To help you with your search for a school in Oxfordshire, WhichSchoolAdvisor rounds up seven of the best independent schools in and around the university city of Oxford, which offer a variety of academic, sporting and creative achievements, exam results, boarding, facilities and pastoral care.
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Affectionately known as Teddies, this day and boarding school in the world-famous university city of Oxford has a reputation for its dynamic curriculum, excellence in the arts, and wide choice of options at GCSE and Sixth Form.
It’s a co-ed day and boarding school for students aged 13-18 years, with a sizeable community of international students (18%) from 40 different countries outside the UK. This is a predominantly boarding school where 83% are boarders and 17% are day students. Teaching throughout Teddies remains broad and balanced, and without the restrictions of a prescriptive syllabus in the all-important middle years (Years 10-11).
Read our full review of St Edward's School.
A city school which is focused on all-round education, not just top grades
Choice of Sixth Form pathways
Very nurturing community
May feel too small for some parents
It is primarily a boarding school
City centre location may not appeal to families searching for a countryside campus
Dragon School, Oxford is a co-ed day and boarding Pre-prep and Prep School for four to 13 year olds. It combines a well-rounded curriculum with bespoke support on moving to senior schools – and the school has a track record of sending children onto some of the UK’s most selective private schools including Harrow, Eton College, Wycombe Abbey, Oundle, Magdalen College School and Wellington College. Around a third of Year 8 Dragons gain academic or specialist scholarships.
It offers a broad curriculum enriched with plenty of music, sport and after-school clubs, an activities-based Saturday programme, and dedicated reasoning and preparation lessons for senior school exams and scholarships.
Read our full review of Dragon School, Oxford.
International student community
Smaller, family-friendly feel
Choice of full, weekly and flexi boarding from Year 4
Traditional full boarding experience
No senior school
d’Overbroeck's is an independent day and boarding school in Oxford for 11-18-year-olds offering an alternative to traditional UK education. Its informal culture, modern thinking, and equal relationship between students and teachers play a key role in its success; its outstanding GCSE and A Level results place the school at the top of league tables in the country, alongside many larger more traditional schools.
The senior school is day only. The International School offers boarding to students in Years 7-11, and there are full and weekly boarding options in the Sixth Form (around 50% take this offer up), which makes it an excellent stepping-stone between school and university.
Read our full review of d’Overbroeck's.
Excellent preparation for Oxbridge or medicine and law
Wide choice of A Levels
Boarding in Senior years
One of the UK’s leading (and last remaining) all-boys boarding schools, Radley College offers a well-rounded, very British education to a community of bright, sporty and creative boys.
This prestigious school has a vast campus covering 800 acres with playing fields, a golf course, a lake and farmland. It has some of the hallmarks of a traditional British public school education but is more down to earth than schools such as Eton and Harrow. And, with many parents registering their son at birth, places are already filled up until 2023.
Read our full review of Radley College.
Single sex environment
Extremely sporty, outdoorsy school
Those not wanting a very traditional boys-only school
Located in Banbury, Tudor Hall is small full boarding school for around 320 girls aged 11 to 18. Situated in spacious grounds in Oxfordshire, this senior school offers students a broad education that is as cultural and creative as it is academic.
This rural all-girls senior school has a family atmosphere where students achieve excellent results in GCSEs and A Levels. It’s a predominantly boarding school – there are 250 boarders and 75 day girls. Tudor Hall is also a non-selective school where girls are “selected not just on their academic ability but also their personal strengths”, and the school’s curriculum and co-curriculum encourages students to develop interests and talents in a wide range of subjects.
Read our full review of Tudor Hall.
Nurturing, relaxed and close-knit environment
An enriched, broad curriculum
Anyone looking for a city centre location
Not an academic hothouse
Abingdon is a large day and boarding school in Oxfordshire for around 1,300 boys aged 11-18; Abingdon Prep School is a smaller day school for boys aged four to 13. This academically outstanding day and boarding offers an excellent education to bright, hard-working boys that is brilliantly balanced with an extensive extra-curricular programme that promotes its ‘Other Half’ philosophy.
Abingdon is a strong advocate of single-sex education, but it also has close ties with the nearby girls’ school of St Helen and St Katharine to teach some subjects jointly and to collaborate on drama productions and musical activities, particularly in the Sixth Form.
Read our full review of Abingdon.
A tough and very selective admissions policy
Full and weekly boarding is available from age 13
Huge extra-curricular programme
Sport and the arts at GCSE and A Level
St Clare's is a co-educational independent, international day and boarding Sixth Form college in North Oxford, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, English language courses, University Pathways courses, Gap Year Programmes and IB teacher training workshops.
The college welcomes students from the age of 14 years, to adults who may have been teaching for a few years. Everyone learns in a welcoming, international environment in the charming university city of Oxford.
Read our full review of St Clare's, Oxford.
A city based education
Inspiring surroundings for education
No students (yet) before Sixth Form
Lack of sporting facilities on campus
Single sex education