Tudor Hall

Logo of Tudor Hall

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls' School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 336 Pupils

Characteristics

Average Class Size: 18
Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 5%
Day: £18,606 – Boarding: £29,190
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 77%

An intimate school with only 330 girls, Tudor Hall is set in the beautiful grounds of Wkyham Park where it has been since 1946. It is wonderfully traditional; as you come through the wrought iron gates and up the beautiful drive, you almost expect to see the girls frolicking around in smock dresses. With its manicured lawns and lovely walled gardens, it has a real feel of an English country home. Founded in 1850 by the Reverend and Mrs John Todd, Tudor Hall is one of the oldest girls’ schools in Britain.

Background and Reputation

There was a time when Tudor Hall was considered to be the place to send your less intelligent daughters to learn how to clean tack, darn and bake an unsinkable soufflé. Yet nowadays Tudor Hall girls are known more for ‘mucking in’ than ‘mucking out’. Full of plucky, enthusiastic, though not so cerebral girls, Tudor has a cosy charm about it. Rosy-cheeked and fresh faced, though not in too much of an earthy way, the girls are made to feel secure and happy during what can be for many girls a tumultuous stage of life. Wendy Griffiths, Tudor’s headmistress, is a strong woman and an excellent role model for the girls. She is obviously clear-sighted, focussed and determined about what she wants to achieve for the school, but she is not going to make a scene about it. This stalwart attitude has rubbed off on the girls who are the types to brush themselves down and keep their heads held high in the face of challenge or defeat.

Academic and Exit Results

Once upon a time Tudor Hall was considered to be a waiting room for girls in which they could have a jolly good time before getting married. Not so today. With an unrelenting ‘can do’ attitude, Wendy Griffith is determined to ‘up the ante’ on the academic front: “we want more from [the girls] than good behaviour and manners”. At present Tudor Hall is far from being a pressurised academic environment and that shouldn’t be considered too negative a thing; they get perfectly respectable results. In 2012, 98 per cent of girls achieved five or more GCSEs in grades A* to C with girls taking an average of nine subjects. Tudor teachers are young and enthusiastic with an average age of 36. Currently there is a distinct focus on Humanities subjects, but there is a concerted effort to get the girls keener on Sciences. Most notably, they arranged joint Science lectures with Eton. The old tricks seem still to work – bring out the boys! They have a bright, cheery library but with a slightly concerning number of girls clutching Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Sagas. Got to start somewhere, I suppose, and it’s one up from Mills and Boon. The brightly- coloured beanbags give the place a homely feel, but “we all know that no one ever did anything useful, thought anything clever or said anything insightful from a beanbag” tersely interrupts the older brother of Girl A who I was interviewing at home. “Arrogant Etonian”, I thought to myself! “Yah, well, basically.” seems to be a common prefix to answering a question for Tudor girls and “like” is used far too often in the place of punctuation. The teachers might do well to try and curb this habit as it lets the girls down somewhat in conversation.

Social and Pastoral

Considered by many to be Tudor Hall’s greatest strength, pastoral care is first-class. The staff and especially the housemistresses take their role in loco parentis incredibly seriously in a firm but affectionate way. Their strong pastoral care ensures not only the girls’ happiness but that they develop into young, confident women with good manners, compassionate friendships and cheerful dispositions. The boarding houses are organised horizontally across year groups. The school say this is to encourage the girls to make close, lasting friendships and claim that there’s still plenty of integration across different year groups. The younger dorms are bright and airy; each girl decorates their own area jollily with family photos, posters of Robert Pattison and holiday snaps giving the place a homely feel. Sixth formers have their own bedrooms in separate houses. The school canteen provides a good range of healthy options for the girls, and each table is decorated with a posy of flowers, again making us think of those smock dresses. Sadly the Tudor uniform is far from this romantic image – rather dank grey blue jumpers and cream shirts – but don’t worry, they make up for it on the hockey field, wearing lovely tartan kilts and cherry red socks. They take a firm but fair line on smoking and drinking and as a result incidents are pretty rare (or so we’re told). If caught, the offender is educated as opposed to just punished but the occasional girl is suspended

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Despite having a small number of girls in each year, sports are strong. They have an indoor swimming pool that has its walls removed in summer months. Sports days are held at Radley. Art is varied and creative, celebrating talent as well as originality. Textiles, as one would expect, is one of the more popular options. Indeed, Home Economics flourishes especially the cooking department where girls bake delicious smelling cupcakes and the like, beaming in their blue aprons. Over a third of the girls play a musical instrument and though the facilities are slightly limited, they can be proud to have a decent choir, orchestra and a number of bands that perform throughout the year. Dance is a popular option, which you can even take as a GCSE.

Extracurricular

There is a good debating and public speaking tradition. With limited facilities and limited numbers there is only so much extracurricular that can be laid on. Nevertheless, there are regular excursions into London and Oxford as well as cultural trips to the theatre, concerts and the occasional jaunt to the ice rink. Weekends are packed with outdoor activities, which the girls seem to love.

Contact

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