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What says..

‘The academic temperature is rising’ though school will remain ‘proudly holistic’. Parents love the ability to ‘dip in and out of boarding’ – truly flexible. Boarding houses run with extraordinary efficiency. A lovely innocent atmosphere to the place – teenagers not growing up too fast. It’s not old-fashioned (or at least, not in a bad way), but definitely wholesome. The buzz around the weekly...

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What the school says...

The Oratory is an HMC coeducational independent day and boarding school for pupils aged 11 to 18. Located in a 100-acre South Oxfordshire countryside estate near Henley-on-Thames, we offer the best of both worlds, with easily accessible routes to London, yet breathtaking surroundings. This allows us to provide fantastic sporting facilities such as a 25m swimming pool, 9 hole golf course, squash courts, 6 lawn tennis courts, a real tennis court (1 of 5 schools in the country to have one), rolling rugby, cricket and football pitches and our own boathouse on the River Thames.

Our teaching is second to none and we are celebrating another year of excellent exam results. At A Level 61% of results were A* - A grade; for a school with a broad intake and spread of ability these are results that we are immensely proud of. Our value added results place the school in the top 3% of schools nationally for 2020.

However our focus is on developing young people in a much broader and deeper sense than exam results alone can demonstrate. We are a genuine all-round school, we believe in nurturing our pupils to achieve their very best in whatever it is they set out to do. Head Master, Joe Smith, is a great advocate of this ethos, ensuring that every pupils fulfils his or her potential in and far beyond the classroom. This is why we have such varied co-curricular activities, available to help each pupil realise their passion.

We are a Catholic school, and welcome pupils of all faiths or none into our supportive community where pupils from all backgrounds are inspired to learn and grow. We take time to make sure each and every pupil is a known and valued member of the school. As our ISI report states, we are “highly successful in creating an atmosphere of friendship, cheerfulness and collegiality.”

Whether you’re looking for boarding, day, weekly or flexi options, we offer it all. We are happy to discuss any transport requirements and will work hard to cater to your individual needs.

Our admissions procedure is simple. Once you’ve filled out a registration form we maintain constant communication, aiming for a seamless and stress-free process. Your son or daughter will be invited to sit an 11+ or 13+ ISEB entrance exam in the upcoming months and we would look to offer places soon after. Should they have particular talents academically or in sport, art or drama, they may be eligible for one of our scholarships.

We’d be more than happy to show you around our wonderful school so do not hesitate to get in touch.
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Cambridge Pre-U - an alternative to A levels, with all exams at the end of the two-year course.


Unusual sports

Equestrian centre or equestrian team - school has own equestrian centre or an equestrian team.




What The Good Schools Guide says

Head Master

Since September 2023, Dr Julian Murphy. Previously head of Loughborough Amherst (also a co-ed Catholic school) for seven years. Prior to that, he was director of studies at Woldingham School. He was educated at Birkbeck College and the University of Oxford.

At Loughborough Amherst he was responsible for overseeing the transition of a girls’ day school to a co-ed boarding school. He increased pupil numbers by 70 per cent, broadened the school’s extracurricular offering and raised academic results at GCSE and A level.

His wife Karen is head of art at Magdalen College School in Oxford and they have two children. Their daughter is a pupil at the Oratory and their son attends a local prep school.


Gently selective, with 30 places at 11+, 45 at...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

Pupils at The Oratory School with special educational and disability needs are inclusively educated in small nurturing classrooms. Teaching techniques and resources are differentiated within the classroom to ensure all pupils achieve their full potential. However, we do recognise that although the boys may be academically able, they may also require additional support because they have a learning difficulty. The Curriculum Support department at the school provides excellent provision for these pupils and consists of qualified, specialist teachers. The four broad ‘areas of need’ which are supported in the department are defined as: communication and interaction; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health difficulties; and sensory and physical needs. Support is personalised and targeted and there is a close relationship between Curriculum Support teachers and the subject teachers. We also work in partnership with a variety of support services including speech and language therapists and educational psychologists. The Oratory School provides high quality education for pupils with these requirements, ensuring that their educational needs are met and that they all reach their potential within a caring and supportive environment. There is an additional charge if extra provision is made.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment Y
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty Y
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where

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