Headington School History

Established in 1915 Headington is one of the UK’s foremost schools. It is now known as a prestigious independent school, for girls aged 3 to 18 from prep school to sixth form. Currently, there are over 1000 pupils attending the school, many living within the five boarding houses within the grounds.

Headington School Oxford has a vibrant, international community, and not to mention strong links to Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities with lectures, workshops and visits both at Headington and at university facilities.  A new Creativity & Innovation centre called ‘The Hive’ places an emphasis on cross-curricular learning and the development of the essential human skills of creativity and problem-solving.  

At SBC we are proud to have delivered summer school programs at Oxford Headington School for nearly a decade.

Headington Summer School view from the front of the building and the grounds


Let’s see if you can guess who Headington’s most famous former pupil is. There’s a strong chance you know her.

She’s an icon and modern-day role model for young people all around the world.

She is a wonderful spokesperson and campaigner for gender equality.

Was made UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014.

Oh, and she is formidable with a wand and once starred as a ‘little-known’ character called Hermione Granger.  You’ve guessed it, it’s Emma Watson.

So in Oxford not only can you visit several Harry Potter filmset locations, but at Headington School you can wander the same boarding school corridors once graced by one of the UK’s most celebrated film stars.


Set in a beautiful, secure location, and spread over 23 acres, Headington is just under two miles from Oxford city centre, making it close enough to conveniently visit the historic splendour of the city, and far enough to keep the busy summer crowds at bay.

If Headington’s 23 acres of facilities and playing fields weren’t enough, the school is also close to the leafy surroundings of one of Oxford’s award-winning parks, which we make the very most of as part of our exciting activities program.

At Headington School, our students will benefit from all that the wonderful city of Oxford has to offer.


At Headington there are four boarding houses, providing accommodation for more than 200 students. Boarding at Headington is fun and friendly and students benefit hugely from the facilities, support and friendships they form in the boarding houses.


Napier House is home to a combination of single, double or four-bed dorms.

What Will I Find In Napier?

  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • Two kitchens upstairs for hot drinks
  • Large common room
  • Two computer rooms
Camp students outside running around

Hillstow House is a home with a combination of single, double or four-bed dorms.

What Will I Find In Hillstow?

  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • Kitchens for hot drinks only
  • Two large common rooms
  • Games room
  • Two computer rooms

Davenport House is a big family home, originally built and owned by the Davenport family in the 1840s. It has been a boarding house for Headington School since the 1920s and retains the original atmosphere of a family home.

What Will I Find In Davenport?

  • Eight dormitories with anything from two to seven beds
  • Conservatory with sofas and a piano
  • Television room with games for your free time
  • Two prep rooms with networked computers and plenty of work space
  • Kitchen which students can use in their spare time
  • A health haven for girls to stay if they feel unwell
  • Laundry room

The Sixth Form House, Celia Marsh & MacGregor is a large house consisting of a mixture of single and double study bedrooms. The House offers a lively, college-type environment within a happy, welcoming community.

Celia Marsh and MacGregor are part of the Sixth Form Centre, close to the Dining Hall and Sixth Form study facilities.

What Will I Find In Celia Marsh & MacGregor?

  • Single and double bedrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Common room
  • Quiet work room
  • Computer suite
  • Piano
  • Laundry room

Overall, accommodation at SBC Oxford Headington is as fun for students as it is safe and follows the same levels of security and welfare measures as you would expect to find at any other boarding school. Student rooms and corridors are organised so that male and female students are separated, and a curfew is in place to help ensure that our students have enough rest for the jampacked days of learning and activities ahead. Each boarding house has round the clock surveillance and we have our very own night wardens that are on hand in case they are needed.


Headington benefits from outstanding facilities and caters for a wide range of interests and talents. Whether you want to tap into your inner Emma Watson on the stage or compete against new friends in the fitness centre and sports hall, you will be able to make the most of fantastic equipment and a learning environment that is second to none.

For an overview of Headington’s facilities check out the list below:

Touch rugby in the rain?

