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The Oratory School
Description: _SJP0094
Description: _SJP0314
Description: HG (2 of 7) CROPPED
Description: Ugbede 18
The Oratory School
Org 1: HMC
Description: The Oratory School
Woodcote, Reading, South Oxfordshire RG8 0PJ
Telephone: 01491 683500
Motto: Cor ad cor loquitur
Age Range: Senior to 18
Day or Boarding: Day, Weekly Boarding, Full Boarding, Flexi/Occasional Boarding
Gender: Co-ed
Exams offered: A Level, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), GCSE, IGCSE
Scholarships Tick: Academic, All-Rounder, Art, Drama, DT, Music, Sport
Bursaries and discounts: New entrant bursary, HM forces discount, Sibling discount
Scholarships and Bursaries – Further Details
The Oratory School offers a wide range of Scholarships and Exhibitions on Entry at 11+, 13+ and Sixth Form. Scholarships are awarded for academic excellence and for outstanding ability and potential in music, sport, art and drama. An All-Rounder scholarship may be awarded to candidates who excel in two or more chosen areas. Means-tested bursaries are also available.
The Oratory School was founded in 1859, by Saint John Henry Newman. It is an HMC Co-educational Catholic boarding and day school for pupils aged 11–18.
Location. The school is situated in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB) in grounds of approximately 100 acres in South Oxfordshire, yet is within easy travelling distance of London, major motorways and airports.
Ethos. The Oratory has high academic standards, but an Oratory education is about developing young people in a much deeper sense than exam results alone can demonstrate. An Oratory education gives our young people every opportunity to draw out and find their individual innate talents and qualities and instils in them a sense of joy and a genuine love of learning. At The Oratory everyone will find their place to shine, encouraged through our vast array of co-curricular activities. The Oratory is not a large school and this enables each and every pupil to be known, valued and stretched as an individual within our nurturing community. Strong pastoral care is at the heart of what we do. As a Catholic school that welcomes pupils of all faiths or none, visitors often comment on the inclusive family atmosphere of our school; it is this supportive environment that nurtures the confidence, self-expression and resilience that are vital for success and happiness in the world of today.
Organisation. Four Senior Houses and one Junior House, St Philip House, both day and boarding. There are currently 377 pupils: 137 boarding, 41 weekly boarding, 17 flexi boarding and 240 day pupils.
Health. The school’s Medical Centre is permanently staffed during term time by a team of Registered Nurses and a duty nurse is present night and day.
Admission. Pupils enter at 13+ through the Scholarship or Common Entrance Examinations, or at 11+ or 16+ by entrance exam. Pupils also enter in the 6th Form and in other year groups subject to availability. All pupils are expected to take an assessment prior to entry.
Academic. All pupils follow the internationally recognised and intellectually rigorous GCSE (or IGCSE in a number of subjects) and A Level curricula, with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) also offered at 6th Form. We have a rich and varied curriculum that is enhanced by masterclasses, workshops, lectures and field trips to inspire and enthuse our pupils.
All academic subjects are taught in small classes by specialist teachers who have a real drive to instil a genuine love of learning in all our pupils. As The Oratory is a smaller school, the pupils have the benefit of developing excellent relationships with their teachers and tutors, who know their strengths and their weaknesses, and who can support them throughout their entire school journey, ensuring that all our pupils are set challenging targets.
We are a selective school. Academic endeavour is very much encouraged; we want our pupils to work hard, take responsibility for their own learning, and strive to achieve everything of which they are capable. Having reached their academic potential, the majority of our pupils gain entry to their first choice of university, including many Russell Group universities. They then go on to pursue a wide range of exciting careers.
Religious Education. The school is an HMC Catholic school which welcomes pupils of all faiths or none. There is a resident Chaplain who looks after the spiritual needs of both pupils and staff.
Art, Drama and Music. The Good Schools Guide describes our Art Department as a ‘hive of energy, where everybody finds their niche’ and The Oratory has won top accolades both for A Level and GCSE Art and Design, confirming our place nationally as one of the top schools for Art in the country. In 2023, A Level exam results were 100% A*–A in 3D Design A Level and 78% A*–B in Art A Level. The department believes that anyone can be an artist and film-making, textiles, coding and animation are all possible alongside traditional Art media. In an age where creative thinking is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, The Oratory Art Department is well placed to equip our pupils for the future.
