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Interviewing Marlborough College

Published EDU-WorldWide on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

In today's interview we are going to speak to Sam Ponsford from Marlborough College School of English and Culture  - a school with a really great concept which provides life-changing learning experiences from its home in Wiltshire during the summer, and also on overseas trips though the rest of the year. It has a focus on the benefits for confidence, self-awareness and understanding that a creative approach to life and a sense of adventure can bring. Here's what Marlborough College School of English and Culture is all about!

S&A: If you had to describe Marlborough College in three words, what would they be, and why?

Sam: Original, creative, transformative

S&A: How long has your school been open for and how has it changed over the years?

Sam: Marlborough College was founded 1843. However, the School of English and Culture is a new arrival and started operation four years ago. Over the years it has developed by nurturing a much greater focus on creativity, particularly with the introduction of the Open Minds course which encourages its students to question the world around them, to be curious and to develop their empathy and understanding for others and for their place in the world. In addition, the school is now much larger but we have worked hard to maintain a family atmosphere where everybody knows each other and the staff get to understand what makes the students tick and thus tailor their learning experience to their needs. We have also expanded to start offering overseas trips based around our Open Minds learning model that take place outside of the summer, for example during October half term,. 

S&A: Could you describe your typical student to us and our readers? 

Sam: Our typical student tends to be bright and inquisitive with, generally, a high academic level but who is craving a more interesting and engaging approach to learning. They are usually creative and adventurous and are excited by trying new things, having new experiences and meeting new people. Our students are 13 to 17 years old. 

S&A: What are your Unique Selling Points? 

Sam: Exceptional staff, experts in their field, a focus on dynamic learning experiences and creativity as a vehicle for increasing confidence and happiness in life, high ratio of students who are native or native-level English speakers due to the Open Minds course being aimed at these learners and the fact that the students spend the afternoons doing activities with teenagers form the local area, we also have a maximum of twelve students from any country/language group so there is never a dominant language other than English in the group. We also have a refugee scholarship offering four free places to refugees

S&A: Which are your main markets, and which markets are you seeking to develop? 

Sam: Our main markets are China, Italy, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Greece. We are looking to develop markets in particular in Russia, Spain, USA, Canada, UK, Japan and any other countries worldwide.

S&A: Why do students come to you? 

Sam: They come to us looking for something different to the standard English language summer course or subject focused academic courses. They want learning to be fun and creative and they want the space to make try things out without fear of making a mistake or failing an exam.

S&A: Why should our agents work with you? 

Sam: We have a history of forming long-lasting relationships with our agents who over time seem to end up being as proud of our courses as we are! In the words of one of our trusted agents: “I think it is one of the best Summer Schools in the UK at the moment”.

We pay 7.5% commission on all course fees to agents.

S&A: Where do you see your school in 10 years’ time?

Sam: In ten years’ time the Marlborough College School of English and Culture will be renowned as a cradle of new and exciting learning. It will be meritocratic, with places highly sought after and there will be a rigorous application process. The flagship event will continue to be held during the four weeks of Marlborough College Summer School.The programme will be recognised by universities, employees and drama schools and it will be a sought-after addition to a student’s curriculum vitae. It will indicate to future employees that this applicant is a well-rounded individual with an open mind, maturity beyond their years and empathy for others. The prestige of its name will allow it to attract guest speakers and tutors of international renown. In addition, the programme of overseas trips will be well-established running several Open Minds Experiences each year in the UK, Europe and further afield.

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