Book Corner: Magdalen College School

New release from Bloomsbury Publishing offers a new history of one of the UK’s oldest independent schools

Independent schools are a key part of English heritage, part of an education system consistently regarded as the best in the world. Modern school leaders will, therefore, be interested to learn about one of the country’s oldest schools and its evolution over the centuries.

Founded in the grounds of Magdalen College 500 years ago, Magdalen College School has been educating centuries of students in Oxford. Originally intended to offer free tuition in grammar, it has attracted students from all walks of life and from all around the UK during its history including two of Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellors in Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More, James Bond director Sam Mendes, and Basil Blackwell, founder of the Blackwell’s chain of bookshops. 

From a period of initial success, the fortunes of the school have waxed and waned over the centuries, even coming close to closure thanks to its commitment to offering places to children from poorer backgrounds and the changing educational landscape of the UK. 

Today, it has become one of the premier independent schools in the country, having cut the umbilical cord with the Oxford college and now admits girls into its Sixth Form after five centuries of being solely a boy’s school. Thanks to its unmatched heritage, Magdalen College School has a rich and engaging history, which this book brings to life with colour illustrations and photographs.

At 96 pages, the slim volume covers significant periods in the school’s history including ‘The Grammar School and the New Learning’, ‘The Quiet Years’ and ‘Towards the Present’.

Buy from the Bloomsbury website here.


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