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The Marlborough School
Established 1939
Type Academy
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Mrs. Julie Fenn
Specialism Humanities, Business and Enterprise & (Sport)
Location Shipton Road
OX20 1LP
England England Coordinates: 51°50′56″N 1°20′28″W / 51.849°N 1.341°W / 51.849; -1.341
Local authority Oxfordshire County Council
Students 1,032
Gender Co-educational
Ages 11–18
Colours Navy & White          
Publication Marlborough News
Website Marlborough School

The Marlborough School is a co-educational Church of England secondary school with academy status[1] in the small market town of Woodstock, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Oxford. The school's catchment area includes Woodstock and surrounding villages. The school is named after the Duke of Marlborough whose ancestral home, Blenheim Palace, is in Woodstock. It has been included in The Sunday Times Parent Power Top Schools lists.[2]

In the 2008-2009 academic year the school enrolled more than a thousand pupils. It is the second most over-subscribed school in Oxfordshire, after Cherwell. [3]


Although Geoffrey Chaucer once taught at a school in Woodstock and, in the 16th century, the town had its own free grammar school, The Marlborough School was opened in 1939 by the Bishop of Dorchester, suffragan bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Oxford. The original school was created as a single building which has become known as the main block. There is a foundation stone bearing the details of the opening of the school at the main entrance. The interior of the main block has been remodelled extensively over the years.

After World War II pre-fabricated ex-army barracks were erected at the west end of the site. At various times these were used for home economics teaching and as a sixth form common room.

The music and science buildings, sports hall, library and cafeteria were added in the 1970s.


The school suffered particularly badly from the underfunding of English state education in the 1980s and early 1990s under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. Some of the Foreign Language Department and some parts of the English and Science Departments were based in temporary Portakabin classrooms on the east of the site. The largest of these, "the battleship" erected in the late 1990s was only replaced almost a decade later.

From the 1970s through to the 1990s, the school had a reputation as a progressive comprehensive, with a focus on teaching how to learn and how to socialise, which it did with varying degrees of success. Former headmaster, Mr A.G. O'Hagan, favoured CSEs (Certificate of Secondary Education, achievement graded by 1-5, 5 the lowest and 1 an equivalent to a C grade or above at O Level) over GCE (General Certificate of Education) O Level examinations as he prioritised cumulative and cooperative learning over competition. O'Hagan could be said to have been ahead of his time: The two examinations have since been replaced by the modern GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

Unfortunately, the emphasis on CSEs left some school leavers from this era at a disadvantage and was a contributing factor to the Marlborough School's GCE underperformance. During this time, Mr. O'Hagan and his staff imagined a future where technology would replace many manual jobs and create increased leisure time; thus sports, hobbies and community service were encouraged. Although, even from the beginning of the sixth form, pupils gained places at Oxford, Cambridge and other leading British universities, this went against the socialist ethos at that time. Whether the imagined future that staff allegedly foresaw has been proved right is highly questionable.

Edward McConnell, headmaster from the late 1980s to the early 2000s increased emphasis on the importance of examinations with success.

Starting in the late 1990s, new language, mathematics and sixth form blocks were built to complement the existing science, music, library/cafeteria buildings and sports hall.

21st century[edit]

In 2007, plans were unveiled for a £1-million school building with a new theatre, cinema and conference venue. This building, the Marlborough Enterprise Centre, opened in early 2007 and saw a student-led production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in July of the same year.

In 2010, a £3.8-million science center, dedicated to the memory of Oxfordshire County Councillor Brian Hodgson, was opened by Prof. Peter Dobson, director of Oxford University's Begbroke Science Park, and was blessed by the Bishop of Dorchester the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher.

Every other year the School produces a Summer Show. These have included Oliver!, Grease, The Wizard of Oz and Bugsy Malone.

The annual Presentation Assemblies invite notable local people to hand students their awards.

The Marlborough School Chamber Choir has toured in Europe a number of times; visiting places such as Venice, Prague, the Santa Maria de Montserrat and Barcelona. In July 2009 they travelled to Strasbourg and performed 3 concerts in and around the city. They have also performed Christmas Carols at Blenheim Palace in 2007 and 2008, and even released various records. Choristers from The Marlborough School Chamber Choir were recently interviewed by Phil Mercer of BBC Oxford to discuss their tour plans and their music programme.

Marlborough students enjoy outdoor sports in Blenheim Park as well as a yearly "Fun Run" which pays for The Woodstock Pensioners Annual Christmas Dinner.

On October 1, 2012 the school converted to academy status.

Elective System[edit]

Students at the Marlborough School all enroll onto an Electives System. The school dedicates 2 lessons on Wednesday afternoons for pupils to engage in extra curricular activities. At the end of a school year, students receive an Electives Brochure, and an Electives form, which allows students to choose an extra curricular activity for the next years. The students choose 6 options, putting them on the form in order of preference. It is then sorted that 3 of the 6 are chosen. Normally preference 1 is done in term 1, preference 2 in term 2 and preference 3 in term 3.

While most electives are free, some electives have a cost for transport and entrance to the venue. Students can choose a variety of electives, from ones that help to improve fitness, to coursework and school work help, to personal leisure. The system is broad in choices, ranging from the Duke of Edinburgh Award, to Needlework to Showjumping and Dressage.

Ormerod Department[edit]

Since 2005, The Marlborough School has included an embedded unit from the Ormerod School in Headington. This enables children with disabilities in Oxfordshire to be educated in a mainstream secondary school. On 1 September 2007 the two schools merged on the Woodstock site and the Headington site was closed.

Ormerod School was named after the physician Sir Arthur Latham Ormerod (born 1870), a son of the physician Edward Latham Ormerod. From 1901 until 1929 Sir Arthur was Oxford's first Medical Officer for Health. In 1928 he instigated the founding of the Ormerod School in Headington.[4]

Rupert Friend, Actor (Pride and Prejudice)/(Prince Albert)

The Sixth Form[edit]

The Sixth Form at Marlborough is an essential and integral body of the school. The students are mostly non-leavers from previous years however newcomers are welcomed. The Sixth Formers are allowed privileges which Year 7-11 students are denied, such as, a free dress code, meaning no school uniform is required. Students are allocated free periods in which they are expected to study, they have assigned rooms for only sixth form students in regards to this. The Sixth Form Common room is a hall assigned to Years 12 and 13 in which the majority of the Sixth Form relax, however the conservatory wing of the cafeteria is reserved for sixth form students as well as staff and guests. The Sixth Form also enjoy their 'Sixth Form Garden', which is attached to their Common Room. This garden contains 2 benches dedicated to the memory of students who have died.

There are approximately 220 members of the Marlborough School Sixth Form.

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlborough_School_(Woodstock) — Please support Wikipedia.
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