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Coeducation at The Oratory

The Oratory School became a coeducational school in September 2020, welcoming girls alongside boys for the first time in its 161-year history. 

Tuesday 8 September 2020 saw the opening of the first girls’ house, Wootten House, named after Mrs Frances Wootten, the first Dame of the Oratory School when it was founded by St John Henry Newman in 1859. Dr Victoria Fogg, former Coeducation Coordinator, is the Wootten Houseparent, supported by Sally Woodley as Housemother.

The Oratory’s move to coeducation has been overwhelmingly successful. 46 “pioneer girls” joined the school in its first coeducational year and we now have close to 100 girls as of September 2021. These pupils come from a range of locations that include the Home Counties through to Nigeria, China and Japan. They have joined Oratory life across all year groups, with the majority starting in Years 7, 9 and Sixth Form. Applications for places at every entry point are now at their highest level in years, with families of girls and boys eager to experience everything The Oratory has to offer.

Dr Vicky Fogg, Wootten Houseparent says “It is an honour to help found Wootten House. Welcoming girls across the age groups and seeing the House come to life with their talent, their enthusiasm and their faith is a privilege.”

Joe Smith, Head Master says “The date of the school’s opening – 2 May 1859 – is now joined by 8 September 2020 as the two most significant dates in our proud history.”

In September 2021, due to the success of girl recruitment, Wootten House was relocated to the original building which became the school. It is a beautiful Georgian country house with some modern additions, built in 1733 and remodelled in 1910 by the architect Detmar Blow, a pupil of Sir Edwin Lutyens. It is wonderful to give our girls the opportunity to live at the very heart of the school.

Wootten House Pioneer Girls

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