A school with a difference … or two

wychwoodschoolFSU penguinsOnce upon a time, there were three schools in the Wychwoods. First to disappear was the one at Milton although its building is still very evident as a domestic property next to St.Jude’s Church. Then it was decided that the Ascott school was no longer viable; closure followed and the majority of the pupils went up the hill to Leafield. That just left Shipton school, originally next to the church but then moved to a more extensive site between Shipton and Milton and called Wychwood School; ideally placed to serve both communities.

But then came a resurrection at Ascott. In 1998, Alan and Sheila Wood bought Windrush Valley School to be run as an independent school serving a broader area. New buildings were added, existing buildings refurbished. The site was limited for sport and outdoor activities so use was, and is made of the local playing fields as well as the Tiddy Hall for indoor activities. Some activities are pursued further afield – the annual drama production is held in Chipping Norton theatre while Chadlington church is also used on occasions.

In August 2018, the school was taken over by the Ingenio Education Group and Amanda Douglas, daughter of the original owners, was appointed head teacher. Recently the school has gone academically from strength to strength, ranked by the Sunday Times as the top Independent Prep School in Oxfordshire.

This academic success is not achieved at the cost of a broad education. Language skills were practised and enhanced on a trip to France where, for the children at least, the highlight was probably a visit to a chocolate factory! Trips have included visits to Stonehenge and the theatre at Stratford.

Sport and social skills are also developed. Many sports are played with matches against other local schools, while trampolining is something of a speciality with gold awards claimed at the British Schools Championships. The needs of others are taken into consideration – food was given to the food bank after the harvest service while Children in Need was also well supported.

This ambitious local school appears to be going from strength to strength.

Information supplied by Gwyn Phillips

February – March 2019