THE Oratory School is an All Boys’ Independent Catholic Day and Boarding School for boys aged 11 to 18 years, set in acres of beautiful Chiltern countryside and conveniently located near to the M4 and M40.
Oratory boys are enthusiastic and are encouraged to engage with purpose in all levels of school life. They are asked to achieve both their academic goals as well as to develop personally by taking part in the many extracurricular activities on offer. This might be the latest drama production, rowing from the school’s boathouse on the river Thames or attending a debating forum — sometimes all on the same day! There are many opportunities to travel with both subject and sports trips and to join a full range of leadership activities such as the Combined Cadet Force and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Such an all-round approach allows boys to develop their own individuality, to mature into confident young men ready to meet what the future might throw at them. The headteacher has just completed a lengthy regeneration programme, consisting of new boarding/day houses and an extension on the school’s award winning art and design department with its own exhibition gallery and professional ‘artist in residence’.
Also completed are new English, maths, history and theology departments as well as a gym and fitness centre. A new theatre provides drama studios, retractable seating and a professional lighting and sound room. The latest achievement is a multi-million-pound sports centre redevelopment, due to be opened this term. Great facilities in a perfect setting.
But schooling isn’t just about facilities, it is more like pieces of a puzzle fitting together, strong academics, personal development and an eye on that ultimate first choice university place which sets boys on their future career paths. All of these qualities fit together and The Oratory’s ethos is based on their founder, Cardinal John Henry Newman’s philosophy of an education for all and his motto of ‘heart speaking to heart’.
The school has achieved a number of awards: sports school of the year by Education Business Awards 2012, best art and design at A-level and best results for art and design at GCSE in an English school (Good Schools Guide 2013); top 20 independent boarding schools in the UK (Best Schools 2012); top 30 boys’ independent senior schools in the UK (The Times 2008); top independent school in the UK for sport (Daily Telegraph 2007). The headteacher, Clive Dytor, was awarded independent school head of the year by Tatler School Guides 2013.