Overview of MCS

P1020059Brackley and its surrounding area

The market town of Brackley is ideally situated on the Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire border, 20 miles from Oxford, Northampton and Milton Keynes and 7 miles from the M40 motorway.

Students come to Magdalen College School from the three primary schools in Brackley and the surrounding village schools.  However, parental choice has led to an intake from an even larger area including schools in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and places at the school are in demand.

History and Organisation

Magdalen College School is a new-style converter academy, serving the 11-19 age range in the Brackley area. In the most recent OfSTED inspection many strengths were identified and the school is judged to good with a number of areas of outstanding practice.  We have seen significant improvements in exam results and continue to drive towards our aim of becoming an outstanding school.  Through its voluntary controlled status it preserves its ancient links with Magdalen College, Oxford.  Its oldest buildings date from mediaeval times. Northamptonshire and Magdalen College, Oxford, worked together to merge the two grammar schools and the secondary school in the town, and to establish in 1973 the re-organised Magdalen College School on two sites - the Waynflete Buildings and the St John's Buildings. The two buildings are only a few minutes' walk apart.  

We are justly proud of our heritage and view the split-site provision in a positive way.  Although most of the teaching takes place at the Waynflete site, Music, Business Studies, some Science and some Boys' PE are taught at St John's.  The Thomas Godwin 16-19 centre was opened to provide much-needed facilities for our sixth form, currently approximately 250 students.


There are approximately 90 teachers and about 80 support staff, providing a very wide range of support services and playing a full part in the life and development of the school.

Colleagues are led by the Leadership Group which currently comprises the Headteacher, two Deputy Headteachers and three Assistant Heads and the Business Director.  The school is preparing to move towards a faculty structure in which teaching areas will be led by seven heads of faculty.  These post-holders will form a part of the extended leadership of the school.  Heads of Faculty will be supported by other TLR holders who will provide the strategic and operational leadership of each area.

A leading practitioner supports the senior staff to develop teaching and learning across the school through the provision of internal training, one-to-one coaching and individualised support.

The pastoral team comprises leaders of learning, one for each of years 7 – 11 and one who oversees the sixth form.  In the new structure these postholders will be supported each by a pastoral support assistant who will provide the pastoral support required for each year group, manage attendance and liaise with parents.

Staff development

Many opportunities are used to support the professional development of staff.  The school is linked to several initial training organisations and a comprehensive induction programme is offered to new staff, and NQTs in particular.


Our curriculum is fully inclusive and has been constructed to comply with the requirements of the National Curriculum, the needs of employers, colleges and universities and the aims of our school, and to cater for a broad and balanced curriculum for all our students. Courses are offered in a wide range of AS and A2 subjects.  It is a dynamic curriculum, designed to meet the changing needs of the students as they pass through the school.

Beyond the Classroom

One of the distinctive features of Magdalen College School is the wide range of extra-curricular activities and educational visits on offer to students.  Students achieve great success, especially in Public Speaking, Drama, Music, Sport and Young Enterprise.  The aim is to cater for the interests and abilities of all students and to encourage everyone to participate; uptake of these opportunities is very high. The governors are keen to appoint staff who can contribute to this programme.

Guidance and Careers

Information, advice, guidance and support is provided through a comprehensive programme from year 7 to year 13.  It is an integral part of the Personal and Social Development programme in Years 9 to 13.

In Year 10 students consider the range of job and career choices that will be open to them in the world of work. They will all participate in Work Experience for two weeks.   All Year 11 students are given a mock interview with members of the rotary club and a “destinations” interview with a member of senior staff.

In Year 12 and 13 students are given advice on an individual basis.  Students are guided through the UCAS process by their tutor or advised on employment. Year 12 students participate in Work Experience for two weeks.

Parental Involvement

Good relationships with parents are vital to the school.  We place a strong emphasis on communications with parents through a school newsletter, annual reports, parents' evenings, e-mail and letters to inform parents about their child's progress, and the school website.


We work very closely with our feeder primary schools to ensure a smooth transition from year 6 to 7 and all feeder schools and Magdalen College School is a member of a cluster company – BALP (Brackley Area Learning Partnership).  This enables the shared purchase of goods and services and has cemented well-established curriculum links between ourselves and our feeder school, supporting high levels of collaboration at subject level.  Very close links with neighbouring secondary schools are established through the SWANEP – The South and West Areas of Northants Education Partnership, whose principal role is the sharing of effective practice between schools.


The success of the school depends upon the strength and cohesion of the entire staff.  We have a skilled and dedicated team who work well together and have created a positive atmosphere.  The governors are keen to appoint people of considerable all-round ability and commitment to develop our work.