Christ Church Cathedral School
|Type||Independent day and boarding school
Choral foundation school
|Religion||Church of England|
|Chair of the Governors||The Very Rev Christopher Lewis, Dean of Christ Church|
|Founder||Henry VIII of England|
|Location||3 Brewer Street
Christ Church Cathedral School is an independent preparatory school for boys in Oxford, England. It is one of three choral foundation schools in the city and educates choristers of Christ Church Cathedral and the Worcester College Chapel. It is a member of the IAPS and the Choir Schools Association.
Now a Church of England School, it was originally housed within the College itself. Today its premises are located across from Christ Church at 3 Brewer Street and Cardinal Wolsey's house is still used for teaching.
In the 19th century, the Dean of Christ Church, Henry Liddell (father of Alice, who was immortalised in the books of Lewis Carroll) arranged for the building of a new choir school on its present site. More recent developments include the opening of a Pre-Prep department and nursery, and the William Walton Centre which comprises several new classrooms and teaching facilities. At this point, the school began to take admit non-chorister pupils as well. The school opened a pre-preparatory department in 1984 and a nursery in 1998.
All pupils are boys except a small number of girls who attend the nursery. The 22 boarders are choristers or probationary choristers for the Cathedral. The dormitories in which they sleep are named after distinguished former organists including Ley, Taverner, Armstrong and Harwood. All other pupils are day boys, among them eighteen choristers who sing in Worcester College Chapel. The school used to provide choristers for Exeter College but this ended when Exeter established a mixed choir. In addition to the focus on Music, there is also a distinguished tradition of Art, and the school contributes an annual exhibition to Oxford's Artweeks festival.
Leavers typically move on to local schools such as Magdalen College School, Oxford, Abingdon School, St Edward's School, Oxford, Bloxham School and D'Overbroeck's College Leckford Place. There is also a tradition of choristers winning Music Scholarships to destinations further afield, which in recent years have included Harrow School, Uppingham School, Eton College, Sherborne School and Wellington College.
The Choir, which is unique as both a Cathedral and College Choir, comprises twelve men and sixteen boys together with two organists. Six of the men are professionals (the lay clerks), and six are undergraduates (the academical clerks). The boys' ages range from eight to thirteen. Nearly all Cathedral choristers gain musical scholarships to public schools.
Throughout its history, the 500-year-old choir has attracted many distinguished composers and organists — from its first director, John Taverner, appointed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1526, to William Walton.
- Simon Carrington — conductor and founding member of the a cappella group King's Singers
- Joscelyn Godwin — musicologist
- Dorothy L Sayers — novelist, was born at the school during her father's time as Headmaster
- Ivor Spencer-Thomas — inventor and farmer
- Owen Spencer-Thomas, MBE — radio and TV journalist, charity fundraiser and Anglican priest
- Sir William Walton, OM — composer
- Eric Whelpton — writer and lecturer
- Toby Jones - Actor
- Official website
- Christ Church Cathedral Choir website
- ISI Inspection Report
- Christ Church information