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Chandlings Prep School
Chandlings Prep School
Chandlings Prep School
Chandlings Prep School
Chandlings Prep School Oxford, Oxfordshire Visit
Chandlings Prep School
300 pupils, ages 2-11

Chandlings Prep School

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Our View

A high achiever set in 60 acres of beautiful countryside just outside Oxford, this prep has all the facilities you might expect and more, from a riding school and nine-hole golf course to a ballet studio and pet goats – and it’s a pretty special place to spend the halcyon days of childhood. Chandlings Prep's values are written by the pupils, and head Christine Cook is often seen greeting everyone at the gate – just two examples of the inclusive, pastorally driven care here.


You couldn’t get a more bucolic setting for a school than Chandlings, with its Cotswold yellow-stone buildings, manicured formal gardens and stables located just five miles from the centre of Oxford. There are two bus routes catering to pupils in the north and south of the city.

Chandlings has the feel of a small village: indeed, the only thing that betrays the fact that it is a school at all is the constant coming and going of children, who are kissed and dropped off at the top of the roundabout driveway. It boasts multiple secure play areas, making the most of its sprawling grounds: the nursery has its own large dedicated playground, and there are separate adventure playgrounds for other year groups. Recent investment projects have resulted in a full-size Astroturf and the school has just cut the ribbon on a brand-new outdoor classroom.


One of the school’s original members of staff, Christine Cook taught English and drama here from 1994 to 2006 before being asked to return as head in 2018. In the interim, she taught at an independent all-boys school in Western Australia, ran a boarding house at nearby Dragon School and was head at Cokethorpe Junior School. Ms Cook, together with deputy head academic, Fiona Love – who shares her love of philosophy with the children in fortnightly lessons – form quite the dream partnership.


Chandling’s admissions policy is ‘gently selective’, according to the head. For early years, this means phonics and motor-skills assessments; for prep entry, there is a maths test and an English writing assessment, which take place during a taster day. How a child deals with the tests is a good indication of how they will cope with the school’s fast pace.

Admissions are open throughout the year, catering to parents who work at Oxford university, the Oxford Science Park and the BMW plant nearby. In terms of specialised learning support, there is provision for dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, with one full-time SENCO and two full-time and one part-time learning-support teachers, but it’s not the place if your child has particularly intense needs. As well as English as a foreign language, German is also taught, as a handful of pupils with parents working at BMW go on to the German grammar-school system.

Academics and senior school destinations

Chandlings pupils have access to rather incredible opportunities – though every effort is made to not intimidate them or overwhelm them with choice. Confidence is fostered early on, with nursery pupils joining the rest of the school for assemblies and older children dining with them in the lunch hall from the summer term before they join Reception. Nursery children are also taught by specialists in music, French, sport and outdoor learning, with drama, art and Spanish joining the curriculum from Reception.

Things are ramped up in prep, with specialist teachers in science (there are two bright purpose-built labs, with Year 6s earning their Bunsen Burner licences), food tech (taught in a well-equipped room with ample work space) and D&T (the classroom has woodwork and metalwork benches, 3D printers and other equipment). Streaming also begins in prep, with classes split into three groups for maths and English from Year 4. CATs are taken every year, and pupils are also prepared for the ISEB. Discussions about where a child might want to go to school next take place in Year 5, with the majority heading to independent day schools.


Sport is well provisioned, with playing fields and two hard tennis courts, as well as the new Astroturf pitch. Inside, you’ll find a sports hall, with climbing ropes, benches, wooden climbing frames and netball posts, and there’s also a swimming pool, which all pupils can use. A large variety of sports are on offer, including gymnastics, tennis, hockey, cricket, athletics, football and basketball for girls and boys. The boys also play rugby. Players are selected to join the various teams, who compete in regular fixtures against local prep schools.

Money is also being poured into the arts: a new drama space was created this summer, and there are plans for a purpose-built theatre to join it. The Lantern Hall is currently the school’s main performance venue, with annual productions by every year group. Pupils can also join individual or small group LAMDA classes if they’ve got a particular interest. There’s a lovely music area, with two main rooms and plenty of small practice rooms, plus every instrument imaginable. As well as orchestras, string groups, guitar groups and a rock band, there’s also a choir that everyone participates in – and, from Year 3, pupils use their own Chromebooks for composing.

School community

The idyllic setting of the school lends itself to a focus on wellbeing; there are even two resident pygmy goats, Fred and Frank, that the children can help to look after, plus ponies who visit for weekly ‘sleepovers’. The house system brings a sense of belonging across year groups, with regular sports fixtures and charity efforts, as well as fierce competition over house points. There’s also a school council, made up of nine children from Year 3 upwards, plus a Wellbeing Knight programme, designed in conjunction with the pupils to hep them understand what contributes to a healthy mind and body. 

