Oxford High School began life in November 1875 when the first twenty-nine pupils assembled at the Judge’s Lodgings in St Giles’. The fees were between £9 and £15. There followed various moves around North Oxford to 21 Banbury Road, a distinguished building designed by Sir Thomas Jackson, which still bears our date of 1879 over its portals, and in 1946 when the Junior School moved to 84 Woodstock Road (now Cunliffe Close). Number one Bardwell Road (then known as Buckler House) became the new home to the Junior School in 1954. Curiously we have come full circle as this property was later sold, only to be repurchased in 1997 when Greycotes joined the Trust family. The Butler Education Act of 1944 brought many changes and from 1945 OHS was given recognition as a Direct Grant School. The high quota of free places at the disposal of the Local Education Authority meant increased demand for places and the need for a new school. Thus OHS moved to Betjeman’s bonny Belbroughton Road in 1957 and continued to rapidly expand.
In 1976 the school became independent after the abolition of the Direct Grant by the Labour Government and the school’s undoubted success continued unabated. In 1997 further expansion to meet demand was required, and the school for girls aged 9-18 began to cater for girls aged 3-18 and boys aged 3-7 years. This was made possible by welcoming Greycotes and The Squirrel to the OHS family to create one seamless school of nine hundred students on three campuses.
A constant factor of OHS is the character of its students: highly intelligent, extremely well motivated, articulate, challenging and always life-enhancing company. Their teachers are similarly characterised. Throughout its 130 years OHS has appreciated its very close and positive relationship with the Girls’ Day School Trust. A further distinctive feature is the outstanding leadership provided by the Headmistresses. Each has stamped her own personality and character on this distinguished school.
|Ada Benson||1875 – 1879|
|Matilda Ellen Bishop||1879 – 1887|
|Lucy Helen Soulsby||1887 – 1897|
|Edith Marion Leahy||1898 – 1902|
|Rosalind Mabel Brown||1902 – 1932|
|Margaret Gale||1932 – 1936|
|Violet Evelyn Stack||1937 – 1959|
|M.E. Ann Hancock||1959 – 1966|
|Mary Warnock||1966 – 1972|
|Elaine Kaye||1972 – 1981|
|Joan Townsend||1981 – 1996|
|Felicity Lusk||1997 – 2010|
|Olwen Curry (Acting)||Autumn Term 2010|