Oxford High School (Oxford)
(Toward the light)
|Type||Independent day school|
|Chairman of Governors||Margaret Shannon|
|DfE URN||123310 Tables|
Oxford High School was opened on 3 November 1875, with twenty-nine girls and three teachers under headmistress Ada Benson, at the Judge's Lodgings (St Giles' House) at 16 St Giles', central Oxford. It was the 9th school opened by the Girls' Public Day School Company. Pupils were given a holiday when the Assize Judge visited. The school moved to 38 St Giles' in 1879 and then to 21 Banbury Road at the start of 1881, in a building designed by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson, just south of the location of another Jackson building, the Acland Nursing Home.
Rapid expansion led to the ultimate removal of the school to Belbroughton Road in 1957. It became a direct grant grammar school in 1945 under the Education Act 1944 and chose to become independent in 1976 after the scheme was abolished. The junior section was opened in 1989 and further expanded in the 1990s to meet the growing demand. It absorbed two preparatory schools, Greycotes and The Squirrel, which meant girls could now be educated at Oxford High School from age 3 to Sixth Form.
Oxford High School regularly ranks as one of the country's highest single-sex independent schools in terms of examination results. The school was ranked first in the South East in a Sunday Times survey based on exam results and "value for money". In the 2011 examinations it was ranked amongst the top 20 independent schools nationwide for GCSE results and the best performing girls' school in the A Levels.
In 2001, the school was threatened with a lawsuit by the Freud family, who accused the administration of excluding their daughter because her academic results were not of a high enough standard, when the junior school refused her admittance to the Senior Department. In 2006, the school became the first in Oxfordshire to make Mandarin a compulsory subject. Pupils will study it for at least a year and can choose to either continue or learn another language.
The girls in the senior department are divided into four houses, each named after an Ancient Greek deity:
- Ada Benson 1875–1879
- Matilda Ellen Bishop 1879–1887
- Lucy Helen Soulsby 1887–1897
- Edith Marion Leahy 1898–1902
- Rosalind Mabel Brown 1902–1932
- Margaret Gale 1932–1936
- Violet Evelyn Stack 1937–1959
- M.E. Ann Hancock 1959–1966
- Mary Warnock 1966–1972
- Elaine Kaye 1972–1981
- Joan Townsend 1981–1996
- Felicity Lusk 1997–2010
- Judith Carlisle 2011–
Notable former pupils
- Dame Josephine Barnes (1912-1999), first woman President British Medical Association (BMA)
- Emma Bridgewater, potter
- Jacintha Buddicom, poet and childhood friend of George Orwell
- Cressida Dick (b. 1960), Commander of Metropolitan Police
- Sian Edwards, conductor
- Martha Lane Fox, entrepreneur lastminute.com
- Maggie Smith, actress
- Mel Giedroyc, actress/comedienne
- Lucy Gordon, actress/model
- Sophie Grigson, cookery TV/writer
- Margaret Hodge, Labour MP and minister
- Harriet Hunt, chess International Master
- Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001), poet
- Elizabeth Irving, actress and founder of the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign
- Tashie Jackson, first contestant to be evicted from Big Brother 2011
- Frances Kirwan, academic
- Dame Rose Macaulay, novelist
- Miriam Margolyes, (b. 1941), actress
- Charlotte Mendelson (b. 1972), novelist
- Anne Mills FRS, health economist
- Teresa Morgan, academic
- Eleanor Oldroyd, BBC Radio Sport presenter
- Ann Pasternak Slater, academic
- Eileen Power (1889-1940), economic historian and medievalist
- Rhoda Power (1890–1957), broadcaster and children's writer
- Anna Walker, British civil servant
- St Giles' House (Judge's Lodgings), 16 St Giles' Street, Oxford (where OHS was founded).
- Sherwood, Jennifer, and Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, Penguin Books, 1974. ISBN 0-14-071045-0. Page 317.
- School History
- "Private schools make top grade". Oxford Mail. 28 August 2001.
- "Oxford High School's A-Level results - 2008 - another stunning year". Oxford Mail. 22 September 2008.
- "Oxford High named top of class in south east". Oxford Mail. 22 October 2001.
- "New GCSE results show the difference in how youngsters improve at secondary school". Oxford Mail. 26 January 2012.
- "Oxford schools top the league tables". Cherwell. 2 September 2011.
- Abrams, Fran, You may be a poppet, but you're just not up to scratch, The Independent, 8 March 2001.
- "School pupils to learn Mandarin". Oxford Mail. 28 February 2008.
- "No job for the boys as Abingdon School picks woman head". The Times. 25 November 2009.
- "New Head for Oxford High School". oxfordhigh.gdst.net.
- "Famous Faces". Oxford Mail. 24 August 2010.
- "Star attends Oxford High School 50-year reunion". Oxford Mail. 5 October 2009.