Malvern College Review

Popular with international students, this co-ed day and boarding secondary school offers the IB and A Levels and a strong full-boarding experience in a very rural setting that lends itself to plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 26,500
Annual fees
GBP 26,553 - 26,553
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1865
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr Keith Metcalfe
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Malvern College
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 26,500
Annual fees
GBP 26,553 - 26,553
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1865
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr Keith Metcalfe
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Popular with international students, this co-ed day and boarding secondary school offers the IB and A Levels and a strong full-boarding experience in a very rural setting that lends itself to plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors.

Set within the rolling hills of the beautiful Worcestershire countryside, Malvern College has one of the most beautiful and natural backdrops for an education. Offering both the IB and A Levels, and with a third of its students coming from overseas, this secondary school for girls and boys is a truly cosmopolitan campus for students with an international outlook.

With plenty of English boarding school character, this Victorian 19th Century campus is renowned for its excellent modern language teaching, outstanding academic results, focus on outdoor pursuits, and breadth of sports education. It has also taken great strides into the future with modern facilities, including a truly impressive sports complex with breathtaking views.

Malvern College was founded in 1865 in the UK and, together with its primary school, The Downs Malvern, has provided over 150 years of education for both boys and girls aged from 3 to 18 years. The College is known as an innovator in education, having pioneered the adoption of Nuffield Science (the introduction of experiments into Science education), Language Laboratories, Ingenuity tests, and the Duke of Edinburgh (International) award scheme, among other educational innovations.

However, the College is not only known for its innovation, but also its academic success. It consistently receives Outstanding rankings from the Office for Standards in Education and the International Schools Inspectorate (OFSTED), the UK Government Schools Inspection Bureau, and the ISI (International Schools Inspectorate).

Malvern College was rated Excellent in its most recently available ISI Educational Quality report (2017). Inspectors found that:

"The school aims for pupils to have a firm commitment to deep-rooted values, referred as the Malvern Qualities. It strives for balance between individual achievement and teamwork, and to promote pupils' skills as confident leaders."

The College strongly believes in the importance of both academic and extra-curricular education, and was one of the first UK schools to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which it feels offers the best-suited curriculum to ensure a well-rounded education. Malvern College is now deemed to be among the best and most established IB schools in the UK, and routinely beats the world average IB Diploma scores in all subject areas.

The College’s IB graduates regularly average over 36 points (against a world average of 29.9 over the same 11-year period) and 26% of students on average have scored 40 points or more (40 points normally being considered to be the Oxford and Cambridge minimum entry requirement).

Reflecting its broad educational focus, alumni include two prime ministers, three Nobel Prize winners, famous writer C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, as well as many business and social leaders and world class artists, musicians, and athletes.

The curriculum

Teaching from Year 9 at Malvern College follows the National Curriculum of England and works towards GCSEs in Year 11 (or in Year 10 for the most able students). All students study English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Design & Technology, Art, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Debating, Information Technology, and Life Skills. In addition, most take French, Latin, Spanish, and German.

The College is certainly for the internationally minded student. At sixth form it offers a choice of A Levels and IB programme, and there is approximately a 50% split of students studying each; both college courses offer equal and excellent support for students.

The school has also developed a Super Curriculum, which extends learning in the classroom through lectures and societies, academic competitions, presentations, debates, and research. It is one of many examples of how the College endeavours to further students’ interests and stimulate the intellectually curious.

Another strength here is the school’s focus on developing specific character traits, the so-called ‘Malvern Qualities’. Linked to the IB Learner Profile, which helps to prepare students taking the IB Diploma Programme later on, these qualities really define a Malvern education beyond the academic curriculum. A reminder that Malvern is far from being an academic hot house, these qualities encourage students to develop personal characteristics such as self-awareness, humility, kindness, and independence.

Malvern College is also huge on sports, and it takes full advantage of its fantastic rural setting to offer cross-country running, kayaking, canoeing, and horse-back riding. There are special elite programmes for high-level athletes, a new sports centre with Olympic-sized pool, a state-of-the-art gym, and a climbing wall. With its quality facilities and wide choice of sporting programmes, the College has become a top choice for sporty students.

If your child prefers dance, drama, and art to sport, then the College also has plenty to offer. There are dedicated departments for the arts, music, drama, and design and technology, each providing the most modern facilities for students to take the limelight and perform or create. Whether performing on a fine Steinway piano in a 150-seat recital hall, or silver smithing in a modern design workshop, students have a wealth of specialist facilities to learn in a different atmosphere with a different set of rules. The arts curriculum is supported by a rich co-curricular programme, there is an Elite Art Programme offering further opportunities for students to meet artists and designers, and students are encouraged to play a full part in all aspects of theatre, whether as an actor, stage manager, costume assistant, or technician.

