The Open University's headquarters are based in the Walton Hall district, though as this is a distance learning institution, the only students resident on campus are approximately 200 full-time postgraduates. Cranfield University, an all-postgraduate institution, is in nearby Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Milton Keynes College provides further education up to foundation degree level, however a Postgraduate Certificate in Education course is available; run in partnership with and accredited by Oxford Brookes University.
In 1991 Leicester Polytechnic established a purpose built polytechnic campus in Kents Hill in Milton Keynes, opposite the Open University's Walton Hall site, which was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992. This was originally branded 'The Polytechnic: Milton Keynes'. Later in 1992 Leicester Polytechnic gained university status and was renamed De Montfort University and the site was rebranded De Montfort University Milton Keynes. However, DMU closed the MK site in 2003 and the Open University has expanded to take over the buildings.
Although the town does not yet have its own conventional local university, its founders hope that the University College Milton Keynes will be the seed for a future 'Milton Keynes University'. It is currently the UK's largest population centre without its own university proper.
Like many parts of the UK, the state secondary schools in Milton Keynes are Comprehensive schools, although schools in the rest of Buckinghamshire still use the Tripartite System. Results are above the national average, though below that of the rest of Buckinghamshire – but the demography of Milton Keynes is also far closer to the national average than is the latter. Access to selective schools is still possible in Milton Keynes as the grammar schools in Buckingham and Aylesbury accept some pupils from within the unitary authority area, with Buckinghamshire County Council operating bus services to ferry pupils to the schools.
Private schools in Milton Keynes include the 3 to 18 mixed sex Webber Independent School] and the 2½ to 11 mixed sex Milton Keynes Preparatory School]..
The Safety Centre is a purpose-built interactive centre which provides safety education to visiting schools and youth groups via its full-size interactive demonstrations known as Hazard Alley. Another educational organisation is the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey, which holds an extensive archive about Milton Keynes. MKCDC is therefore a research facility, as well as offering a broad education programme (with a focus on urban geography and local history) to schools, universities and professionals. MKCDC also holds an annual programme of events at the medieval priory site on which they are based.
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