Xaverian College

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Xaverian College
Xaverian College Manchester.png
Lower Park Road

M14 5RB

Coordinates53°27′18″N 2°13′23″W / 53.455°N 2.223°W / 53.455; -2.223Coordinates: 53°27′18″N 2°13′23″W / 53.455°N 2.223°W / 53.455; -2.223
TypeSixth Form College
MottoConcordia res parvae crescunt
In harmony, small things grow
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderThe Congregation of the Xaverian Brothers
Local authorityManchester
Department for Education URN130504 Tables
PrincipalTony Knowles
Age16 to 19
Enrolment2,158 (approx.)
Colour(s)Blue, Yellow, White
Former nameThe Catholic Collegiate Institute

Xaverian College is a Roman Catholic college in Manchester, England, founded by the Xaverian Brothers in 1862.


In the inner city suburb of Rusholme, close to Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road, many of the college's students originate from ethnic minorities, as well as various socioeconomic classes. Admissions consist of three hierarchal priorities:

1. Pupils studying at one of the seven associated Roman Catholic High Schools and Trinity Church of England High School[clarification needed] are guaranteed a place at Xaverian if they wish to take it.

2. Next priority is given to students in Roman Catholic schools who are in partnership with Xaverian.

3. Priority then falls to Roman Catholic pupils at non-Roman Catholic schools who meet entry requirements.

4. There is a NHS Cadets vocational programme which has entry criteria that are not based on an applicant's religion or beliefs.

5. Xaverian College also accommodates a group of approximately fifty Manchester University students undertaking foundation degrees in dentistry, medicine and pharmacy.



The Xaverian Brothers, or Congregation of St Francis Xavier (CFX), are a Roman Catholic religious order founded by Theodore James Ryken in Bruges, Belgium, in 1839 and named after St. Francis Xavier. The order is dedicated to Roman Catholic education in the United Kingdom, the United States and many other countries.

The College was founded by the Xaverian Brothers in 1862 and until 1903 was housed in a four storey building on Oxford Road, Manchester. On the move to the then gated Victoria Park, it was originally housed in a building known as Firwood, but over time, through new building projects and acquisition, the campus grew.

Firwood was home to the Brothers until 1993 when the last of them left. Another former house which has now become part of the college, Ward Hall, was used as a camp for American servicemen in the Second World War.[citation needed]

Mancunian Films, a motion picture production company, used the exterior of the College in several of their films, including It's A Grand Life, starring Frank Randle and Diana Dors. The film company sold their Dickenson Road Studios to the BBC in 1954, making Dickenson Road Studios the first regional BBC TV studio. When the BBC left in 1974 to move to Oxford Road, Xaverian inherited their lighting rigs, now used in the drama studio. From 1946-77, the school was a direct grant grammar school.[citation needed]

1977 to present[edit]

The College was a Roman Catholic grammar school for boys until 1977, when it became a mixed sixth-form college.[1] This led to significant expansion.

Although focus on religion has been somewhat relaxed since the transition, 94% of Xaverian students in 2008 were baptised Roman Catholics.

The college's Ofsted report in March 2008 rated it as outstanding: grade 1, the highest grade of the scheme. The college has a very strong academic reputation in Manchester, with many subjects having 100% pass rates and 80% of students progressing to university.


The college consists of eight buildings on two sides of Lower Park Road: Ward Hall, Birtles, Marylands, Firwood, Xavier, Sunbury, Ryken and Mayfield, built from 1840 onwards. Additions and renovations have been an ongoing feature of the campus's development, with Birtles a key example of this process. The Ryken and Mayfield buildings, added at the start of the 21st century, house information technology equipment. The Ryken building was named after one of the founders of the Xaverian order, Theodore James Ryken. The college buildings are around the perimeter of a central grassed area where sporting and social activities take place.

  • Ward Hall accommodating Art, Graphic Design, Photography, Textiles, Film Studies, Media Studies and Year 14 Art Foundation students.
  • Birtles for Sports Studies, Drama and Music.
  • Marylands for English Language and English Literature and Modern Languages.
  • Firwood houses the main student common room, catering facilities, student services, learning support suite, additional learning support and tutorial rooms, college chapel and RE rooms, administration offices and the main reception.
  • Xavier is home to the University of Manchester foundation courses in Biology, Medicine and Dentistry and also houses Mathematics and Sciences.
  • Sunbury houses RE classes, Theology and Philosophy, and the NHS cadet course, among others and Uniformed Public Services.
  • Ryken for Foundation Level 1 courses. The careers service and library. It also provides a seminar room for visiting speakers, and a large drop-in centre where students are able to make use of college ICT facilities.
  • Mayfield accommodating Law, Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Science, Economics, Geography, Government and Politics, History, Health and Social Care, ICT, Psychology and Sociology. (Mayfield College was a Xaverian college in East Sussex.)


Controversy was created in the late 1960s when the fine house Redclyffe with its ornate ceilings and oak staircase was being considered for listed status. Brother Cyril quickly purchased the house and had it subsequently demolished. He was accused of pure vandalism. Adequate land was available near to where the building Mayfield now stands but Brother Cyril stubbornly rejected the idea much to local dismay.

Notable alumni[edit]

Sixth form college[edit]

Grammar school[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (22 March 1978). "Direct Grant Schools". HANSARD 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  2. ^ Mark Bryant (18 August 2004). "Obituaries > Brian Bagnall". The Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  3. ^ Burgess joined the Xaverian College on 15 September 1928, and stayed to complete his School Certificate examinations. His first published poems appeared in the school magazine, The Manchester Xaverian, under his birthname of John Burgess Wilson.

External links[edit]