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Oxford High School GDST: parents’ guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:05 PM

Oxford High School GDST: a parents’ guide to Year 7 entry


Oxford High School (OHS) is a private day school in the city of Oxford for girls aged 4 to 18. It was founded by the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) in 1875 under headmistress Ada Benson – a pioneer in womens’ education. The school has a long history of producing notable alumnae, including actresses Dame Maggie Smith, Miriam Margoyles and Florence Pugh, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, and Dame Josphine Barnes – the first woman President of the British Medical Association.

Oxford High School provides a world-class education, empowering each individual with a love of learning and agile critical-thinking skills. Girls have access to an extensive range of subjects, including traditional academia alongside contemporary studies in computer science, philosophy and ethics, textiles, and six modern languages (French, Mandarin, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian). Students consistently perform to high standards in exams; in 2022, 41% of A level grades were A* alone while 88% of GCSEs were A*/A/9/8/7. Each year, 20% of university applicants receive offers from Oxford and Cambridge.

Excellent pastoral care is one of the cornerstones of life at OHS. Beyond a support network comprising teachers, form tutors and heads of years, there are holistic strategies in place including a comprehensive PSCHE programme and The Positive Programme. This initiative, led by The Positive Group, engages students and staff in conversations about emotional literacy and provides students in all year groups with strategies to track emotions and learn about topics such as exam stress and mindfulness.

Directory of private schools in Oxfordshire

Key information for Oxford High School

  • Head: Mrs Marina Gardiner Legge

  • Address: Belbroughton Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6XA

  • County: Oxfordshire

  • Admissions contact: Mrs Molly Silva – [email protected], 01865 478678

  • Age range and gender: 4–18, girls only

  • Number of pupils: 875

  • Open day date: Monday 16th January and Friday 3rd February 2023. Register online to attend

  • Overview of selection procedure: online assessments, interview and school reference

  • Registration closes: October in Year 6

  • Assessment date: November in Year 6

Oxford High School fees and financial assistance

The current fees at Oxford High School are £5,852 for children in Year 7 and above. Fees include the cost of textbooks and non-residential, curriculum-based trips during term time. Lunch costs an additional £315 per term and is mandatory for pupils in Years 7 to 11.

Oxford High School is able to offer GDST bursaries (means-tested financial assistance, assessed by the Fees Office of the Girls’ Day School Trust) to pupils applying for entry in Year 7. Bursaries range from 30% to 100% of school fees. Most higher-value bursaries are awarded to pupils from families with a total income of less than £37,500 per year, who have no capital assets other than their home. Families with an annual income of more than £87,500 are highly unlikely to receive financial assistance.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Girls applying for entry to Year 7 at Oxford High School may also apply for a scholarship (which is not means-tested but instead awarded based on talent). Academic, art (and textiles), drama, music, and sport scholarships are currently worth 5% of fees per annum.

Oxford High School offers a 20% fee reduction for the third or any subsequent daughter who is studying at the same school at the same time.

Oxford High School term dates

The term dates at Oxford High School for 2022–23 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 14th December 2022

  • Half term: 19th–28th October 2022

  • Spring term: 4th January – 24th March 2023

  • Half term: 13th–17th February 2023

  • Summer term: 17th April – 12th July 2023

  • Half term: 29th May – 2nd June 2023

The term dates at Oxford High School for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term: 7th September – 15th December 2023

  • Half term: 19th–27th October 2023

  • Spring term: 8th January – 22nd March 2024

  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024

  • Summer term: 15th April – 12th July 2024

  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Oxford High School

Oxford High School welcomes between 45 and 50 new pupils into Year 7 each year. New pupils join existing pupils moving up from the prep school.

1. Visit

If you are considering Oxford High School for your daughter’s secondary education, it’s a good idea to visit first to find out if the school is a good fit for your child. OHS holds several open events each year, providing you with the opportunity to meet with the head, senior staff and current pupils. Upcoming open events include Monday 16th January and Friday 3rd February 2023, with more events due to be released throughout the spring and summer terms.

Register for an open event on the Oxford High School website.

2. Registration

The formal admissions process for Oxford High School begins when you register your daughter. Early registration is recommended, and all applications for entry to Year 7 need to be submitted by October in Year 6 (the exact date for 2024 entry is yet to be confirmed).

To register your daughter, you will need to complete the online application form and pay a non-refundable registration fee of £100 (or £150 for overseas applicants). If you receive income support, you can contact the admissions office to provide proof and ask for this fee to be waived.

