Sibford School


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  • Category: Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Quaker
  • Roll: 241 (Boys) 170 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 3 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1842

General Information

Sibford School is a 3-18 co-educational day and boarding school set in more than 50 acres of grounds surrounded by glorious Oxfordshire countryside.

Originally established in 1842 as a school for the children of Quaker families, today Sibford welcomes pupils of all faiths and none and is currently home to some 400 pupils.

The Quaker values of the school, which seek to recognise ‘that of God in everyone’, remain at the heart of all we do. We believe passionately in the uniqueness of every pupil and know it is our job to seek out and nurture their gifts and develop their confidence to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

We offer a broad curriculum which reflects our view that while some have a talent for mathematics, science or history, others are gifted in arts, horticulture or sport.


Exceptional Performing & Creative Arts in purpose-built facilities, multi-purpose Sports Centre, squash courts, 25m indoor swimming pool, well-equipped Library and Information Technology Centres, Design Technology Centre, separate Sixth Form Centre, wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, 50 plus-acre campus set in beautiful North Oxfordshire countryside. Three boarding houses (for girls, boys and sixth form).

Entrance Requirements

CAT tests screening is used to ensure we can meet the needs and that the child can operate within a mainstream curriculum. Half day for assessment, usually combined with half day ‘taster’.


On application to our Admissions office. Sibford awards General Academic scholarships as well as subject specific scholarships for Art, Music and Sport. Scholarship assessments for entry in September are held in the preceding January/February although, in certain circumstances, scholarship applications maybe considered at other times throughout the academic year. Bursaries are available to children of both Quaker and non-Quaker families.

Open Days

2018. Whole School Open Morning: Fri. 16th November, from 9.45am.

2019. Junior School Open Mornings (focusing on Sibford’s provision for pupils aged 3 to 11): Fri. 1st February, 9.45am-12noon and Sat. 23rd March, 10.30am-12noon.

Whole School Open Mornings: Fri. 1st March and Fri. 3rd May, from 9.45am.

Annual Open Day: Sat. 15th June.


2018/2019. All per term. Day: Reception-Year 2, £3060. Years 3-6, £3703. Years 7–9, £4818. Years 10-13, £4913.

Weekly Boarders: Years 7-9, £8718, Years 10-13, £8890. Full Boarding: Years 7-9, £9359. Years 10-13, £9548. Flexi Boarding, per night: Years 7 - 13, £61.75


ISI Inspection 2015

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Toby Spence

Contact for enquiries: Elspeth Dyer, Admissions Officer

Sibford School
Sibford Ferris
OX15 5QL

[t]: 01295 781200
[f]: 01295 781204

Location Description

Sibford School is set in more than 50 acres of grounds within the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside but within easy reach of the M40 junction 11 and Banbury rail station.

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School News

Sibford School independent day and boarding school Oxfordshire

Staff and pupils at Sibford School in Oxfordshire launched a week of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice by welcoming Linda

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Palfreeman, author of the book ‘Friends in Flanders’.

Linda spoke to pupils about the work undertaken by the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) during the First World War.

“Most Quakers were of the opinion that any war was directly opposed to their beliefs and to the ‘law of love’,” she explained. “However many of the younger men in particular were anxious to carry out work in the war zones. They wanted to share the dangers and the deprivations being suffered by their countrymen who were risking their lives at the front and they believed that one way of being able to do this was by creating an ambulance unit.”

Linda went on to outline some of the work undertaken by the FAU, particularly in Ypres where the men worked tirelessly to try to alleviate the suffering of the townsfolk and where they faced the added challenge of a typhoid epidemic.

“In collaboration with the British Army, the FAU undertook three systematic measures to deal with the situation in and around Ypres,” she told pupils. “It was to identify all civilian typhoid sufferers and transport them to hospitals; to purify the water supply; and to open inoculation centres.”

The FAU’s actions were greatly appreciated by the people of Ypres as a letter subsequently published in the Quaker magazine ‘The Friend’ reveals: “Neither ourselves nor our poor will ever forget your generosity towards us,’ it reads. ‘We shall always keep a very happy memory of the English Ambulance … its only object had been to spread benefits around us and to distribute true comfort during these mournful days.’

Anna Jo Mathers, Assistant Head, Learning and Teaching, at Sibford School said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Linda. Not only did she inspire our pupils but she also stayed on to give a second talk at which we were joined by parents and members of the public.”

