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St Edward's School, Oxford
St Edward's School, Oxford
St Edward's School, Oxford
St Edward's School, Oxford
top 200
St Edward's School, Oxford Oxford, Oxfordshire Visit
school
St Edward's School, Oxford
Oxford
804 pupils, ages 13-18
Mixed
Day and Boarding

St Edward's School, Oxford

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Our view

It’s safe to say that this formerly unsung hero has found its voice. St Edward’s, Oxford is on fire – academic ambitions are at an all-time high, but none of the school’s characteristic warmth and roundedness has been sacrificed in the pursuit.

Pupils want to come here; staff want to teach here, and they are certainly rattling the cages of the academic elite.

Where?

St Edward’s (known as Teddies) is one of the sector’s very best environmental juxtapositions, with a staggering 100 acres of green and pleasant land just moments from the urban Summertown High Street and only a mile from Oxford City Centre. It takes under 10 minutes to reach two train stations that connect with London and Birmingham within an hour. The M40 and M4 are quickly accessible, and Heathrow is less than an hour’s drive away.

The 100-acre site is divided into ‘Quad side’, where most of the action takes place, and ‘Field side’ where the sports centre, fields, pitches and further boarding are located. As this is technically an urban school, there’s no grand entrance and parking is tight, but around the gatehouse corner you’ll find fine Victorian red-brick buildings surrounding Oxford’s second-largest quad (dug up for air raid shelters during the Second World War).

Traditional buildings sit side by side with stunning architectural masterpieces such as the Christie Centre – an extraordinary new space complete with a magnificent library, sixth-form social area and a reading room that aesthetically echoes Oxford’s colleges – and the Olivier Hall, a magnificent oval-shaped performance and assembly space with room for the whole school to gather together. Both come with all the sustainability credentials you would expect, given the schools ‘facilities for sustainable excellence’ mantra.

Head

Alastair Chirnside, the 14th warden of St Edward’s, took up the post in 2021, arriving from Harrow and with stints at Eton and as a City fund manager under his belt. He combines professional amiability with a steely ambition that would reassure parents who want both pastoral warmth and scholarly rigour. With the meticulous David Flower as his academic right-hand man, he is ‘all over it’ from strategic blue-sky thinking to the nuts and bolts of the student curriculum.

Mr Chirnside’s ambition for ‘more visibility’ when he first arrived is certainly bearing fruit, but what’s impressive is that the increased focus on strengthening and celebrating their academic credentials has not lessened his quest for the broad range of skills needed to ‘develop fledgling learners into undergraduates’.

He has instigated a project interviewing leavers five and 10 years later in order to establish where Teddies has helped them in getting to where they are or to highlight areas where the school could have done more to prepare them. It’s evidence of his understanding that the here and now is only one part of the impact a school can have. Similarly, Mr Chirnside acknowledges that exams are important to open up opportunities, but how can the school help pupils develop the skills needed to maximise on those? ‘What kind of person do pupils become and what part did the school play in shaping that – do they read books, do they stand by their friends, do they make tough decisions, are they always kind?’ Teddies works hard to help pupils take responsibility for their own learning, focusing on their own personal effort rather than any one predetermined standard and giving them the motivation to do it. ‘We don’t want pupils to think that they could have tried harder’. Ultimately, he says, ‘the most important skill is emotional intelligence as life will always be about people’.

Admissions

Teddies is an increasingly popular choice, with around six times the number of applicants for 145 places in Year 9 (aka ‘Shell’). The admissions department have seen a notable surge in enquiries since Mr Chirnside took the reins, especially from those interested in academic prowess. But they have no plans to become an academic hothouse and holding on to ’everything that makes us special’ is front and centre. Prospective pupils sit the ISEB Pre-Test in Year 6, with Common Entrance results in Year 8 taken into further consideration. Some 65 per cent of places are awarded in Year 6, a further 25 per cent in Year 7 and the remaining 10 per cent in Year 8. The minimum entry requirement for sixth form is six GCSEs or equivalent at grade 9-6. Pupils should gain a 7 or above in subjects they hope to study at A-level or at higher level in the IB (grade 8 for maths or the sciences).

