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A Love of Learning at Magdalen College School

A Love of Learning at Magdalen College School

Following another year of exam success, Magdalen College School has maintained its elite academic status. However this doesn’t tell the whole story
A Love of Learning at Magdalen College School

Most don’t want to finish at 4pm...

Top exam results don’t show the distinctive spirit of the school that makes them possible, in the same way that league tables don’t display the special learning philosophy that powers the school to the top of them


Visitors to MCS do not come away with an impression of elite academia, but rather of a down-to-earth school, full of activity and buzz, with an inclusive and collaborative feel.

It is outside the curriculum that the jewel in the MCS crown is found: where active and engaged young people make successful students; where sports and activities encourage teamwork, communication and responsibility; and where learning about subjects outside the curriculum helps cultivate a passion for what goes on inside it.

Many a school will shout about the strength of their extra-curricular offering, but there are none who have managed to fuse an active and rounded education with sustained academic success quite like MCS. The school day at MCS is as long as each pupil wants it to be – and it’s testament to the school that most clearly don’t want it to finish at 4pm.

There are myriad clubs, activities and study opportunities going on throughout the day, the week and often at weekends too, and students certainly make the most of them.

Music is an integral part of MCS life and the school enjoys a long-standing tradition of musical excellence and unrivalled links with historical Oxford venues. Learning an instrument or joining an ensemble is important not only in developing technical skills but also in fostering a strong sense of community.

Meanwhile Drama is thriving. With at least three major productions each year, the scope for the serious and the budding thespian is huge. MCS benefits from a collaboration with the Oxford Playhouse, with which it shares a Director in Residence, hugely extending its drama capabilities and performance venues.

MCS Arts Festival Oxford takes place in the final weeks of the summer term and the school, the University and the city join together to put on a wide array of events around the city’s iconic hotspots. People of all ages benefited from an unprecedented breadth of offerings this year and none more so than the MCS boys and girls, who were involved in an array of arty pursuits that facilitated their learning.

The school’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) offers the opportunity for pupils to develop leadership and team skills, and the school’s Community Services Organisation (CSO) enables students to broaden their experience beyond the confines of the school and cultivate a sense of social responsibility and initiative.

In the Sixth Form, students choose a topic for a personal research project, known as the Waynflete Studies programme, which is unique to MCS and greatly enhances Sixth Formers’ curricular studies, whilst also offering invaluable support for their university applications. Tuition initially takes the form of lectures and seminars before moving towards tutorials with experts from the University and beyond.

From the youngest student to the oldest, there is something for everyone at MCS to support and expand their education; pupils are active and engaged, build close friendships, learn key life skills and develop a passion for learning that leads to achievement in the classroom. Therefore, as a new academic year begins and the school reflects on another year of outstanding exam results, the school’s extra-curricular offering will continue to be central to life at MCS and the building block on which its sustained success is built.


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