Five cen­turies of ed­u­ca­tion

Manch­ester Gram­mar School cel­e­brates its quin­cen­tary in 2015, hav­ing ed­u­cated boys in Manch­ester for 500 years

Wilmslow Express - - NEWS -

THIS year, one of Manch­ester’s great in­sti­tu­tions cel­e­brates its 500th an­niver­sary. The Manch­ester Gram­mar School (MGS), which was orig­i­nally lo­cated in the cen­tre of Manch­ester, close to the Cathe­dral, is now in Rusholme, at the heart of Manch­ester’s ‘Learn­ing and Knowl­edge Cor­ri­dor’, which in­cludes Manch­ester Uni­ver­sity, MMU and the Cen­tral Manch­ester hos­pi­tals.

The School has long been recog­nised as one of the coun­try’s lead­ing schools, with a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion for aca­demic ex­cel­lence. Its alumni in­clude lead­ing lawyers, sur­geons, busi­ness­men, politi­cians, ac­tors, writ­ers, en­gi­neers, sports­men, jour­nal­ists and aca­demics, in­clud­ing a No­bel Prize and a Fields Medal win­ner.

MGS is most proud of its long-stand­ing com­mit­ment to so­cial mo­bil­ity. Its founder, Hugh Old­ham, Bishop of Ex­eter, set up the School ‘to ed­u­cate the poor boys of Manch­ester in god­li­ness and good learn­ing’, and it re­mains true to th­ese aims to­day. State fund­ing en­abled many boys to at­tend MGS un­til the end of the 20th Cen­tury. In 1997, MGS be­gan a re­mark­able jour­ney to raise money for meanstested bur­saries, to en­sure that its doors would re­main open to all those who would ben­e­fit, ir­re­spec­tive of their back­ground.

The MGS Trust, whose pa­tron is the Prince of Wales, has raised £25mil­lion to date. This money has been do­nated pri­mar­ily by old boys who them­selves ben­e­fit­ted from an ed­u­ca­tion at the School. To­day, the bur­sary fund pays the fees of around 220 pupils, with the av­er­age bur­sary pay­ing 93 per cent of the fees.

The di­ver­sity of the MGS com­mu­nity is one of its most dis­tinc­tive fea­tures and great­est strengths, with boys trav­el­ling from across the North-West, and com­ing from ev­ery cul­tural, eco­nomic, re­li­gious and eth­nic back­ground.

MGS has a long his­tory of work­ing with Manch­ester’s other great in­sti­tu­tions; most re­cently, it teamed up with Manch­ester City Coun­cil and Ur­ban Splash to set up a new pri­mary school, New Is­ling­ton Free School, in the heart of the city.

Found­ing schools is noth­ing new to MGS: in the 17th cen­tury old boy Humphrey Chetham founded Chetham’s Hos­pi­tal (now Chetham’s School of Mu­sic), and Wil­liam Hulme founded Hulme Gram­mar School in Old­ham and Wil­liam Hulme’s Gram­mar School in Manch­ester.

The com­mit­ment th­ese old boys had to serv­ing their own com­mu­nity re­mains a key part of what MGS seeks to in­stil in its pupils: this is re­alised through in­volve­ment of pupils in nu­mer­ous projects and ac­tiv­i­ties across Manch­ester and Sal­ford, and an ex­pec­ta­tion that all pupils en­gage in ser­vice at all stages of their jour­ney through MGS.

In all that it does, the School hopes that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Old Mancunians will have as great an im­pact on this great city as their pre­de­ces­sors. Old boys of MGS have had a ma­jor im­pact on Manch­ester, and achieved na­tional and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion in all walks of life.

In science and math­e­mat­ics, the 1986 No­bel Prize for Chem­istry was won by John Polanyi. Ibupro­fen was de­vel­oped by John Ni­chol­son at Boots, and Sir Michael Atiyah is a re­cip­i­ent of the Fields Medal (the equiv­a­lent of the No­bel Prize for Math­e­mat­ics).

Simon Marks and Is­rael Si­eff mas­ter­minded the growth of the Marks and Spencer em­pire for over half a cen­tury. Pets at Home and B& M have be­come re­tail gi­ants un­der the lead­er­ship of An­thony Pre­ston and Simon Arora re­spec­tively. Sir Howard Davies has been Deputy Gover­nor of the Bank of Eng­land and Direc­tor of the CBI and LSE.

Michael Ather­ton has been Eng­land cricket cap­tain and is an award­win­ning jour­nal­ist and com­men­ta­tor. John Craw­ley played cricket for Eng­land and Lan­cashire, and Mark Chilton cap­tained Lan­cashire. Mau­rice Watkins, cur­rently Chair­man of Gov­er­nors, is not only one of the city’s lead­ing lawyers, but also Chair­man of Bri­tish Swim­ming, Chair­man of the Euro­pean Rugby Su­per League and Chair­man of Barns­ley FC. He was on Manch­ester United’s board for over 28 years.

Sir Ni­cholas Hyt­ner di­rected The His­tory Boys and the BAFTA award-win­ning The Mad­ness of King Ge­orge, and ran the Na­tional Theatre for 12 years. Stage and film ac­tor Sir Ben Kings­ley won an Os­car for Gandhi in 1982, and Robert Pow­ell played the lead role in Zef­firelli’s Je­sus of Nazareth. Play­wright Robert Bolt won Os­cars for the screen­plays of Dr Zhivago and A Man For All Sea­sons; he also wrote the screen­play for Lawrence of Ara­bia. John Og­den was one of the great­est clas­si­cal pi­anists of the 20th cen­tury.

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ists Michael Crick and Faisal Is­lam are familiar faces as po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors on tele­vi­sion, and Mark Chap­man is a MOTD pre­sen­ter. English his­to­rian and broad­caster Michael Wood has brought his sub­ject alive through his ac­claimed BBC doc­u­men­taries. Martin Six­smith was the BBC’s Rus­sian cor­re­spon­dent dur­ing the Cold War, and went on to write the award-win­ning book upon which the film Philom­ena was based. Alan Gar­ner is one of the most orig­i­nal and highly re­garded chil­dren’s writ­ers, with his work firmly rooted in the tra­di­tions and land­scape of north­ern Eng­land.

Chris Ad­di­son was a star of The Thick of It, and ap­pears reg­u­larly on Mock the Week. Park­life Fes­ti­val and the Ware­house Project were founded by Sacha LordMar­chionne. Fash­ion designer, au­thor and theatre direc­tor, Wil­liam Baker, is Kylie Minogue’s per­sonal stylist, and cred­ited with her fa­mous ‘hot­pants’ look!

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