There are more than 40 nationalities here from all corners of the globe, but careful integration is key – whether that’s placement of overseas boarders across the houses or ensuring that prep-school cohorts are dispersed.

Academics and destinations

There’s a real culture of hard work and achievement here, and results are going from strength to strength - 83 per cent of last year's A-levels were graded A*-B, IB students bagged average scores of 35 and nearly two-thirds of GCSE level exams were graded 9-7 which is the highest in the school’s history. Choice is also a big gun in this armoury, with younger pupils selecting their subjects from a broad array of GCSEs and the school’s own ‘Pathways and Perspectives’, the latter being formally accredited qualifications specifically created to deliver the softer skills, such as collaboration, that pupils can’t achieve through narrow channels. These specially designed courses were five years in development and range from sports science to entrepreneurship and global society.

Sixth-formers too have the choice of A-level or IB, with the IB growing in popularity from 30 per cent around 5 years ago to 50 per cent of the current cohort.

One of the key aims of the new Christie Centre is to encourage and foster university-style learning – and we were impressed by the wealth of private and independent study spaces for pupils to pick from (the sixth-form reading room looks and feels more like a university library). There’s a small, well-integrated team of learning support staff available to provide extra help to pupils who need it. But empowering students to govern their own learning is as important as the learning itself and a far more long-lasting skill. Pupils are taught to understand how they learn, and which revision techniques fit best with each style. The school is taking this approach even further in developing a Teddies ‘curriculum map’, which plots the growth needed from fresh-faced Year 9 to capable self-motivated undergraduate and mapping exactly when, where and how children will acquire every skill they need.

Our pupil guides described Teddies as ’an active atmosphere – we are interactive in lessons, and we have a say in how we want to learn and our teachers help to deliver that’. There is an ‘overwhelming amount of support’ but pupils definitely felt that the school firmly remained an ‘all-rounder’.

Sixth-formers are well prepared for the jump to higher education, with a dedicated careers counsellor with whom they meet termly to track progress and discuss options. Leavers go on to a range of universities, mostly Russell Groups, with Exeter, Edinburgh, London and Bristol always popular – a handful gain Oxbridge places, go abroad or secure places at art, music and drama schools.

Co-curricular

As one of the top three rowing schools in the UK and with the Thames close at hand, coaching and facilities are at international level with some of this year’s cohort doing GB trials. Cricket is also particularly strong – the minimalist pavilion by John Pawson is marvellous – and recent successes have enhanced its reputation as one of the top schools nationally. But there’s something for everyone, and those who aren’t chasing places on the rugby or hockey A teams can find their niche in anything from athletics and sailing (there’s a reservoir nearby) to squash or golf. Dance should also get some limelight here with around a quarter of the whole school taking dance as a lesson or hobby – and 20 per cent of those are boys.

Strong art, design, drama and music have long been a feature of Teddies (Laurence Olivier was a pupil, and more recently, actors Florence Pugh and Emilia Clarke) and stellar facilities help keep standards high. A superb new music centre was completed in 2017, across the road from the North Wall Arts Centre, a RIBA award-winning 200-seater theatre and exhibition space used by the school and open to the public. Teddies’ plays and musicals give a few West End shows a run for their money and there’s always at least one St Edward’s creation at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The school’s music department not only benefits from an energetic and passionate leader, it has a close relationship with the music community in Oxford and has collaborated with the English Chamber Orchestra (among others) while the in-house ‘Friday at Five’ concerts are a popular and well-attended regular feature. There’s a fantastic jewellery-design workshop and the design and technology space is a maze of machinery, with dynamic, on-the-ball staff.

Teddies’ longstanding ties with the army manifest in compulsory CCF in Year 10. Those opting out after this year can select a life-skills course: think finance, mindfulness, research and presentation skills (genuinely useful stuff). Adding to this rich mosaic of learning are a cluster of mostly student-run clubs and societies, from beekeeping and debating to journalism and psychology.

