1951

In a commoners' house two boys study quietly in a photograph taken around 1951. Girls will be allowed to join in a 50-50 split with boys for their A-levels at the school's sixth form

In a commoners’ house two boys study quietly in a photograph taken around 1951. Girls will be allowed to join in a 50-50 split with boys for their A-levels at the school’s sixth form

The bursary fund is expected to expand by a quarter once girls are allowed to join. 

The school is also planning on sharing more teaching materials and online lessons with state schools.

The other four only-boys schools are Sherborne, Eton, Harrow and Radley.

A member of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, the professional association for heads of top independent schools, told Which: ‘After the criticism of entitled male behaviour during the #MeToo movement and the debates about toxic masculinity, some of the remaining all-boys’, all-boarding schools are thinking hard about whether they should go co-educational. 

An algebra class raise their hands to show who worked out the problems in 1951

An algebra class raise their hands to show who worked out the problems in 1951

A young man carrying a perfectly rolled umbrella at the prestigious school in 1951

A young man carrying a perfectly rolled umbrella at the prestigious school in 1951

Older men laughing as they watch recruits stride through their paces in 1951

Older men laughing as they watch recruits stride through their paces in 1951

‘There are only four still remaining — that is not even a rump. No one wants to be the last one standing … I think that all four will fall.’ 

It comes after Roedean, a girls’ boarding school near Brighton, denied rumours it was to become co-educational. 

Evidence has previously revealed some girls start to believe they cannot be as clever or brilliant as boys from as young as six. A study found girls who go to single-sex schools do not have this crisis of confidence.

Winchester's own brand of football starts with hot, which involves teams trying to push each other back and kick the ball to the hot watchers nearby. Pictured, in 1951

Winchester’s own brand of football starts with hot, which involves teams trying to push each other back and kick the ball to the hot watchers nearby. Pictured, in 1951

Enthusiastic schoolboys at Winchester College cheering on their team to victory during a game of 'medieval football' as played in the days of Henry VIII. Pictured, on October 31, 1935

Enthusiastic schoolboys at Winchester College cheering on their team to victory during a game of ‘medieval football’ as played in the days of Henry VIII. Pictured, on October 31, 1935

Students aged between 13 and 17 are pictured eating lunch at the college

Students aged between 13 and 17 are pictured eating lunch at the college

Researchers looked at more than 100,000 youngsters aged 12 to 17 in single-sex schools and found no significant difference between the self-confidence of boys and girls. 

Numerous previous studies have found girls are less confident in their own abilities than boys, which has been blamed for the lack of women in careers such as science and technology.

But the study’s results suggest girls who are kept separate from boys may not start to believe they are inferior. The authors stated that parents and teachers can influence children at a young age on ‘what boys are good at’ and ‘what girls are good at’.   

Winchester College: The alma mater of six chancellors including Rishi Sunak 

Winchester College’s master said his school had produced ‘many leaders’ and hoped to continue to produce more.

The £42,000-a-year Hampshire school is the alma mater of six chancellors: Henry Addington, Robert Lowe, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Gaitskell, Geoffrey Howe and Rishi Sunak.

Its motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’ was the personal motto of the school’s 1382 founder William Wykeham.

William of Wykeham was Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. He founded New College, Oxford, and New College School in 1379, and founded Winchester College in 1382. He was also the clerk of works when much of Windsor Castle was built

William of Wykeham was Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. He founded New College, Oxford, and New College School in 1379, and founded Winchester College in 1382. He was also the clerk of works when much of Windsor Castle was built

The school was set up to teach 70 ‘poor and needy’ scholars as a feeder for Wykeham’s New College at Oxford.

Wykeham was a bishop and chancellor of England. Starting his career as a builder and surveyor of royal buildings, by 1361 he was a royal secretary and part of the administration of the royal finances. In 1363 he was made a royal councillor.

He founded New College after years of supporting scholars at Oxford University and then set up Winchester College – with building work beginning in 1387.

The £42,000-a-year Hampshire school is the alma mater of six chancellors: Henry Addington, Robert Lowe, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Gaitskell, Geoffrey Howe and Rishi Sunak (pictured)

The £42,000-a-year Hampshire school is the alma mater of six chancellors: Henry Addington, Robert Lowe, Stafford Cripps, Hugh Gaitskell, Geoffrey Howe and Rishi Sunak (pictured)

His vast wealth came from his church positions, discounting of exchequer tallies, exporting wool, and using his influence to obtain papal approval to acquire money belonging to monasteries in France that had been confiscated during the Hundred Years War.

By the 15th century Winchester College was home to 100 pupils made up of 70 scholars, 16 choirboys and 14 ‘commoners’. 

From the 1860s, ten boarding houses were added for up to 60 pupils each. The number of pupils admitted has continued to rise, with 690 pupils attending the school in 2020. 

Alongside the curriculum, pupils at Winchester study division. The lessons on parts of history, literature, and politics do not lead to external examinations and aim to offer a broad education.

Rather than using Common Entrance like other public schools, Winchester asks prospective pupils to sit its own entrance exam. They also have to make arrangements with a housemaster two years before sitting the exam.

Means-tested bursaries from five per cent to 100 per cent of the school fees are provided to pupil’s families depending on need.  

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