St Clare's, Oxford

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St. Clare's, Oxford
St Clares International School Oxford.png
Established 1953
Type Coeducational Independent day and boarding school
International school
Principal Andrew Rattue MA (Oxford) MA (Birkbeck College, London) PGCE (King’s College, London)
Chair of Governors Richard Dick MA (Cantab), Managing Director
Founder Anne Dreydel and Pamela Morris
Location 139 Banbury Road
Local authority Oxfordshire
DfE number 931/6120
DfE URN 133430 Tables
Students ~500
Gender Coeducational
Ages IB 16-18, Summer 10-15–and adults 18+
Vice-Principal Academic Cormack Kirby BA (Leeds) PGCE MEd (Bristol)
Vice-Principal Pastoral Susan Tawse BSc (Edinburgh) PGCE

St Clare's is a non-selective, coeducational independent, international day and boarding college in North Oxford, England offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, English language courses, Liberal arts courses, IB teacher training workshops and University Foundation Course.

Throughout the year, courses for adults include the University Foundation Course, English language courses, advanced English with academic subjects and Liberal Arts courses for Gap Year students from US universities. In the summer months, adults, teenagers and younger students can study English language courses on three separate sites.

The school is constituted as a registered charity under English law.[1]


The school was founded in 1952 by Anne Dreydel OBE and Pamela Morris, and grew out of a scheme to establish links between British and European students after the Second World War.[2] Its mission is to advance international education and understanding.

The original name was The Oxford English Centre for Foreign Students, which later became St. Clare's Hall, and then St. Clare's, Oxford.

Since 1953 the College grew quickly to encompass a wide range of nationalities and programmes, both at university and pre-university level and in English Language. In the mid-50s, students came mostly from around a dozen Western European countries, as well as the UK. Over 40 different nationalities are represented in its current IB student body.

Links with universities in the USA date back to the 1960s. Formal agreements by which American university students could gain credit towards their US degrees by studying abroad at St. Clare's started up in the 1970s. Such courses gradually replaced the University of London external degrees that had previously been taught.

In 1977 the College introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma for pre-university students - only the 41st school in the world to do so. There are only 13 other institutions in the world who have taught the IB longer than St. Clare's. "A" levels were gradually phased out as the IB became established, and the College is now the longest established IB school in England (source ISA). There are currently over 3,700 IB world schools.[3]

The College campus has grown with the increase in student numbers. As a registered charity, profits are re-invested in the College to facilitate expansion and development. From its original base on 141 Banbury Road, the College grew to allow more teaching space and a wider range of subject choices. Early homestay arrangements were largely replaced with residential accommodation, as new houses in the area were acquired and refurbished. In 1999, the College bought the Oxford Academy English Language School in Bardwell Road, which became the centre for all adult courses.

The main campus building and reception is located at 139 Banbury Road, in the Summertown suburb of North Oxford.

The college has completed a number of significant building projects including a new £1.3 million student residence for 24 students and wardens apartments in 2010; a £3.4 million building housing 3 science laboratories and 3 Mathematics classrooms in 2014; and an art studio and student residence in the grounds of one of the existing student houses in 2015.


St. Clare’s is located in the North Oxford Conservation Area on two sites - the Banbury Road Campus (No. 139, between Lathbury Road and Moreton Road) and the Bardwell Road Centre (No. 18).[4] It occupies 27 Victorian and Edwardian houses to which purpose-built facilities have been added. At the Banbury Road Campus these include a library building, a careers and higher education information centre, four science laboratories completed in 2014, an art studio completed in 2015 and music studio, dining room and café. Adult students are based at the International College for adult students located at the Bardwell Road campus which is made up of classrooms, common room, dining room, activities office, secluded gardens and student bedrooms.

Students live in college houses close to the college, under the care of residential staff. Adult students are also able to choose to live with local hosts in Oxford.

International Baccalaureate Diploma[edit]

St. Clare's is a co-educational day and residential sixth form college. Having offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma for over 35 years, St Clare's is the 41st school in the world to run IB, and is the longest-established provider of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in England. Over 150 different nationalities are represented of which about 15% are from Britain.

St Clare's also provides a Pre-IB course which is an excellent preparation for the full IB Diploma. The college also runs a highly successful IB Institute providing summer introductory courses for students about to start the IB worldwide. It is also authorized to run IB workshops for both new and experienced teachers in cooperation with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).

In May 2016, 115 students took the Diploma resulting in an average point score of 36 which means that the average student achieved better than three A* and a B at A level. The average worldwide point score for all schools and colleges is 30 points. 100% of students passed; the pass rate worldwide is 80%.

Referring to the International Baccalaureate Diploma programmes, in the most recent Ofsted inspection, the College was awarded "Outstanding", the highest rating, for the quality of its boarding, something that fewer than 10% of boarding schools achieve in the UK.[5]

English Language courses[edit]

A range of adult English Language courses are run throughout the academic year from September to June. Courses run from 4 weeks to 12 months; 21 lessons per week, as well as one-to-one tuition. Courses include, General English for Everyday Use; IELTS and Cambridge examination preparation; English plus Academic Subjects and Combined English, where students mix classes with private lessons.

Students wishing to apply to university in the UK, USA and Europe take the 8/9 month University Foundation course.

Students with advanced level English are able to study a unique programme which combines English language classes with academic subjects taught at university level. These academic subjects are a part of the Liberal Arts Programme for American students who are taking a Gap Year as part of their US degree.

University Foundation Course[edit]

Students wishing to apply to UK universities study the University Foundation Course, an in-depth preparation for university entrance, from September to June for 35 weeks.

In spring 2013, the college was awarded "exceeds expectation" by the Independent Schools Inspectorate Educational Oversight for Private Further Education Colleges in its Inspection Report.

Graduates of the school's University Foundation Course have gone on to study at various UK universities as well as institutions in the US and Europe. These include Utrecht University, University of Barcelona, University of Edinburgh, Oxford Brookes University, University of Madrid, School of Oriental and African Studies, Maastricht University, Royal Holloway, University of London, Moscow State University, Goldsmiths, University of London and Queen Mary, University of London.

Summer courses[edit]

Shorter English Language courses from 2 and 3 weeks up to 6 week courses are offered during the summer from June to August. These short holiday courses combine English classes, with an extensive activities and excursions programme. Students live in college accommodation or with local hosts. The College is able to offer courses for three age groups on three separate sites. Age ranges are adults age 18+, teenagers age 15-17 and juniors age 10-15.


Scholarships applications for studying the IB Diploma programme are considered in February each year. Students must attend a Scholarship Day where they sit tests, have interviews with teachers and the Principal and parent financial information is reviewed. The College does not offer Scholarships for any other course.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ Charity Commission. St Clare's, Oxford, registered charity no. 294085. 
  2. ^ The Daily Telegraph. 28 July 2007.
  3. ^ "IB World Schools and the IB". International Baccalaureate Organisation. 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Contact us". St Clare's, Oxford. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Social Care Report 2010" (PDF). Ofsted. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°46′23″N 1°15′49″W / 51.77306°N 1.26361°W / 51.77306; -1.26361