Skip to main content

What says..

Entering the drama studio, with its neon signage, feels like stepping into an edgy fringe theatre. A flurry of excitement was evident during our visit as one of the drama staff rushed in props for the forthcoming production of The Tempest. A group of six engaging sixth formers with hearty appetites after a busy morning sat with us. They were natural and comfortable in their own skins, but what was truly refreshing, coming from a group of teenagers, was the abundance of ‘What about you?’ questions. Sixth formers have no uniform. The rest of the school is excited about…

Read review »

What the school says...

Tudor Hall is unique in so many ways. It is a small, vibrant, full boarding and day school which definitely punches above its weight. The academic results are excellent, produced by young women who have been selected for places at the school not just on their academic ability but also their personal strengths. The girls are not of one type and this creates a community where everybody recognises its members as individuals and celebrates this. Staff work with pupils to ensure that each one is encouraged and supported to do her best. The girls are ambitious and determined to make the most of the many opportunities in school and beyond. ...Read more

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Headmistress

Since 2022, Julie Lodrick BA (music, University College Chichester), PGCE, MA (educational leadership, OU). Hailing from a navy family, with father often deployed overseas, she has first-hand experience of boarding. She attended Catholic convent the Holy Family in West Sussex, and admits that without her very happy time as a boarder she would not have followed the path she has taken. Initially intent on a career as a singer, she found her calling whilst mentoring groups of musicians and realised how much she enjoyed being involved with learning and pastoral care. Plans to become a professional musician were jettisoned in favour of a PGCE at Kingston University. She cut her teeth as director of music at secondary school St Margaret's in Sussex and as deputy head at erstwhile girls' school Farlington, then became housemistress to 65 girls at Queenswood School. She moved to Quaker school The Mount in York as principal for six years, and then to Kent College Pembury where, having been in post for six years, the opportunity to move to Tudor Hall came up.

Invited some years ago to Tudor Hall to sit on the Girls' School Association boarding committee, she was immediately struck by the school's 'wonderful ethos and values' and describes her appointment as 'a dream come true'. A staunch advocate of girls' boarding, she views schools such as Tudor as 'a real rarity these days' and is 'delighted to have joined this nurturing and very much full-boarding school'.

It would have been very easy to while away several hours chatting in her office, decorated in an elegant hue of soft rather than Barbie pink, with cream sofas and a roaring fire. We liked her enormously, as do parents we spoke to. 'She's good news' seems to be the consensus. Pupils describe her as 'human and down to earth, with a modern outlook’. They say, 'She's always open to discussion and keen to get to know everyone.' Parents like the fact that she's full of affirmation, offering encouragement and motivation to do well: 'You don't feel like you're talking to a teacher, you can really connect with her.'

Still teaching an A level music group, 'which is glorious', she is immensely proud of the 'outstanding’ sixth form provision at the school (remarkably for a girls' school, only one or two leave after GCSEs) and of the extraordinary support of the alumnae body - the school had just hosted a weekend for 140 old girls. She encourages Tudor girls to have empathy for others and to have the freedom to be themselves, to pursue their own interests and skills, and to aim high. Hearing that she has recently delivered her 10-year vision to the governors, we look forward to news on bursaries, curriculum revisions and a review of the house structure.

Married to Andrew, whom she met when they were both houseparents; they share a love of boarding school life and two grown-up stepchildren. A keen marathon runner with great energy, warmth and enthusiasm, she is a fitting role model for future Tudor girls.

Entrance

All candidates interviewed. Admissions not based purely on academic ability; other personal strengths valued. Candidates for 11+ and 13+ invited for ‘taster day’ in summer term of year 5 and assessment day in autumn of year 6. Written test in English and online test in reasoning, numeracy, and literacy. Tests to 'ensure girls are compatible with academic pace’ of school. Places offered at 13+ not conditional places dependent on outcome of CE, but CE results are welcomed from prep schools for setting purposes. Sixth form entry by general and subject-specific papers.

Exit

Mainly to Russell Group universities – Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle current favourites. Girls opt for a wide variety of subjects, from economics, biological sciences and marine biology to business management, criminology and fashion communication. Currently favoured are business or psychology related courses, with history of art and biology also popular. Other choices include specialist institutions such as Charles Cecil in Florence for art or Oxford Media and Business School. Career paths extremely varied, ranging from conservation, design, working in exhibitions, costume and jewellery design to becoming a Royal Navy submariner - glass ceilings being broken by Tudor girls.

