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Bloxham School
Bloxham School
Bloxham School
Bloxham School
Bloxham School Bloxham, Oxfordshire Visit
school
Bloxham School
Bloxham
532 pupils, ages 11-18
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Bloxham School

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Our View

An excellent all-rounder, this small, unpretentious school has big ambitions – and not just in the classroom. It stands out for its innovative academic approach and supportive environment that’s ideal for those pupils who need a more intimate place to shine.

Where?

Part of pretty Cotswolds village Bloxham, this unassuming school is set in 60 acres yet still manages to feel compact and homely. The traditional honey-hued buildings were designed by eminent Victorian architect George Edmund Street and include a stunning beamed chapel; a striking modern library opened in 2006, which was built using the same local stone. The sports hall and playing fields are to the east, with boarding houses and classes in the middle (additional boarding houses are on the other side of the high street). It's well located: around three miles south west of Banbury, with access to the M40 north to Birmingham and the Midlands and south to London (80 miles). There is a direct rail connection to Oxford from Banbury station in 25 minutes, and to London Marylebone in an hour.

Head

Northern Irish head Paul Sanderson joined in 2013 from Gordonstoun where he was deputy (he has also taught at Oundle). Mr Sanderson is an outdoors instructor so he runs the school climbing group, coaches rugby (he played for Oxford) and takes second-form residential trips to the Highlands for kayaking, climbing and mountaineering. ‘Kind, fair and supportive’ – that’s the positive consensus from parents we spoke to.

Mr Sanderson’s vision for the school is very much focused on developing balanced children and a sense of community. ‘Any good school should be able to stretch your child academically. It’s about what else they can do to prepare them for the future – forming relationships, safeguarding their mental health, exploring their place in the world,’ he tells us. ‘If you’re still talking about GCSE and A-level results as a barometer, you’re 10 years behind; education is about preparing kids for the rest of their lives.’

Admissions

There are currently around 540 pupils at Bloxham and that, says the head, is exactly the right number to allow everyone to be noticed and shine. Entry to the lower school at 11+ involves an assessment day, interview, plus taking English, maths and verbal reasoning papers. Those hoping to enter the upper school at 13+ must sit the ISEB Pre-Test at their current school in the first term of Year 7; this is followed up with an assessment morning for an interview and group activity. Offers are provisional until Common Entrance results are known. For the sixth form, it’s an application form and interview with the head (places are confirmed after GCSE results – a minimum of six is needed, with grades 9-5). At all entry points, academic, art, D&T, drama and music scholarships are offered.

Academics and destinations

Core subjects in the lower school include theology, French or Spanish and Latin; pupils are set in maths. In the sixth form, the school offers two BTECs (sports science and hospitality), a CTEC in business studies and a choice of 24 A-levels. In addition to A-levels/BTECS, students must also do an EPQ; a forward-thinking mini-MBA programme which is run in collaboration with the business department at the University of Buckingham to teach real-world skills (ie, the ability to work as a group, to understand the global economy and how to do business in a foreign country); an innovative mini-MAPP (masters in applied positive psychology) which focuses on understanding what makes people tick; or public speaking. Sixth-formers take part in a two-day ‘Future Focus’ event as part of preparation for life beyond school. There are also talks, workshops and guest speakers from UCAS.

SEND (called learning support here) is very flexible and assists pupils with everything from revision tools to essay techniques and understanding what kind of learner they are – and there’s not much that slips through the net if someone is struggling. Staff regularly work with around 40 children over the course of a week, either one-to-one or in small groups.

Co-curricular

Pupils scoop up trophies galore on the sports field, including for clay-pigeon shooting, rugby and riding at national level. All children take part in sport three times a week, with the majority competing for the school against the likes of Uppingham, Bedford and Stowe. Girls play hockey, netball and tennis; boys do rugby, hockey and cricket (there’s competitive cricket for the girls too). Other options are swimming, basketball, sailing, golf and fives. An U14 was recently scouted and selected for the rugby National Sevens Academy; two Bloxhamists play for the U20 Wasps and Saints and one for England U18s. Facilities include two all-weather pitches, squash and fives courts, a 23-metre pool, indoor climbing wall and yoga studio.

