St Swithun's School, Winchester

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St Swithun's School
Motto Caritas, Humilitas, Sinceritas
Latin: Charity, Humility, Sincerity
Established 1884
Type Independent day, weekly and full boarding
Religion Church of England
Headmistress Jane Gandee
Founder Anna Bramston
Location Alresford Rd
SO21 1HA
51°03′50″N 1°17′20″W / 51.064°N 1.289°W / 51.064; -1.289Coordinates: 51°03′50″N 1°17′20″W / 51.064°N 1.289°W / 51.064; -1.289
Local authority Hampshire
DfE number 850/6038
Students 713 (2016)
Gender Girls
Ages 3–18
Former pupils Old Swithunites
St Swithun's School grounds

St Swithun's School is an independent day, weekly and full-boarding school for girls in Winchester, Hampshire. It is named after Saint Swithun, a Bishop of Winchester and patron saint of Winchester Cathedral.


St Swithun's was founded as "Winchester High School" by Miss Anna Bramston, daughter of John Bramston, the then Dean of Winchester, with the ambition of educating "daughters of worthy citizens of Winchester". Not having sufficient money of her own, funds were raised by subscription. The school opened on 5 May 1884 with seventeen pupils. Pupil numbers soon grew and the school began taking in boarders as well.

In 1909 the school rented ten acres on Magdalen Hill for sports. The school’s name was changed to Winchester Girls’ School and then, after World War I, to St Swithun’s School: the recorded virtues of this saint – Caritas, Humilitas, Sinceritas – were adopted as the school’s motto in 1928.

St Swithun's moved to its present location overlooking the Hampshire Downs on the edge of Winchester in 1931. Princess Mary the Princess Royal opened the new buildings formally in 1932, but the outbreak of World War II saw the school turned into a hospital and by 1942 St Swithun’s became an American casualty clearing station. The school celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1959 with the Duke of Gloucester as a special guest.[1]

Today, St Swithun's includes both junior and senior schools, meaning pupils can attend from nursery all to way to sixth form level. Boys may attend up to age 7.[2]A new junior school building was opened in September 2015 with a further sports hall opening in Easter 2016.

St Swithun's retains a strong Anglican tradition through its links with Winchester Cathedral. It holds six services there every year and the girls' choir sings at the cathedral.[3]


St Swithun's has traditionally had a strong academic reputation. In 2011 GCSEs, it topped the results table for the city of Winchester with a 100% passing rate and all candidates achieving at least 5 A*-C grades, surpassing Winchester College.[4] The same year, it broke its records in the A Levels with 11 girls scoring 3 or more A* grades.[5] Since the year 2000 the school has had 100% pass rate in both GCSEs and A-Levels.

School Organisation[edit]

Junior School[edit]

Atrium of the new Junior School

The Early Years and Pre-Prep departments (nursery to Year 2) are coeducational.[6] The prep department comprises Years 3 to 6 and girls are prepared for the Common Entrance Examination. The Junior School is a member of the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools.

Senior School[edit]

Year Groups
  • Lower 4 - Year 7
  • Upper 4 - Year 8
  • Lower 5 - Year 9
  • Middle 5 - Year 10
  • Upper 5 - Year 11
  • Lower Sixth - Year 12
  • Upper Sixth - Year 13


Each girl belongs to a house. Girls are assigned to either a boarding or day house except for those in Upper Sixth (Year 13), who belong to a single house. The house system is an integral part of school life as there are inter-house competitions in many co-curricular activities such as sports, public speaking and drama.

House Year Day/Boarding
Le Roy L4 Boarding
Chilcomb Day
Caer Gwent U4-L6 Day
Davies Day
Mowbray Day
Earlsdown Boarding
High House Boarding
Hillcroft Boarding
Hyde Abbey Boarding
Venta Day
Finlay U6 Day & Boarding



St Swithun's school offers boarding facilities for girls of any age who enrol in the senior school. Just under half the girls in senior school are boarders and about 70% of them board only on weekdays. Boarders are offered a wide range of co-curricular activities both in after school and weekend programmes and activities. The library and swimming pool are open at specific times during the weekend ensuring that boarders enjoy the school facilities to the fullest.


St Swithun's School uniform

The school has a modern winter uniform consisting of a pale blue open necked shirt, navy blue pullover and navy blazer, both with orange trim and school kilt of navy and orange. In the summer the girls can optionally wear a school dress. The sports uniform is a navy blue skort and a light blue T-shirt with orange match shirts for lacrosse and netball.


Sports facilities include 9 lacrosse pitches, 13 tennis courts (1 indoors), 6 netball courts, a 25-meter indoor swimming pool and a multi-purpose sports hall. In 2003, the PAC (Performing Arts Centre) - now "The Harvey Hall" - was opened, and it has a large auditorium to sit over 700, and also includes a Studio Theatre, Green Rooms, Box Office and a smaller SPS (Small Performance Space).

A new library was opened in 2007 by the Mayor of Winchester Chris Pines and The Very Rev James Atwell, Dean of Winchester.[8]


St Swithun's has a strong sporting tradition and has enjoyed success at county level and inter-school competitions. The school was national lacrosse champion in 2008.[9][10][11] Girls are encouraged to take up a sport and may choose from athletics, badminton, basketball, cricket, lacrosse and netball, Zumba, handball, trampolining, touch rugby, tennis, pilates and fitness.[12]


As for many other independent schools, candidates for entry to St Swithun's must sit the Common Entrance Examination.

Candidates for academic scholarships are selected based on the results of the Common Entrance examinations (11+ and 13+) and are invited to attend an interview soon after completion of the examination. Sixth form scholarship candidates (16+) are selected based solely on the results of academic assessments in the subjects that they intend to take at A level.

Music scholarships may be awarded each year to suitable applicants at 11+, 13+ and 16+. The minimum ABRSM standard required for music scholarships is Grade 5 at 11+, Grade 6 at 13+ and Grade 7 at 16+ on two instruments.

Girls can also apply for a sports scholarship, where they should be county level at two or more sports.

Former pupils[edit]

Alumnae are known as "Old Swithunites".


External links[edit]