Magdalen College School has always benefited from a diversity of excellence.
MCS was founded with the aim of giving pupils the best possible education and Waynflete wished it to be open to all pupils whomsoever. The school offered, as it does today, a transformative education in our global city.
In line with Waynflete’s ideals, we know that our success is secured in large part by the excellence and diversity of our pupil body.
Governors and successive Masters have worked hard to retain a broad mix of pupils at MCS. Oxford as a modern city is socially diverse and we know that pupils who can flourish here and contribute to the unique MCS family can come from any part of our community.
Oxford, of all global cities, should never allow the potential of suitably able and motivated boys and girls to go unfulfilled. It is by being true to our past that we secure our future path.
As the global population faces the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, the need for bursaries and hardships funds – to secure that diversity of excellence so inherent to MCS – will likely grow from 2020 onwards. We know that financial hardship is unevenly distributed amongst our current families and also those who may hope to join us in future.
To this end, MCS has taken the following immediate steps:
It is of course likely that this is not going to be a short term problem for our current families, and we may lose pupils who would otherwise have applied to us. Our challenge is to minimise this risk, so that MCS can continue to enjoy the diversity of excellence which sits at the heart of its success.
Each year approximately 10% of the Senior School has financial support to attend, which equates to about 75 to 80 pupils who have some help with fees.
It will cost roughly £140,000 to fund a child through Magdalen College School on a 100% bursary.
Donated funds contribute between £70,000 to £100,000 yearly to support current pupils, with further hardship gifts helping on costs such as school trips and visits.
Bursaries will be the main focus of our fundraising in the months and years to come.
You can help by supporting the bursaries and hardship funds – through a single or regular gift – for pupils in school now.
We are grateful to all OWs who have in the past helped us build a fund of £80,000 to address hardship, and this will immediately start to be used to support pupils.
To give an example of the power of such regular giving, if 20 people each gave £30 per month for a year, with Gift Aid that would be £9,000 – the equivalent of a 50% bursary for one pupil for a year.
Below we share the inspiring stories of two MCS bursary recipients.
It was my father who really encouraged me to apply to MCS. I worried about not getting in, and even more about not being able to take up a place due to funding. But I wanted to take five A-levels and I couldn’t do that at my current school – so that was strong motivation to at least to try.
Somewhat to my surprise, I got in. And I got offered a bursary and a grant from a local trust which covered all the school fees. So I came to MCS for sixth form, and absolutely loved it.
Maybe the best thing about MCS was that the teachers were so passionate about the subjects they taught, and that really inspired you.
I don’t think I would have got into Cambridge if I hadn’t gone to MCS. When I went for interview, I could talk about my subject with passion and knowledge. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without things like the academic societies and the Waynflete Studies project at MCS.
I know it’s the bursary support that made all this possible for me. I hope such a spirit of generosity will always be part of the school’s ethos.
(Ronak began undertaking research projects at A level, achieved a prize-winning First in Economics at Cambridge and was ranked first in the first year of her MPhil at Oxford. Alongside her degrees, she has continued to gain experience in development research projects and is now a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard.)
Leo came to MCS as a refugee from war-torn Europe. He and his family escaped to Britain from Brussels in a convoy that saw the ship ahead of them torpedoed following the Nazi occupation of Belgium in May 1940.
Leo’s exceptional scholarly abilities saw him supported by the British council to attend MCS, where he boarded from September 1942 until the end of the war. He returned to Brussels with his family after the war, and still resides there. Leo’s memoir, Seven Nines, and the oral history he recorded in 2017 are held in the MCS Archive.
As an expression of gratitude for the support he received as a boy, Leo has in turn supported bursaries at MCS for years. With his generosity, MCS has endowed two bursaries and one general bursary, as well as a Sixth Form bursary.
Whatever the future may hold, these funds mean the school will always be able to offer places to two pupils of talent.
In the longer term, the only way to make such opportunities a sustainable reality is to create a re-foundation of the school.
The school became independent of Magdalen College in the 1980s with no endowment, unlike similar schools of such age and standing. While the school allocates a small percentage of fee income to an endowment fund, protecting the current position of 10% of the Senior School on bursaries will take more than thirty years to achieve.
We have the ambitious aim of accelerating this timescale.
Endowing a named bursary in perpetuity requires a capital sum of £450,000.
Our immediate goal is to raise a named bursary in memory of former teacher Nigel Bates. Through the generosity of an OW who was Nigel’s pupil, gifts up to £50,000 will be matched in contribution to the Nigel Bates bursary.
Gifts towards endowed bursaries are the focus of the 1480 Society, which recognises those who give more than £1,480 a year to this cause. It would take 300 such gifts to endow a bursary.
To learn more about the Society, please follow the link below.
Gift Aid allows all gifts to be increased by 25% and all the figures here include Gift Aid.
Legacy gifts are a way to support the school without impacting your current income. We welcome into the Bob Stanier Society those leaving a gift to MCS in their will – find out more below.