Boarding

Very firmly a boarding school, with 84 per cent of pupils living in, though you’d never know who’s day or not. Children are allowed to sign out on Saturday after lessons and matches, but typically just under half stay in for the weekend as there’s a massive amount on – from informal barbecues to cinema trips and jaunts into the centre of Oxford, all previewed in the termly Weekends at Teddies booklet.

There are 13 houses – five for girls, five for boys and three co-ed (an increasingly popular choice) – Apsley recently started welcoming girls to become the newest co-ed option. In a delightfully inclusive spirit, day pupils, even if they live minutes away, are allocated a space in each house to stash their belongings or have a well-deserved break: they don’t leave until either 6.30pm or 9pm, after clubs, activities, supper and homework. All meals are taken in the main school dining room, but pupils regularly pop back to their house for rounds of toast and catch-ups at break. The newer houses are very impressive (Jubilee poses as a feature from Architectural Digest) – but there's a rolling programme of refurbishment underway on some of the older ones too.

Two school-run coach services bring pupils back from London - one from South Kensington via Beaconsfield and one from Dulwich via Putney and Maidenhead, every Sunday evening, and is available to transport pupils back on exeat and leave weekends.

School community

Teddies has long since seen community partnership as important, but we were properly impressed by the newly launched and formalised ‘Teddies Collaborates’ programme, which requires every single lower-sixth pupil to volunteer with a local partner every week. There’s a fleet of bikes on hand to get them to where they need to be, and pupils choose partners to whom their skill sets will be most valuable - from support in a local school for children with social, emotional or mental-health difficulties to dancing and playing games with residents of a nearby care home or helping out at the food bank. It’s a long term, meaningful commitment that greatly benefits all parties, but the warden notes that beyond the practical support pupils offer from week to week, the programme provides a longer-term public advantage in helping children to have a completely open mindset and truly understand their communities in order to use their (fortunate) positions to maximum benefit both here and beyond.

There’s a very solid school community too – pupils quite clearly look out for each other, and some are trained up as ‘peer listeners’, receiving training from the Samaritans.

And finally...

Challenge and empowerment are words that come up a lot here and children are encouraged to seize the day whether that’s in the classroom or elsewhere. Teddies is a holistic powerhouse striving to open even more doors for its pupils by pushing the boundaries academically. But they are also brave enough to invest a great deal today in delivering the skills and values needed to shape the principled citizens and leaders of tomorrow.

Gallery See All

Boy and girl performing ballet together on stage
Boys and girls in navy blue blazers walking outside in the sunshine
Boys in white shorts and blue tops playing rugby on green grass
External image of St Edward's Oxford
Girls in bright blue tops and blue and yellow socks playing hockey
Boys playing cricket in whites and navy blue helmets
Pupils playing violins in an orchestra
Boy and girl in white lab coats and safety glasses performing an experiment in chemistry
Girl in white shirt and navy jumper drawing with charcoal
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    IB results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    History
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physics
    Religious Studies
    Spanish

    A Level

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    History
    History of Art
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physics
    Politics
    Psychology
    Religious Studies
    Spanish
    Textiles

    IB

    Higher
    Ancient Greek
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Economics
    English Literature
    Environmental Systems and Societies
    French
    Geography
    German
    History
    History of Art
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Philosophy
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish
    Visual Arts
    Global Politics
    Sports Exercise and Health Science
    Theatre Arts
    Standard
    Ancient Greek
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Economics
    English Literature
    French
    Geography
    German
    History
    History of Art
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Philosophy
    Psychology
    Spanish
    Visual Arts
    Environmental Systems and Societies
    Global Politics
    Sport Exercise and Health Science
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £12,528
    Year 10£12,528
    Year 11£12,528
    Year 12£12,528
    Year 13£12,528
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £15,660
    Year 10 £15,660
    Year 11£15,660
    Year 12£15,660
    Year 13£15,660




    Bursaries

    St Edward’s is committed to ensuring that as many young people as possible from all backgrounds are able to benefit from a Teddies education, and offer free and subsidised places to a significant number of pupils. Fee support of up to 100% of fees may be offered, depending on the family’s financial circumstances. Any prospective pupil for the Year 9, 10 or 12 intake who is likely to meet the entry requirements, but does not have the financial means to take up a place if offered one, is eligible to apply for a bursary. Currently around 100 pupils receive fee support at varying levels, and the school would like to increase this to 160 pupils (equivalent to 1 in 5 pupils) in the coming years.



