St Swithun’s is a flourishing independent girls’ school set in 45 acres of rural Hampshire within easy walking distance of Winchester city centre, yet only 50 minutes by train from London. It has a co-ed preschool, educates girls aged from 4-11 in its prep school, and offers day, weekly and full boarding options for girls aged 11-18 in the senior school.
The school is a registered charity and is governed by the school council. Main entry points to the senior school are 11+, 13+ and 16+. The prep school accepts registrations for any year group where there are spaces available, up to the point of entry. There are approximately 200 girls in the prep school and 520 in the senior school across 27 nationalities.
Relationships between pupils are characterised by kindness and sensitivity, as observed within boarding house life as well as between day and boarding pupils. They see themselves as important members of a cohesive school family. Pupils have an enormous affection for this family of which they are part.
ISI Feb 2017
Why St Swithun’s?
Where St Swithun’s differs is in its unique blend of ingredients: in its ethos, its expectations and the atmosphere in which its pupils flourish. The school celebrates the beauty of difference, teaching all pupils to respect a variety of viewpoints and characteristics and offering an environment in which girls can develop as individuals. With kindness and compassion at the heart of its community, St Swithun’s provides a civilised and caring environment which prepares girls for the real world. By the time they leave they are courageous, compassionate, committed and self-confident with a love of learning, a moral compass and a sense of humour.
St Swithun’s has a long-standing reputation for academic rigour and success. Girls in the senior school are prepared for public examinations and higher education in a stimulating and scholarly environment in which they develop intellectual curiosity, independence of mind and the ability to take responsibility for their own learning. They achieve almost one grade higher at GCSE than their already significant baseline ability would suggest. At A level their value-added score is approximately half a grade higher with a quarter of all results a grade higher.
Oxbridge preparation, higher education and careers
St Swithun’s offers a comprehensive careers and higher education support service throughout the school years provided by specialist staff. Its Oxbridge preparation is part of a whole-school academic enrichment programme providing additional challenge and stimulation. Approximately 80% of students go on to Russell Group universities, with 10% gaining places at Oxford or Cambridge. 4% pursue their further education overseas.
Whilst achieving academic excellence, girls also have the opportunity to do ‘something else’. There is an extensive co-curricular and weekend activity programme enabling girls to try new things and develop commitment, perseverance, teamwork and organisational skills. In addition to music, drama and sports activities the senior school’s weekly co-curricular programme includes drop-in sessions and societies across a varied range of subjects such as biology, maths, chemistry, linguistics and debating. Polo club, scuba diving, karate and fencing are part of the weekly sporting programme as well as the opportunity to take part in training with Winchester and District Athletics Club.
There is a varied programme of cultural, social and recreational activities at weekends to suit all boarders including debating contests, ballroom dancing lessons, battle of the bands, charity fashion shows, and an external speaker programme.
Co-curricular activities in the prep school include gymnastics, netball, rounders, swimming, tennis, dance, judo, rugby, sailing, scuba diving, dissection, gardening, art, calligraphy, cookery, touch typing and music theatre workshop.
There are a number of choirs, bands and instrument ensemble groups throughout the school.
The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent.
The senior school has six boarding houses with separate houses for those in their first year and those in the upper sixth. The school buildings are modern and well equipped. As well as the academic classrooms and science laboratories, there is a magnificent performing arts centre with a 600-seat auditorium, a music school, an art and technology block, a sports hall and a full-size indoor swimming pool. There is an impressive library and ICT facility. The grounds are spacious and encompass sports fields, an athletics track, tennis courts and gardens.
A new building for the prep school opened in 2015 providing a spectacular and inspiring learning environment. Specialist teaching areas include science, art, technology and music rooms, a teaching classroom, sports hall, library and an outdoor classroom.