Memorial for Mrs Jenner

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All parents, students and alumni are welcome on Tuesday 25th February when we will be coming together as a school and a community to celebrate the life of our founder Mrs Jenner (1934-2020). The service will be held at Magdalen Court School, in the Sport's Hall at 4pm and will last approximately an hour. This will be followed by light refreshments for which you are all welcome to stay.

For current students and their parents - please could you let us know in advance whether or not your child will be attending. School will finish at 3.50pm as usual for any pupils who are not attending the Service. All children will be required to wear school uniform and so any children who are on outdoor education that day and are attending the service afterwards will be required to change back into their uniform.

Mr Jenner and his family will all be attending along with other family, friends and past students with their families. No flowers please, donations if desired to Dementia UK. Just giving page 

Date: Tuesday 25th February

Venue: Magdalen Court School, Sport's Hall

Time: 4pm  (1hr duration approximately) 

All Welcome


Want to find out more about the life our our school's founder Mrs Jenner? Read on...

Mrs Jacquiline Joyce Jenner 1/9/1934 to 30/1/2020
B.A. Hons. BEd. Hons, Montessori Diploma


Early Childhood...

Jacqui was the third of 6 children to Kitty & James Knowles. Her siblings were Jim, Viviane, Arther, Elsie & Monty. She was brought up in Littlehampton, where James her dad owned & ran a fish & chip shop.

Jacqui started her career in teaching founding her own dance school in reading in 1948, when she was only 14yrs old. She initially started her school in an old army shelter & by the age of 17 had over 85 pupils in her school, but as the school grew, she quickly outgrew this and purchased her own premises; a lovely old town house next to Reading swimming baths.

Marriage and starting a family

Jacqui & John married on 26th June 1960 in Reading. Her husband John, who ran a property development business, designed and built a dance studio in the larger gardens of the house, which enable the dance school to grow. Jacqui toured around England as an examiner for the Royal Ballet, as well as running her dance school. She toured with Fred Quilley (Felix Bowness) the Riding Instructor in Hi-di-hi as part of a cabaret act, performing acro-dance. Pupils of her dance school including her husband appeared on the BBC Come Dancing program & the The Black and White Minstrel Show, as well as others. The dance school quickly grew to be the largest independent Dance School in Reading.

When their first son John Jnr. was born, the couple were unimpressed with the nursery schools on offer in Reading at the time. So Jacqui trained as a Montessori teacher and opened a nursery school in the Dance studio & house they had purchased. This was a wonderful symbiotic relationship, as the dance lessons were mostly evenings and weekends, which meant the premises were free for the nursery school during the day. The nursery school also grew to be the largest independent nursery school in Reading. 

Jacqui & John had three sons: Jeffery, James (Jim) & John (Johnny). Jeff studied law at university & on graduation went in business with Jim (his brother) into property development. Jeff has two children Charlie & Mollie & is living in the second house he has built for himself here in Exeter. Jim also studied law, but his love & career was Rugby, on retirement he started two nurseries with his brother Jeff & also took over running a third nursery at Magdalen Court School  as well as their property development business. Jim is expecting his first child this April. Johnny initially studied Agriculture, before switching careers into teaching. He has four daughters, Isabella (Issy), Jasmine (Jas), Alice & Lucy. Lucy has a great grandchild of Jacquie Joseph (Joe-Joe).

In 1975 they moved from Reading to Devon so that John snr. could follow his dream of owning a farm. While John was running the family dairy farm Jacqui completed an Open University Degree and then a Teaching Degree with Marjons University in Plymouth before working in state primary and secondary schools.

The start of Magdalen Court School

Jacqui opened Magdalen Court School in Sep. 1990 In its first year she called it Exminister Park School. Jacqui was approached by several parents to home tutor their children and John converted an old shippen into a classroom and Magdalen Court School as we know it now came into being.

The small school quickly grew and after only two terms they purchased a very large manor house in Exeter, Southlands House in Heavitree, which the school still owns. Mrs Sarah Wrightson (our current Headteacher) joined the school and the school went from strength to strength. Sarah's daughter, Holly attended Magdalen Court, completed a degree in Speech and Language Therapy and now runs her own business supporting children with Speech and Language difficulties and is one of the specialists we draw on to support some of our pupils in Magdalen Court and Georgia her younger daughter works in our school office, she's the smiling face you first meet when entering the school.