    Bursary contact:
    Bursar Edward Hayter
    bursar@stedwardsoxford.org
  • SEND

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The school has a School Psychologist and Wellbeing Curriculum.

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School bus service to/from London

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Oxford City and Oxford Parkway
    Journey time to London by train: 55 minutes
    Nearest international airport: London Heathrow (50 miles)


  • Parents tell us

    ‘We were looking for a co-educational school firstly, not necessarily boarding. We wanted a school with plenty of sport and extracurricular activities for our son and a broad academic intake. St Edwards offered both these things, along with a strong pastoral side that tends to go with boarding schools. 

    The house system is a real strength, providing a sense of belonging and a family atmosphere. The older ones look out for the younger pupils. Academic results have risen under the leadership of the present warden over the last 10 years. 

    The admissions process was very positive and supportive. Our son had two personal tutors who were both influential to him. One went on to be his rugby coach and was inspirational in encouraging him. The other was his academic tutor for his GCSEs and sixth form and was a constant source of support to him and us throughout that time. 

    There is an appropriate level of communication. A weekly newsletter informs us of the good stuff, and letters directly from the warden relay the not-so- good news. Inevitably at a boarding school, there is much less direct involvement with day-to-day education but I tend to feel at secondary level children need to take a certain amount of ownership of their education. However, if we had any concerns there was no problem or delay in getting them sorted out. There are half-term reports and annual parent-teacher meetings. 

    We have had nothing but positive experience of the school’s pastoral care. There are multiple points of contact and opportunity for pupils to express any worries or concerns and they are actively encouraged to do so. The house staff get to know the children really well. 

    Our son has now left the school and is in his first year at Exeter University. Sixth form was fully geared towards university applications. Very few pupils do not go on to university. 

    The school community is a mixture of locals, Londoners and overseas pupils. The children generally manage to get together outside term time and we have got to know other parents on the rugby sidelines. I am on the Friends of St Edward's committee, which organises events for parents throughout the year. 

    The school has lived up to expectations, and our son and now our daughter have both been very happy. My advice to new parents would be to choose houses carefully. Those on “quad side” are handy for getting to lessons as they are where the school buildings are. Both my children have been on “field side”, which means a five-minute walk to school but also gives a sense of going home again at the end of the day. In the summer they are a magnet for all as they are surrounded by green space –  perfect for games and sunbathing.'

School Updates

  • WATCH: Sport at Teddies

    WATCH: Sport at Teddies
  • WATCH: Music at Teddies

    WATCH: Music at Teddies
  • WATCH: This is Teddies

    WATCH: This is Teddies
  • WATCH: Meet the Warden

    WATCH: Meet the Warden
  • WATCH: The Academic Culture at St Edward's School

    WATCH: The Academic Culture at St Edward's School
  • See St Edward's School in our IB Focus Schools Guide.

    See St Edward's School in our IB Focus Schools Guide.
  • See St Edward's School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.

    See St Edward's School in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide.
  • View from the Top: Alastair Chirnside on the vital role of co-education

    View from the Top: Alastair Chirnside on the vital role of co-education
  • Dance at St Edward's School: a sport for all

    Dance at St Edward's School: a sport for all
  • Hear pupils talk about their experience of St Edward's School

    Hear pupils talk about their experience of St Edward's School

Essentials

Address
Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 7NN

Contact
enquiries@stedwardsoxford.org
01865 319204

Website
stedwardsoxford.org

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates

Bursaries


Open Days

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



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