Other events taking part during the week included two performances of the play ‘The Accrington Pals’.

Photo: A scene from The Accrington Pals.

Sibford independent day and boarding school Oxfordshire

Inventor, scientist and entrepreneur, Dr John Taylor, visited Sibford School in Oxfordshire to give an inspirational talk to pupils in Years 5 –

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John, who holds many hundreds of patents for domestic appliances, thermostats and electrical equipment, is probably most famous for inventing the thermostat controls for the cordless kettle. It’s been calculated that over two billion of his bi-metal blades – used in thermostats to switch off kettles – have been produced since their invention in the 1970s. He also holds four Queen’s Awards, three for Export and one for Innovation.

But, as he told pupils, it could have been a very different story when, as a young lad, his parents struggled to find a school who would have him after he failed the 11 plus, 13 plus and common entrance exam.

“I’m dyslexic,” explained the 81-year-old. “which meant I had to overcome a number of difficulties. However, I view that as a blessing as it prepares you to think around the difficulties you will go on to face in life.”

Having struggled to get into school, John went on to gain a place at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge and after graduating joined his father’s company making thermostats.

“I found I could invent,” he told pupils. “My first job was to invent a control for an electric cooling fan for the new Jaguar E type and since then I’ve filed over 400 patents.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years. I can go almost anywhere in the world and see an electric kettle knowing that inside it is one of my inventions.

“I never have regrets. My advice is to make a decision based on the information available at the time. Never go back and think ‘what if’, always go forwards.  Many people walk around seeing … but I walk around looking. If you notice things you can do something about them. My challenge to you is to invent something, change the world and most importantly … have fun.”

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Winning start to the term for Sibford riders

Sibford School equestrian teams got off to an impressive start at the beginning of the school year when they competed in the NSEA and Unaffiliated

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ODE at Swalcliffe Park Equestrian.

Riders competed in three categories … dressage, show jumping (over 80cm, 90cm or 100cm jumps) and cross country.

Sibford’s  80cm team and the 90cm team both came first overall in the team competitions, qualifying for the National Championships in October.

The school also achieved the top two places in the 80cm competition with Emma finishing first and Maizey taking second placing.

More than 400 riders took part in the event which took place on Sunday 9 September and was sponsored by Sibford School. 

Photo: The 80cm winning team.

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Sibford pupils celebrate increase in top grades

Sibford pupils were celebrating impressive GCSE results today … with a strong showing of top Grade 9s, 8s and 7s alongside A* and A grades

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as the 9 – 1 grading scale, introduced last year, replaced the old A* – G grades in even more subjects.

83% of pupils gained five or more grades at 9 – 4 (or A* – C) compared to 77.8 % in 2017. Meanwhile 24% gained grades 9 – 7 (A* – A).

Special mention goes to Jacob Robinson who received 12 GCSEs at 9-7/A*; Shae Wallis who received 11 GSCEs at 9-7/A*- A plus one grade B and one grade C; and Jess Katz who received 9 GCSEs at 9-7/A, one grade 6, one grade 5 and one C.

Congratulations also go to Eloise Upton who, despite missing many school days due to a non nurological functional disorder, gained three GCSEs at grade 7, three at grade 6, two at grade 5 and one at B.

Overall, top tier grades were received in a total of 22 subjects.

Sibford Head Toby Spence said: “I am very pleased with the improvement in GCSE grades this year, and especially pleased to see that the range of top grades spans such a wide variety of subjects. We are delighted that the majority of pupils in our non-selective school have exceeded expectations in what the government expect to be more challenging ‘reformed’ GCSEs, which some high flying schools have chosen not to tackle. My congratulations to all students and my thanks to staff and parents for their hard work, dedication and support!”

Last year, the 9-1 grading system was introduced for English language, English literature and Maths. This year, it has been extended to a total of 22 subjects which, in the case of Sibford pupils, means that only those studying Business, Further Maths, Media, Statistics and General Studies received the old A – G grades.


GSCE Results Table:

No of pupils: 54

No of entries: 531

% of pupils with 5 or more grades 9 – 4 (A* – C): 83%

% of grades 9 – 7 (A* – A): 24%

% of pupils with grades 1 – 9: 99.9%

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Success for Sibford Students

A student at Sibford School who has over-come significant adversities was celebrating today after gaining two As and a B at A Level and being

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accepted by her first choice of university.

