Andrea Owen makes a number of cogent points in her letter (Chronicle, January 11). 

I agree that it is not surprising that the new headmaster, Ms Stone, made much of the fact that Winchester College was given the title of South-East independent school of the year in the Sunday Times' 2024 Parent Power awards. However, it is well worth remembering that the London independent schools, and those on its periphery were not included in the south-east region. 

Nor was Winchester's a national award. Andrea is right to point out that its overall position in terms of its academic results was 30th in 2023. In the preceding year, it was 50th. When our sons attended the College in the late 1990s and in the early years of 2000, the College was consistently in the top three schools nationally for A-level results, with Westminster and St Paul's Boys' School. The “Div” system, much praised by the Headmaster, existed then too.

However, I think that Andrea is mistaken in wanting to compare Winchester College to local sixth form colleges. I have long argued that to do so is like comparing apples to pears, given their relative sizes and the fact that Winchester College is not a local school. It recruits nationally and internationally, appealing to parents who can meet the “eye-watering fees”, although, to be fair, it has enhanced its bursary system.

In a recent interview. Ms Stone stated that: “We don't have to apologise for doing things differently, where that is the product of a deeply reflective, robust understanding of what is important.” As GK Chesterton famously said: “It is only the secure who are humble”, as was Bishop William of Wykeham, when he founded the College for poor scholars. 

Finally, I want to say that the Chronicle deserves credit for publishing a letter that included a number of criticisms of its reporting. Not all editors would have done so. 

Una Stevens,
Cliff Way, 

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