In 1995 Jacqui's eldest son, who also followed mum into teaching moved down from Bristol where he completed his Teaching degree and his first teaching post in Chipping Sodbury Secondary School to take up a post at Colyton Grammar School as IT co-ordinator. John's four daughters attended Magdalen Court School's nursery & then upper school, Lucy, Alice, Jasmine & Isabella. Lucy gained a degree in Criminology at Gloucester Uni. Alice completes her degree with the Open University in Early Years Education this spring, Jasmine has started the journey to become a paramedic & provided some of the care for jacqui before she departed from us. Isabella is finishing secondary school this year & planning to pursue a career in Health Care, like her mum. Jacqui's school was quickly outgrowing Southlands house and so she purchased Uplands House, a mere 200m meters down the road and next to the then maternity hospital and now Waitrose supermarket. It was at this time that John Jnr joined the school as a Design and Technology and ICT Teacher. Although Uplands House was considerably larger than Southlands, it was apparent it was not going to meet the needs of the expanding school. John and Jacqui looked at purchasing the Territorial Army barracks in Barrack road and were well on the way to completing this purchase when the former Mount St Mary's Convent school came on the market. This was a fantastic opportunity to purchase a purpose built school, sports hall and sports facilities, the site was huge, 2 acres in the centre of Exeter.

In 1996 Mr Jeremy Bushrod joined the school, acting as Headmaster until 2014. Just like Jacqui and Sarah Wrightson, all Jeremy's children have attended Magdalen Court. It's testament to the school that the teachers of the school choose to send their children to Magdalen Court.

You will have noticed how the school attracts highly skilled and motivated teachers, who life becomes the school. To this end the Sisters of the Presence of St Mary, who formerly ran the school as Mount St Mary's, have retained a strong connection to the school. Sister Stella until very recently was a key member of our staff supporting our SEN pupils. The sisters also invite the school into their private chapel each term for a service, which we also use for music ensembles & poetry reading for the pupils. Magdalen Court is a non denominational school, which also has close links to the CofE church in Heavitree St Michael's and all angels Church.

John Snr retired from Farming in 1992 and then worked as a Commercial Retail developer for Haarer & Goss. At this time he also took on the role of Justice of the Peace at the Teignbridge courts until 2005. For his long term commitment to this post, he has been allowed to retain his suffix JP, which normally must be given up when they cease to practice as Justice of the Peace. At this time John took on the ever growing role as school bursar in 2005 and still performs that role to this day.

The move to the current site...

Jacqui and John purchased Mount St Mary's Convent school in 1997 and moved in just before Christmas. The school has flourished in its current setting, not that it has not needed a lot of remodelling, for one, it was a girls school and Magdalen Court is a mixed school. It's surprising how much work that took. John Jnr. took on the role as Deputy Head as well as developing the school rich Outward Bound activities and swimming club.

In 2000 Jacqui & John's younger two sons (Jeff and James) took over the running of the Nursery at Magdalen Court and combined this with the three nurseries they were running in Worcester, where James (Jim) had an illustrious career as number 8 in their rugby team. To keep it in line with the three other nurseries they ran in Worcester, the name of the nursery at Magdalen Court was changed to KinderKare. The nursery manager appointed to run Kinderkare at Magdalen Court was Kim Brady. Kim started working at Jacqui's personal assistant in 1995, her two daughters both attended Magdalen Court School. Kim completed an Open University Degree in Early Years and continues to manage the Kinderkare Nursery at Magdalen Court.

John Jenner Jnr. took over as Principal in July 2014 although Jacqui then Deputy Principal still had a very large guiding influence in the day to day running of the school.

Sarah Wrightson who started teaching in the school in 1991 at the Southlands site, took over as Headteacher in Sept. 2018 and holds that position now.

Magdalen Court is run by a proprietorial board which is made up of: John H.C. Jenner JP and his three sons: John JC Jenner BEd. James W.C.Jenner LLB Hons. Jeff M.A.Jenner LLB Hons.

In 2015 the school undertook some extensive work to build an outdoor all weather playing pitches, remodeled the carpark and adventure play area.

The school today is stronger than it ever has been, with pupils, parents, Devon and Somerset County Council recognising the unique ethos, support and education the school offers. The future looks bright, with an ever expanding hugely dedicated teaching team to facilitate this.