If you would like to apply for a bursary to receive financial assistance with school fees, you will need to tick the box on the registration form or let the admissions team know in writing. You will then be contacted once the GDST’s online bursary application portal opens in October in the year before entry.

3. Tests & interviews

All children who are registered before the deadline will be invited to the Oxford High School admissions day in November during Year 6. Tests take place at the school and consist of online assessments in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English, maths, creative comprehension, and puzzles and problem-solving.

Take a look at our exam guides for tips and examples of typical questions your daughter might encounter in the exam:

Every child who sits the entrance exam will also have an interview with either the headmistress, the deputy head or a member of the OHS senior leadership team. Interviews normally take place in the week following the exam.

4. Offers

Oxford High School will make its offers on the basis of each child’s performance in the entrance exam and interview and the information provided in the reference from their current school. You will be informed of the outcome of your daughter’s application in December of Year 6 (before the Christmas break). Bursary awards, academic and head’s scholarship/exhibition awards will also be communicated at the same time.

If your daughter has been offered a place at Oxford High School, you will have just under three months (until the beginning of March) to accept.

5. Scholarships

Academic scholarships and head’s scholarships are awarded to successful candidates who show exceptional performance in the entrance exam and interview.

If your child has received an offer from Year 7 and you would like them to apply for an art, drama, music or sports scholarship, you will need to complete the relevant application form by early January. Candidates can apply for up to two categories.

  • Art scholarships: candidates will need to submit a letter of application, CV and a portfolio of their best artwork. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview to discuss their work, art interests, experience and influences.

  • Drama scholarships: candidates will be asked to submit a letter of application, CV and a short video performance. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an audition and interview to talk about their drama interests and experience.

  • Music scholarships: candidates should be able to perform at Grade 5 standard. You will need to submit a letter of application, CV and a video of your daughter’s musical performance. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to an audition and interview to talk about their musical interests and experience.

  • Sport scholarships: candidates should be able to demonstrate skill in hockey, netball, football, swimming, gymnastics, cricket, tennis or athletics (or another sport, if your child is performing at a County Level or above). You will need to submit a letter of application and a sporting CV on behalf of your daughter, after which shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview and a sports assessment.

The school will write to you with the outcome of your daughter’s scholarship application in February.

How to prepare for 11 plus entry to Oxford High School

Children applying for 11 plus entry to Oxford High School will undergo tests in multiple subjects and have an interview with a member of staff.

Atom Learning is an all-in-one exam preparation platform which can help your child consolidate everything they need to know and prepare effectively for success in the Oxford High School admissions process.

Exam preparation with Atom Nucleus

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All candidates applying to Oxford High School for Year 7 entry take online assessments in English comprehension and creative writing, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning, and puzzles and problem-solving. The school does not provide sample test papers for your daughter to practise or prepare.

Atom’s online learning platform Atom Nucleus will give your child access to over 90,000 interactive questions in English, maths, science and verbal and non-verbal reasoning, in addition to unlimited online practice papers that replicate typical 11 plus entrance exams.

All content is automatically marked, and you’ll get instant score breakdowns and data-led insights to help you track your child’s progress. You can use your parent dashboard to effectively help your child set targets and create exercises to target the content they find more challenging.

See how Atom Nucleus can help your child prepare effectively for the Oxford High School entrance exam – start your free trial today.

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Interview preparation with Atom Tuition

As well as academic tests, all candidates applying for entry to Oxford High School will have an interview with a member of staff. This is a common practice at independent schools, as it can provide a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities and interests. However, even informal interviews can still be daunting for many 10 and 11-year-olds!

Atom Tuition offers online mock interviews with experienced tutors who are specialists in the private school admissions process. A one-hour session consists of a 30-minute interview, a 10-minute break, 20 minutes of feedback and a follow-up report.

These mock interviews are an ideal opportunity for your child to:

  • Encounter typical private school interview questions

  • Learn and practice techniques that will serve them well in the real interview

  • Develop their conversational skills and storytelling style

  • Demystify the interview process and know what to expect

  • Reduce any anxiety and feel confident for the real interview

Book a mock interview today and give your child the benefits of expert guidance and a confidence-building experience.

Book a mock interview with Atom Tuition

More support for private school entry

Book a call with an Education Expert

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Why not join over 2,000 parents already using our Atom Learning community WhatsApp groups? You’ll get access to free resources and advice, while our Education Experts will be on hand to provide instant answers to any questions you have about the school admissions process and your child’s exams.

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