The Manchester Grammar School
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.