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A novel, selective 2-week digital course for ambitious and curious students from across the globe.


Welcome to the Catalyst Community!
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Join a community of talented peers. Work with leading Winchester College educators.
Develop the knowledge, skills, and relationships to thrive in a world of rapid change.


Live interactive lessons investigating change in the past, present, and future


Roundtable discussions with Winchester College educators


Hear from and engage with change experts from across the world


Real-world problem solving through practical simulations

discover catalyst



Access the unique teaching practices and resources of one of the world’s most distinguished schools in a programme designed to challenge at every step.


Experience interdisciplinary problem solving aimed at helping you thrive in complexity, reason from first principles, and balance chaos with collaboration.


Join a thriving network of ambitious peers from around the world, sharing views and expertise, while connecting with the wider Winchester College network.


Undertake distinctive projects to stretch your horizons and set you apart. Tap into a network of admissions experts who can support your journey to university.


Equip yourself with the ability to interrogate and catalyse change through personal coaching from course tutors and an executive coach.

Key Skill

Learn through mistakes, make sense of the world, and collaborate to solve difficult problems... academic and professional skills that will last a lifetime.

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Challenge your thinking

How can we best introduce a more circular economy?

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Challenge your thinking

How can we restore biodiversity in our cities?

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challenge your thinking

What should we do today to govern AI tomorrow?

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Challenge your thinking

How do we prepare for the next pandemic?

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Challenge your thinking

How do we organise grassroots climate action?

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Challenge your thinking

Can we address the social media mental health crisis?

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meet the team

We are educators, practiced changemakers, and tech fanatics.

Clarissa Farr

Author, Governor
Winchester College

Tom Quayle


Renaissance comedian
Iron Man competitor
Dog lover
Justin Pinnells


Peter Convey

Polar Ecologist,
British Antarctic Survey

Natural historian
Polar educator
Antarctic ambassador
Dr Adam Brown

Theoretical Physicist,
Stanford University

Natural philosopher
Quantum physicist
Paresh Thakrar

Winchester College

Sci-fi fanatic
North Londoner
Jonathan Shaw

Special Forces

Ali Harber

Deputy Head Pastoral,
Winchester College

Trail runner
Political enthusiast
Justin White

Dean of Chapel,
Winchester College

Proud Manxman
Chas McCaw

Head of Science,
Winchester College

Ageing athlete
Coffee addict
Dr Alex Clayton

Head of Geography,
Winchester College

Dr Tim Hands

Winchester College

Nishika de Rosairo

Experiential Insight

Experience junkie
Cameron Harris

Tutor & Coach

Dog walker
Dr Magnus Ryan

Cambridge Historian

Ninel Musson

VTH Season

Music guru
South African
Talent catapultier


Traditional Courses

Any paying applicant


Highly selective; restricted to no more than 30 students


Pre-recorded lectures and online tutorials


Immersive, challenge-based lessons and collaborative digital and in-person experiences


1 per course


Collection of Winchester College educators and leading keynote speakers


Generic feedback


Personalised 1-2-1 mentoring and coaching




Early application: £2,200
Regular application thereafter: £2,700

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"The strength and beauty of Catalyst lies in its digital establishment, allowing us to tap into a wealth of knowledge, practices, and people. This course provides a unique opportunity to understand change and explore its drivers, all at your fingertips, just one click away."

- Justin Pinnells, Catalyst Co-director and Head of Languages at Winchester College

“Catalyst draws on Winchester College's renowned Div - a truly unique, interdisciplinary course that all Winchester students complete, aimed at challenging students to think differently; to change not only what they know about the world, but how they think.”

- Tom Quayle, Catalyst Co-director and Head of Sixth Form at Winchester College

“Never has there been a more important time for students to think across disciplines - to adapt and solve problems as the world around them changes. It is exactly these skills that position students to thrive as they enter university.”

- Clarissa Farr, former High Mistress at St Paul’s Girls School


Founded in 1382, Winchester College continues to be one of the world’s most distinguished schools, famous for the unique ‘DIV’ programme of interdisciplinary education.

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do you have what it takes?

Please apply here.

common questions

Is Catalyst the same as Winchester College?

Catalyst is a two-week digital course offered by Winchester College, and taught by Winchester College educators. Catalyst also features keynote appearances from accomplished changemakers and provides students with personalised coaching and tutoring throughout the course.

How will Catalyst prepare me for university?

Catalyst is designed to stretch students. Engaging and rigorous, the course will cover a broad range of topic areas that go far beyond the scope of any standard secondary school curriculum. In addition to course content, the format - seminar, small group, team, 1-2-1 tutoring - mirrors that of many universities. Embedded in the program are opportunities for university entrance coaching and exposure to expert admissions advisors who can help demystify the application process.

Finally, through a solo summative project, students will have the chance to establish the foundations of their university application personal statement and of a Catalyst Transcript - a narrative detailing how students best learn, their accomplishments to date, and their ambitions beyond secondary school.

What will students learn during the course?

Catalyst explores the topic of ‘change’ in the past, present and future. Lessons are interdisciplinary, covering a variety of topics across STEM, and natural and social sciences, among other areas of study. Our aim is to help students develop the intellectual frameworks and hard skills needed to understand, analyse, and catalyse change.

What is a day in the life of a Catalyst student?

Most days begin with a Springboard - an interactive lesson with a Winchester College educator about a specific topic: What catalysed Arab Spring? What can ancient Greek fire tell us about geopolitics today? How do social movements reach tipping points? The Springboard is followed by a keynote seminar and Q&A with a practiced changemaker.

