Oxford High School, England

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Oxford High School GDST
Oxford High School (England) Logo.svg

, ,

TypeIndependent day school
MottoLatin: Ad Lucem
(Toward the light)
Local authorityOxfordshire
Department for Education URN123310 Tables
Chairman of GovernorsLouise Ansdell
(Interim Headteacher)Dr Helen Stringer
Age4 to 18
View of the old main entrance at the top of Charlbury Road.

Oxford High School is an independent day school for girls in Oxford, England. It was founded by the Girls' Day School Trust in 1875, making it the city's oldest girls' school.


View on Banbury Road with No. 21 on the right, next to the current Oxford University Computing Services.

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.[1] 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.[2] By this time the headmistress was Matilda Ellen Bishop.

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.[3]


Oxford High School regularly ranks as one of the country's highest achieving independent schools in terms of examination results.[4][5] The school was ranked first in the South East in a Sunday Times survey based on exam results and "value for money".[6] 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.[7][8]

In 2006, the school became the first in Oxfordshire to make Mandarin a compulsory subject. Pupils will study it for at least a year accompanying French and can choose to either continue Mandarin or continue French.[9]


The girls in the senior school 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[10]
  • Judith Carlisle 2011–2016[11]
  • Philip Hills 2017–2019[12][13]

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ St Giles' House (Judge's Lodgings), 16 St Giles' Street, Oxford Archived 15 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine (where OHS was founded).
  2. ^ Sherwood, Jennifer, and Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, Penguin Books, 1974. ISBN 0-14-071045-0. Page 317.
  3. ^ School History
  4. ^ "Private schools make top grade". Oxford Mail. 28 August 2001.
  5. ^ "Oxford High School's A-Level results – 2008 – another stunning year". Oxford Mail. 22 September 2008.
  6. ^ "Oxford High named top of class in south east". Oxford Mail. 22 October 2001.
  7. ^ "New GCSE results show the difference in how youngsters improve at secondary school". Oxford Mail. 26 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Oxford schools top the league tables". Cherwell. 2 September 2011.
  9. ^ "School pupils to learn Mandarin". Oxford Mail. 28 February 2008.
  10. ^ "No job for the boys as Abingdon School picks woman head". The Times. 25 November 2009.
  11. ^ "New Head for Oxford High School". oxfordhigh.gdst.net.
  12. ^ "Introducing the New Head for Oxford High School". oxfordhigh.gdst.net. 7 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Male headteacher is historic first for city girls' school". Oxford Times. 14 September 2017. p. 15.
  14. ^ "Famous Faces". Oxford Mail. 24 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Star attends Oxford High School 50-year reunion". Oxford Mail. 5 October 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°46′24″N 1°15′34″W / 51.77333°N 1.25944°W / 51.77333; -1.25944