Year 7 provides a new start for girls: both for those coming from OHS Junior School and those from one of our many feeder schools. Generally, about half the Year 7 intake is completely new to the school, and, of these, about half are from state and half from independent schools, with many being the only girl coming from their school to Oxford High. After a taster day in the summer term before, the first day in September for Year 7 includes team building games, a treasure hunt to explore the building, and time to meet older girls who act as buddies. After a few weeks, with friendships becoming established, the girls really blossom: it is wonderful to watch the increase in confidence, from an anxious girl in September to an interested, inquiring and curious girl soon afterwards, keen to extend discussions and discover more. By November, it can be hard to recall who was particularly nervous or who knew no-one at the start of the year!
There are four Year 7 forms of 20-25 pupils, and the girls are taught in these forms for most lessons, normally splitting into mixed-form groups for Maths during the course of the year. There are smaller groups in some practical subjects and the pupils enjoy being challenged by new academic subjects such as Mandarin. The girls are supported by a form tutor and assistant form tutor as well as the Head of Year. Each form has a couple of Sixth Formers linked to it who provide an older sister role, and all girls have a buddy in the year above. The Year 7 girls appreciate the independence offered by longer and less structured lunch breaks and most get involved in a wide range of clubs, being encouraged to have a go at something new.
The highlight of the year is the week long residential at Kilve Court in Somerset where girls immerse themselves in a range of activities and cement and broaden their friendship base.