Latest results

In 2023, 49 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 42 per cent A*/A at A level (69 per cent A*-B). In 2019 (the last pre-pandemic results), 61 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 35 per cent A*/A at A level (75 per cent A*-B).

Teaching and learning

'Inspirational teaching,' according to many parents. An eagle eye kept on pupils, with weekly meetings and reports to parents. Very good lines of communication noted. Girls encouraged to take risks, develop a growth mindset and 'to aim high'. An ambitious school academically with an impressive upward trajectory of academic results in recent years testament to small classes (average 15 pre-GCSE, eight for A level) and plenty of individual attention. Head estimates its value-added represents 1-2 grades at GCSE. The school's stated aim is to produce future female leaders.

Tudor is very well resourced. Broad range of subjects on offer for a school of its size, particularly at GCSE (27 subjects available). Both humanities and sciences venerated, with girls encouraged to explore opportunities to identify their individual talents. Science facilities impressive with five modern science labs. About a sixth of girls study maths at A level with a quarter studying at least one science. Vocational courses offered include sport (BTEC) and the Cambridge Technical level 3 qualification in business.

As many as 15 per cent of sixth form girls take A level history of art with Tudor girls regularly applying to study at the Courtauld Institute. Places on art courses without needing to do a foundation course are reported here, such is the quality of the art teaching. Architecture and fashion-related courses including costume design at Edinburgh University are other popular creative avenues. 'The girls are very visually literate,' explains the head of history of art, 'with the creative arts very much in the bricks here.'

The school makes full use of its very strong and committed alumnae support. Many successful old girls visit to talk about their lives and careers. Annual Futures Fair for years 11 and 12, where career options are showcased with the aid of parents and old girls.

Learning support and SEN

'A lot of learning support goes on here,' according to the head of SEN, with the admissions process used to identify students with challenges. A recent talk to parents on neurodiversity demonstrates the school is not afraid to have the 'neurodiversity conversation' which, they emphasise, is about brain development having gone down a different pathway. The focus is on extrapolating the positives - for example, with mild autism often comes the ability to hyper-focus. 'Reasonable adjustments are made to meet pupils' needs either individually or in classes but this is not the place for a girl with serious needs; we want all pupils to be able to participate fully in the curriculum.'

The arts and extracurricular

Girls encouraged to 'have a go' with a vast range of subjects and activities on offer, both curricular and co-curricular, whether it's joining the Glitter Bombs science club, the MedSoc, or Hester's Cookery Club, where a full meal is prepared and consumed every week. Girls can even apply to man the popular Café 6 (with its own formal application and interview process). The school's 'Tudor in three continents' programme, which offers opportunities to join projects in India and South Africa to help less fortunate children, is very popular, playing to the girls' sense of adventure as well as the school's focus on charitable giving. Work with local charities and a project in Durham involve less air travel and are also very well supported.

The Griffiths Centre, named after a revered ex-head, is a superb new modern facility, housing classrooms, seminar rooms, a cookery suite and a quite fantastic art block, which fairly blew us away. Almost every facility imaginable for the creative mind. With facilities open into the evening and at weekends, this is an amazing asset. The spacious ceramics room, headed up by Tudor's very own Great Pottery Throw Down contestant, photography studio and art and textiles rooms mean 'there is almost nothing the girls can't do, whether it's embroidery, tufting rugs, digital design or costume making'. It's a veritable paradise for the creative. Examples of the art girls have produced are showcased and include wonderful innovative designs produced in the textiles department as well as pieces of stunning art.

The cookery department, boasting a joint venture with Leiths Cookery School, provides girls with the option of obtaining a professional qualification on leaving school, ensuring the wherewithal to fund gap years and university holidays. Jointing a chicken or whipping up a soufflé come naturally to Tudor girls.

Entering the drama studio, with its neon signage, feels like stepping into an edgy fringe theatre. A flurry of excitement was evident during our visit as one of the drama staff rushed in props for the forthcoming production of The Tempest. This three-night extravaganza, with 40 girls in the cast and 20 backstage roles, was set to involve the whole school, with two lower sixth girls having composed music for the performance. Tudor girls love performing. GCSE and A level drama are offered, with stellar results common. Opportunities to take part in Shakespeare Schools festival and trips to numerous productions on offer. Many girls do well in LAMDA exams too. Dance also popular and, unusually, offered at GCSE, with the school running its own audition-only dance group. Given the current head's musical background, we expect to see great things from the already impressive school concerts and musical events hosted in the community.

