CATALYST by Winchester College


CATALYST by Winchester College

Winchester College, known for its centuries-long commitment to academic excellence, introduces CATALYST, one- and two-week online programmes for students aged 10-17 from around the world.

Winchester College has a long established reputation for academic excellence. Although it respects tradition, the College is no stranger to modern pedagogical methods, including virtual learning. CATALYST is a direct representation of this blended approach. Aimed at creating adaptable, resilient minds, CATALYST programmes prioritise academic success and critical thinking, equipping students to address the complex challenges of our world.

CATALYST Foundations (ages 10-13)

Foundations is rooted in the belief that success is built upon strong foundations The programme equips students with a dynamic combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, priming them for an ever-changing academic environment.

Centred on the crucial shift to secondary school, Foundations delivers a blend of in-depth academic insights, creative reasoning, critical thinking, and resilience. It serves as a springboard, giving students both the academic proficiency needed for advanced secondary education and the essential life skills for long-term success outside the classroom.

CATALYST Horizons (ages 14-17)

Horizons not only readies students for university, but also challenges them to make a positive impact on the world. The programme doesn’t just set students up to react to what comes next — it inspires them to play an instrumental role in defining what 'next' should be.

Horizons goes beyond traditional academic boundaries, placing a strong emphasis on resilience, adaptability, and leadership — essential traits in a world defined by uncertainty and change. Equipped with a toolbox of crucial skills, students are primed for success at secondary school, university, and far beyond.

How does it work?

CATALYST programmes are structured around three distinct lenses (modules) and a Change Project running concurrently. Live classes take place between 8.30am-1.30pm Monday-Friday, for one or two weeks.

Lens 1: Technology and Innovation: Lens 1 examines the dual impact of technology and innovation on society, emphasising its role as a catalyst for societal advancements. This lens also highlights the potential threats posed by technology, exemplified by the mixed feelings of optimism and concern surrounding the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in today’s technological landscape.

Lens 2: Philosophy and Ethics: Lens 2 delves into philosophical concepts such as ‘human,’ ‘self,’ ‘animal,’ and ‘world’. In seeking to redefine community and moral responsibility, Lens 2 integrates insights from traditional philosophy, cultural and philosophical anthropology, the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and contemporary reflections on sentience and artificial intelligence.

Lens 3: Economics and Culture (Horizons only): Lens 3 plunges students into the deep ethical quandaries posed by the "trolley problem", a famous thought experiment that scrutinises the value we place on human life when faced with life-or-death decisions. After dissecting various real-world and fictional iterations of the trolley problem, and distinguishing between deontological ethics and utilitarianism, students are then faced with the ultimate challenge: deciding the fate of Earth in the wake of a catastrophic meteor collision.


Change Projects: Students undertake individual projects tackling real-world issues – from climate change to public health. These projects aren’t just academic tasks; they offer students a chance to showcase abilities like problem-solving, critical thinking, and resilience. Upon completion, they have a tangible representation of their passion and expertise, which can enhance their academic and professional profiles.

Skill development: In a globalised world, it's not the hard skills alone that count. Soft skills can be the differentiator. CATALYST prioritises six Core Competencies, ensuring students are prepared for diverse challenges. After completing the programme, students receive a detailed CATALYST Transcript. This document, backed by educator feedback, outlines their skill proficiency and offers insights into their Change Project journey.

Critical thinking: Beyond simply acquiring facts, CATALYST emphasises critical thinking. It encourages students to evaluate the bigger picture, pushing them to analyse and adapt to the world's complexities. This isn't just about academic excellence; it's about creating proactive thinkers and future leaders.

Who is CATALYST suitable for?

CATALYST caters to inquisitive students with a passion for specific topics they wish to delve into through the Change Project. It's particularly beneficial for those looking to strengthen their profiles for future applications to competitive schools and universities in the UK and US. For international students, it’s a chance to experience the high standard of Anglo-American education. 

What can students expect to learn?

  • Crafting and conveying compelling arguments and ideas.
  • Collaborating with understanding and empathy.
  • Negotiating outcomes under pressure.
  • Navigating and using data confidently.
  • Problem-solving and addressing challenges head-on.

Global reach, personalised attention

To date, CATALYST has received 322 applications, engaging with students from 46 countries. A notable feature is the student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1, ensuring focused attention.

Financial assistance

Understanding the importance of inclusive education, CATALYST offers financial aid on a case-by-case basis. This ensures deserving candidates have the opportunity to benefit from the programme.


London 2023
Event type
West of England
Year Established:
Age Range:
Fee Range (Termly):
£500 – £2,800 per programme


Attending Events


Nov 2024

The Independent Schools Show 2024


May 2025

Independent Schools Show, Summer Fair
09:30 AM - 03:30 PM

Meet more exhibitors


Nov 2024

The flagship, the original, where it all began 17 years ago. Friday 8 November and Saturday 9 November 2024 at the London Evolution in Battersea Park, London.


Nov 2024

09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Taking place at The Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva the show provides families with unparalleled access to leading boarding schools. This November we return to this spectacular venue with 20 leading Boarding Schools.


Nov 2024

09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Taking place at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, the show provides families with unparalleled access to leading boarding schools. This Thursday we return to this spectacular venue with 20 leading Boarding Schools.