During the 2023-24 academic year, St Clare’s, Oxford will celebrate 70 years of providing world-class education to students from across the globe.
Our independent, co-educational, day and boarding school was founded by Anne Dreydel OBE and Pamela Morris in 1953. Anne Dreydel, having lost both her legs in the Second World War to a German bomb, sought to bring nations and peoples together by founding a school where students of different nationalities could learn from each other’s perspectives and build a more peaceful and prosperous future.
In founding and developing the school, she worked closely with Gilbert Murray, one of the strongest proponents of the League of Nations which inspired the creation of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War, and with Alec Peterson, who became our Chair of Governors and who was instrumental in devising the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme.
Within the mid-1950s, students came from more than 12 Western European countries. Over time, through our strong reputation and the influence of word-of-mouth, this extended across the world.
Nowadays, we consistently attract students from over 45 countries every year and remain as faithful to our mission as we did when the college was first established:
“advancing international education and understanding”.
Over the next decade, we extended our offering to include university-level and pre-university study as well as longer academic courses and short Summer courses. Then in the 1960s, we established links with universities in the USA to deliver a quality Study Abroad programme.
In 1977, the International Baccalaureate Diploma was introduced for pre-university students, and we became the first IB World School in England.
Our sixth form continues to be one of the longest running IB schools in the world, only 13 other institutions have taught the IB longer than St Clare’s.
Expertise extends from delivering the IB Diploma to offering specialist IB Teacher Training workshops since 2002, and more recently, CELTA and DELTA Teacher Training courses.
Over the last 70 years the campus has grown to accommodate the increasing student population. From our original location on 141 Banbury Road, we have expanded to over 20 large Victorian and Edwardian houses in North Oxford, to which purpose-built facilities have been added. These include a library with over 35,000 volumes, a dining room and student café, music studios and boarding residences.
In 1999, we bought premises on Bardwell Road, which has become the location of our International College for the last 23 years. Named after one of our founders Pamela Morris, a building extension took place in 2014 to create more teaching spaces, including 3 well-equipped science laboratories, preparatory rooms, as well as 3 large Mathematics classrooms. The following year in November 2015, an award-winning 121 residence and purpose-built Art Studio opened, offering an inspiring study environment.
Beginning in September, St Clare’s, Oxford will host several events and projects to celebrate its milestone, including:
- Alumni Careers Events: St Clare’s Creates Futures – a series of online events will be held around specific career sectors, with the distinctive thread of careers and graduates with local and global impact. These events will encourage current students to learn about different career sectors, connect with alumni and employers, and importantly, embrace the vision of leaving St Clare’s ready to create a life and career of purpose.
- Anniversary Reunion Events – an anniversary reunion event will be held in September for alumni from graduating classes of 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013, and in the Spring of 2024 for alumni from graduating classes of 1974, 1984, 1994, 2004 and 2014. During the events, alumni will learn of the changes to St Clare’s, the future of the school, how current students can be supported, and how alumni can continue to be involved with the school. This anniversary reunion event will then run every year, hosting groups of graduates from year groups ten years apart.
- Archive Exhibition – we will have an internal archive display, showing photos and artefacts from the last 70 years. A timeline mural will also be around the internal walls of 139 Banbury Road.
- 70 Faces of St Clare’s – our current students are conducting a research project into our previous students, and creating profiles on 70 of our alumni, one for each year.
According to Principal, Duncan Reith, “St Clare’s, Oxford, is proud to be celebrating 70 years of advancing international understanding by providing high-quality international education in Oxford every year to students from over 50 countries around the world – in our IB World School, in our International College and in our Summer Schools. In today’s world, where international relations are more strained than they have been, our work in improving international understanding across the globe is more important than ever. We look forward this year to bringing old friends back together for our reunion events, to launching our ‘St Clare’s Creates Futures’ programme to support current students and recent graduates in their career development, and to extending our connections and partnerships with schools and students around the world as we advance international education and understanding through our broad range of on-site and online courses.”
Alumni are encouraged to check St Clare’s, Oxford’s social media platforms and emails regarding upcoming events. For more information or to book a personal tour, please email email@example.com.
We also welcome prospective students and families at our regular virtual and live Open Days. Visit www.stclares.ac.uk to find out more or to contact us to book your personal tour.