Oxford High School(54 Posts)
Anyone with recent experience of the school prepared to give an idea of strengths and weaknesses? Am considering OHS for DD, bright and hard-working but no genius. Have read some iffy refs to lack of pastoral care and unsupportive atmosphere - how true is it?
Our DD applied for OHS this year and I too have read the reports of poor pastoral support etc. During the application process and talking to existing/past parents we thought it was an excellent school which offered very good pastoral support.
There's some negative attitude towards OHS from parents who choose to send their children to other schools in Oxford. I think it's ill-informed.
My daughter seemed to have a great time there. She enjoyed sport, CCF (with Magdalen), D of E and music. She got As in all her exams and is now studying medicine.
Her year group seemed to be well-adjusted, free thinking ambitious girls.
The commitment from the staff to help the girls make the best of themselves was fantastic in both academic and extra-curricular areas.
The negatives aspects of the school are the rather plain buildings compared with the competition (to be expected given the lower fess) and my daughter found some of the girls unkind and bitchy but is that unusual among teenage girls?
I'd advise you visit the school and if it feels right for your daughter then it probably is.
Myrtille, Grovel and StanHousMuir, many thanks for taking time to post. I have visited OHS and the 'Other Schools' and definitely got that gut feeling that OHS was more DD's style. I like the sound of well-adjusted, free thinking ambitious girls! And not bothered by plain architecture, it is the teaching that counts.
Thanks again to you all
DH's sister went there (finished in 2009) and enjoyed it very much. Not sure how much difference there is now with a new head (old one has gone to Abingdon).
Dd starting there next September so no direct experience yet, but I had heard rumours and spoke to a lot of parents of current pupils before making a decision, all were happy with the school.
Dd fell in love with the school at an open day. She was very comfortable at the admissions day and came out of the interview smiling. I was impressed with how the school handled the admissions day and how friendly and welcoming it was. Dd has a couple of friends in year 7 who are cheerful, keen, bright, well adjusted girls and seem to have settled in well.
We have accepted a place at OHS starting Sept 2011, but are starting to wobble after hearing reports of bullying and anorexia. Just can't get a handle on how accurate these comments are/ one-offs or endemic/ part of the past of OHS or current etc. Dd loved the school on her visits but wondered if anyone had any direct experience of these issues?
We turned down a place at OHS for Sept 11 (we thought another school suited our DD better), but we would have been very happy to send her there. We talked to existing pupils and parents of current and past pupils and they all raved about it and said how much they loved the school. Don't be put off, it's a great school.
hildashoe - I had an off-the-record chat with one of the school nurses at OHS recently (she's friend of a friend) who told me she's planning on sending her DD to St Helen's instead of OHS because of the eating disorders there.
Then again, have other friend with daughters there who are happy and well adjusted. I think I would steer clear of any of the GDST schools, including OHS, if I had a daughter where eating disorders had already been an issue in any way, and go for somewhere more nurturing and pastoral.
Its still on my shortlist for DD1. Suspect I'll go for St Helen's though, although a bit more of a nuisance to get to for us. There's nothing to choose between them in terms of league table position, but it struck me as more pastoral there.
Not really off the record anymore as there's only one nurse at OHS...
OHS and St Helen's are very similar and I would choose the one that is most convenient. Note OHS is £500 a term cheaper I think. In my daughter's year, a couple of girls moved to St H's after Y7 when OHS suggested they might find it too challenging in the senior school.
It seems harsh to write off all the GDST schools and if OHS is typical I would say the nuturing/pastoral care was fine. They don't mollycoddle the girls but there is deep mutual respect between teachers and pupils.
Both schools are educating high achieving women in a competitive environment. I bet they both have some girls with eating disorders. It goes with the territory doesn't it?
In know a little girl in Year 7 there who is very happy. She's very academic and quite sporty, musical and dramatic though, I don't know how you'd fare if you were less talented.
And you're going to get anorexia and bullying in any senior school sadly, no matter how much the school tries to pretend it isn't there.
It's not the case that there is only one nurse who goes into OHS, btw, I haven't outed anyone
The Headmistress of OHS is Judith Carlisle. She arrived at the beginning of the year. The old Head was Felicity Lusk and went to run Abingdon School (boys only)which is the brother school of St Helen and St Kathrine School (girls only) in Abingdon. The Head sets the tone for any school.
OHS is/was a very very academic school with a very high league table position. An averagely academic girl will have to work extremely hard to keep up in the classroom - and getting in will be very hard too.
I would advise also considering Headington Girls School. My feeling is a more balanced focus on sport and other activities while still being fairly academic.
Update: dd has been offered places at both Headington and OHS, and we have decided to give OHS a go - Headington seemed a tiny bit 'posh tottie' for us.
On the subject of eating disorders - I did A levels at Headington 30 years ago, and every girl was weighed every 3 months, to identify those at risk...so its not a new problem. Looking back, I think Headington were perhaps pioneers in taking on board the issues and trying to do something practical about it. Are girls schools particularly prone to food issues?
You should also have a look at Wychwood School if you are interested in pastoral care. It is a small girls school just around the corner from OHS and really looks after its girls, not just academically. I know several girls very happy there, seems to have lots to offer.........
I've got a daughter at OHS who is very happy and settled there. She is quite an academic child and thrives on the high expectations. The pastoral care is good - I think it is an issue they have addressed in recent years.
We looked at Headington, but it just didnt suit us personally. Wychwood and Rye St.Anthony both have good reputations pastorally but they seem less academically focused. As always, the right choice depends on the child.
We were weighed at the beginning and end of every term at a girls school 30+ years ago, it's definitely not a new problem. I would say that every secondary school has a proportion of children with eating disorders, the difference will be not in whether the school contains such children, but how their condition is managed and how much support they are given...
(A friend, from a totally other part of the country, did choose to avoid a particular school because ALL the inpatients being treated for severe anorexia in the hospital she works at came from that school ... so there ARE extremes....)
I went to ohs for almost 4 years and I would have to advise against it. I left mid way through my gcses ( not advisable ) but am so glad I did because I am infinitely happier. In year 7 I was quite unhappy, it was mostly bitchy girls and a sense of hierarchy but also constant sense of not doi g well enough. This is probably he case at similar schools like heading ton as well but maybe not at somewhere like Cherwell. However later on the problem became more ohs specific, which means incredible numbers of people with mental illness including eating disorders and not much help or them. For example I went to the school nurse for a friend and the problem was never followed up. Increasingly all the girls in my year have got more unhappy with the school resulting in almost half of them leaving at the end of year 11. My sister also went to ohs and she really liked it but each year people seem to dislike it more an more . Seriously consider whether ohs I the right environment for your daughter especially if she's not tht academic because I was very academic and still felt like I was failing a lot of the time and have only gained any confidence after having left. I would also like to say I left to go to leckforders place and I Think it is a brilliant school and anyone who can should go there
I am thinking of sending my daughter to Oxford high, we live in Hillingdon and thinking of commuting for a few months please could you tell me what the school is like and the traffic in the peak hours on the A40 and b4495??
How is the academic side of the school?
I did A levels at Headington 18 years ago now, and there were a couple of girls there with eating disorders but it really wasn't a big problem. We were definitely not weighed though....
I think there will usually be eating disorders to some extent in any school- especially an all girls one.
I would not under ANY circumstances attempt that commute.
Is the commute from London to Oxford terrible?? (1805)
Yes that commute is terrible. Oxford traffic is like London traffic. Either move or find a local school.
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