Marlborough's longstanding liberal tradition has been reinforced by changes made in recent years to the admissions system.
Since 2009, pupils have been admitted to the College as a result of an Assessment that occurs in the Easter Term of Year 7. The prolonged doubt caused by long waiting lists and the acute disappointments caused by the reliance on Common Entrance as the determining factor for admittance necessitated the creation of another system. Full boarding is ideal for some children but it needs to be thought about carefully, and sometimes parents do not consider this form of education until relatively late in the day.
It is important for the College that they should not be penalized for taking time to reach such an important decision, and so we do not accept any registrations earlier than four years before the intended date of entry. The current Admissions system was devised to encourage the diversity that is such a pronounced feature of a Marlborough education. We are looking for good all-rounders, and so extra-curricular contributions and character are considered as carefully as ability in the classroom.
The candidate's head's reference is very important in the decision making process. The academic part of this is confirmed by a test designed for Marlborough by Durham University, but this is worth only 10% of the Assessment and is generally of marginal significance. Two interviews take place at the College, and in these we are looking for potential and a willingness to engage in the life of a busy boarding school. Places are offered at the beginning of March and guarantee pupils a place in the College. We still ask pupils to undertake the Common Entrance exam in the following year in order to keep them on the boil and to help us with setting purposes. However, the exam does not decide whether a child gets into the school. We appreciate that some schools, particularly those overseas, may not prepare children for this exam and of course we make allowances for this.
The current Admissions system helps parents to plan ahead with greater certainty and it enables the College to cast a broader net in order to attract good pupils who will benefit from the great range of opportunities on offer and who will be willing to accept invitations to explore.
The change in the College's Scholarship policy has also helped to broaden access. Those who have a proven need for bursarial support will need to win an award, but an increased number of these have been made available in order to help those who would otherwise be unable to come. Details about Awards and the College's Bursary Policy can be seen elsewhere on the website.