Imogen Roberts, who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, received A Grades in Physics and Maths and a B in Drama. She now plans to spend a gap year, initially in Fiji where she hopes to work for a charitable NGO, before moving on to Australia, where, along with fellow Sibford student Julia Beaumont, she has won a competition to attend the renowned European Bartending School in Sydney.

In September 2019, she will then take up her place at the University of York to study Theatre.

“I’m really delighted albeit it surprised with my results,” said Imogen. “It’s great to know that I will be going to York in 2019 and I am now really looking forward to enjoying my gap year.”

Overall nearly a third of Sibford students gained A* and A Grades in their A Levels and BTEC exams.

Alex Connolly, Will Edmonds and Emily Gibb all gained three straight A Grades at A Level, and there was impressive success for Sibford’s international students … Edward Lui gained A*s in Maths and Further Maths, an A in Physics and a B in Chemistry and Shin Zou gained A*s in Art and Maths and a C in Design.

Tom Mahon gained Distinction* (the equivalent of an A* at A Level) in his BTEC Countryside Management Diploma and a Distinction (the equivalent of an A Grade at A Level) in his IT BTEC; Alex George, Oliver Keers and James McCullough all gained Distinction* in their IT BTEC; and Arran Day gained Distinction* in his Media BTEC.

Sibford Head Toby Spence said: “This has been another fine year for our Sixth Form students after a record breaking set of results last year. We are delighted for the achievements of so many students who are moving on to a diverse range of exciting destinations including Russell Group universities, prestigious drama colleges and art schools, film studios and gap years. I congratulate the students for their resilience and hard work as well as the fabulous support and guidance of the dedicated teaching staff at Sibford School.”

Exam Statistics 2018: Results from A Levels and BTECS:

  • Number of students entered: 33
  • Number of entries: 99
  • % A * and A: 30%
  • % A*, A and B: 52%
  • % A* to E: 97%

(BTEC results explained: Distinction* is the equivalent of an A* Grade at A Level, Distinction is the equivalent of an A Grade, Merit is the equivalent of a C Grade and Pass is the equivalent of an E Grade)

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Sibford School Climbing Mount Everest … One Step at a Time

Pupils and friends of Sibford School near Banbury took on a race to the summit of Mount Everest.

For one week, at the start

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of PE lessons, pupils took part in a one minute step activity as part of their warm ups.

And on Saturday 16 June, at the school’s annual Open Day, they successfully completed the 58,070 steps required to cover 8,848 metres … the height of Mount Everest.

The sponsored Everest Challenge is one of a number of events that have been undertaken by the school to help fund a new climbing wall.

Sibford Head Toby Spence said: “We are very excited about the climbing wall which will be coming to Sibford in September 2018. We are very fortunate that our parent association is jointly funding this exciting venture alongside school funds.

“However, the Everest Challenge was a chance for the whole school community to get involved with the fund raising. Successfully completing 58,070 steps in just a week was no mean feat. We entered Saturday with 1,936 steps still to complete but, thanks to support from parents, friends and even old scholars, we were able to reach the summit of Everest during our Open Day celebrations.”

Pictured: Pupils complete the final steps in style.

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Sibford School sponsors talk by Terry Waite

Sibford School Head Toby Spence is pictured with humanitarian, author and Quaker, Terry Waite.

The pair met at ChipLitFest 2018 in Chipping Norton where

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Terry was speaking at the opening event and promoting his latest book ‘Solitude’.

A sell-out audience listened as the former envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about his five years as a hostage in Beirut and about his work with Hostage UK, an international organisation that supports the families of those taken captive in global hotspots.

Sibford School is a regular supporter of ChipLitFest and was pleased to sponsor the talk by Terry Waite. Other speakers taking part in the four-day festival included Richard Osman, Reggie Yates, Liza Tarbuck and Jeremy Vine.

Students at Sibford School are celebrating after achieving a 100 per cent success rate in their acting and public speaking exams. 

A total of

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23 pupils, from Year 5 up to Year 13, entered into LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) exams at the end of January, with 56% passing with distinctions and the rest achieving merits.

Sibford Head Toby Spence said: “This is an incredible achievement, especially as some of the older students were also juggling the exams with their rehearsals for our school production of ‘Spamalot’. Congratulations to all involved.”

