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Oxford High School Head on the move

(25 Posts)
UKsounding Tue 14-Feb-17 14:24:50

Judith Carlisle was announced as the new Head at a girls school in a Toronto, Canada yesterday
It seems a very odd appointment on the school's part as BSS is the absolute antithesis of a GDST school in general and OHS by reputation in particular. Other than the all-girls aspect, of course.
It is going to take a very strong Head to change the current ethos at BSS so I am curious - What is she like?

UncontrolledImmigrant Tue 14-Feb-17 14:27:34

What is the current ethos at bss and why must it change?

In what way is it antithetical to a GDST school?

UKsounding Tue 14-Feb-17 15:39:44

Didn't say the current ethos must change, but it is strikingly different to where this particular Head has come from. Strange choice by the Board of Trustees if they were looking for continuity, so it seems that the wind is in favour of change - there is change and there is reversal of direction though.

Currently: Most(?) expensive girls school in the city, with shiny facilities in a castle-like setting, non-selective, non-pushy/ambitious with provincially-focussed university destinations, attracts the well-connected Bay Street-type crowd and those who aspire to be connected. Known for its facilites. Not currently known for its academic aspirations.

Sound like Oxford High? I think that the city would greatly benefit from a GDST-type school and I would enroll my DD in a heart-beat (if I could afford it). Seems like a tall order for the new Head though, so I am curious what she is like...?

UncontrolledImmigrant Tue 14-Feb-17 15:46:27

Schools in Canada tend to be less exam factory-like

i guess for some that is a drawback, but certainly not everyone sees it that way

Horses for courses I guess. Plenty of schools in the U.K. which can crush a child's soul grind out the A*s for a reasonable fee

UKsounding Tue 14-Feb-17 17:10:19

I am not judging either way - It's good to have variety. There are plenty of Canadian schools not particularly focussed on exams, as you say....

My curiosity was piqued specifically by (what I perceive to be) an interesting appointment/ career move.

carameljane Wed 15-Feb-17 10:06:09

Hello, I agree it's a change but heads do move between different environments. My daughter is currently at OHS which she enjoys. She has good friends, high quality teaching and in my opinion the school tries hard to teach the girls not to compare themselves to others and its their own learning and progress that matters (however it's not thee right school for everyone). Judith Carlisle is particularly interested in tackling the perfectionism associated with high achieving girls
I guess the expensive Toronto school is looking to raise academic standards in a supportive environment, and it's an interesting new challenge for Mrs Carlisle. Just hoping OHS's next head keeps the school happy and dynamic

roguedad Fri 17-Feb-17 18:41:26

Let's also hope the new Oxford High head keeps up the academic focus and does not descend into holistic la-la and Seldonite drivel. And it is not an exam factory. They are in the Far East. Schools like the High offer a good balance of academic focus and extra-curricular provision.

SmileyHamptonTeacher Mon 17-Jul-17 09:17:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

irregularegular Mon 17-Jul-17 09:33:33

That's a pretty serious accusation to make about a specific individual in a public forum Smiley

dutifuldad Wed 19-Jul-17 23:08:13

I would love to defend Judith Carlisle, but there are no redeeming qualities about the woman.
Read her profile on Rate My Teacher (even though those posts are moderated).
She has done one fantastic thing for OHS. She left.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 20-Jul-17 10:36:23

And you joined mumsnet to post that dutifuldad?

dutifuldad Thu 20-Jul-17 11:00:00

Yes. Fortunately we will not have to deal with her again, or the High School. It is not a nurturing environment, and has some ingrained culture which is unhealthy and damaging.
I can think of no better reason for joining Mumsnet than to help others be aware of this.
I can't post everything, as this would breach the Mumsnet terms, but believe me I would not take to this forum or format lightly.

UKsounding Thu 20-Jul-17 17:07:59

Gosh - I have unintentionally stirred up a bit of a hornets nest here. The upside is that I had previously missed carameljane 's response - thank you for that considered response.

JynErso Thu 20-Jul-17 17:22:29

OHS won't suit anyone - high achieving schools never do. But my own daughters experience has been massively positive. Top results in a much more supportive and healthy environment than my son experienced at MCS, for example.
Judith Carlisle seemed like a decent head to me, though I never got to know her well. My friend who is a staff member rated her highly as a boss.

I think a school that is less academic perhaps will suit her a bit better.

angelnumber9 Fri 28-Jul-17 11:34:10

Just stumbled across this very interesting thread which speaks volumes about the gdst. Having considered a similar school for my DD I am now so pleased that she opted for a less selective mixed school. The more I hear about single sex education and the emotional problems the girls/boys encounter the more worried I get. I have no doubt that gdst schools are 'dumming down' to get a broader mix of abilities to try to alleviate some of the issues but this also conflicts with their high academic expectations and ultimately drops them down the results league tables. I am not surprised at the high turnover of gdst senior staff as they seem stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea and end up bringing in meaningless initiatives to try to attract new pupils.
I'm sure that Ms Carlisle will do very well in a school where she can actually have a personal and unshackled influence.

