About Us

40 years of Summer School

When the notion of a Summer School at Marlborough College was first discussed there was understandably some difference of opinion. There were those who viewed with alarm the prospect of College property being used by outsiders and those who felt strongly that such impressive facilities ought not to remain idle for all the weeks of the school holidays.

1974-1981

In 1974 Brian Ashley, Head of PE at the College, was given permission to have a trial run. This convinced the authorities that a Summer School should start in earnest in 1975 when 210 people attended 20 courses over a period of two weeks.

From that point forward, the period of Summer School was extended to three weeks and the introduction of Children's Activities became a special feature, making the enterprise truly a matter of learning at leisure for all the family.

Thanks to an air traffic controllers strike in 1978, the BBC Holiday programme were sent to the Summer School instead of going to Spain. To their delight they found a totally new experience with Children's Activities in full swing and adults doing their own thing with a choice of over 50 courses - Cliff Michelmore advised us to have plenty of brochures ready for 1979 as we might get as many as 30,000 enquiries. The programme went out in early January and that number of enquiries was exceeded by the first post after this programme! Full marks to Brian Ashley.

Since Brian's departure in 1981 there have been three successive changes of Director - David Green, Marek Kwiatkowski and now Jon Copp. It is a very special feature of the Summer School that all the Directors have been regular members of the teaching staff and the whole operation has remained firmly under the management and administration of Marlborough College.

1981-1994

Between 1981 and 1994 the Summer School experienced a period of consolidation and steady growth under the watchful eye of David Green, formerly a member of the History Department at the College. Although the format remained constant, customers returned year after year, taking on new courses and renewing old friendships where common interests helped to create an easy social mix.

1995-2001

In 1995 a second change at the helm saw Marek Kwiatkowski mark his arrival with a profound change of direction - with the introduction of 'Teenagers' - bridging the gap between Children's Activities and adults. Other notable additions at that time were to include the 'Junior Troopers' (3-6 year olds), the broadening of EFL language courses available to unaccompanied children from overseas and a series of highly respected weekly gala performances. The number of courses on offer was significantly expanded and the Summer School rapidly grew in popularity as it boasted a programme which truly has "Something For Everyone".

2001 - Present

In 2001 Marek left the College and handed the reins to Jon Copp who moved across from his role as Director of Physical Education to assume responsibility for the Summer School. Continuing to build on past success, the focus in recent years has been placed on raising the overall quality of the experience for our visitors in all aspects of the event. The introduction of an impressive Marquee positioned in the heart of Court has proven a notable addition providing a wonderful venue for dining and enjoying the wide variety of entertainments on offer each day. The Friday Exhibition was introduced in 2004 and has proved an extremely popular finale at the end of the week. Most recently the launch of the new Summer School website provides customers with the opportunity to book and pay for their holiday online and this significant step continues to push the Summer School forward.

Undoubtedly the long term success of the Marlborough College Summer School has evolved from the steady improvement of facilities, the unusually wide range of courses, entertainments and the congenial atmosphere, all of which have enhanced the quality of the Summer School experience.

  • College - aerial view
    College - aerial view (1 of 21)
  • College campus close to the High Street
    College campus close to the High Street (2 of 21)
  • Master's Garden
    Master's Garden (3 of 21)
  • College Chapel
    College Chapel (4 of 21)
  • College Chapel
    College Chapel (5 of 21)
  • C House
    C House (6 of 21)
  • C House
    C House (7 of 21)
  • Leaf Block
    Leaf Block (8 of 21)
  • Leaf Block
    Leaf Block (9 of 21)
  • North Block
    North Block (10 of 21)
  • New Court
    New Court (11 of 21)
  • Court
    Court (12 of 21)
  • Summer School Marquee
    Summer School Marquee (13 of 21)
  • Bradleian Arches
    Bradleian Arches (14 of 21)
  • Rose Garden
    Rose Garden (15 of 21)
  • Summer School Nature Trail
    Summer School Nature Trail (16 of 21)
  • Trout Lakes
    Trout Lakes (17 of 21)
  • Close to nature
    Close to nature (18 of 21)
  • Wilderness
    Wilderness (19 of 21)
  • Tranquil Setting
    Tranquil Setting (20 of 21)
  • Observatory
    Observatory (21 of 21)

Marlborough College, Wiltshire SN8 1PA Telephone: 01672 892388