Malvern College
College Road

, ,
WR14 3DF

Coordinates52°06′15″N 2°19′34″W / 52.1042°N 2.3261°W / 52.1042; -2.3261
TypeIndependent day and boarding
Public School
MottoSapiens qui prospicit
(Wise is the person who looks ahead)
Local authorityWorcestershire
Department for Education URN117017 Tables
Chairman of CouncilLord MacLaurin
Headteacher[1]Antony Clark
Age13 to 19[2]
PublicationThe Malvernian
School songCarmen Malvernense
Former pupilsOld Malvernians

Malvern College is an independent coeducational day and boarding school in Malvern, Worcestershire, England.[3] It is a public school in the British sense of the term and is a member of the Rugby Group and of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Since its foundation in 1865,[4][5] it has remained on the same grounds, which are located near the town centre of Great Malvern. The campus, now covering some 250 acres[3] (101 ha), is set against the backdrop of the Malvern Hills.

There are currently about 660 pupils enrolled at the school, aged between 13 and 19.[2] Additionally, there are about 310 pupils aged from 3 to 13 at The Downs, Malvern College prep school, in nearby Colwall in Herefordshire. Across the two schools, in total, there are nearly 1000 pupils.

Among the alumni of the College are at least two Commonwealth Prime Ministers, two Nobel Laureates (five Nobel Prizes including prep school alumni), an Olympic Gold medalist and many other notable persons from various fields. The novelist C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, is a former pupil of the school.

The College has four overseas campuses, Malvern College Qingdao[6] [7] and Malvern College Chengdu[8] in China, Malvern College Egypt[9] in Cairo, Egypt, and Malvern College Hong Kong located in Pak Shek Kok, New Territories, Hong Kong, adjacent to the Hong Kong Science Park, is under construction and scheduled to open in September 2018.[10]


Main College in snow
The College chapel with the Porter's Lodge and the Malvern Hills in the background

Set in the Malvern Hills, the school's location owes much to Malvern's emergence in the nineteenth century as a fashionable spa resort, appreciated for its unpolluted air and the healing qualities of its famous spring water. The school opened its doors for the first time on 25 January 1865 under the headship of the Rev. Arthur Faber. Initially, there were only twenty-four boys, of whom eleven were day boys, six masters and two houses, named Mr McDowall's (No.1) and Mr Drew's (No.2), but the new school's expansion was rapid. One year later, there were sixty-four boys.[11] By 1875, there were 200[12] on the Roll and five boarding houses ; by the end of the 19th century, the numbers had risen to more than 400 boys[13] and ten houses.[14][15] American poet Henry Longfellow visited the school in 1868,[5] Prince and Princess Christian on speech-day in 1870[5] and The Duke and Duchess of Teck visited in 1891 with their daughter, Princess May (later Queen Mary).[5] Lord Randolph Churchill's speech-day comments on education in 1889 were reported in The Times.[16] The school was one of the twenty four Public Schools listed in the Public Schools Yearbook of 1889 and was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1928.[17] Further expansion of pupil numbers and buildings continued between the end of the First World War in 1918 and the start of the Second World War in 1939. During the two Wars, 457 and 258 former pupils, respectively, gave their lives.[18] Seven former pupils were among 'the few' who took part in the Battle of Britain.[19]

During World War II, the College premises were requisitioned by the Admiralty between October 1939 and July 1940, and the school temporarily relocated to Blenheim Palace. In 1942, its premises were again needed for governmental use, on this occasion by the TRE and, from May 1942 to July 1946, the school was housed with Harrow School. QinetiQ, a private sector successor to the government's original research facility, is still sited on former college land.[20]

Having traditionally been a school for boys aged from 13 to 18 years old, in 1992 it merged with Ellerslie Girls’ School and Hillstone prep school to become a coeducational school[20] for pupils aged 3 to 18 years old. The college also departed from the full boarding tradition of the English public school and allows day pupils, although over two thirds of pupils board. In September 2008, the College's Prep School merged with The Downs prep school on the latter's nearby site in Colwall, Herefordshire to form The Downs, Malvern College Prep School.[21]

