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Once well-known for being a ‘crammer,’ helping students with short-term goals such as exam retakes or Oxbridge entrance, today MPW cringes at the word - although students told us ‘there’s still some of that.’ But there’s no doubt it’s changed and MPW is now also a thriving sixth form college and recently, there has also been an increase in students taking two-year GCSE courses from year 10. Co-ed throughout, the vibe is grown-up, academically disciplined, but socially relaxed – no uniform and teachers are called by their first names. ‘I like to think of it as a conduit between school and university,’ says head. Students have a strong sense of community, with – they say - ‘no cliques or bullying; it’s ...'

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What the school says...

Founded in 1973, Mander Portman Woodward provides bespoke Fifth and Sixth Form education, offering GCSEs and A levels in over 40 subjects. We welcome students from Year 10 upwards who are seeking a socially relaxed yet academically disciplined college to help them achieve their goals. We are distinctive in many ways, not least in our small classes of no more than eight students and our focus on exam preparation, but also in the outstanding personal support for students through our Director of Studies system. A full team of staff offer specialist university entrance guidance. We have fully equipped media studies, computing and film rooms, plus drama and art studios, a photography darkroom and five science laboratories. Our extra-curricular programme is comprehensive. Among other options, we offer rugby, football, creative writing, street jazz dancing, basketball, gym membership, conversational Italian, instrumental lessons, debating, Duke of Edinburgh, and community service. We also run revision courses over one year, one term and during the Easter holidays. ...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2016, John Southworth, previously a vice principal. Engineering degree from Leicester and MSc in defence technology from the Cranfield Institute of Technology. Has been a major in the army, director of co-curriculum at the Perse, principal of Lansdowne College and vice principal of MPW since 2014.

His army background (20 years) is evident in his no-nonsense, plain-speaking manner – and his cutting to the chase is valued by parents, most of whom don’t want the hard sell but to know whether he’ll take their child and how they’re doing once there. ‘You always know exactly where you’re at with him and he never lies, unlike at the well-known public school my daughter went to, where they always said she was amazing at everything when she clearly wasn’t,’ said one....

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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Special Education Needs

School's description of their SEN provision:

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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