At Headington, the rain is no excuse not to take part in your favourite sport, because it boasts a floodlit all-weather pitch that opened in 2008. Meaning there’s a place to train, compete, and take part in a variety of sports outdoors even in poor light or bad weather.

The Hive

Feeling creative? Would you like to work with fashion textiles? Well at Headington the school is home to a super modern arts complex which can be found in the west wing and is accessible to all. Its facilities include:

  • Three art studios
  • Two textiles studios
  • Kiln room
  • Exhibition gallery
  • Photography studio
  • Darkroom
  • Music rooms
Let’s Dance!

If dancing is your passion then you will be able to express yourself at Headington, and dance to the same music that each individual pupil dances to throughout the rest of the year. The School’s new multi-million pound state-of-the-art Dance and Fitness Centre opened at the start of the Summer Term 2015. Headington benefits from dance and gym facilities to match the very best from across Europe, which have been developed over the last five years. Its facilities include:

  • A 270m2 fully equipped dance studio
  • A high-performance fitness centre with gym facilities
  • A fully equipped Technogym ‘Artis’ Cardio Vascular (CV) suite that includes treadmills, Vario cross-trainers, cycle machines, rowers and kinesis stations
Study in the library

Headington School Library is not just a silent house of books, but is a vibrant place of learning, with interactive tables for collaborative learning, and in 2017 it was presented with the great achievement of the School Library Inspiration Award.

Sports Facilities

At Summer Boarding Courses we encourage our students – whether they are just starting out at a new sport or looking to compete at a national level and go for a gold medal- to enjoy sport, since Headington offers fantastic sporting facilities where students can fulfil their sporting potential.

Headington’s modern sports facility, located next to the swimming pool, Dance and Fitness Centre and spacious playing fields, forms part of our extensive sports complex.

The Sports Hall is the place where students can take part in fun activity sessions where they can enjoy:

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Indoor Hockey
  • Netball
  • Trampolining
Swimming Pool

Another feature of Headington which is the envy of many boarding schools in the wider community is its stunning 25m swimming pool which lies within its sports complex, next to the Sports Hall and close to three of the School’s boarding houses.

As you look through the high, arched windows of the pool building, swimmers enjoy a beautiful view of the School’s leafy grounds, making it a fantastic place for a leisurely swim. As prestigious as any swimming facility in Great Britain.

The Theatre

With Headington’s striking, modern day Theatre with its distinct, contemporary design students can work together to put together memorable performances. It has a 240-seat auditorium, making it a perfect venue for SBC’s Time to Shine.

Education at Headington Summer School

At Headington this summer, all students receive 15 hours of lessons per week (additional lessons are available), specially designed by our academic team for international students.

Using the site’s state of the art academic facilities the following exciting programs will be taught on campus:

Future Engineers

Future Engineers

English Level: Intermediate (B1) and Above

At Headington School our Future Engineers programme is designed to inspire the next generation of Engineers.

In our Engineering summer school programme, students expand their understanding of thermodynamics, mechanical engineering, fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and electromagnetism through university-style seminars, lectures, and workshops. Because Engineering is at the forefront of addressing significant issues, such as water and air pollution, understanding how to collaborate is crucial for the engineers of tomorrow. As part of our programme we are delighted to provide aspiring engineers with fresh opportunities to practice their teamwork abilities in our Time to Shine challenge.

Future Global Leaders

English Level: Intermediate (B1) or Above 

Through engaging in teamwork challenges and self-evaluation sessions, students will build English language skills and learn what it takes to be a leader in the modern world.

Leadership skills are the key to success in professional life. Whether it is business, politics, or performing in the arts, those with confident and persuasive communication skills will often be leading from the front. Drawing on the strategies and behaviours utilised by contemporary leaders in business and politics, students will learn the foundation of what is required to shape their own personal leadership style.

headington oxford global young leaders
General English Summer School

General English

English Level: Beginner (A1) or Above 

This engaging and challenging course develops the students’ knowledge of English and confidence in using it through creative lessons, which focus on collaborative activities, tasks and projects.