The school is open from 8am to 5pm, and there's a breakfast club from 7.30am and an after-school club until 6pm. During this time there are more than 60 extracurricular clubs and activities, from judo to gardening, as well as programmes to enable pupils to develop skills in sports such as karate or golf (as mentioned above, there’s a nine-hole golf course on site). Year 5s look forward to their three-night team-building residential in Dorset, which takes place before term begins, while Year 6s stay in a French château for a week-long trip. There’s also a hotly anticipated yearly camping expedition.

There’s a real sense of community amongst the grown-ups, too, with the PTA (known as PATCH) running events including a Christmas bazaar, summer ball, coffee mornings and quiz evenings, plus a second-hand uniform shop. And the greatest testament to the success of any school: there’s a high retention rate of staff, with the majority having been there for more than 10 years – it might be something to do with all the social events we saw advertised in the staff room.

And finally....

With wellbeing so firmly entrenched in the school’s ethos, Chandlings produces confident, clever students, ready to take on the wider world. It’s such a hit among current parents that many have been busy petitioning the head to expand it to 13 – and while there are no plans to do so at the moment, we can see why anyone would want to extend their time here.

Gallery See All

boys in orange caps swimming
Girls sitting in a wooden den
Girl in checked dress and blue cardigan playing a violin outside
Boy and girl black and white costumes eating popcorn in the school play
Boy and girl in red aprons in a food technology class
Girl in a blue cardigan placing an arrow into an archery bow
pupils in red and blue smocks in an art class
Boy in a red polo shirt and navy cap swinging a golf club
Girl in checked dress and blue cardigan with her arms in the air
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Abingdon, Bloxham, Cokethorpe, Cothill House, Cranford House, D'Overbroeck's, Kingham Hill, Headington, Magdalen College, Our Lady's Abingdon, Oxford High, Pate's, Pangbourne, St Helen & St Katharine, The Dragon, The Oratory, Wychwood

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Academic7Abingdon, d'Overbroeck's, Our Lady's Abingdon, The Oratory
    Music1 Our Lady's Abingdon
    Drama3 Bloxham, Cranford House, Kingham Hill
    Sport1 Our Lady's Abingdon
    Art1 Our Lady's Abingdon
    All Rounder1 Abingdon School
    Other3 Award for performance at interview - Abingdon School

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£4,940
    Year 2£5,540
    Year 3£5,540
    Year 4£6,390
    Year 5£6,390
    Year 6£6,390

  • SEND

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    1:1 Learning support, Speech Therapy and EAL lessons

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The school has a full Wellbeing Programme.

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Oxford
    Journey time to London by train: 50 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (0 miles)

School Updates

  • Chandlings Prep Celebrates Diversity on International Day

    Chandlings Prep embarked on an incredible journey around the globe during International Day! From Mexico to Japan, the Lantern Hall transformed into a bustling marketplace, with twelve vibrant stalls curated by dedicated parent volunteers.
    Chandlings Prep Celebrates Diversity on International Day
  • Chandlings Champion Inventors

    Chandlings Prep children were challenged to design their own incredible inventions having been inspired by the visit of Adam Kay and Henry Pake, author and illustrator of Kay's Incredible Inventions.
    Chandlings Champion Inventors
  • Bonne Année 2024

    Chandlings Prep welcomes in the French New Year.
    Bonne Année 2024
  • Adam Kay and Henry Paker Unleash Laughter and Crazy Inventions at Book Event

    Adam Kay and Henry Paker combined forces at a hilarious talk for their new book "Kay's Incredible Inventions"
    Adam Kay and Henry Paker Unleash Laughter and Crazy Inventions at Book Event
  • Chandlings Prep opens newly built Outdoor Classroom

    Chandlings opens hand built outdoor classroom highlighting continued commitment to providing a dynamic and enriching learning environment for students.
    Chandlings Prep opens newly built Outdoor Classroom
  • Chandlings Prep receives highest grade in ISI inspection

    Chandlings Prep has received the top grade possible following the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) recent inspection in June 2023.
    Chandlings Prep receives highest grade in ISI inspection
  • Author and Illustrator Jamie Littler inspires Chandlings Pupils

    Jamie Littler introduced Chandlings Prep children to the wonderful fantasy worlds of Frostheart and his brand new series: Arkspire.
    Author and Illustrator Jamie Littler inspires Chandlings Pupils
  • WATCH: Chandlings Prep Outdoors

    WATCH: Chandlings Prep Outdoors
  • See Chandlings Prep in our Country Prep Schools Guide

    See Chandlings Prep in our Country Prep Schools Guide

Chandlings Prep School is
linked with:


Bagley Wood, Kennington, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 5ND

01865 730771


ISI Report


Term Dates

Open Days

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

Whole School Open Morning
21 September 2024
Early Years Open Morning
11 December 2024

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