Headington history: Schools

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Josca’s Preparatory School

Josca’s Preparatory School began life in Headington, first in Jack Straw’s Lane and then in Latimer Road.

Mrs Eveline Farrell (a graduate of St Hilda’s College who died at the age of 80 in 1992) and her husband Brian Farrell (a Philosophy tutor at Corpus Christi College) founded Josca’s in the early 1950s after they failed to find satisfactory schools in Oxford for their three sons: they considered the state schools of poor quality, and the private schools snobbish.

The school, designed to prepare boys aged from 7 to 13 for Common Entrance, initially consisted of only ten boys (including the three Farrells) and operated from an outbuilding in the Farrells’ garden at Underwood in Jack Straw’s Lane. It was named Josca’s after the nickname of the eldest brother, Julian Farrell.

In 1956 the school moved to another large house in Headington, between Nos. 2 and 4 Latimer Road and eccentrically allocated the number 5. Its first headmaster was J. M. Clotworthy, and it steadily expanded to 90 pupils, taking in weekly boarders as well as day boys.

By 1963 Tony Savin was headmaster, and in 1969 he was told that the school would have to leave its Latimer Road site as it was going to be sold. Savin borrowed £11,000 from family and friends and bought the present school, Frilford House near Abingdon, for £16,500, and from April 1970 the 70 boys were transported each day to the present school site at Frilford Heath.

The sports presenter Jim Rosenthal (born 1947) was one of the early pupils at the school when it was in Headington.

The old Josca’s school building in Latimer Road was demolished to make way for St Luke’s Hospital in 1982.



© Stephanie Jenkins

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