Magdalen College School
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
About Magdalen College School
MCS has a rich and distinctive history. The school was founded in 1480 by William Waynflete who believed in education as a facilitator of social mobility, and as such wanted to found a school of an entirely new kind. MCS quickly flourished as a school which firmly connected school education with a newly emerging university education and it soon became one of the country’s leading schools.
Today MCS provides a first-class education for boys aged 7-18 and sixth form girls. The school is small enough to develop every young person’s character and talents, yet large enough to provide a wide range of subjects and activities. MCS encourages a respect for learning whilst developing in every pupil a close interest in a wide range of extra-curricular interests.
MCS pupils enjoy a stimulating curriculum which is designed both to provide academic stretch and challenge, and to equip pupils with the skills for success beyond school.
In the early years, the emphasis is on exposing pupils to a wide range of subjects in order to discover their interests and talents. Pupils are put in sets by ability in French at 11 and in Mathematics at 12, no other subjects are set. There is an additional intake of pupils from prep and maintained schools at 13 and it is at this stage that boys make their first subject choices. Almost all pupils take ten (I)GCSEs, an increasing number of which are now reformed 9-1 (I)GCSEs.
Although MCS consistently secures outstanding public examination results, the real priority in the Sixth Form is on teaching beyond the syllabus, and the formation of habits of mind for life. In the Lower Sixth all pupils study at least four subjects, research and write their Waynflete Project (a 5000 word essay on a subject of their choice), undertake a community service or CCF placement, and participate in Games. From September 2017 all A Level (or Pre-U) courses will be linear; MCS pupils will no longer sit AS Levels. In the Upper Sixth, between one third and one half of Sixth Formers gain four or more A Levels, and there is a programme of lectures from visiting speakers, as well as UCAS applications and Games.
The School was last inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2017 and was recognised as “excellent” in both of the assessed outcomes: “Quality of Pupil Achievement” and “Quality of Pupil Personal Develoment”.