Sport

Girls encouraged to be active. Sports facilities on site comprise tennis courts in the former walled garden (which double up as netball courts), a glass-roofed outdoor swimming pool, sports hall, new gym, hockey and lacrosse pitches. Sports staff look forward to the installation of the new fitness suite. Tudor holds its own on the school match circuit but those who are keen on higher level competitive sport are encouraged to venture into Banbury where swimming coaching or county-level sports are available at local clubs. Sports day takes place off site at the Horsepath athletics stadium in Oxford. Skiing is popular, equestrian sports strong, particularly given the rural demographic of the girls, and non-competitive options such as yoga and Zumba available to sixth formers.

Boarders

This is very much a full-boarding school, with two exeats per term and no flexi or weekly boarding. Timetables and routines totally geared around boarders. Boarding houses divided horizontally by year group with day girls joining boarding houses according to their age. Each house has a housemistress, deputy and assistant. Pastoral and academic input coordinated with the support of tutors. Activities, rules, bedtimes etc tailored to individual year groups. Parents of boarders appear very happy both with the care girls receive and with the impressive calendar of activities and outings at weekends. Knowing at the beginning of term what their daughters will be doing when they spend weekends at school gives peace of mind. Both day girls and boarders were brimming with enthusiasm following the previous weekend's silent disco, with others relishing plans for pizza-making and baking.

Girls often start out as day girls and then move on to boarding at 13+. In year 7 most of the cohort are day girls and are housed together with boarders in Todd, a prettily furnished house named after the school's founders. Situated on the edge of the school's site with its own garden, 'It's like home from home.' The small number of young boarders have breakfast round a large kitchen table to introduce them gradually to being away from home and are buddied up with lower sixth girls to provide a 'big sister' support system. A new induction programme to ease the settling in process has been well received by girls. Dorms of between two and six cabin beds are pretty and girly, lots of room for ornaments and fluffy friends. Separate clean and functional bathrooms. Mobile phones and laptops allowed for an hour during the evening at the lower end of the school and delivered to house parents' office to be charged for the rest of the day. Girls can request a telephone or video call to family at any time.

Other houses for older year groups are spacious and equally girly. Each house has its own character and traditions. Vertical integration of year groups through activities and sport so that different ages get to mix.

Sixth form accommodation is designed as a halfway house to prepare girls for living independently. Lower sixth girls share rooms, individual rooms for upper sixth. Separate bathrooms. Sixth formers can cook, organise their own trips and activities, and are taught to do their own laundry and ironing. The solid houseparent team provide support through these sometimes stressful years and are very tuned into looking out for performance anxiety. We hear this has been an issue with the reintroduction of written exams since the pandemic.

Ethos and heritage

One of the oldest girls’ boarding schools in England, Tudor Hall was founded in 1850 by Rev TW Todd and his wife. In 1908 the school moved from London to rural Kent and on the outbreak of the Second World War it decamped to Burnt Norton, a small Cotswold manor house, to escape the air raids. It was a visit to the gardens there that inspired TS Eliot to write his poem Burnt Norton, a meditation on time, memory and original sin.

The school moved to its current location, Wykham Park, in 1946. We entered the park through huge iron gates, over a cattle grid and along a narrow winding lane - a more idyllic approach to a school one could not imagine. Stepping into the main entrance of the gracious Old House felt like entering a stately home rather than the reception area of a school: flower arrangements Constance Spry would be proud of and a cosy log fire. The location, just outside Banbury, is predominantly rural – grazing cows more common than passing traffic – but with easy access to Oxford, London, Stratford and Bicester. Wouldn’t suit a committed urbanite, but those comfortable with both town and country living who enjoy savouring the delights of rural Oxfordshire would feel quite at home.

Family and tradition are important at Tudor. Every year on the school's birthday, along with a birthday cake, pupils still play the dead ants game. Lifelong friendships are formed here, with OTs coming back and offering support in their droves, having been brought up with the school motto Habeo ut dem (I have that I may give). Helping others and charitable giving are fundamental to the school's Christian ethos, and the quaint chapel provides a haven for worship and tranquillity.