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Pupils from Sibford School take on Monty Python classic.

Pupils from Sibford School near Banbury, Oxfordshire, looked on the bright side of life for their 2018 school production … and performed the Monty Python

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hit musical ‘Spamalot’.

A riotous comedy full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, musical monks and ferocious Frenchmen, the Sibford production played to delighted audiences over three nights.

Director and Head of Drama, Neil Madden, said: “The cast worked their socks off, giving up their evenings and weekends to put on a very professional production. I was extremely impressed with how easily the pupils entered the world of Monty Python and it was a joy to witness their confidence soar with each performance. It is humbling to work with such talented children.”

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Sibford School - Hair today and gone tomorrow!

Three Sixth Form students at Sibford School in Oxfordshire have undergone a close shave for charity.

Dan Harbron, Ben Hohorst and Ajay Witherford had

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their heads shaved in aid of the OddBalls Foundation, a charity that raises awareness of Testicular Cancer and aims to make a difference to male health around the world.

Fellow pupils paid to watch as first Dan – followed two days later by Ben and Ajay – went under the razor and saw their locks fall to the ground.

The ‘shaveathons’ were the highlight of a week of charity fundraising in aid of cancer charities … also benefiting from Sibford generosity was Breast Cancer Care.

In addition to sponsoring the boys’ haircuts, pupils decorated t-shirts, painted nails and swapped their uniform for outfits in blue or pink.

Pupils raised a total of £579.96 to be split between the two charities. In addition, a Just Giving page set up by Dan, Ben and Ajay has raised a further £780.20 for OddBalls.

Photo: Ajay Witherford and Ben Hohorst

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Dancing with the Dragon at Sibford School

Junior School pupils at Sibford School have been learning the ancient art of Chinese dragon dancing.

Junior School pupils at Sibford School in Oxfordshire enjoyed

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a taste of the orient when they took part in a Chinese Dragon Dance Workshop. 

All pupils, from Early Years through to Year 6, took part in the event which culminated with a performance to parents. 

For the first half-term of 2018, the pupils have been enjoying a creative curriculum where by all lessons focused on the theme of ‘Journey to the Orient’.

Pupils have taken part in Tai Chi and Yoga lessons; cooked (and eaten) Chicken Chow Mein; looked at the design of Chinese gardens; experimented with brush strokes to create Chinese art; and learnt about the Great Wall of China. 

Junior School Head, Edward Rossiter said: “The children were really motivated by the creative topic based curriculum. They really enjoyed their learning and were engaged and motivated.

“The Dragon Workshop was especially entertaining … the children not only learnt how to make the dragon come to life but they also discovered that dragons are important to Chinese people who think of them as helpful, friendly creatures, linked to good luck, long life and wisdom.”

Photo: Pupils in Years 3 and 4 are pictured with Chinese Dragon Dance expert Manisha Solanki.

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Sibford School pupil filmed for the BAFTA nominated film, Darkest Hour.

When the BAFTA-nominated film, The Darkest Hour, was released in the UK in January 2018, Sibford School pupil, Paige Godman, was finally able to

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share a secret.

The 15-year-old, who has been a pupil at the Oxfordshire school since 2011, had been selected to play a refugee in the movie, which stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. However, her contract kept her from speaking about it until the film had debuted in British Cinemas. 

“It was an amazing experience,” said Paige. “Having been selected at audition, I was invited to go to London for costume fitting, hair and make-up. This was really exciting and made me feel really professional.

“We did the actual filming at an airbase near Bicester. I had to wake up at 5am and start filming at 6am so it was an exhausting day but thoroughly enjoyable, even if it did involve a lot of takes and patience to film our scene.”

Paige, who wants to be a professional actor in the future, is no stranger to the stage. Last year she appeared as Anne Frank in Sibford School’s production of ‘Cabaret’ and next month she stars as the Lady of the Lake when the school presents the Monty Python musical ‘Spamalot’.

Paige as Anne Frank in Sibford School’s special production of Cabaret which also incorporated excerpts from the Diary of Anne Frank and Arbeit Macht Frei.

Sibford School Independent Oxfordshire Holocaust survivor visits Sibford

Holocaust survivor and Kinder transport child, John Fieldsend, visited Sibford School near Banbury, Oxfordshire,  to speak to pupils about his remarkable life.

The visit took place

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on Friday 26 January, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.

