Head's Welcome - Dr Sarah Essex
Welcome to The Pilgrims’ School, a boys-only day and boarding prep school, that prepares boys for senior school with confidence.
We don’t need to worry about gender stereotypes and opportunities are abound: from physics to music, drama to rugby, knitting to ecology, fives to chess and so much more.
A Majestic Setting
In the awe-inspiring setting of ancient-listed buildings nestled between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, you won’t find a ‘typical’ Pilgrims’ boy.
In small classes with teachers who are subject specialists, Pilgrims’ is a place of outstanding personalised learning and teaching. We maximise the progress of every boy across our broad curriculum, co-curriculum, and extra-curriculum.
Preparing boys for top senior schools
We are certainly punching above our weight when it comes to outcomes! Boys leave Pilgrims' for the country's top senior boarding schools, including Winchester College, Eton College, Charterhouse, Radley, Marlborough, Sherborne, and leading senior boarding and day schools. On average, over a third of our of boys gain a scholarship or other award to their senior school, including sports and many academic and music scholarships and exhibitions. As a prep school, our job is to ensure that boys are well-prepared so that they may thrive and be happy when they transition to their chosen senior school.
Senior schools are looking for academics and a love of learning. And boys with a good character, who have the ability to contribute to school life, whether that be in music, sport, art, debating, drama or chess, to name but a few.
High musical achievement
We do music exceptionally well and throughout the school. Uniquely, we are a double choir school with two professional choirs: Winchester Cathedral Choristers and Winchester College Quiristers. However, music goes far beyond the 40 Choristers and Quiristers. Boys from Reception upwards are taught weekly by our Director or Assistant Director of Music. Singing, instrumental and orchestral music emanates from every open window and flows throughout the Close. It is of an extraordinary standard.
Day and Boarding School
We have almost a hundred boarders and all the others are day boys. However, during the school day there is no difference between day boys and boarders.
We have two boarding houses, and from Year 4, the proportion of boarders increases until Year 8 when typically more than three quarters of boys board. They ask to board – to be with their friends, to focus on their work, or their sport or music or just to take part in all the activities we have to offer. The Choristers and Quiristers board to allow them to take part in their practices and services.
Sport plays an important role at The Pilgrims' School, with specialist sports coaches, and outstanding sports facilities including an all-weather cricket surface within the ancient boundaries of Wolvesey Castle and The Bishop's Palace.
Every boy at Pilgrims' from Pre-Prep upwards takes part in a timetabled sporting activity every day. We believe that sport is essential not only for fitness but also for developing life lessons. It encourages problem-solving, emotional development and self belief as well as learning to work as part of a team.
Exemplary Pastoral Care
Not only do we have a Deputy Head Pastoral, a Director of Wellbeing and a Lay Chaplain, we also have Heads of Year, form teachers and vertical tutor groups looking after not just the academic but also the pastoral life of the boys. In addition, we have a team of boarding house- parents, nurses, and matrons working together to provide excellent care.
At Pilgrims’, boys treat others in the way they would like to be treated themselves - with kindness, thoughtfulness and politeness. This is a place of we, not I.
Dr Sarah J Essex