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Virtual School during Coronavirus

In these challenging and worrying times, The Pilgrims’ School remains a source of stability and community, as well as continuing to offer every boy an outstanding academic, pastoral, co-curricular, and moral education.
Tom Burden 

Our pastoral care

Our fundamental ethos is rock-solid.  Kindness is our most prized quality.  To be a Pilgrim means to have integrity, determination, and resilience.  The wellbeing, mental and physical, of our boys is still our number one priority.  We have a responsibility to safeguard them online and we have created systems which will support them through this unprecedented time of uncertainty and isolation. 

Our specialist teaching  

At The Pilgrims’ School, we are blessed with highly skilled, specialist teachers who have gone far beyond the extra mile to create our Virtual School.  Using direct video contact on Google Classroom, Pilgrims’ boys have the fullest possible access to the school’s greatest resource – our talented and committed teachers.  

It’s been pretty magical listening in on lessons and seeing the boy’s relationships with their incredible teachers. Such a special school. So much kindness!   Year 5 parent

Our virtual school curriculum

Boys need structure. The Pilgrims' Virtual School has been designed to follow the Pilgrims' timetable as much as possible, but recognises that with the conflicting demands of families in isolation, there has to be flexibility. We have created a full day, six days of the week, but parents may use as much or as little of the programme as they wish. The week includes elements of sport, music, art and co-curricular activities.

It is important that the boys continue to meet together and socialise as a group. Each morning they all meet with their form teacher, or tutor.  This is followed by assembly, lessons through the morning, and (most days) a lesson in the afternoon.

Enrichment activities and challenges happen in the afternoon, and there is flexibility with time available to 'catch up' if someone else in the house needed the laptop or there were other difficulties.  The day concludes with another pastoral opportunity for the boys to touch base with their tutor or form teacher.  Commoners (after school clubs) take place as usual, at the end of the teaching day.  

To be a Pilgrim

Most crucially, all of the different elements that craft a Pilgrim are still on offer.  Though its nature may be different, our Virtual School will continue to build character, develop personality, and instil a sense of purpose and discovery in each Pilgrim. 

Tom Burden 


Regrettably, we are unable to welcome visitors until further advice from the Government. The Pilgrims' School is currently open only to children of key workers and pupils from selected year groups (after half term). However, our Registrar, Ali Dugdale is available to talk to you, to explain our entrance procedures and to chat through how Pilgrims' might suit your son and your family. 

If you would like your son to join us in September, 2020, we can easily arrange a digital opportunity for you to talk to the Headmaster or another member of staff.

If your son might join the school in September, 2021, or later, we warmly invite you to sign up for our next open day, when the school will be open and we will be able to meet you in real life!



You can find out more about our location and facilities by exploring our interactive map, and we are creating a range of short films to show you the school as best we can. 

The school film, To be a Pilgrim, was filmed before the school closed and gives a good idea of what you might have found on a visit. The music is performed entirely by boys at the school, who make an appearance at the end of the film.




It is important that we continue to meet as a school community. Each Monday, the boys start their week with an assembly, led by the Headmaster. In each of these films, the Head takes us to parts of the school that could not be included in a conventional tour! The school's hymn, To be a Pilgrim is sung by boys of the school who formed a virtual choir, recording from their homes, scattered far and wide. 




Take a look inside our Pre-Prep...



For more films, including video tutorials from our enrichment programme, please visit our Vimeo page.




Entry to the school is by an academic and social assessment which usually takes place during a taster day at the school. As this is not currently possible, we have adapted our entry process in order to help each candidate apply for a place in the school. 

Until the school reopens to visitors, we will offer a virtual, on-line entry assessment, which will comprise some or all of the following:

Joining Years 3-8

  • an interview with the Head and/or other key teachers
  • a non verbal reasoning test (NVR)
  • a CAT test
  • an English test (a writing task and vocabulary recognition test) 
  • a maths test

We will also require your permission to contact your son’s current school for a confidential report, and we will be pleased to see your son’s recent school report, CAT scores, and UKiSet profile, if applicable.

Joining the Pre-Prep

For younger boys joining the Pre-Prep, we have created a virtual playtime and chat with the Head of the Pre-Prep, Debbie Ross. For older boys joining Year 1 and Year 2, the playtime will include age appropriate tasks in English and maths. We will of course explain everything to you, and we will need your help, please, to work with your son online. 

We will happily work with you to help find the best solution in these unusual circumstances, please contact us if you would like further information.

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away  between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.