Oxford independent schools to merge

  • 20th September 2023

Headington headmistress Caroline Jordan (left) and Rye St Anthony Interim headmistress Sarah Davis.

Headington School and Rye St Antony School, both in Oxford, are merging to become Headington Rye Oxford, the Oxford Mail has reported.

Headington School is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged from three to 18 and Rye St Antony School is an independent Catholic boarding and day school for girls aged three to 18 and for boys aged three to 11.

Under the merger there will be a prep school for girls and boys aged three to 11 on the 12-acre Rye site, and a senior school for girls aged 11 to 18 on the adjacent 23-acre Headington senior school site.

The schools announced that the transition will begin in January but there will be no significant changes for pupils and staff until next September, when teaching begins in the new locations.

All staff will be retained and all current pupils will have a place in the new school.

Headington Rye Oxford will be led by Headington headmistress Caroline Jordan.

Jordan said: “I am delighted to share this incredibly exciting news. We are curious, confident, ambitious schools which share a beautiful location and very similar educational and Christian values. We will take the best of both schools to create an exciting new school for both current and future generations of children.”

Sarah Davis, interim headmistress at Rye St Antony added: “We very much welcome this opportunity to join together as Headington Rye Oxford which will allow us to continue to offer a truly outstanding education, facilities and co-curricular activities. Our beautiful grounds offer excellent new opportunities for the prep school within our tranquil 12-acre site. We are looking forward to the next exciting chapter for our school communities.”

Carol Oster Warriner, Headington’s chair of governors, will chair the governing body of Headington Rye Oxford and Carla Stanley, governor at Rye St Antony and Kate Ringham, governor at Headington, will be joint vice-chairs. All governors from both schools will continue as governors on the new board.

Oster Warriner and Shuna McGregor, the current chair of Rye St Antony, issued a joint statement: “We believe this merger will make us stronger together, securing the future of both schools for generations and ensuring we can continue to offer the best possible educational experience for all pupils.

“It is anticipated that the merger will enable an even greater breadth of academic and vocational courses to be offered alongside enhanced extra-curricular activities and clubs.

“We will work closely with all stakeholders, from pupils, parents and staff at both schools to local feeder schools and the wider community to help shape the new school whilst respecting the heritage, history and traditions of both schools as we plan for the future.”

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