Magdalen College School’s special relationship with Oxford
Magdalen College School’s city location reflects the very diversity on which it was founded and is a key factor in making this school so unique
Magdalen College School sits in the middle of Oxford: celebrated seat of learning, yet with a modern, cosmopolitan feel. Likewise, MCS carries the same zeal for inclusivity that was laid down by founder William of Waynflete
Look out of the school gates at MCS and you are met by the spires of the University one way, and the buzz of the vibrant and cosmopolitan Cowley Road the other – it’s a little Byzantium of a place, where East meets West. In Oxford, town and gown is a concept as old as the city itself; the University is at the heart of the city and the city in turn has taken the university to its heart. The school’s association with the community around it very much reflects this unique dynamic.
MCS pupils certainly make the most of the school’s locale. Aside from the fantastic facilities of Magdalen College on the doorstep, musicians get to play in iconic performance venues such as The Sheldonian Theatre, the Holywell Music Room, the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building and SJE Arts. Dramatists put on regular shows at the Oxford Playhouse, the Burton Taylor Studio and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, while artists need only look up to be inspired.
Many of these opportunities arrive though the school’s flagship Arts Festival, which showcases the school’s commitment to the arts, with a colourful mix of music, drama, art, literature, talks, workshops and entertainment. The annual extravaganza gets to the heart of the city, its culture and its people. It is on offer to the whole community and is deliberately all-encompassing, enabling the school to swap and share a great richness of resources with its neighbours.
MCS partners with City and County Councils and the university, receiving important funding to facilitate an ever-growing programme of events. This year the school also received funding from Arts Council England in recognition of its pioneering outreach initiatives. Almost 2,000 children from over 35 local schools benefitted from participation in the Festival’s projects, with young people across Oxford involved in workshops over several months leading up to the Festival.
MCS also regularly welcomes its neighbours, with primary schools activity days, a gifted and talented summer school, a medics’ conference and a professional subject degrees conference, while Sixth Formers put aside half a day a week to go out and work in the community. These events help shape essential connections between inner-school life and the life around MCS: a key element of the educational package the school provides and of its sustained academic success.