The School was originally founded in 1843 for the children of the clergy in the south of England. The site represents a mixture of interesting buildings from all eras. Some of the most prominent buildings include a chapel built in Victorian Gothic style, the War Memorial Assembly Hall – an impressive American campus-like piece of architecture, and a stunning theatre. Although there are some disagreements when it comes to the School’s politics, most of the parents agree that the final outcome is a welBl-mannered, sensible young adult. The School’s latest state-of-the-art facilities are a building containing solar panels and a ground source heat pump and a new international study centre. Marlborough has recently opened a branch in Malaysia.
Marlborough offers numerous opportunities for everyone, including A levels, the IB and Pre-U. Results are also good, which the number of A*/A grades shows best – 58 per cent at A level, and 79 per cent at GCSE. Twenty-four subjects are on offer at A level, with most popular being languages, business, classical civilisation, DT, politics and astronomy. The School owns the Blackett Observatory which has the best telescope in any UK school, and in year 9 every student gets the chance to try it out. One of the innovations the School came up with is the “Form”, a course for the pupils in the first year, which integrates English, history and RE, all taught by one teacher. The number of staff members is exceptionally high, with many new teachers arriving from the top London day schools. Around one in nine students need some kind of learning support and this is offered to them by the three full-time SEN staff members. The School accommodates wheelchair-ramps, and general access has recently been upgraded.
The School’s most popular facility is the 25 metres long swimming pool, with an adjustable floor which can be either sloping or deep for diving. Students are successful in both individual and team sports. Among the most popular are fives, lacrosse, rugby, netball, hockey and football.
Art is a serious matter at Marlborough, with great tradition in the history of art that is culturally and intellectually central to the School’s ethos. Music facilities are wonderful, with everyone being involved in some kind of music and learning an instrument or two. Concerts are held in and out of the College and drama performance is outstanding, with many productions, form a York mystery play to The Seagull and A Winter’s Tale.
Structure of students
Many students come from traditional boarding families, and a few are foreigners. The prevailing atmosphere is relaxed, although there is a feeling that you still need to be “tough” if you’re a boy. Some of the notable former students include William Morris, Anthony Blunt, James Robertson Justice, Peter Medawar and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
Pastoral care and discipline
Marlborough College is a full boarding school, although a very few local day students also attend it. There are fifteen boarding houses – six for boys, five for girls and four that are mixed. Pupils change rooms each term and they cannot choose roommates which helps in preventing exclusiveness. Most of the parents consider that entering the right house is of vital importance, which is why it is allowed to visit, ask questions and make sure that it feels right.
Although the girls coming for the sixth form balance numbers, the School still plans to up the numbers of girls, but not by much. There are plenty of rules, and the dress code is largely adhered to. When it comes to drugs, there is a one-chance testing policy, but those dealing it are out immediately.
Entrance and exit
Pre-entry visits are highly advised. Application forms should be submitted by November 5th in year 7, and children’s prep school assessments count for 50 per cent of the total one. Individual arrangements are made for overseas pupils and those at primaries, but all candidates are assessed at the College. Ten per cent of assessment is done via the “Durham test”, an ingenious online reasoning and number skills exercise, which even takes into account dyslexia and dyspraxia. The remaining 40 per cent of points is acquired through interviews. In order to be allowed the sixth form entry, a student needs to have a minimum of six Bs at GCSE, including English and maths.
Careers and university guidance have been upgraded and moved to the centre of the College. Around three-quarters take a gap year. Each year, between 15 and 20 students make it to Oxbridge, but very few go to London colleges.