UKsounding Fri 28-Jul-17 17:30:05

I hear students at single sex schools have emotional problems and students at co-ed schools have emotional problems... I suspect that sticking large numbers of hormonal adolescents in one space for 30-something weeks of the year produces problems and drama... ;-)

Are the GDST "dumbing down" though? It would be a shame if they turned their back on their traditional mission of giving girls from a range of SES backgrounds access to a rigorous academic education. What is pushy and stressful-inducing for one girl, will be perfectly-paced for another - a number of posters testify to positive experiences for their particular girls. I would welcome more variety/flavours in education here in Toronto. I also accept that parents need to be realistic and avoid pushing their DC into academic situations that are a poor fit.

toffee1000 Sat 29-Jul-17 14:30:23

GDST schools are all different though surely? They're up and down the country. I went to one. We had a pretty interesting head (won't say which school as would be outing), not in a bad way, just that she made herself known pretty quickly and was v different to previous head.
Single sex education suits some and not others. Quite a few people on MN seem to be in favour; subjects eg science ones aren't seen as "for boys", they get girls-only space etc (which let's face it is often hard to come by these days). It doesn't mean you never meet boys either. We had an all-boys' school nearby and plenty of girls had boyfriends.

Mazha Wed 02-Aug-17 19:13:37

Hi dutifuldad, i can't agree more. Till date it was still a mystery to me that how did the girls in Oxford high achieve high results. to be honest I don't think the school or the headmaster cares much about the pupils. Like the incident last summer, they just sent a few cold emails. They only care their own interests.

DaddyABC Mon 13-Nov-17 21:02:39

Such a lot of misinformation on here. The new headmaster only started this September, so what is Mazha on about? Is s/he a troll from another school by any chance? Oxford High is reasonably academic selective but what's wrong with that? Horses for courses etc. Our girls love the art and music as well as the academic side and our youngest girl in Yr 8 especially likes playing in football tournaments there (she's also plays for a popular local club side at the weekends). The new head seems keen to up the profile of sport, which is welcome. What we like about the school is that although it is independent it has a grounded, down to earth feel, a bit like a grammar school - not remotely 'ra' unlike one or two other places.

aliceking1967 Wed 15-Nov-17 15:08:10

Completely agree with DaddyABC, my daughter has been at OHS for years now - she joined in Year 7 and is now in the Sixth Form and loves it! The fact that OHS is academically selective means that my daughter is actually with like-minded girls and in the right environment, academically, for her. It is true too that the extra "stuff" at OHS is great, my daughter does rowing club, animation club, private piano tuition etc. So many opportunities available that you would just not get at other schools.

New headmaster seems great, I have had several opportunities to chat with him and get to know him better and I really think he is going to do great for the school. Elder daughter has met him around school/at lunch etc and has very positive feedback.

We actually have our second daughter registered for Year 7 entry and she has really enjoyed the admissions process so far, including her interview and assessment day. Really attentive and friendly admissions team, which makes a huge difference!

chiatta Sun 07-Jan-18 04:56:15

I went to OHS, made me mentally unwell. Will detail as to why if people are interested

Serenity17 Mon 04-Jun-18 18:57:09

Dear Chiatta,
whilst I don't want to intrude into your personal well-being, I do think it would help people to understand what specifically about OHS affected you negatively? I hope you have made a full recovery :-)

user1483972886 Tue 05-Jun-18 09:23:52

Without raining on anyone's parade here it would be a brave move to characterise any school based on one pupil's experience / ill health!? I'm sure most schools have unhappy/ unwell students. Just one does not justify a witch hunt I'm afraid...

Saffrone Wed 06-Jun-18 09:24:46

Without wishing to rain on anyone's parade, very few high achieving schools are composed of mainly like minded girls in y7 8 9...unless in a superselective with minimal catchment considerations like one locally. There, girls have been working so hard to gain entry in part due to parental pressure.

In most highly academic schools locally, one sees the full gamut of behaviour including snidery towards the highest achievers; glorification of sporty types; daft, attention seeking & oblivious behaviour typical of teens in all schools.
I haven't really seen one of these schools which have a high minded positive regard for academics amongst my daughters' friends schools locally incl WHS PHS SHS LEH SWPS GHS KCS SPS SPGS CLGS & Hampton. All are filled with competitive kids. Views come from a few of the teachers too, who generally think that academics come into fashion amongst their students as the reality of GCSES bite.

Apologies if Oxford High School is different. But I truly doubt that any high school is much different (unless a boarding school starting in y9 where different atmospheres can prevail)

So - go in with eyes wide open!

(I have 3 at 3 different schools mentioned above and despite what I have said, would not change it. )

dutifuldad Sun 28-Oct-18 21:43:03

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