Oxford High School

Logo of Oxford High School

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls' School
Age range – Age 4-18
Number of pupils on roll – 950 Pupils


Average Class Size: 20
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 36%
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 92%

Oxford High is a school for “girls who really love learning” says headmistress Judith Carlisle. Since 1875, the school has occupied a number of North Oxford sites, finally settling on its current location on Belbroughton Road in 1957. Perhaps the academic air of Oxford inspires them, or more likely it is the uniformly exemplary teaching, but Oxford High seems to have got the knack of equipping its girls to do well. For such an academic place, it is no surprise that lessons are given center stage in the school day. Girls are expected to knuckle down in class, and carry on exerting themselves after it. Yet you need only walk around the school to see that these girls are not library-bound academics: the Art Department is a startling array of madcap but amazing projects, the Music Block is filled not just with Mozart and Bach but modern compositions of the girls and the many sports on offer are taken very seriously (one of their girls is a World Karate Championships gold medal- winner).

Background and Reputation

Oxford High is a shining example of what the Girls Day School Trust aims to achieve – excellent academic results within a positive, energetic environment. Headmistress and outdoor activities enthusiast, Judith Carlisle, is marching Oxford High up the league tables. She is, by all accounts, a sensible down-to- earth type and, aside from brilliant exam results, she is intent on the girls leaving Oxford High “as interested and interesting young women”. Many of the girls’ parents are Oxford academics (dons, writers, sandal wearers) and so it is hardly surprising that some other local school children consider Oxford High girls to be of the ‘bluestocking’ variety, this is not entirely fair though, for there is nothing dry about your average Oxford High girl. Rather they are collection of strong-minded, intellectually curious girls, who unsurprising end up flocking to Oxbridge (28% secured places last year).

Academic and Exit Results

The really astounding thing about Oxford High is how each year somehow manages to do the impossible and beat the results of the year before. In the 2013 A Levels, 92% of entries were A* to B, 10% of the girls achieved straight A* grades in combinations of subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Latin, Maths, History and Physics and more than half of the year group achieved 3 or more A/A grades. The girls aced the GCSEs too, 92% of the results were A or A grades. With the proportion of As rising to over 68%. 23 (more than 25%) of the girls achieved 10 or more A grades, and one girl managed 12 A*s. Of this kind of success does not come without an element of pressure. The loud tick- tock of the school clock not only signifies the punctuality of the daily routine, but also seems to sound the second-by-second countdown to the exam season. With this pressure comes energy, and the girls certainly can’t be accused of lacking in this area. They march down the corridors to their refurbished science blocks with urgency as well as enthusiasm.

Social and Pastoral

Oxford High is a bustling place, and girls are generally busy and cheerful (though it is true that they tend to get a little more subdued at exam time). The school’s pastoral care system is designed to ensure that any academic or personal problems are picked up and dealt with efficiently: there are 27 tutor groups in the school, which is itself divided into, the Lower School, Senior School and Sixth Form. Teachers, though they can be formidable in lessons, are generally much more approachable outside of them and girls say that there are few disciplinary problems within the school. Oxford High girls rarely have crises of confidence: the school fosters an atmosphere of debate which seems to give them a strength of character that serves them well in and out of school. Although the school is not in the center of Oxford, lots of girls have friends from other schools in the city, who they hang out with in the evening and at weekends along side their OHS friends.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Recent additions to the school buildings included an indoor swimming pool but overall Sport is rather average. They can boast a creative Art block – it’s refreshingly shambolic compared to the overall clockwork of the place. They have a truly brilliant Design and Technology department, which (brace yourselves, feminists) is surprising for an all-girls school. The Mary Warnock School of Music hosts some heavenly choirs, orchestras, ensembles and bands that often play in Oxford venues such as the Sheldonian and various Oxford college chapels.


The best thing about the extra curricular program at OHS, is that of the many clubs and societies on offer only one (display gymnastics) is not open to all. This for such an academic and competitive place is important. For although some of the societies (such as the language clubs) are aimed at aiding the academic departments, others such as Bollywood dance classes, are purely for fun, giving girls a much needed opportunity to let off steam with their peers.

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