Headington School

Logo of Headington School

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 760 Pupils

Characteristics

Average Class Size: 17
Day and Boarding school
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 10%
Day £5,300 Boarding £10,300
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 85%

Conveniently located right next to the Oxford Tube bus stop, there would be a temptation for the girls to escape. However, built in 1930 in the Neo-Georgian style, Headington School has rather elegant 15 foot stone walls surrounding the grounds, a sufficient deterrent to any errant girls wishing to flock to the bright lights of London. Set in the outskirts of Oxford, sandwiched between the rather uninspiring suburb of Headington and the distinctly inspiring cobbled streets of Oxford, Headington is a happy, inoffensive school producing well-rounded girls with a perfectly decent education. Celebrated alumni include baronesses Young (former leader of the House of Lords) and Mallalieu (Labour MP and President of the Countryside Alliance), Emma Watson (Actress) and Lily van den Broecke (Olympic rower), which is reflective of the variety of girls that Headington attracts, and produces.

Background and Reputation

Started in 1915 by a group of Evangelical Christians, Headington was later awarded educational charity status as recognition of the benefits it provided to its pupils and the wider community. Today it is still a solid establishment of education, though mercifully with less of the evangelism; a lay chaplain delivers sermons on a Sunday that are more thought-provoking than doctrinal. Very international, it boasts that over 30 nationalities are represented in their pupils (notably a strong Cantonese and Nigerian presence). Over half the boarders are from abroad; but with the offer of full, weekly, and ‘flexi’ boarding there is a good interaction between both the nationalities and the year groups. Boarding staff are friendly, young and engaging. They live by the mantra that the more senior you are the more freedom you get; and this results in Headington producing young, independent women who know their own minds.

Academic and Exit Results

With 41% of last year’s Oxbridge applicants receiving offers (10% of the entire year group), they can give themselves a pat on the back. Though not a Wycombe Abbey by academic standards, they achieve good results without undue pressure. As a testament to the girls’ happiness, most stay on for Sixth Form and subsequently all go on to higher education. There is a distinct focus on the Sciences, supported by a relatively new and sparkling science block, but that is not at the expense of other subjects.

Social and Pastoral

Ruthless in her approach to drugs, alcohol and smoking, Caroline Jordan (Head since 2011) has banned them all on school premises. Nevertheless, sixth formers are allowed out once a week and several we spoke to admitted to going to the pub. There is an incredibly strong pastoral support system, of which they are proud and should be. The school counsellor and chaplain ensure that girls know of their ‘open door policy’ and many have used both on a regular and ad hoc basis. Furthermore they have a good ‘mothering’ system in which younger girls are paired with senior girls as mentors.

Sport, Music and Drama

Headington has long been known for its excellent rowers, many of whom go on to row at national and international level. While it is certainly the sport that they are defined by, it is not to say that they fail in other. With a new floodlit AstroTurf, they are competitive on the hockey pitch. The relatively new galleried art facilities, equipped with a dark room, kiln and History of Art room, is decorated with the girls’ work, much of it impressive. Textiles is offered at GCSE and A level; we saw some amusing and creative pieces. Often collaborating with the local boys’ school, Magdalen College, drama and music at Headington are impressive. The school theatre is regularly used by outside companies allowing the girls the chance to see concerts and plays in the evenings. The music schools are well-equipped with recording studios and performance spaces.

Extracurricular

In terms of organised extracurricular, there is room to complain that the girls are not encouraged quite enough to take part. That said, the cosy house system sees many taking part in inter-house sports and music competitions as well as regular sociable activities within their houses. Being largely day girl based, there is less need for a focus in this area.

Contact

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