The Manchester Grammar School

The Manchester Grammar School
The Manchester Grammar School
School Type:
The Manchester Grammar School, Old Hall Lane, Manchester M13 0XT
M13 0XT
Manchester (Greater)
0161 224 7201 ext 243
total – c.1660; Sixth Form – c.400; Junior School – c.220
£5,060 per term
The Admissions Office ( Admissions Manager Kath Heathcote )

The Manchester Grammar School aims to educate the brightest young minds in the North of England regardless of their social, cultural, religious and financial background, as one of the country’s leading educational establishments.
The Manchester Grammar School has a rich history. Hugh Oldham, a local boy who went on to become Bishop of Exeter, founded The Manchester Grammar School in 1515.  He had the highest aspirations for MGS, and each year we fulfil his vision of being an academic school for boys of all backgrounds. During the last 500 years, the School has evolved, and it has been the ability of the School to adapt and develop which has helped us to remain one of the country’s outstanding academic schools. The School had its first alumni dinner in 1781, which is thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in the country. An interesting fact about the school is that for the first 300 years of its history, MGS was lit by candles and later gas lamps. It was only in 1905 that a brighter future appeared in view with the installation of electric lights at the School buildings.
The School’s motto is “sapere aude” which roughly translates as “dare to be wise”. This phrase was first used by Horace, the Roman poet, in his book of Epistles, but it became better known in the 18th century, after the publication of an essay by the Philosopher Immanuel Kant entitled: Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment. In this essay he writes: “Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own understanding, is therefore, the motto of the enlightenment.” The School’s motto remains an important part of everyday life, as we seek to educate young men and to equip them to have the courage to use the understanding they gain from this.
The school holds religious assemblies run by Sixth Form pupils every Friday, with five options (Jewish, Muslim, Indian, Christian and non-religious). Many pupils may (and regularly) go to whichever assembly interests them, regardless of their faith. The diversity of the boys at MGS is one of the greatest strengths and most distinctive characteristics of the school.
A tradition for every pupil from The Manchester Grammar School is to visit the Owl’s Nest at Disley. It was given to the School by High Master J.L. Paton who purchased the land and arranged for a hut that had been an officers’ mess in WWI to be relocated to the site. The original ex-Army hut was opened at Christmas 1920, but it was destroyed by a German bomb on 23 December 1940, and a replacement was then provided in 1950. The building is used by forms and activity groups from MGS as a base for various outdoor trips and camping expeditions. It is often used by classes in Years 7 and 8, who spend a weekend there with their form teachers and form prefects.
Activities week is also a long-standing tradition at MGS. For one week in the summer term, all teaching stops and every boy in the School elects to do a week-long activity. Typically, around 450 boys go on residential trips, which include visits to: Bassenthwaite Camp (watersports activities); Borrowdale Camp (walking activities); Grasmere Camp (mountaineering activities) and Wye Camp (multi-activity).
At The Manchester Grammar School, the concept of service and of giving something back to the community is part of the time-honoured ethos and goes far back in our history. Our very established Community Action programme is an important and distinctive feature of life at MGS and takes many forms: paired reading at primary schools, distribution of food at Harvest and gifts at Christmas in deprived areas of Salford, visiting the elderly, teaching English as an additional language, recycling schemes, gardening, and working with special schools. There is an expectation that all our boys will be involved in Community Action at some point in their time at MGS.
The MGS Pledge has been established to encourage pupils to give up their time in service to others. Lower School boys are challenged to give a minimum of five hours, and the Middle School are asked to give up ten hours of their time to do something of benefit to others, and for which they do not get paid. The Manchester Grammar School also has partnerships with: the Manchester Swire Chinese Language Programme to help secure a major expansion of the teaching and learning of Chinese throughout schools in Manchester and beyond; The Blackden Trust which provides art events and tours for adults alongside special interest days and site-specific, focused educational courses for schools; The Bursary Foundation charity which supports pupils who wouldn’t otherwise be making applications to private schools or accessing bursary funding.

