Thank you to all the families who have been to The Oratory for an open day, show round or prospective parents’ evening, your support has been fantastic. We have made such headway preparing for coeducation, here are some of our exciting updates.
Dr Vicky Fogg - Coeducation Coordinator
I am thrilled to be continuing my work with the Pioneer Girls as Houseparent to Wootten House in September. I will be working with a wonderful team which includes Beth Bryan as Resident House Tutor and Sascha Morgan as Housemother. As Head of Swimming, Beth is new to the staff and will be coaching boys and girls swimming and rowing as well as cross country, touch rugby and supporting the Naval section of the CCF. Crucially for Wootten, Beth will live in the House and be a constant presence for the girls at break, after prep and, for boarders, at bedtime. As many parents know, Sascha Morgan is already a school Housemother to the boys of FitzAlan. Sascha is just as excited as I am about coeducation and will be continuing her work as Housemother to both the boys and the girls. An experienced Oratory Housemother and mother of her own teenage children, Sascha is ideally placed to offer the new girls support, guidance, comfort and common sense. We will be joined by a team of academic tutors who will come to Wootten each evening in turn to oversee prep and offer the girls another source of adult care and attention.
The House is taking shape! We are decorating double studies on the ground floor with laminate wood flooring, white furniture and bright noticeboards. These rooms are for day girls in the first, second and third forms. We also have a kitchenette and laundry on this floor as well as toilets and showers. On the first floor we have single study bedrooms for day and boarders in years 10-13. The rooms are white and grey with a pop of colour in the noticeboards and bedding. We are hoping the girls will bring a few personal touches to each room. Flexi-boarding spaces are also available on this floor for day girls who wish to stay overnight. Also on the first floor we have our small, evening common room, kitchenette and laundry as well as showers and toilets. The exciting change comes at the far end of the corridor where we have decided to extend into an existing computer room (which has been relocated) to give the girls a large common room space. This is where we will meet each morning for prayers and registration and where boarders can host socials with other houses some evenings. As Wootten is decorated and an identity is forged, so FitzAlan is being refreshed, modernised and redecorated ready for the boys returning in September; it really is an exciting time in both houses.
Developments around the School
Those of you who know The Oratory will know that the school and the grounds are just beautiful and I know a number of the Pioneer girls can’t wait to come here and start making the most of everything we have to offer. However, we are keen to be the best we can be so have made a few changes ahead of September. A new girls’ toilet block is being built in the Morey teaching building over the Easter holidays and we are also developing further toilets (some for boys, some for girls) near the dining room, something the boys had requested through their student council. We are also putting further toilets and changing spaces in the building that is nestled between the Morey teaching block and Theatre, this should provide updated facilities for students, visitors, those using the theatre and those participating in games at that end of school. Smaller, but none-the-less important, additions have started to appear: 6 new water fountains have been given homes at key locations around campus to ensure that, as our numbers grow, access to fresh cold water is never an issue. New signage has been designed for Wootten and Fitzalan house and we are making sure everyone feels welcome with signs that read “pupils”.
Sport and Activities
Many of you may have seen our social media posts celebrating the expansion of sport at The Oratory. With Mrs Watson joining us as Head of Hockey and Netball, Mrs Fahey as Head of Racquets and Miss Bryan as Head of Swimming we really are in great shape for all the students in 2020. We have a thriving activities programme founded on the principles of head, heart and hands (academic, spiritual/ service and physical activities) and we strive for students to find something they enjoy under each heading. As well as popular established groups such as CCF, Duke of Edinburgh, Computer Coding and Drama we also have new options such as Bamboo Bicycle Club, Equestrianism and Dance. We hope the boys and girls will all find a myriad of activities to develop their interests and skill sets whilst they are at The Oratory.
The pupils are at the heart of everything we do at The Oratory and, obviously, coeducation really is all about them! Pupils in every year group, from 1st form to Upper Sixth, have new things to look forward to in September, new friends to make. Whether it is joining the first ever A level Psychology set, joining our new boarding house, choosing to show school honours with our new bracelets and beads or being in a new coed sports team, choir or play. The students joining us in September, of both genders, show all the potential we have come to expect of Oratorians. We have pupils who have been awarded scholarships and exhibitions in sports, music, drama, art and academia as well as some “all-rounders”. Our current pupils tell me almost daily that they are looking forward to September and all the new opportunities it will bring.
Read more about our coeducation developments.