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Kingham Hill School Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
Kingham Hill School
Chipping Norton
325 pupils, ages 11-18
Day and Boarding

Kingham Hill School

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Our View

This is a perfectly located, rural secondary boarding school with global connections in the heart of the Cotswolds. Unassuming and modest, ‘The Hill’ delivers big results while remaining both deliberately small and true to its charitable, Christian core.


Set right in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, just above the picturesque village of Kingham, the school sits on a beautiful 100-acre site packed with traditional Cotswolds stone buildings and views across the leafy valley.

Trains to London Paddington take one hour and 20 minutes from Kingham station (10 minutes’ drive from school), from and to which the school has its own morning and evening bus service.


For just over a decade Nick Seward has been at the helm, raising standards, outcomes and expectations while adhering to the core values of the school, which were formed on its foundation in 1886. Mr Seward came from Magdalen College School, Oxford (where he was chaplain and a housemaster), is likeable and friendly (one former pupil described him as ‘an absolute legend’) and keeps pupils’ welfare and happiness as his priority. He maintains an active role in daily school life, teaching classes, welcoming pupils to his house and running a graduate scheme for pastoral assistants (more of which below). He is a self-confessed motorsports nut and has spearheaded the Kingham Hill Racing Initiative, which has pupils enthusiastically designing and building karts and competing in the National Schools Karting Association with significant success.


Although applicants do sit an entry test and have an interview, Kingham Hill is academically non-selective and looks for pupils who are engaged, full of character and kind.

The main entry points are Years 7 and 9 (at which point the year size nearly doubles) and lower sixth. There is strong bursary support, with up to 50 per cent of fees covered, and the school has a continuing legacy of charitable endeavours, culminating in the annual intake of Founders Pupils from underprivileged backgrounds, who become fully funded boarders. Last year’s head boy and first XV rugby player was a Founders Pupil and a great poster boy for the scheme.

Academics and destinations

For many years, Kingham Hill was regarded as gently academic – a reputation now toppled by its top-notch results, which are especially impressive given its non-selective admission. Last year saw 56 per cent of sixth-formers achieving A*-A and 76 per cent achieving A*-B at A-level, while 90 per cent went to their first choice of university. Such results owe thanks to the influence of impressive academic deputy Tim Bostwick (razor-sharp, ex-St Edward’s, Oxford) who, in conjunction with Mr Seward and his team, has applied cognitive psychology to the teaching and approach to learning of individual pupils. This increased focus on individually evaluating each child feeds into the unique character of Kingham Hill, whose size allows it to offer great attention to pupils.

There are lots of newly built classrooms joining the original buildings: great combined classroom/laboratory rooms for biology and chemistry; a well-equipped design lab with CAD machines; and good art and D&T provision (the level of pupil artwork on the walls is sensational). When tackling their EPQ in sixth form (one of the options on offer alongside the A level syllabus), students are encouraged to take a creative rather than academic approach.

Kingham Hill is one of only a handful of UK schools where pupils can opt to graduate with a US High School Diploma, alongside their other exams. This scheme has been developed in conjunction with the US State Department and forged by the school’s links with RAF Croughton (just 23 miles away). Of course, this also means a good number of pupils go on to study at top American universities.


Rugby thrives under legendary coach Lynn Evans, an 80+ year old veteran of the RFU, Welsh Rugby Union and French Rugby Federation. Major sports change each term (hockey, netball, rounders, tennis and athletics for girls; rugby, football and cricket for boys; plenty of mixed sports, including tag rugby); Tuesdays to Thursdays are dedicated match days. Facilities are shiny and new: the sports hall is impressive and well kitted out, there’s a good climbing wall, an idyllic cricket square, a 25-metre swimming pool, a training pool, sauna and fitness suite, an AstroTurf pitch and tennis courts. Quirkier options include golf, mountain-biking, cross-country, clay-pigeon shooting and fencing.

