The Oratory School is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18, set in a beautiful 100-acre rural location near Reading. The school was founded in 1859 by Saint John Henry Newman to provide an alternative to other Catholic establishments of the time. Today, it welcomes pupils of all faiths and of none.
Junior pupils are part of St Philip House where after they move into one of the four Senior Houses. All pupils, whether day or boarding, benefit from the family atmosphere of the house system where older and younger pupils learn and support each other. 'It is this supportive environment and strong pastoral care that nurtures the confidence, self-expression, and resilience that are vital for success and happiness in the world of today.'
Head Master Joe Smith says 'most of all we are proud of our young people – whom we call Oratorians – who are warm, kind, purposeful, yet refreshingly informal'.
The school aims to focus on the whole pupil seeking to 'draw out and develop their innate gifts, skills and talents, which we believe each of them has in abundance, be they academic, sporting, artistic, dramatic or inter-personal'.
Inspections provide parents with detailed information from which to assess key aspects of a school. Find out more about why inspections matter.
The school was last inspected in November 2021. Read the inspection reports on the school's website.
The school is a registered charity managed by a board of governors. Read more on the Charity Commission website.
What makes The Oratory different?
Attain asked the school, what makes The Oratory different – and why should parents consider it?
The Oratory has the highest grade of 'excellent' for both Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) categories – pupils’ academic and other achievements and pupils’ personal development. This is a wonderful endorsement of all the improvements that have been made at The Oratory in the last few years – academically, pastorally and in our co-curricular life.
The ISI Educational Quality inspection took place in November. It described Oratory pupils as "show(ing) high levels of understanding for their age. They show self-confidence in many areas of school life, are resilient and adapt well to new situations."
The Oratory became co-educational in 2020 and this move has proved extremely successful, both in terms of girl numbers and the experience for girls and boys alike.
In our second academic year as a co-educational school, our 1st XI girls' hockey team won the U18s Berkshire league in their first term of competitive hockey. The Oratory U15s rugby team went through to the School Cup National Plate Final. The side won the South West regional section of the competition in January.
Joe Smith, Head Master says: "The Oratory is thriving as a co-educational school, as can be seen from our excellent ISI inspection outcomes. Inspectors were hugely impressed by the confidence yet humility of our wonderful pupils, and by the range and quality of their achievements. Do come and visit us."