It is one of four boys-only, boarding-only independent senior schools in the United Kingdom. Radley was founded in 1847 by William Sewell (1804–79) and Robert Corbet Singleton (1810–81). The first pupil was Samuel Reynolds who in 1897 wrote his reminiscences of the school. The Founders were inspired by the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church and aimed to create a school for boys where
Christian principles of brotherliness were reinforced by the beauty of
the environment and of the furnishings and objects which surrounded
them. The college is an academic institution that achieves very competitive
public exam results - an average of 92% As and Bs at A level
examinations over the last two years - but music, art, and drama too
play an important role in the life of the school, the latter more so
than ever after the opening of the 400-seat "New Theatre" in October
2006. Over 20 entrance scholarships are awarded each year by examination
and interview - for music, art, drama and all-round skills as well as
academic excellence. Sixth Form Organ Scholarships are even awarded, to
support the large Chapel Choir and choristership scheme. Recently the
school has been attempting to raise funds to expand these schemes. The
school was inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in February
2008. The inspection report rated the school's standard of education as
"outstanding", which is the highest rating achievable.
The original idea was to found a school which mirrored the social and administrative structures of an Oxford College.
Thus the Headmaster is called the Warden, and the teaching staff
originally called Fellows (Latin Socius), are now known as Dons. The
boys were initially affiliated to individual Fellows for pastoral care,
and thus became known as Sociales, from which Radley derives the unique
name for its boarding houses: Socials. A real tennis court opened in July 2008, which made Radley College the only school in
the world to have fives, squash, badminton, tennis, racquets and real
tennis courts all on campus.
Boys are admitted to Radley from the age of 13. They may be added to the
entry lists from birth and it is advisable to enter a boy’s name as
early as possible. Three years before a boy is due to come a Final Acceptance Form will be
sent out to parents for whom a place can be guaranteed subject to
Entrance Exams. These forms are sent out in date order of registration
and an entrance fee is payable on acceptance. A place can be guaranteed, subject to Common Entrance, only by
the return of the Final Acceptance Form together with the Final
Acceptance Fee (£1000).
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