Is it all over for Winchester?

24th November 2000 at 00:00
PITY the poor Wykehamist. You get called a Wykehamist if your parents paid for you to go to Winchester College, the jewel in the crown of the independent sector. However, its new head has hinted that Wykehamists' days might be numbered.

Nick Tate, who has just swapped his office at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in Piccadilly for the ancient institution's book-lined headmaster's study, writes nervously in the latest edition of the college's magazine of the high rate of closure among the institutions that have employed him.

The trail he leaves of long-gone quagos includes the National Curriculum Council and the School Examination and Assessment Council (the average life-span of such bodies was less than four years).

But that is not all. The school at which he taught geography has closed; the two teacher training colleges at which he worked have merged; and the two senior schools he attended as a boy have changed their names.

It's such a relief, he implies, to take over as head of a school with the longest history of any in England and whose founder wished that it might "endure through the grace of God for all time".

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