Life in the Ada Benson Building – our new centre for Sixth Form and the Arts, which opened in February 2020 – can take any number of forms. It might start with a coffee in our sunlit atrium café or a catch-up with friends in one of the cosy, sound-proofed booths dotted around the mezzanine.
From there, you might head upstairs to our new Sixth Form library to start cracking the books before Registration. Or you might head through the atrium into our new Textiles atelier or the Sixth Form Art Room to listen to some music and do some thinking.
With the first few lessons of the day under your belt, your thoughts will quite rightly turn to food. Time to head back to the café and see what’s on offer today. Will you opt for the falafel, beetroot and pickle flatbread or a raspberry chocolate muffin? Or perhaps you’ll do what so many of us do, and opt for the freshly-made banana bread – a classic option.
Your hunger sated, you’ll gather your books and head upstairs to one of the Sixth Form teaching rooms. Like the building itself, each one of these comfy, modern spaces is named after an inspirational woman voted for by you, the students of Oxford High School.
Perhaps you’ll have an English lesson in the room named after the poet Elizabeth Jennings, who attended OHS in the 1940s? Or perhaps you’ll study maths in the Ada Lovelace room, religious studies in the Mary Wollstonecraft room, geography in the room named after trail-blazing archaeologist Gertrude Bell or history in the Aphra Behn room.
Either way, when lunchtime arrives, you’ll face another difficult choice. Will you go into Summertown for lunch and a mooch around the shops or will you head to the canteen for a proper three-course meal? Or will you opt to go back to your very own Sixth Form café for some peace and quiet far from the madding crowd over in the main site?
Of course, knowing you, it’ll be a quick lunch and then off to take part in one of the many lunchtime clubs of which you’re a member.
Maybe you’re volunteering to help with our Reading Buddies scheme as part of the OHS Community Partnerships programme? Or perhaps you’re on Student Council? Maybe you’re over in the music block, rehearsing a piece for a forthcoming concert? Or perhaps you’re in English, preparing a speech for debating club or a poem for one of the many creative writing competitions we enter?
We might equally find you in the Animation Studio, working on a showreel, or with Dr Weeks out by the bee hives, collecting honey or wax for candles? Then again, you might equally be found out on the field, fitting in a spot of last-minute coaching for a forthcoming match.
When the school day is over, you might head home. Or not. Because it’s when the school day ends here in the Ada Benson Building that the fun really begins. On any given night, you might attend a live screening of the latest performance from the National Theatre in our new state-of-the-art auditorium, present your work in a pop-up art exhibition, listen to a lecture by a prominent academic or take part in an open mic night.