Headington history: Schools

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Cheney Girls’ School

Cheney Girls’ School had a long history on at least four other sites before it moved to Headington in 1959. It started off as a Baptist Sunday School in Oxford in the late eighteenth century, but by 1812 had evolved into a mixed school in Gloucester Green called the United Charity and Sunday School. This school moved to St Ebbe’s in 1824, and in 1834 it became a girls-only school, changing its name to the Penson’s Gardens Girls’ British School.

In 1898 it was taken over by the Oxford School Board, and in 1901 it was renamed the Oxford Central Girls’ School and moved to New Inn Hall Street, into a new school building that is now part of St Peter’s College.

The school remained in New Inn Hall Street until 1959, when it moved up to larger purpose-built premises in Headington and was renamed Cheney Girls’ School. It was a grammar school, and its next-door neighbour to the south was Cheney School (for boys) which had been there since 1954.

In 1972 when Oxford began the process of adopting a three-tier system of comprehensive education, these two schools were merged as Cheney Upper School (for boys and girls aged 13 to 18).

Now that Oxford has gone back to a two-tier system of education, Cheney is a secondary school taking children aged 11 to 18.





© Stephanie Jenkins

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