The bright dining area, with its pale wooden tables, is where girls congregate for meals. We enjoyed a deliciously nutritious lunch - lots of vegetables – and heard unanimous praise for the school's food. A group of six engaging sixth formers with hearty appetites after a busy morning sat with us. They were natural and comfortable in their own skins, but what was truly refreshing, coming from a group of teenagers, was the abundance of 'What about you?' questions. They exhibited genuine pride when describing life at Tudor, though when pressed, one or two did say 'more socials' would be welcomed. Whilst boys from Radley are sometimes invited to the school, there is a move to create opportunities for less highly charged interactions with their male counterparts, such as through Model United Nations fixtures and ceilidhs.

Sixth formers have no uniform. The rest of the school was excited about the introduction of an updated uniform in September 2023. Retaining a rural flavour, Tudor girls will be wearing smart tailored moss-green tweed jackets, pretty pale-blue checked blouses and navy tartan skirts. Traditional and practical.

Old Tudorians include Katherine Hooker, tailor to Duchess of Cambridge; Cleo Barbour, shoe designer; Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

As a full-boarding school, the focus is on creating a happy term-time home. The staff we met were warm, affectionate and absolutely committed. Parents say they constantly 'go over and above' and that care for the girls is 'second to none'. Day pupils are very much in the minority and expected to fit in with the boarders' schedule. Day girls say they feel very much part of the school and are always made to feel welcome at activities planned for boarders. However, the school day is long (ending at 6.45pm), with some parents suggesting it's a very long week for day girls (especially the younger ones) who get tired, particularly with prep at school, Saturday school and only Sunday to recover at home. Perhaps keeping teenage girls busy and out of mischief does have its advantages, leaving little energy to rebel.

On the day of our visit, we noted girls keenly making their way to a talk by a visiting team of speakers from It Happens Education, a group that delivers PHSE education on topics such as drugs, relationships and mental abuse. The school has a team of three counsellors and takes wellbeing very seriously (for both pupils and staff). 'Post-Covid things are very different,' explains the head. A new wellbeing programme has been introduced and a general reappraisal and focus on monitoring how the girls are really feeling and doing academically has been implemented. That the school is small, and tutors are integrated into the house system, means that there are lots of eyes on the girls at all times. Weekly meetings on all girls, with emphasis on always keeping lines of communication open with parents. With written exams back on the agenda, anxiety levels have increased.

The site is very secure and self-contained with no public access. Girls can walk around freely. Parents felt bullying issues rare and dealt with promptly if they surfaced. The overriding atmosphere here is one of collaboration and friendship with the lasting friendships that are grown here testament to this. One parent felt that the common characteristic amongst Tudor girls was 'empathy' and suggested that this accounts for the fact that girls often join the caring professions.

In terms of inclusivity, girls of diverse nations are very much embraced, with issues of gender discussed intelligently and full professional support given where required.

Pupils and parents

Often close family members or friends have been to the school. Huge number of children of old girls. Many of the parents come via first-hand recommendation. The head of local Great Tew primary school is a former Tudor girl and firm supporter, with Carrdus School (prep school wholly owned by Tudor Hall) also a feeder. A lot of traditional boarding families. Parents welcomed into the school. They enjoy meeting each other - whether at parents' lunches or at events such as talks and careers fairs. First names used to address parents - 'We're very close to the girls' families,' explains the head.

Tudor has a reputation for turning out considerate, empathetic and generally rounded girls who also have a strong work ethic, tenacity, and a desire to do well. We found them animated, engaged and very much individuals who were comfortable in their own skins. Those we saw were certainly not caked in make-up, more tomboys than princesses.

Money matters

Tudor's Campaign 2025 aims to offer seven 100 per cent transformational bursaries every year. Means-tested bursaries to support new and current parents in financial need. Academic, music, art, drama and sport scholarships (up to £1,000 pa) available at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Also textiles and dance at 16. Day fees for local families good value considering time spent in school.

The last word

Don't rule out single-sex education - this is a school that empowers its girls to become independent, self-assured young women as well as bringing out the joys of being female in a safe, homely and beautiful environment - quite a winning combination. For the creative, it is heaven.

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

We are able to provide a full, enriching and balanced curriculum to girls with a variety of mild learning difficulties, physical difficulties and medical conditions. We also provide enrichment for the gifted and talented. We are working towards accreditation by the British Dyslexia Association for Dyslexia Friendly Schools status. All of the staff in the Learning Support Team have specialist qualifications and experience. We would be pleased to discuss any specific needs your daughter may have. 10-09

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

Who came from where


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.