Thereafter, students participate in various Explorations - live, group, and self-study - calling students to dive deeper. This deeper exploration positions students to then work in teams to address complex Challenges: How can we govern AI? How do we restore biodiversity in cities? Challenges require students both to develop professional collaboration skills while working toward a common goal. And, they’re fast-paced and high urgency.

Challenges are designed to stretch students beyond their comfort zones and to escape the screen, each with specific nuances that will require students to explore their local community in what we hope will be new and profound ways.

Days will typically end with an opportunity for reflection and team and/or 1-2-1 coaching. After all, there is no change without feedback!

What is a Catalyst Transcript?

A Catalyst Transcript (CT) is a comprehensive narrative created collaboratively by students and course coaches detailing how students best learn, their accomplishments to date, and their ambitions beyond secondary school.

What are the course dates, and what is the time commitment?

Catalyst is a full-time course where on average, students will spend 35 hours per week involved in course programming. Some students may choose to dedicate more of their time to the course.

Importantly, though it is a full-time course, we fundamentally oppose ‘ZOOM-school’ and are extremely wary of screen fatigue. Students will not be ‘stuck behind the screen’ all day. Catalyst challenges students to participate in both remote and in-person activities in the student’s local community.

How much does it cost and is there financial aid?

Course fees vary between £2,200 and £2,700 depending on the date of application.

Financial aid is available, and is offered on a case by case basis. Students who are invited to interview will have the chance to indicate whether or not they require financial aid.

Who is eligible for Catalyst?

Any student entering the final or penultimate year of secondary school in the 2022-23 academic year is eligible to apply. Most often that means you will be between 16-18 years old.

If you are currently in your final year of secondary school, you may also be eligible to apply depending on the term dates of your academic year.

If you’re not sure of your eligibility please get in touch with us at:

Is Catalyst accredited?

Catalyst is offered by Winchester College, one of the world’s most distinguished secondary schools. Winchester College is accredited.

Will students receive a certificate or diploma?

Yes, students who successfully complete the course will receive, among other things, both a completion certificate and a Catalyst Transcript. They will also be invited to a Catalyst alumni network, a growing community of Catalyst and Winchester College alumni.

Students who excel may also graduate with distinction.

What is the application deadline?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

What is the application process?

Students are asked to complete a short application form aimed at showcasing their strengths, interests and ambitions. It is designed to be very straightforward and, hopefully, enjoyable!

Successful applicants will be invited to an online interview with our admissions team prior to receiving a final result.

When will I find out if I have been accepted?

We aim to respond to all applications within seven working days. If successful, we will arrange a short online interview. Following the interview, we will let you know if you have been accepted or waitlisted within seven working days.

Depending on how quickly we can schedule the interview, the entire process can take as little as one week.

Is Catalyst aimed at students interested in a specific subject or discipline?

The course is interdisciplinary, meaning that students will have exposure to a range of subject areas across STEM, and natural and social sciences. Why interdisciplinary? The problems facing humanity are more complex and interconnected than ever before. Rooted in Winchester College’s established DIV methodology, we believe that interdisciplinary study helps students develop a diverse and comprehensive set of skills and perspectives relevant for today and, more importantly, for tomorrow.

How many students will be accepted?

No more than 30 students will be offered places on the course.

How big are classes?

Students will participate in a range of different class sizes including: full cohort seminars (up to 30 students) with guest keynote speakers, roundtable live lessons Winchester College educators (~10 students), small group sessions (~5 students), and 1-2-1 coaching and feedback sessions.

What will I need in order to participate?

You will need to have access to reliable, high speed internet during the course. You’ll also need a laptop with good video and audio conferencing capabilities. We recommend having access to a headset and mobile phone with camera/video recording as well.

Is there a language requirement?

You must be a native or fluent English language speaker.

What do I need to prepare for the written application?

There are 23 short questions on the application, each can be answered in less than 30 seconds. So that you can complete the application form as efficiently as possible, you might choose to prepare for the longer questions before starting, which are copied below for reference:

(1) Please provide a link to a short video (<90 seconds) about a project or topic you are extremely passionate about outside of the classroom.

For example, this might be a project you worked on, a business you started, an achievement in art or sport, a publication you contribute to or direct, service work you participate in, a cause you actively follow or support, etc.

(2) Through CATALYST you will have the chance to focus on a change project of your choosing - a kind of change that you want to catalyse in the days, months, and years ahead, and that you feel is needed.

Please describe a change project you are interested in working on using the fewest words possible, but no more than 300 words. The shorter, the better!

The proposal should address: (1) a short summary of the topic, including an overview of the current state of affairs, (2) your perspective on why change is needed, and (3) a description of how you see the project catalysing change if successful.

Is Catalyst digital/online or in-person?

Catalyst is a digital course. Students can participate from anywhere in the world. However, we fundamentally oppose ‘ZOOM-school’ and are extremely wary of screen fatigue. Students will not be ‘stuck behind the screen’ all day. Catalyst challenges students to participate in both remote and in-person activities in the student’s local community.

Off-screen interaction is embedded in Catalyst Challenges and course content. Details will be shared with course participants in the pre-programme period leading up to kick-off. And, when students are ‘online’, they will have access to a custom-designed digital environment that aims to foster interaction, idea sharing, and cohort community building.

We really don’t want you to be ‘on mute’.

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