Most boys come to The Oratory at 13+ and go straight into one of the four senior houses. They begin their academic studies in the Third Form (Year 9) and all follow a common curriculum covering a wide range of subjects.
However, a significant number of boys enter at 11+ and spend their first two years in St Philip House, (Lower School), before joining a senior house in the Third Form. In their first year they will have most of their classes in St Philip House, but will be taught Science, Art, CDT, IT and Physical Education in the specialist facilities of the main school. In their second year, boys go to the senior part of the school for all classes.
In the Fourth and Fifth Forms (Years 10 and 11) boys prepare to sit their GCSEs. Although certain subjects are compulsory, boys may choose their options from about the twenty which are available. Before the final decision about which subjects to study is made, discussions are held between the parents, boy, subject/teachers and Housemaster.
In the Sixth Form boys may choose from more than twenty five subjects and, with our flexible timetable, many different subject combinations are possible. For example, some boys opt to study the sciences and some purely arts, while many select a mixture of arts and sciences. The advice of the Careers Master may also be sought in order to ensure that university entrance requirements are satisfied.
Life in the school, at this stage, is particularly busy with all the responsibilities that seniority brings. House duties, mentoring and leadership skills all help to round off boys’ education and prepare them for university life.
All boys at The Oratory are encouraged to have a ‘can do’ attitude. Days are full with academic study, sport, music, and areas of particular interest such as CCF or drama. Boys are expected to deal with incorporating as many of these areas as they can into a day’s work schedule. Lessons followed by a hard row on the River Thames, followed by a dress rehearsal for the latest play, or choir practice, is just one example of a very full day.