John Fieldsend, now 86, was born to a Czech mother and a German father and was initially raised in Dresden. He recalled the time in 1936 when Hitler visited the town.

“As Jews, we kept out of the way and locked ourselves in our flat but we could still hear Hitler addressing the crowd,” he said. “He was shouting ‘Die Juden’ … his voice is forever locked in my head and I can’t find the off switch.”

From then on life for John and his brother began to change. “Your school, like many others has an anti-bullying policy,” he told pupils. “At my school, we had a bullying policy … if you were Jewish then you got bullied.”

The family escaped Dresden and moved in with John’s maternal grandparents in Opava, but when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia his parent took the decision to send their two boys to England.

“My father sat us down and told us ‘you’re going on a long journey … but we can’t come with you’. As the train was leaving my mother took off her wrist watch and passed it through the window saying, ‘this is for you to remember us’, we never saw them again.”

John enjoyed a happy life with foster parents in Sheffield. “When you’ve been through what I’d been through you tend to block it out until something triggers your memories … for me that trigger took place on Sunday 28 February 1988 when a friend rang me and said, ‘you’re on the television’. The programme, ‘That’s Life’ with Esther Rantzen, was running a story about Sir Nicholas Winton, who set up the Kinder transport, and my identity card was showing on the screen.”

The trigger set John off looking back at his past … and he discovered that his parents, together with many more members of the family, had all perished in concentration camps.

Over the years, he has made a number of visits back to Germany and Czechoslovakia. He was also tracked down by the International Red Cross who gave him a photograph album found in the family home in Opava and also a letter written by his parents in 1942 just days before they were taken to Auschwitz.

He concluded his talk by reading from the letter and told pupils “Despite all that I’ve through this is a wonderful world. I believe it was created by a wonderful God. Our generation is handing this world to you and the reason I have come here this afternoon is to ask that you will do a better job than we did and be inspired to help mend a broken world.”

Sibford Junior School Independent Oxfordshire Girls at Sibford Junior School Mark Centenary of Voting Rights for Women

Girls at Sibford Junior School near Banbury marked the centenary of voting rights for women by posing as Suffragettes.

Edward Rossiter, Head of the

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Junior School, said: “During our morning meeting we spoke about equality and Quaker Values and explained that this week marked the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Representation of the People Act … a piece of legislation that, for the first time ever, enabled some women over the age of 30 to vote and paved the way for universal suffrage 10 years later.

“The pupils were outraged by the unfairness of the situation and enjoyed dressing up in protest.”

Year 6 pupil Summer said: “I think it was really bad because the women were living in the same world as the men but they weren’t allowed to speak up and have any input into what went on.”

Added Isobel: “The women had to pay taxes and obey the rules but they weren’t allowed to vote. It was very unfair and I’m glad it was changed.”

Sibford School independent day and boarding school Oxfordshire

Sibford School pupils present and past scored victories at the Triathlon World Championships in Rotterdam in September.

Sixteen-year-old Sixth Form student Reuben Trotter took Silver in

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the U20s Age Group Sprint race (750m swim; 20km bike; 5km run).

He also had the second fastest time of all 1,500 competitors across all the age groups making him the fastest British competitor in the Sprint Distance on the day.

Meanwhile, Rosie Weston, who left Sibford School in 2016 and is now at Loughborough University, took the Bronze medal in the female Under 20 category in the Standard Distance race (1,500m swim: 40km bike; 10km run).

Sibford Head Toby Spence said: “We are extremely proud of both Reuben and Rosie. Sibford is becoming increasingly known for its triathlon successes. In the past year alone we have held several triathlon events and an increasing number of pupils have shown interest in this up and coming sport. We hold regular early morning and after school swimming sessions to offer high level coaching and are investing in four Wattbikes to further assist those pupils interested in developing their skills in this area of the sport. In addition, we regularly host elite training camps for the South Central Academy of the British Triathlon Federation.”

Reuben’s Dad Philip said: “Reuben watched the Brownlee brothers competing at the London Olympics back in 2012 and decided he wanted to try it. This season he has been competing in the British Triathlon organised Junior Super Series, and, closer to home, won the Banbury Sprint Triathlon earlier this summer.”

“His success in Rotterdam was particularly impressive as he was one of the youngest competitors and still has two more seasons to improve his position in the U20 category.”



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