Beyond the classroom

With the Malvern Hills on its doorstep, the College takes full advantage of its location to offer a wide choice of outdoor pursuits. There are many opportunities here for students to explore beyond the classroom walls, whether on an orienteering expedition with the Duke of Edinburgh Award or unwinding with a weekend walk in the countryside.

There is a very varied co-curricular programme that covers Creative, Action and Service; every Tuesday, students are strongly encouraged to take part in a volunteering activity, from dog-walking to working in the local charity shops.

Students are provided with leadership opportunities such as joining the Prefect Team or being on the Student Council and organising their own school activities under teachers’ supervision. And students can take part in adventure mountaineering and military exercises in the Combined Cadet Force.

In line with the experience of a traditional boarding school, Malvern College has a house system, boarding house dining, evening activities, and weekend field trips. Bred from the boarding school environment, there is a strong pastoral system, which includes a mentorship programme, weekly assemblies, daily form time, personal tutors, character education classes, and career and guidance counsellors.

Academic results

The College’s broad and challenging academic programme reaps strong results.

In 2021, 47% of the International Baccalaureate (IB) cohort achieved at least 40 points and above (out of a maximum of 45 points). Two students were awarded the highest possible score of 45 points. The school has not yet published its average score. In 2020, a third of the cohort achieved 40 points and above, which placed them in the top 9% of pupils studying the IB Diploma worldwide. 

In 2020, 26% of GCSE grades were at Level 9; 45% at Level 9 - 8 and 67% at Level 9 - 7. third of the International Baccalaureate (IB) cohort achieved 40 points and above (out of a maximum of 45 points); this placed them in the top 9% of pupils studying the IB Diploma worldwide.

At A Level, students attained 45% A* - A grades and 71% A* - B grades.

While much is made of the academic success of Malvern College, a commitment to a personalised and individualised approach to learning means that the College puts programmes and personnel in place to support students with both special educational and gifted needs. Students with special education needs (SEN) are supported through a personalised approach, with the use of specialists and special programmes. More able and gifted students benefit from enrichment in mathematics, languages, science, and the arts through individual programmes designed to pace and accelerate learning appropriately.

Campus and facilities

The College’s beautiful 250-acre horseshoe-shaped campus has plenty of natural, historical, and architectural character that will make students coming from far and wide feel ‘at home’. Alongside its Victorian Gothic chapel and buildings, there are modern arts and sports facilities, well-manicured playing fields, and tree-lined pathways. Academic facilities include a dedicated library, arts and technology and music buildings, science blocks, and humanities building. Sport and arts facilities include a theatre, recital hall, tennis and netball courts, main cricket square, 25-metre pool, shooting range, dance and fitness studios, climbing wall, squash courts, and an in-house physio centre.

There are 11 boarding houses, six for boys and five for girls, each with single, two- and three-bedrooms, dining hall, and cosy common rooms filled with sofas, beanbags, and walls covered with students’ artwork – a great effort has been made here to make it feel like a home away from home.

Admission and fees

Malvern College is a selective school, and students hoping to enrol into Year 9 must sit the 13+ Common Entrance (CE) exam taken in June of the year of entry; entry for later years is also subject to an exam. The College has a very cosmopolitan student body, with 70% of pupils coming from within a 100-mile radius of the school and the remaining 30% from more than 40 nationalities.

The school has a strong boarding spirit, and 80% its students are full boarders. It's details such as all students eating in their boarding houses that help to create the very strong feeling of belonging within these boarding houses.

Term fees are £13,250 for boarding students and £8,851 for day students. The College offers a wide range of 13+ and 16+ scholarships in the following categories: Academic, Art, Drama, Design and Technology, Music, and Sport.

International students from Asia may be interested to know that Malvern College has a growing network of overseas campuses. In September 2012, Malvern College established its first overseas campus, Malvern College Qingdao, in partnership with Babylon Education, a Hong Kong based education group. Despite its short history, the school has established a strong reputation and its students have received offers from leading universities including University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Los Angeles, and Imperial College London. Malvern College also has campuses in Hong Kong.

Best for

• Boarding and international students
• Students looking for a UK-based education with a large international culture
• Studying the IB Diploma Programme
• A balanced indoor-outdoor education

Not for

• Those seeking a single sex education
• An examination hot house education
• Anyone looking for a city-based/urban education

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