Recent developments

The year 2008 also saw the start of a multimillion-pound development scheme[22] that included a new sports complex, new athletics and viewing facilities at the pitches and two new boarding houses. The sports complex and new houses were opened in October 2009 by The Duke of York. Ellerslie House was opened for girls, commemorating the eponymous former girls' school, and the other new house has become the new permanent residence for the boys of No. 7.[23]

In 2010 part of the school suffered very serious damage when fire broke out on 10 April in one of the boarding houses.[4] The 1871 Grade II listed building which was the boarding house for 55 girls and living accommodation of the housemistress and her family,[24] was almost completely destroyed.[25] Over 70 firefighters and 13 fire engines from Malvern, Worcester and Stourport-on-Severn depots fought the blaze.[26] The fire was confined to the living quarters of the housemistress and her family, who were away at the time. No pupils were in the building, as the term had finished. The School reopened on 18 April.[4]

The Downs

Main article: The Downs Malvern

The Downs Malvern
Brockhill Road

, ,
WR13 6EY

TypeIndependent preparatory day and boarding
Department for Education URN117002 Tables
HeadmasterAlastair S Cook
Age3 to 13

The original preparatory school, Hillstone, opened in 1883. When the college went coeducational, Hillstone was absorbed into Malvern to become its prep department. The prep school merged with The Downs, a Quaker school founded in 1900, and the new school is now known as The Downs Malvern.

Boarding is available to pupils in the prep school aged 7 and above, who reside in a separate boarding house known as The Warren.[27]


The school is governed by a College Council of approximately fifteen members, chaired since 2002 by Lord MacLaurin, a former pupil himself.[28] Educationalist and former cricketer Antony Clark joined the school as Headmaster in 2008.[29]

Educational and social care standards

An Ofsted report, following an October 2010 inspection, rated the school's services against specific criteria and assigned an overall quality rating of Grade 1 (outstanding).[30] This compares to an overall rating of Grade 2 (good) in the previous report published in 2008.[14] In the latest report, "organisation" and health and safety provision were upgraded to Grade 1 while boarding accommodation was rated Grade 2. Other areas assessed included "helping children to achieve", to "make a positive contribution" and to "enjoy what they do" and these remained Grade 1 (outstanding). The report states that four recommendations made in Ofsted's last report had all been addressed and that the school "delivers an outstanding service that continues to be developed".[30][31]


While academic success is considered important, emphasis is also placed on the all-round development of the individual rather than on academic results alone.[32] In the Sixth Form, courses are offered at A-Level in art, business studies, classical civilisation, design and technology, drama and theatre studies, economics, English literature, geography, Greek, history, history of art, key skills, Latin, mathematics, modern languages (French, German, Spanish), music, music technology, physical education, politics and the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics). Further courses are available at International Baccalaureate level[33] and special arrangements are sometimes made for other courses upon request.[34]

Academic performance

In both the 2008 and 2010 Ofsted reports, a Grade 1 (outstanding) rating was assigned for "helping children to achieve", to "make a positive contribution" and to "enjoy what they do".[14] In 2010, the school was, according to OFSTED, ranked 28th among private schools for value added to its students' A Level results, placing it within the top 5% nationally.[35] In 2011, it was 79th among co-ed independent boarding schools for A-Level results.[36] The school's pupils have achieved particularly good results at IB level. In 2011, the school was ranked 18th for the average grades of its IB pupils.[37] In 2012, The Independent review of both A level and IB results, based on government-issued statistics, ranked Malvern 32nd in the UK with 1080.7 points.[38]


Generally, parents register their children up to two years in advance, in order to secure a place at age 13, through sitting a Common Entrance exam, or via the award of an open Academic Scholarship. Sixth Form entry is gained either through a scholarship exam, or by tests in the subjects to be studied. Bursaries are available for new entrants, and subject scholarships are awarded for Art, Drama, Music, Science/Technology and Sport.


