Winchester College to Admit Girls, Day Pupils In 2022
Winchester College, the oldest public school (that's private school to the rest of the world) in England, announced today that it would begin admitting girl pupils and day students into sixth form beginning September 2022. The 640-year-old boarding school, which has traditionally been an all-boys school, announced the change as part of its "Winchester College in the 21st Century" initiative. According to a report in the Times, the school's governing body has been discussing the possibilities of coeducation since 1899.
"After almost a century of deliberation on the subject, we will in the next few years introduce girls into the school, initially into the Sixth Form," reads the school's announcement. "We want the school to welcome all who are capable of benefiting from the exceptional education Wikehamists enjoy. Added to this, the admission of girls will bring multiple benefits: new intellectual challenge; diversity of thought; broader horizons.
"In parallel, we will respond to growing demand to increase provision for day pupils from autumn 2022. While boarding education will remain the norm for most, day pupils, fully integrated into boarding houses, will bring a greater sense of connectedness locally and a new opportunity for families living within easy reach of the College."
Founded in 1382, Winchester is the alma mater for a long list of prominent alumni, including current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak; Hollywood writer-director Joss Whedon (Toy Story; The Avengers); and actor Hugh Dancy.
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"We plan to make this change over the next 3-4 years and look forward to guidance and support from those who can help us make this a success," Winchester College Warden Sir Richard Stagg said. "We have clearly done a good deal of research already, to reassure ourselves that we can undertake this major transition successfully. But there are many issues, large and small, on which we plan to consult—within the Wykehamist community and outside."
The school is on track to welcome its first girl pupils and day students in 2022 and plans to welcome girl boarders in 2024. The student body, currently numbering 700 boarders, will grow to 850.