The music standard is high (pupils have moved on to schools such as the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama) and there are all the usual chapel choirs, string groups, jazz bands and brass ensembles. The most recent house music competition (staged on the headmaster’s lawn) was judged by Alex James of Blur.

Enrichment for all years is mandatory. For instance, the third form participates in two activities plus outdoor education; the lower sixth does one activity plus community service. Options are split into categories such as creative arts, sports, languages, spirituality, community service and clubs, which include an electric car challenge, the school newspaper and a cycle workshop run by the chaplain. Residential trips range from a geography expedition to Iceland to skiing in Austria.

Boarding

Bloxham is a boarding and day school, with one of the most flexible (and best value) boarding models we’ve seen with a choice of full, weekly (for Years 7 and 8) and day boarding. The day boarding option has two nights a week included in the fees, children have supper, do prep and stay until 9pm on the days they go home – especially handy for parents doing the London work commute. Senior day pupils have their own house called Merton and stay on until 6pm. Most of the boarding houses are traditional stone; two were built in the 1960s. Inside, they feel functional and cosy.

Exham House is for Years 7 and 8 and it acts as a day common room. They also have their own boarding house, called Park Close. Pupils in Year 9 upwards join one of four boys’ houses or three girls’ houses. Merton (the co-ed day house) moved to a refurbished village house in 2020.

Bonding house activities range from the boys from Seymour House climbing, cycling and swimming the respective distances of Three Peaks, John O’Groats to Land’s End and the English Channel within five hours, to the girls from Stonehill House taking a day trip to Oxford to buy outfits from Oxfam for a fashion show. In-house social nights – board games, making jewellery, having chocolate fondue – are often organised by the children.

Many day boarding pupils are local and tend to go home after sport at the weekend. There are just 22 international students who make the most of the Saturday/Sunday programme with other full boarding students. Children eat lunch in the pretty dining hall, and sit with their houses for supper.

School community

Bloxham was founded by a Church of England clergyman and a Christian ethos still underlies its approach today (all faiths are welcome). There is a full-time chaplain on site and services are held weekly.

We’ve heard brilliant things about the quality and consistency of the pastoral care (‘The pastoral care doesn’t just stop at sixth form – I’ve had my son’s former housemaster ring me to see how he’s getting on since he left Bloxham,’ one parent tells us). Tutors check in with their tutees daily. After the pandemic lockdown, tutors met with each child individually to ask about their worries and in response to the answers – the social aspect, online activities, anxiety, pornography – the school arranged for the Naked Truth project to run age-appropriate workshops for both pupils and parents. The idea is to encourage an open culture and a community where everyone works towards the same goals.

And finally....

This small senior offers all the benefits and facilities of somewhere bigger and is committed to educating the whole child – results are just a part of it. ‘They don’t flog the academics, it’s about the bigger picture and that’s a change from other super-competitive Oxfordshire schools,’ comments one parent.

Gallery See All

  • Academic results

    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Food Technology
    French
    Geography
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Spanish

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    Government and Politics
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Photography
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Politics
    Psychology
    Religious Studies
    Spanish
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£6,480
    Year 8 £6,480
    Year 9 £6,395
    Year 10£6,395
    Year 11£6,395
    Year 12£6,395
    Year 13£6,395
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£8,835
    Year 8 £8,835
    Year 9 £12,295
    Year 10 £12,295
    Year 11£12,295
    Year 12£12,295
    Year 13£12,295




    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Charlie Little
    bursar@bloxhamschool.com
  • SEND



    Co-ordinator: Natalie Long n.long@bloxhamschool.com
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Banbury
    Journey time to London by train: 60 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (65 miles)


School Updates

  • See Bloxham School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See Bloxham School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.
  • Talk Education's senior boarding focus: hear from Bloxham pupils

    Talk Education's senior boarding focus: hear from Bloxham pupils
  • Talk Education's senior boarding focus: Bloxham

    Talk Education's senior boarding focus: Bloxham
  • 10 Questions with Paul Sanderson, head of Bloxham School

    10 Questions with Paul Sanderson, head of Bloxham School

Essentials

Address
Banbury Road, Bloxham, Oxfordshire OX15 4PE

Contact
admissions@bloxhamschool.com
01295 720222

Website
bloxhamschool.com

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day

Whole School Open Morning
08 October 2022
Whole School Open Morning
11 March 2023


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