The school has a strong sporting tradition. For boys' sports, some Malvernians would consider the College to be best known as a football school although its cricket sides have also produced players who have gone on to play at international level. Traditionally, sport for boys used to be split between the original 'major sports' of football, cricket, and rackets (rugby was added later), and 'minor sports'. Colours were awarded for each major sport, as appropriate. After 1995, the distinction between 'major sport' and 'minor sport' was removed. The girls' main sports are hockey and lacrosse in the winter, lacrosse and netball in the Lent Term and tennis and rounders in the summer.

The College also plays a multitude of other sports such as Rackets, Fives, Athletics, Tennis, Squash, Croquet, Basketball, Badminton and Polo. Some boys' hockey and girls' football are played.[39]

On 16 October 2009, a new sports complex and hospitality suite was opened by The Duke of York. The opening was attended by several well known sports personalities including athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, cricketers Michael Vaughan and Graham Gooch, footballer Peter Shilton, rugby union player Jason Leonard, athlete Christina Boxer and hockey player Rachel Walker.[40] The indoor complex, which was built on the site of the old sports hall and swimming pool, offers an 8 court sports hall, a dance studio and fitness suite, a climbing wall, two squash courts, a shooting range, a large function suite, and a 6 lane swimming pool and its facilities are also available for use by the wider community.[41] They are also used by Worcestershire County Cricket Club for their winter training programme.[42][43] In February 2010, the school also hosted the England Blind Cricket squad for training sessions.[44]

In November 2010 Vera Hughes opened the two newly refurbished Rackets courts. The courts were named after her husband Ron Hughes who was the Rackets Professional at Malvern from 1956 until 1986[45] The courts are now both tournament quality.


Activities offered in addition to the academic curriculum include sports (see above), Combined Cadet Force (CCF), the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, First Aid, Orchestra/Band, Orienteering, Outdoor Pursuits, Photography, Practical Engineering, Riding, and Skiing. A wider range of activities depending on the demand may also be available and include, Ballet/Dance, Ceramics, Chess, Choir, Climbing, Community Service, Current Affairs, Dancing, Debating/Public Speaking, Design/Technology, Drama/Theatre Studies, Life Saving, First Aid, Outdoor Pursuits, Photography, Practical Engineering, Textiles, and Young Enterprise.

Facilities are also available (in some cases, by prior arrangement) for independent extra-curricular activities such as journalism and music rehearsal.

Year names

Year Year Name
9 Foundation Year (FY)
10 The Remove
11 The Hundred
12 Lower Sixth (Sixth Form)
13 Upper Sixth (Sixth Form)


A House is a component of the school community and a place where pupils reside and engage in private study. Normally, a pupil remains at his chosen House until he or she leaves the school. Each house has its own colours. Competitions are regularly arranged between the Houses in a range of academic, artistic and sporting activities. With the exceptions of School House and Ellerslie House, the eleven houses at Malvern are named with numbers 1 to 9, a system which used to be used at Roedean School, a girls' school founded by the sisters of the Old Malvernian judge Sir Paul Ogden Lawrence. The houses, in order of foundation are:

House Sex House Colours
School House Boys Black, Magenta and Blue      
No. 1 Boys Red and White    
No. 2 Boys Blue and White    
No. 3 Girls Light Blue  
No. 4 Girls Maroon  
No. 5 Boys Red and Black    
No. 6 Girls Light Yellow  
No. 7 Boys Purple and Black    
No. 8 Girls Pink  
No. 9 Boys Green and Black    
Ellerslie House Girls Teal  



Commemoration Day

The main social event of the school calendar Commemoration Day, or "Commem" as it is known in the school, celebrates the founding of the school. A service is held where prizes are awarded. A cricket match then takes place between the 1st cricket XI and the Free Foresters. The inter-house Athletics competition and the Summer Concert take place on the Friday before Commem. It is held on the Saturday of Half-term in the Summer term.

