This is the moment in Oratory history for pupils to shape the future. Pioneer girls are rising to the occasion.
The Oratory to welcome girls from 2020
The Oratory has announced that from September 2020, it will become a coeducational school, welcoming girls and boys from the age of 11 to 18.
Joe Smith, Head Master said “We are delighted to be making this announcement and excited to be able to offer families of girls and boys alike our unique Oratory education. By extending our vibrant provision we will be providing an outstanding preparation for our pupils in what lies beyond The Oratory.”
Matthew Stilwell, Chair of Governors, said “Many of the families who enquire about a place at The Oratory already have children in coeducational schools, including of course The Oratory Prep School, and we have seen that parents are increasingly looking for a family-based school which can serve daughters and sons at one school.”The Oratory has a long tradition of providing pupils at the school with a warm and purposeful educational environment and has now decided to offer The Oratory’s excellent educational and pastoral opportunities to both boys and girls.
Oratory pupils achieve excellent results and, together with investment in teaching and learning resources and facilities, we remain committed to delivering strong outcomes for each and every one of our pupils.
Despite being a broadly non-selective school, we have high academic standards, positioned in the top 3% of schools nationally for value-added at A Level. This means that pupils leave The Oratory with higher grades than the national average for their ability.
The breadth of The Oratory offer, combined with subject based enrichment, promotes strong academic development. From September 2020, we will introduce A Level Psychology as well as Mandarin Chinese. As part of the Design and Technology curriculum, Food Technology will be offered and Dance will form part of the PE curriculum, both of which will be available from Year 7.
This wider range of courses is open to all and is designed to prepare our pupils for success in the higher education institutions that they choose, including Russell Group Universities, as well as in the world of work. This academic offer, combined with our co-curricular programme, provides a fantastic breadth and depth of learning.
The Oratory School works hard in providing choice for the pupils and ensuring that different interests and abilities are catered for and, whilst we are keen not to create gender specific subjects, we recognise the need to offer a programme which ensures the engagement and enthusiasm of all pupils and contributes positively to the pupils’ school experience.
Read the Coeducation Update from our Coeducation Coordinator below for recent developments in our 6th form plans, which will now include 'Loquitur'. This is a new programme for pupils that comprises of three areas: enrichment, service and careers.
The Oratory School’s Catholic ethos and values will remain unchanged. Feedback from parents tells us that they love the individual care that pupils receive and this will continue to be the cornerstone of The Oratory School education.
The Oratory School’s approach to pastoral care has always been rooted in our founder’s motto of Heart Speaks to Heart.
For the Oratory family this means that:
Everybody is valued as an individual. We are a small school and so there is no opportunity for a student to get lost within a class or year group. Staff are also well aware of every pupil’s strengths and weaknesses and so are well placed to be able to support and challenge that individual.Personal conversations are crucial. In a world of emails and social media, the Oratory family is one in which individual conversations are always valued. This is not only reflected in our policies on IT use; but is also reflected in the way all pupils, regardless of house or year group, take the time to
stop and talk to each other.The quality of staff and pupil relationships is excellent. Not only do members of staff know the pupils well, but also the pupils have the confidence to approach members of staff to discuss anything from help with prep to advice on any challenging situation they find themselves in.Find out more about our Pastoral Care
We are committed to delivering an exceptional curriculum both inside and outside the classroom. The school will continue to aim both for excellence and inclusion in its sport.
We have a proud tradition of sporting excellence and only envisage this being enhanced further by the move to coeducation. A new and exciting sports curriculum is in development and will bring together teams, including mixed teams where possible, for a broad range of sports, making full use of our outstanding facilities and excellent coaching staff.
Major girls’ sports will be hockey (Michaelmas Term), netball or rowing (Lent Term) and tennis or rowing (Trinity Term). Girls will also have the opportunity to play football, touch rugby and cricket, as well as squash, badminton, real tennis and swimming. Dance will be introduced to the PE curriculum. We plan to make greater use of our outstanding facilities for swimming and other sports, as well as developing individual sports such as triathlon or modern pentathlon. For hockey, girls will make use of the new full-sized all-weather pitch at The Oratory Prep School, just two miles away from the senior school.
Year 7 and 8 girls from both schools will train and compete in fixtures together. Year 9 girls and above will also train at The Oratory Preparatory School. For older girls, we anticipate that in addition to competitive sports such as rowing, swimming and athletics, where girls will represent the school, team sports fixtures will be facilitated through collaboration with a local club and training will also take place at The Oratory Prep School.
