Headmistress’s Blog

17 June 2022

Dear parents, carers and friends,

Thank you so much to all those who listened to my presentation last Thursday where I outlined the key principles and vision for the school. Ranging from parents of pupils in Year 1 all the way to Year 13, it was lovely to see so many of you either in school or online and I have received many positive emails and comments not least from the most important people who are, of course, our pupils.

I am also aware that some missed it and having not recorded the session I thought I would take this opportunity to outline the key points for you here.

Our Past and Present.

When I started last year, my most important task was to listen to pupils, parents and staff to ensure that our future was rooted, firmly, in the key values and qualities of the school. As a result of the surveys and discussions I drew the following conclusions:

Oxford High School is an academically selective school which is all about learning and curiosity. We are a school in the liberal progressive tradition and are passionate about engaging with minds and ideas. We are down-to-earth, unpretentious and outward-looking as well as a supportive friendly community with a sense of fun and spark.

This key principle of being a place of learning and curiosity, of academic qualifications being something that happened ‘along the way’ rather than the goal led me to the essence of moving beyond, academically, pastorally and as a community and through the co-curricular. The ideas then that I presented last week were ideas for us to consider and build together.


  • To build on the success of Oxford High’s very own Extended Learning Project to create even more opportunities beyond the curriculum for our pupils.
  • To build unique and exclusive opportunities for our students such as the recent GDST Space Challenge using data from NASA and the student led action led research projects already in train.
  • To review our curriculum to ensure that what we offer is suitable for the era ahead.


  • To raise the capacity and profile of the pastoral and wellbeing resource of the school including all year mentoring, increased time and resource for the Heads of Year and tutors.
  • Revising completely our Personal Social Health Education Program recruiting a specialist teacher and speakers to ensure that it meets the needs of the students.
  • Revising the rewards and sanctions policy and procedures completely to ensure that many more achievements are recognised and celebrated throughout the school.
  • Reviewing the uniform policy to increase affordability and to ensure that we are engaging with our students’ minds not their clothes.
  • Starting a speaker programme for parents on PSHCE topics to include everyone in the conversation.


  • We have put in staff Heads of House to support the Student House leaders to widen the range of competitive opportunities to reflect the abilities and interests of all our pupils and for more fun memories at school.
  • We have brought in a reward programme based around key attributes to recognise positive character traits as well as achievement.
  • We are working on ensuring that breadth of participation as well as competitive opportunities are both emphasised in our co-curricular offer.


  • We want to widen the links with all kinds of schools and make sure that our pupils have the opportunity to work and collaborate with all kinds of different people.
  • We want to make sure that parents feel included and informed in the work of the school and that our communication is improved.
  • We want to continue to build on our partnership programmes with other schools such as our Jems Science programme for primary schools.
  • We want our pupils to feel rooted in their local, national and global context and recognise that as lucky as we all are to experience an independent education we all have the responsibility to give back to the world around us.
  • We have appointed a Lead teacher for Sustainability to ensure that we build on the GDST One Chance Sustainability Agenda and to harness our pupils’ passion for addressing climate change.
  • Equally, our pupils are leading our community on the Inclusion and Diversity Agenda in school and we will continue to extend that into every area of our school whether it is admissions or recruitment.

I hope that this gives you a flavour of the key thoughts and principles that will guide the school over the next few years. However, ultimately it is all about the pupils at the school, about empowering and supporting them to be the best they can possibly be, to face their futures with confidence, happiness and self belief and to unleash the power of their authentic and real selves working in partnership with you.

With warmest wishes

Marina Gardiner Legge


Tags: Head's Blog

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