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Best primary schools in Oxford

Best primary schools in Banbury and Bicester

Best primary schools in west Oxfordshire

Special Educational Needs

Primary school children with building blocksOur article on primary school admissions sets out the application process and advises on the best ways to build a thorough understanding of your preferred schools. 

Beware tiny village schools, where year groups are mixed. It’s not a problem, especially if teaching staff are experienced, until your child’s already limited peer-group start leaving for prep schools at which point things could get claustrophobic.

Many primary schools – more than 100, across the county – are Church of England, but you don’t usually need to be an active churchgoer and these schools will take children of all faiths or none. Read admissions policies carefully, though, as sometimes having an active role within the parish is one of the criteria that will get you to the front of the queue. 

Primary schools in Oxford

Traffic ensures that families don’t stray far: if you can’t bike there, it’s not viable. In leafy north Oxford, St Philip and St James’ (Phil and Jim) is where academics’ children go; most live in catchment for The Cherwell School afterwards (though many put their politics to one side and go private from year 7). Nearby St Aloysius' Primary is Catholic, attracting a more European crowd. In Headington, Windmill Primary or St Andrews are where those brainy doctors send their kids. With a three-form entry, Windmill is bigger than most. St Andrews is split across two sites, with reception at Headington Quarry. 

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Primary schools near Banbury and Bicester

Great Tew County Primary, conveniently placed for your post-drop cappuccino at Soho Farmhouse, is the glossy posse’s destination of choice; super SATS results to boot. Many rent nearby to secure a spot. Mixed-age classes from year 1; one or two arrive on ponies. It’s too cosy for some, who fly off to prep schools from year 2 onwards. Dr Radcliffe’s Church of England Primary continues to be oversubscribed – maybe because the playground opposite is the best in the area? You’ll need to live within two miles to be confident of a place, but Deddington Primary, up the road, provides another excellent option with more outdoor space than most. 

Best state secondary schools in Banbury and Bicester

Best private schools in Banbury and Bicester

Best nurseries in Banbury and Bicester

Primary schools in west Oxfordshire

Beautiful Kingham Primary is nestled between village green and open countryside; Daylesford is to Kingham what Soho Farmhouse is to Great Tew, so expect some shiny cars. You’ll need to be within four miles for a fighting chance of a place. Great Rollright and Chadlington Church of England primaries are highly thought of and tiny, with intakes of 15. Children at Woodstock Church of England Primary enjoy gazillions of extra-curriculars and their own woodland area, in a residential part of town away from the Blenheim busloads.

Best state secondary schools in west Oxfordshire

Best private schools in west Oxfordshire

Best nurseries in west Oxfordshire

State schools for children with special educational needs in Oxford and north Oxfordshire

Most children with special needs attend mainstream schools in Oxfordshire, some of which have a specialist base. St Nicholas Primary School, in Marston, has a resource provision for children with autism and another for children with hearing impairment. Secondary schools which offer integrated classes for children with specific needs include The Cherwell School (autism resource provision and hearing impairment resource base) and The Marlborough School, Woodstock, which supports students with physical needs and autism in the purpose-built Ormerod hub, with regular physio, OT and speech and language input. The Warriner School, Bloxham, has its own hub for students (11-16) with communication and interaction difficulties in a therapeutic environment.  

Special schools throughout the county tend to be through-schools to the age of 18, eg Mabel Prichard School (Blackbird Leys) and The Iffley Academy (Oxford). John Watson School (Wheatley) and Frank Wise School (Banbury) support severe, complex or profound learning difficulties.

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