A very warm welcome to the new academic year and I hope that you, your families and friends had an enjoyable, well-earned break, whether long or short, over the summer weeks.
In brilliant news, our pupils’ exam results were fantastic this summer and I owe every member of staff, from those who taught them, to those who cared for them in their Houses, to those who prepared meals three times a day for them and far beyond, my sincere thanks. It has been a real pleasure to have heard from so many of our leavers this year as they expressed their appreciation for all the support they received which enabled them to achieve all they did. With no Covid-related concessions for our candidates this year and a year group whose formative years were impacted so severely by the pandemic, this year was going to be a real test of one of the strands of our strategy – that of academic ambition – and I could not have been more thrilled by the outcomes.
This year we recorded our most impressive scores since the reforms to A levels eight years ago, surpassing the 2019 grades which were much-mentioned in the press. The average Marlburian left the College this summer with grades equivalent to 3 As alongside committing fully to all the other co-curricular, outreach and social activities that being in a full boarding school involves. All of our Oxbridge candidates met their offers and seven medics and vets will head off to their respective schools either this year or next which is a record in recent years.
At GCSE, our results were, again, record breaking and far outstripped our performance in 2019. For the third year in a row Marlborough had a pupil in the top 20 in the country for their performance across all subjects and we congratulate Lottie J on her superb and richly deserved 12 grade 9s.
And, of course, academic ambition is much more than top grades – it is our determination to ensure that every pupil is ambitious for themselves academically, whatever their level, potential and eventual outcome; what is important is that they enjoy and feel fully engaged in the academic life of the school, and that they strive to achieve the very best that they can in all that they do. I do believe that in 2023 we achieved this and I feel immensely proud of this community, both pupils and colleagues.
And for the year ahead? The values at our core remain those of community, ambition, service and initiative.
We launched an ambitious and record-breaking bursary fundraising campaign in March to increase the number of pupils on full bursaries to 100 over the next 10 years and our Chairman of Council’s departing gift to the College in July was to help us work through the complex sale of the Estate of Trevalga in Cornwall, bringing an incredible £10million to our bursary fundraising pot. In only 5 months since the launch, our total is now over £20million and there are launches taking place in the Far East and in the US this term, the school walk in a few days’ time and a telephone campaign towards the end of the year yet to come.
This community’s involvement thus far has been brilliant – and I do want to thank Sam Brooks, our SSI, for sailing and running – in treacherous conditions at times – from Land’s End to Marlborough this summer and raising a terrific £4,265 for bursaries. I hope you can see that, step by step, we as a school are expanding our reach, supporting more schools, people and causes locally and beyond. And of course, we remain entirely committed to the ongoing enrichment of our exceptional co-curricular, spiritual and pastoral provision.
I look forward to the new academic year and I wish you all a happy, healthy and very successful term.