Winchester College may reconsider introducing female students next year, amid fears it could create a “toxic culture” in the wake of violence in private schools.
The 640-year-old boys’ boarding school announced last month its intention to admit girls as day pupils in sixth grade from September 2022, followed by boarders two years later.
However, those plans could now be put on hold after parents worried about the “rush” with which the change was being implemented, The Telegraph has learned.
“Parents don’t understand why they are moving forward. It sounds crazy, given what we now know is happening in private schools, ”a source said.
“It has to be handled with sensitivity or it could easily lead to a poisonous culture. It’s hard to convince parents that there is a really good reason to bring girls into sixth form when you can see how toxic things have gotten.
Last weekend it emerged that a Whitehall investigation had been launched into a growing scandal that has seen some of the country’s most elite schools, including Eton College, St Paul’s Boys’ School, Dulwich College, Westminster School and Highgate School, named in sex stories. abuse.
Home and Education Ministry officials are leading an intergovernmental response with senior officers, who have been urged to take the complaints seriously.
Inspectors from Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate are ready to launch immediate and surprise investigations if safeguard concerns are raised at some schools, sources told Whitehall.