This engaging and challenging course develops our students’ understanding of the English language through creative, student-centered lessons. The General English syllabus uses a combination of carefully selected course books and unique Time to Shine materials, which have been designed especially for 13 to 16-year-old learners by our academic team. Classes are multinational, and our focus on communication and collaboration helps students to build their confidence in using English in everyday life.  In General English, at Summer Boarding Courses do all we can to offer support in building up your English.

Future Doctors

English Level: Upper-Intermediate (B1+) or Above 

On our Future Doctors course, students will develop an understanding of human biology and contemporary medical issues, and will learn how to deal with practical medical issues during their First Aid training. The course is developed and delivered in collaboration with The Medic Portal, the UK’s #1 medical university application providers.

Future Doctors introduces students to the theory and practical skills needed to become a doctor, dentist, sports scientist or other healthcare specialists. Designed for students aged between 13 and 16, this program provides students with their first step towards a future career in Medicine, looking beyond GCSE results. The Future Doctors program acquaints students with key considerations in the study of Medicine, such as: what pathologies are and how they are treated; how medicine is applied in emergency situations; what ethical considerations there are in the treatment of patients; and what students need to do in order to study Medicine at the university level. As part of the Future Doctor program, all students will complete a full first-aid training course.

three students talking in a medicine class at oxford college
three students talking in a medicine class at oxford college

Future Business Leaders

English Level: Upper-Intermediate (B1+) or Above 

Our Future Business Leaders programme is designed to inspire the next generation of business leaders. By providing students with a comprehensive insight into the key concepts of international business, our young learners are able to gain a fantastic headstart in their preparation for a successful career in business.

All classes are small-sized, multinational environments, providing ample opportunities for students to develop their English language skills whilst studying an engaging topic.
Students are provided with an interactive and collaborative environment to learn in, as we believe that students learn most effectively whilst immersing themselves in communicative project work

Time to Shine

With Time to Shine, no Summer Boarding Courses experience is complete without it. Every student will take part in a series of creative and challenging projects each week to utilise language learning. The British Council have noted strengths for every area they inspected, including Course Design and Academic Management.

At Headington Summer School we challenge our students to step outside of their comfort zone and motivate them to reach beyond the limits of what they believe they are capable of. Traditional teacher-led input is important, but equally as is student autonomy, where students can deliver their own ideas, solutions to problems, plus shape their own outlook and vision of the world.

This is precisely the spark which is ignited through Time to Shine.

At SBC we reduce the gap between that of the academic world and the corporate world, by teaching 21st-century skills students will need every day in their future professional careers. By providing students with motivational research projects to present to their peers, students practice:

  • Thinking & innovation
  • Communication & collaboration
  • Speaking and cross-cultural awareness

Our students complete their academic programs with increased confidence and a fantastic sense of achievement they can take back home to spur them on to future success.

At SBC, our students are the stars of the show.

Students from beginner through to fluent speakers enjoy learning in our supportive and immersive English environment.

Oxford weather and what to pack

In Oxford, the summers are short, comfortable, and partly cloudy, and over the course of the year temperatures can vary from 22°C to 27°C. However, in the summer of 2019 temperatures shot up as high as the mid-30s, so there is plenty of room for exceptions.

Although there is a distinct possibility of occasional heavy rain, hopefully, you won’t be needing to wear waterproofs all the time and could just as likely need to wear summery clothes. Although you shouldn’t need a heavy-duty winter coat, it would be best advised to pack a rainproof jacket, and jumpers and hoodies for cooler weather.

We hope our guide to Oxford Headington has got you as excited about the coming summer as we are and have a much clearer picture of all the fantastic opportunities on the horizon at this truly unique and modern school.

If there are any questions or queries in which you would like more information on then our dedicated admissions team are always on hand to answer any of your queries and are here to help you every step of the way.

students sat in a boat in oxford lowres

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