Read the Coeducation Update on Sport from our Coeducation Coordinator in the Latest News section at the bottom of this page for recent developments in our plans for sport for girls. This includes exciting news about our coaching provision, early morning swimming sessions and cricket.
Coeducation at The Oratory will allow for greater choice and opportunity for everyone.
Co-curricular activities play a vital role in creating the sense of community felt by our pupils and staff.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme will continue to provide meaningful and challenging experiences for our pupils, as well as CCF and the 50 plus
co-curricular activities that are already on offer at the school including LAMDA and the Big Band. Our co-curricular programme is reviewed on a termly
basis and with input from the pupils so we can respond to their wants and needs.
Currently almost half of our pupils enjoy boarding throughout their time at the school on a full or flexi basis. We very much hope that this will continue to be the case and we will be introducing weekly boarding and girls’ boarding facilities, which will be ready when our first girls join the school in September 2020.
Girls joining in Years 7 and 8 will be welcomed into our junior house, St Philip House, and girls joining in Year 9 and above will be housed in Wootten House. The House will form its own self-enclosed space utilising some of the rooms currently part of FitzAlan House.
We will also be appointing a housemistress and a resident tutor for Wootten House, our new house for 13 to 18 year old girls.
Wootten House “mulier fortis et sapiens”
The first girls’ house at The Oratory will be named Wootten House, after Mrs Frances Wootten, the first “Dame” of The Oratory School when it was founded by John Henry Newman in 1859.
Mrs Wootten was the widow of an Oxford doctor well known to many of Newman’s circle at Oxford University. She came to The Oratory as its first Dame at Newman’s invitation. The school’s “Dames” were its matrons, but from its inception Frances Wootten had a much broader role in Newman’s school than the name implies. Like all matrons, she looked after the pupils’ physical wellbeing, but Mrs Wootten was essentially responsible for their
pastoral and spiritual welfare as well.
Newman relied heavily on Mrs Wootten and trusted implicitly her judgement on matters of pupil welfare. Wootten House’s motto will be Newman’s own
description of Frances Wootten – mulier fortis et sapiens: “a strong and wise woman” – which will be a fitting and inspirational motto for Oratory girls.
The Oratory School has been located on the current site since 1942 and has developed over the years into the setting we have today.
We are extremely fortunate to enjoy a site of over 100 acres of beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, with stunning views and ample space for a growing
community to enjoy the benefits of a countryside location.
Alongside the creation of girls’ boarding facilities, we will also be developing a fitness centre and a dance studio. Over the coming months, we will share our future plans for the school’s facilities and look forward to creating vibrant spaces for learning, relaxing and socialising.
Read the "Latest News" to find out more about our coeducational project.
Meet our Coeducation Coordinator: Vicky Fogg
As Coeducation Coordinator Vicky Fogg will oversee the introduction of coeducation at The Oratory School.
Vicky is working with staff across the school and is involved in all aspects of the Oratory life including:
- Pastoral & Welfare
- 6th form
- Day & boarding provision
Vicky and the team are working hard on ensuring the smooth implementation of coeducation and will keep everyone updated on progress.
“I have a BA and MA in English Studies from Durham as well as a PGCE in English and Drama. My PhD is in English and Education and focused on the reading process in adolescent brains.
When doing my Master’s degree Durham School employed me as the Resident Tutor in the girls’ house. Working with the girls pastorally, on the sports field and in the theatre was so rewarding I was convinced that this should be my career. I completed a PGCE in English and Drama the following year, whilst still working at Durham School, and then spent six happy years teaching in co-ed state schools in Darlington, Durham and York.
In 2008 I became Housemistress of St Aidan’s Girls’ House, Ampleforth College. During my tenure we grew the House from 6th Form only to a full 13-18 House. After having children I moved from the boarding House at Ampleforth to Head of EAL. During this time I helped to develop a co-ed social programme, International Students’ mentoring scheme and a school leadership programme that gave female students equal opportunities in leadership. When Matthew became Deputy Head, I was able to fill the role of Head of EAL here at The Oratory.
I am delighted that we are to be a coeducational school. We have so much to offer boys and girls from our beautiful grounds and sporting facilities to our superb academic staff and thriving activities programme. As coeducation coordinator I hope to be able to show our wonderful school to a broader audience” said Vicky Fogg.
If you have any questions about coeducation at The Oratory Schooll, please contact Vicky at email@example.com or 01491 683500 and she will be delighted to help.
A big thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our 160th year on Saturday 22 June.
"The great joy of being one of the pioneer girls is that your voice will be heard".
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