School Head:
High Master: Dr Martin Boulton, in post from 2013. Educated at Derby School in Bury and Manchester Grammar School, and at the universities of Nottingham (mining engineering) and Manchester (PGCE). Previously Under Master (Deputy Head) at Westminster School and taught at Sherborne. Prior to teaching, he worked in the mining industry for DeBeers and in corporate finance for Arthur Andersen.
A-Levels 2022 ~ 43% of all grades were at the coveted A* level and 90% of all grades were A*-B or the Pre-U equivalent. 74% of all grades were at A*-A level or the Pre-U equivalent. GCSE 2022 ~ Overall, 49% of all GCSE grades were grade 9 and 73% of all grades were 9-8.
98% of sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course, 15% to Oxbridge and some to Ivy League universities eg Harvard and Yale. 13% take courses in medicine, 27% in science, maths and engineering, 50% in humanities and social sciences; a few go on to art or music colleges or straight into careers.
Music, Art and Drama are all included in the core curriculum and offered as extra-curricular activities. Music is popular at MGS as an academic subject at GCSE and A level and throughout the Co-curriculum at ages 7-18. Currently, nearly 30% of pupils receive tuition at school with 16% of those pupils learning more than one instrument. On average, there are over 10 days of individual music exams scheduled each year, mostly ABRSM but also Trinity and Guildhall for drum kit. Access to the Co-curriculum is open to all and throughout the school there are a wide range of choirs, orchestras, bands and ensembles which rehearse weekly and cater for all levels of musical experience. MGS ensembles perform regularly at Manchester Cathedral and the RNCM. Facilities are of good quality in school with a bespoke music block with practice rooms (with Boston Steinway upright pianos) and rehearsal spaces and frequent performances take place in our own 600 seat Memorial Hall which is equipped with a Steinway Model D piano. There is an annual music festival as well as recital competitions for all sections of the school and regular concerts and performance opportunities for school ensembles. There is no music scholarship programme but some funding is available for music lessons on a case by case basis. There are regular collaborations with the Drama Department (recently produced Jesus Christ Superstar). The School has a long rich Drama tradition. Alumni include Sir Nicholas Hytner, Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Powell and Chris Addison. Drama is offered as an academic subject at both A-level and GCSE. Annually, there will be five or six productions in our main theatre and many more smaller productions in our studio theatre. Forthcoming productions include an all-male staging of Daisy Pulls It Off and a special 50th anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The school also runs successful courses in LAMDA examinations as well as running regular theatre trips to theatre in Manchester, London and Broadway. The Art Department is alive with the buzz of young artists learning skills, researching and explore ideas through visual means. Our curriculum is constantly being revised and at any time our focus shifts, at present a return to traditional drawing has been a positive response to covid-19 restrictions. Pupils remained active through lockdowns and periods of isolation using our teacher made video demonstrations alongside online lessons, felt tip Matisse and tin foil Hepworth have been a real success! The department manage the exhibition program in the centrally located school gallery. Exhibitions are designed to showcase pupil work but also provide space to explore curatorship and how we can present messages in different contexts. An example being a collaboration with Religion and Philosophy teachers and A-Level pupils about their research and trip to Auschwitz to coincide with a visit from a Holocaust who came to speak to Year 9 pupils about their experiences and the lessons we can learn today. A train track painted onto the floor from the main corridor into the gallery, artwork and veils with life size figures provided a back drop for research and a place to reflect. The teachers and technicians in the department are active ‘artist-teachers’ and so pupils benefit from their ongoing research and enquiry through a range of art and design media and themes. The Head of Department and Master of Drawing talks of how the process of teaching and making are symbiotic, both roles feed each other and ignite genuine excitement and collaboration with pupils. The department is never static and we constantly challenge ourselves and pupils to work beyond the curriculum at the highest level, we pride ourselves to know many pupils are active artists after they leave school.
Our philosophy in sport is that every boy is important to us and can develop as sportsmen irrespective of his starting point. We also have sporting programmes in place which enable the better sportsmen to achieve their true potential.  One of our recent cricket captains has been awarded a full professional contract by Lancashire CCC and has played in the West Indies for England U19 in the world cup. He was made man of the match in the semi-final to help England U19 reach their first final for 24 years. Another recent MGS 1st team Cricket Captain is in the Lancashire Academy and is representing Lancashire 2nd XI. Our sporting teams regularly feature in the later stages of national competitions, as well as individuals representing local and national teams across the country.  Our Under-15 rugby team were narrowly defeated in the National Cup final at Twickenham in 2017/18. Our Under-18 indoor hockey team have been national finalists in four of the last five seasons and we have been Lancashire Cup winners across all age groups. Currently, there are boys in the school being selected for professional Rugby Union clubs as well as for England Rugby training camps and regional and county development programmes. On the football field, MGS regularly make good progress in the ISFA cups across the age groups, including our 1st XI team through to the semi-final of the ISFA Boodle’s Cup this year and the year 8 team through to the final of the ISFA U13 Cup. Our Under-15 cricket team were National champions in 2015 and the School has long held a reputation of having first class cricket sides and a very competitive fixture programme. Boys in the Junior School also participate in a range of sports, (with a 100% participation rate in our major games of rugby, football, hockey, and cricket) with current pupils performing at an Elite level within Gymnastics, representing GB U12 Tennis and affiliated to elite football clubs. Swimming and Water-Polo is a cornerstone of PE & Sport at MGS including our individualised swim development programme which caters for those less able in the water. Water-Polo teams enjoy national success across all age groups whilst our swimmers attend all ESSA and HMC national competitions. We do not offer sports scholarships; however, our Elite Performer Programme supports our high achieving sportsmen and balances the demands on leading performers in multiple sports.  In recent years, we have supported our national individual sportsmen in sailing, windsurfing, cycling, and fencing to complement the achievements of boys within teams.
Old Mancunians’ Association, has many regional sections. Contact via the Development Office Administrator, Julie Wright, Former pupils: Sir William Barlow (chairman of the Post Office); Lord (Geoffrey) Tordoff (Lib Dem politician); Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Powell (actors); Sir Nicholas Hytner (director of the National Theatre); Professor Sir Michael Atiyah (mathematics); Alan Garner (children’s author); Sir Howard Davies (former Chairman of FSA and director of the LSE); Martin Sixsmith (journalist); Mike Atherton (cricketer); John Crawley (former IPCC commissioner); Paul Ormerod (economist and writer); Sir Walter Bodmer (geneticist), Michael Crick (political editor of Newsnight); Stanley Fink (hedge-fund chief executive and philanthropist); Michael Wood (historian); Dr Rangan Chatterjee (doctor); Faisal Islam (journalist and broadcaster).
Sir William Barlow (chairman of the Post Office); Lord (Geoffrey) Tordoff (Lib Dem politician); Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Powell (actors); Sir Nicholas Hytner (director of the National Theatre); Professor Sir Michael Atiyah (mathematics); Alan Garner (children’s author); Sir Howard Davies (former Chairman of FSA and director of the LSE); Martin Sixsmith (journalist); Mike Atherton (cricketer); John Crawley (former IPCC commissioner); Paul Ormerod (economist and writer); Sir Walter Bodmer (geneticist), Michael Crick (political editor of Newsnight); Stanley Fink (hedge-fund chief executive and philanthropist); Michael Wood (historian); Dr Rangan Chatterjee (doctor); Faisal Islam (journalist and broadcaster).
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • The Manchester Grammar School