Every pupil in Years 7 and 8 learns an instrument and there are mass orchestra concerts at which everyone performs, as well as several choirs and ensembles.

Mr Seward did away with Saturday lessons as soon as he arrived, freeing up time for wider character building with an activities programme grouped by year. There is the Farm Club (which operates out of the school’s on-site farm, complete with its own alpacas, goats and bees), horse riding, forestry, bushcraft and even a Commonwealth War Graves Maintenance Group. CCF is compulsory from Year 9. 


About 60 per cent of pupils board in gorgeous old buildings scattered across the lovely rural campus. Boarding is full, weekly, nightly and ad hoc. Each of the eight houses is small (with just 20 to 30 pupils in each), and sixth-formers move across to their own independent block. There are two houseparents, three tutors and a rolling internship scheme for recent graduates (‘pastoral assistants’), a decent number of whom choose to stay on, acting as role models before undertaking a PGCE.

On top of the Saturday activity programme, boarders can opt into regular trips exploring the likes of Oxford, Stratford and Cheltenham or head off on paintballing, archery or mountain-biking excursions (for a small fee, day pupils may join in too). The sixth form has its own bar, which is open on Friday and Saturday evenings – ‘landlorded’ by Mr Seward, it helps to promote responsible drinking and socialising, and is very popular.

School community

The values and ethos of Christianity remain strong and while a number of the senior staff and leadership team practise their faith, there is absolutely no requirement for pupils to be Christian; the school celebrates a variety of religious beliefs. Instead, Kingham Hill’s emphasis on faith helps foster a strong community feel.

Parents are welcome to pop in and use the facilities (there are even fitness classes put on for them by staff). There’s a strong outreach programme with the local community, a thriving charity committee and longstanding links with an orphanage in Zambia.

And finally....

Size, it seems, does matter after all. ‘The Hill’ has all the advantages of being small yet packs a punch in pretty much all areas – and for London families, it can offer a rural idyll that is easily accessible.

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Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
Kingham Hill School gallery image
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • University destinations

    49% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
    10% of leavers went on to an American university.
    1% of leavers went on to an overseas university.
    8% of leavers went on to a creative arts or vocational course.
    90% of leavers went on to their first choice university.
  • Subjects offered


    Art & Design
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies
    Animal Management - Level 2 BTEC

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Classical Civilisation
    Design and Technology
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    History of Art
    Religious Studies
    BTEC Level 3 Animal Management
    Performing Arts. CTech Level 3 Business
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£6,175
    Year 8£6,175
    Year 9£7,030
    Year 10£7,030
    Year 11£7,030
    Year 12£7,030
    Year 13£7,030
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£9,025
    Year 8£9,025
    Year 9£10,345
    Year 10£10,345
    Year 11£10,345
    Year 12£11,850
    Year 13£11,850

    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Cat Thompson
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The school provides for pupils with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD and ASD and is able to support thopse with various health needs such as diabetes and various dietary requirements. For pupils with physical disabilities we are able to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate their learning while at the school.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    We support pupils outside the classroom in Greens - our Learning Support Department. This is for 1:1 academic support sessions, which helps the pupils continue to access the mainstream classroom.
    We do not have Teaching Assistants in the classroom.
    We offer support with prep after school each day if needed and social groups in lunchtimes.
    We offer a wide variety of co-curricular benefits to all pupils.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    We have a counsellor in school, a peer support initiative, offered by 6th Form, called The Hub and various social skills groups. There is a Medical Centre staffed by nurses and a Welfare Group of staff who meet weekly to discuss pupils and action plans (this is often focussed on issues of mental health). Pupils are able to self refer

    Co-ordinator: Tim Martin
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    Escorted train service to/from London
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Kingham
    Journey time to London by train: 80 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Heathrow (65 miles)


Kingham , Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 6TH

01608 658999


ISI Report


Term Dates

Open Days

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

Open day
02 October 2021

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