St. Edward’s Oxford
Given the fact that the school is situated in leafy north Oxford, it could be said with certainty that its setting is privileged. The main buildings, many of which are equipped “with more technology than you could wish for”, surround a lawned quad. There is also a simple, peaceful chapel, compulsory on Sundays for boarders, C of E, but welcoming of all faiths. Boarding houses have their own identity – Quad or Field side. The Quad is intended for less organised children, whereas the field is suitable for those who prefer open space. Day pupils stay until 9 pm, but all can have a bed in the boarding houses and sleep over if they feel too exhausted to go home.
So far, the results have been more than satisfactory, with 74 per cent of A level grades being A*/B (50 per cent A*/A), and the IB average a solid 35.9. Alongside the usual nine or ten subjects at IGCSE / GCSE, PE, DT and drama, students also take Latin or classical civilisation and Greek. Biology and art and design are also quite popular and successful at A level. At the moment, 15 per cent of students receive learning support, mainly for mild dyslexia. Learning support is based on strategies, including use of smart phone and ICT.
The school has a reputation on being “forgiving” on entry, but no apologies are accepted on exit. IGCSEs have recently been introduced, whereas IB has been extended. However, the most popular approach is metacognition which allows children to develop intellect, to reason, question and enquire.
The School has fabulous facilities, outdoor courts, cricket pitches and a new cricket pavilion, a nine-hole golf course, a boat house. Indoors include a greatly equipped leisure centre, a gym, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor tennis courts and fitness and dance studios. The school’s cricket team is undefeated, while the girls’ senior hockey team have been county champions for the last seven years.
Students’ art results are excellent, especially at A level with facilities for jewellery making, ceramics, sculpture and large fine art displays. The North Wall Arts Centre hosts visiting artists and theatre groups, boasts exhibition galleries, drama studios and a 250 seat theatre. There is something for everyone, regardless of where they sit in the talent pool. Everyone at St Edward’s believes that it’s all about building confidence.
Make-up of students
Students’ parents are a mix of academics, professionals and business. Twelve per cent of students arrive from different overseas countries. The School has a local reputation of privilege and is pushing the boundaries, yet everybody spoken to agreed that the students are grounded, down to earth and friendly. Some of the School’s notable former students include Kenneth Graham, Lawrence Olivier, Douglas Bader, Guy Gibson, Jon Snow and Sam Waley-Cohen.
Pastoral care and discipline
Pastoral care is regarded as excellent by the parents. Cohesive boarding houses provide welcome support and foster inter-year friendships. St Edward’s is very severe when it comes to smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Entrance and exit
Students come to St Edward’s from a range of prep schools. Skype interviews are offered to those who are based overseas. Pupils are required to obtain at least 55 per cent at CE, whereas non CE candidates take the School’s own exam.
Some students leave after they are 16 in order to pursue courses that are not offered at St Edward’s. Students’ favoured destinations include London, Newcastle and Leeds. Some of the most popular subjects are geography, biomedical science, engineering, maths, modern languages and history. At St Edward’s Oxford they believe that “understanding the cut and thrust of the world beyond university is paramount.”