The Drama Department is an active, flourishing department at The Oratory, and Drama provision is outstanding, helping pupils to develop their imagination and self-expression, confidence and public-speaking skills. All pupils have the opportunity to perform in our Theatre and Performing Arts Centre. If they are not involved in LAMDA, GCSE, or A Level Drama performances, pupils can still participate in the main school production or in our popular inter-house Drama Competition. There is also a Drama club that focuses on improvisation techniques, and we run regular theatre trips.
Music touches the lives of everyone at The Oratory and is an integral part of life at the school. Our aim is to build a musical journey for every pupil in the school, whatever their level of musical ability or particular musical interest. There are rehearsals for ensembles every day of the week, and individual lessons on instruments ranging from the piano to the bagpipes. We have a strong tradition in both choral and jazz music; however, the repertoire encountered by our pupils encompasses everything from plainsong to punk. There is a strong emphasis on performance and providing abundant opportunities to shine at all levels of ability. There are frequent enrichment visits to venues such as the Wigmore Hall and English National Opera.
Sports. The Oratory has a 9-hole golf course and a Sports Centre that includes a 25 m swimming pool, indoor sports hall, gym, ergo room, indoor cycling studio, 2 squash courts, 6 lawn tennis courts and we are one of only five schools in the country to have a Real Tennis court. We also have a boathouse on the River Thames for our rowers.
In addition to the main games of Rugby, Football, Cricket, Hockey (Berkshire League winners for 2023 and 2022), Netball and Rowing, pupils take part in Athletics, Cross-Country Running, Swimming, Tennis, Badminton, Basketball, Squash, Golf and Real Tennis. There is a co-educational programme for Cricket, Football, Real Tennis, Rowing and Swimming, and Horse Riding is available.
Co-curricular. Enrichment activities take place three or four times every week, with a vast array of activities to choose from, encouraging our pupils to try new things.
Leadership skills are encouraged by our flourishing contingent of Oratory CCF, which includes Army, RN, RAF and Adventure Training. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is popular with the Gold expedition going to various locations in the UK and overseas.
Careers guidance. Almost all students at The Oratory go on to higher education. Advice and guidance is readily available for our students, who are helped through the process by their tutor, as well as the rest of the 6th Form team. We provide guidance to achieve smooth and successful applications to the institutions and courses to which our students aspire: Careers advice; UCAS preparation and advice; Specialised Oxbridge preparation; Medic preparation.
There is also guidance on careers (including visiting guest speakers and a Careers Fair), apprenticeships and more vocational courses.
Fees per term (2023-2024). Boarders: £14,437 (Junior House: £9,878); Day Pupils: £9,920 (Junior House: £7,155).
The fees include board, tuition, consolidated extras and games. Means-tested bursaries are offered on a discretionary basis.
Scholarships. A number of Academic Scholarships and Awards in Art, Music, Drama, DT and Sport are offered. Awards are of varying values. All-rounder Awards are made on the recommendation and reports from a pupil’s current Headteacher. 6th Form Scholarships are also available.
Alumni. Oratory School alumni are called Old Oratorians. There is a Development Office that keeps in touch with the alumni through a programme of events and communications.
Charitable status. The Oratory Schools Association is a Registered Charity, number 309112. It is a charitable trust dedicated to continuing the aims of its Founder, Saint John Henry Newman.
Governors & Staff:
Governing Body:
President: The Rt Hon Lord Judge, MA Cantab, PC
M H R Hasslacher
N Purnell, KC, MA Cantab
Chairman: P Lo, BA, PGCE
Vice-Chairman: P M Sieyes, Esq.
Clerk to the Governors & Bursar: F Yates, MA Oxon, ACA
Head Master: Dr Julian Murphy, DPhil Oxon
Deputy Head Academic: M Syddall, MA Oxon, MSt
Deputy Head Pastoral: M B Fogg, BA
Chaplain: Fr D Rocks, OP

The Oratory School
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