"Radley College also supports subject teachers by working together on lesson planning and teaching model lessons, including in art, music and ICT."

Ofsted 2014


Radley College

Desborough College are partnering with Radley College, so we have asked them to tell you a little more about themselves, and why they chose to work with Desborough.

  • Radley is an all boarding school of 690 boys from 13-18 years old near Abingdon Oxfordshire, 58 minutes away by train, 50 mins by car. Many people know of Radley as a centre of Sporting excellence, thinking of Andrew Strauss and Ted Dexter and a host of British Rowing Internationals. But in the education world, among peers, parents, the educational press, Radley is thought of as outstanding academically, producing extraordinary results from a mixed ability entry. This summer at GCSE 91% of all papers were A*/A and at A Level 92.5% were A*/A/B. This is achieved because there is a palpable work ethic in the very walls of the place and boys quickly learn that it is ‘cool to work’. But it also requires talented and dedicated teachers who take responsibility for the boys they teach and for whom it is a matter of professional pride that every boy maximizes his potential. They establish a culture of expectation that amazing things can be achieved if only one aims high and works hard, and is not satisfied with second best. 
  • I mentioned ‘Boys’. Radley is unashamedly a single sex boys school, believing that boys do better in adolescent years without the pressure of competition and distraction of  girls who are often more mature and advanced at the same age. Boys have lost out in the last decades of educational reform; many other countries continue to think that boys and girls have different needs and that separate schools should reflect that. Boys need activity, boys like competition. And the evidence at Radleyand abroard is that if you want a boy to continue to sing, play a musical instrument, act, do public speaking and learn Modern Languages then many more will do so in a single sex school where girls won’t monopolise the opportunities  or make a boy feel self-conscious.
  • That is why Radley accepted the invitation to be Desborough’s educational partner. We had been approached a number of times to get involved with an academy – none of the schools fitted. Until Desborough. a boys school with a long history of academic and wider success in the past – look at the scholarship board – which had been through a lean spell and now with new leadership and sense of purpose has set out to recover past glories. We believe we have much to offer in training and helping staff and Heads of Department, in sharing expertise and facilities. We have started as we mean to go on – Desborough’s 1st XV is being coached by Radley’s senior coach, Rob King our senior scientist is involved in Science teaching here, there are plans for CCF and 6th Form lectures and at every subject already visits are being organized.  And Radley’s teachers are keen to be involved and learn for themselves. We are very excited by this new adventure. 
  • There have already been links established:  Desborough's Rugby – first X15 is  being coached alongside Radley Colts. There has been some very successful collaborative work between Desborough and Radley, evidenced in Theatre workshops, in Art visits and in Politics visits. Also during the last school year, Radley seconded Mr Lee from it's Maths Department to be Head of Sixth Form in Desborough. In this role, he made a profound difference in modelling high expectations and a serious work ethic for the boys.