The CVS Ball

The School Council organises a charity ball, a black tie themed event that takes place in the 5th week of every Autumn Term. A similar event called The Autumn Ball is held for the Lower School.

The inter-house Singing Cup Competition

This is held annually in the winter term. It is one of a number of different inter-house events on the school social calendar.

The Ledder

The Ledder, or Ledbury Run, is a 7.5-mile (12.1 km) cross country race that starts in the town of Ledbury, goes over the Malvern Hills and finishes on the Senior, the main cricket pitch in the centre of the College. The first 9 runners receive Ledder Caps. In its early days there was no organised route and pupils simply had to get back to college as fast as they could.

St. George and the Quad on Remembrance Sunday
Remembrance Sunday

On the Sunday closest to 11 November, known as Remembrance Sunday, the entire college assembles in front of St. George to await a procession of parents, alumni, guests and teachers. Two minutes silence is followed by The Last Post and a reading. Representatives of the student body (the Senior Chapel Prefect, who is the Head Boy or Girl) and of the Old Malvernian Society then place wreaths at the foot of St. George. A memorial service follows in the chapel for the more than 400 Malvernians who lost their lives in the Great War.

Carmen Malvernense

The school song was written and composed by two masters, M. A. Bayfield and R. E. Lyon. It was first sung on speech day in 1888.[5]

Exultemus, O sodales,
Iam cessare fas novales,
Paululum laxemus mentes,
Dulcem, domum repententes,
Age soror iuxta fratrem,
Celebremus Almam Matrem,
Quae nos ornat, haec ornanda,
Quae nos amat, adamanda.

The same song became the school song of Eastbourne College when Bayfield became headmaster there in 1895.[46]


The College has a history of innovation in the field of education. In 1963, it was the first independent school to have a language laboratory.[20][47] It is thought to be the first school in the country to have had a careers service.[48] Under the direction of John Lewis,[49] a former master, it pioneered Nuffield Physics in the 1960s,[50] Science in Society in the 1970s,[51][52] and the Diploma of Achievement[49] in the 1990s. At the beginning of the 1990s, Malvern College became one of the first schools in Britain to offer the choice between the International Baccalaureate and A-Levels in the Sixth Form.[20][47] The school was one of the first boys' public schools to become fully coeducational from the preparatory department all the way to sixth form.[20]

Each summer the staff and some older pupils run a summer school, Young Malvern, which incorporates many sports, activities and learning experiences. Malvern College is one of the two schools in the country (the other being Dulwich College) to offer Debating in the curriculum and pupils participate in regional and national competitions including the Debating Matters competition and the Three Counties Tournament.[53][54] The subject is compulsory at Foundation Year level.[54]

Notable alumni

See also: List of Old Malvernians

The school's alumni ("old boys") are known as Old Malvernians, or OMs. The Malvernian Society holds many annual reunions and events and Old Malvernians, including former pupils of The Downs, Hillstone, and Ellerslie schools which have merged with Malvern College, benefit from a remission in fees for their own children.[55] Other Old Malvernian clubs and societies include OM Lodge, Court Games, Golf, Sailing, Shooting, the Old Malvernians Cricket Club, and the Old Malvernians Football Club, a record breaking club competing in the Arthurian League.

Old Malvernians have been instrumental in the formation of sporting and charitable organisations such as Blackburn Rovers FC[56] and the Docklands Settlements.[57]

At least two of the school's former pupils have become Nobel Laureates. Some past pupils are royalty from various nations, and others have become Heads of State, military officers, jurists, authors, and sportspeople.

See also

List of masters of Malvern College


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  45. ^ [1]. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
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  57. ^ "What We Do : Our History", at Dockland Settlements website, archived from the original on 25 October 2006, retrieved 3 February 2012 ((citation)): Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)

Further reading

Allen, Roy (2014), Malvern College, Shire Publication Ltd, ISBN 978 0 74781 305 7