Wheatley Park School

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Wheatley Park School
Wheatley Park School.jpg
Headteacher Ms Kate Curtis
Location Holton
OX33 1QH
England Coordinates: 52°45′16″N 1°08′13″W / 52.754363°N 1.136842°W / 52.754363; -1.136842
Local authority Oxfordshire
DfE URN 123243 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Website www.wheatley-park.oxon.sch.uk
The Historic Georgian House.

Wheatley Park School is a secondary school of around 1150 pupils situated in Holton, Oxfordshire, England about 8 miles (13 km) east of Oxford. Its current headteacher is Kate Curtis who was promoted to the position in 2005 to replace Nicholas Young.


The school site is steeped in history including a Georgian Manor House, a natural spring supplying a moat and island, and a venison house.

There is also a tree behind the building that was recorded in the Domesday book.

Used as a base during the English Civil War of the 1640s, it is believed that one of Oliver Cromwell's daughters was married on the moat, and is rumoured that a passageway links this site with the nearby village of Wheatley. The history at Wheatley Park is argued to be the most extensive for any state school. Recently historians have been exploring the history of the manor house and its inhabitants, and the wine cellar beneath the island.

Military hospital[edit]

The site was used as a military hospital (specialising in brain damage related injuries) during the Second World War for US and subsequently British military, but the huts housing the hospital were removed from the site in 2006. It was known as Holton Park Hospital or Wheatley Military Hospital.

The US 97th General Hospital officially took command of the hospital on 22 April 1944 in preparation to treat casualties from D-Day and after. The first train of casualties arrived 6 days after D-Day. By 2 August 1944, 1449 battle casualties had reached the hospital. The 97th departed Wheatley on 30 June 1945 and to set up a facility in France.[1]


Wheatley Park, when described, often is assumed to be a private school with its extensive grounds, superb history and subjects on offer including Latin and politics. The school is currently improving facilities on its site. A new mathematics block was opened in 2004, and a building for the John Watson school, with which Wheatley Park School is affiliated, was opened in September 2006. The school has recently opened its technological and eco-friendly John Milton English and Media Centre.

Special measures[edit]

In September 2009 an Ofsted inspection placed the school in special measures. The school was taken out of special measures after a 'very successful' OFSTED inspection in January 2011. Headteacher Kate Curtis said: "Particular strengths were noted in Safeguarding procedures and in helping students to feel safe at school. Behaviour was judged to be good overall and the inspectors praised our work on Care, Guidance and Support. The large majority of lessons seen were graded good or outstanding. There was praise for the Leadership and management of the Sixth Form and for leadership across the school."


WPS provides after-school and extracurricular activities, including rock climbing and sailing. Sixth form student Justin Visser won the 2005 29er Youth World Championship for sailing in San Francisco. The school produces musical every year: recent shows include Little Shop of Horrors (2013), for a second time in recent years, Hairspray (February 2012) Kiss Me Kate (2011) Beauty and the Beast (2010), Guys and Dolls (2009), South Pacific (2008) Bugsy Malone (2007),Grease (2006), Sweeney Todd (2005), Little Shop of Horrors (2004) and West Side Story (2003). Other arts connections include holding an annual Sixth Form fashion show in aid of charity, hosting the Oxford branch of Sands Theatre Arts School and hosting an annual film festival. The school consistently achieves art A-level results within the top 5 in the country.[citation needed] In 2010 GCSE results were their highest ever with 59% receiving at least 5 A*-Cs.

The school prides itself on the number of foreign trips it offers including annual excursions to Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Popular trips also include those to Russia, China, Iceland and the US. Wheatley Park also participates in the World Challenge programme - in July 2010, a team went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Previous destinations include Vietnam, Morocco, Brazil, Tanzania and Peru.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include Supergrass, actor Dominic Rowan and model Laura Bailey formerly Laura Burke. It welcomes a number of notable visitors, recently including Boris Johnson and Vice Admiral Gretton. Motorcycle racer Bradley Smith attended Wheatley Park School. Local television presenter Wesley Smith, formerly of ITV News, recently[when?] visited Wheatley Park.

Theresa May (appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality in May 2010) attended Holton Park Girls' Grammar School which became Wheatley Park Comprehensive School.


In the academic year 2006 - 2007 Wheatley Park School Drama Department hosted a new playwriting festival. Workshops were run by leading youth theatre playwrights and Drama practitioners including Mark Wheeller, Paul King and Andy Kemp to inspire the community to write new short plays between 10 and 30 minutes long. They were performed by schools around Oxfordshire, groups at Wheatley Park and local theatre companies including Wheatley Productions.

External links[edit]