Principal’s Welcome

Founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Mercy, OLA has been a beacon of Oxfordshire education ever since. We are a small, independent day school for pupils aged 7 to 18. The school provides a highly successful, fun and innovative learning experience within a happy and friendly community. This leads our pupils to achieve some exceptional academic results. Each one guided throughout their time at the school by our caring and dedicated teachers.

What makes OLA different to other primary, secondary, prep or independent senior schools?

The school’s success comes from a combination of six factors which create the unique OLA learning adventure. Each child embarks on a journey that uncovers their full potential and nurtures them to achieve. A journey that enables them to thrive both academically and as a person.

Small school: With under 400 pupils in total, OLA offers everyone the possibility of representing the school in a wide range of confidence-developing activities. This includes Sport, Drama, Music, academic competitions and other chances to thrive, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Small classes: We have a very high teacher to pupil ratio. This means our class sizes are smaller than you will find in other primary, secondary, prep or independent senior schools. OLA provides a more individual learning experience that fully nurtures academic potential.

Fun and innovative learning: Our fun approach to education helps pupils to be fully engaged in the academic life of the school. This leads to exam results that regularly exceed baseline predications.

Highly praised pastoral care: Our staff work closely alongside our pupils to encourage, motivate and support each child. We help them to grow as confident, successful and happy individuals.

Family community: OLA encourages an open dialogue between home and school through a range of effective channels.

Catholic Christian ethos: This is the foundation of everything we do, creating the family community so valued by OLA parents. The school accepts children of all faiths and none. We help everyone to aspire to such values as integrity, compassion, openness, forgiveness, reconciliation, co-operation and courage. If you would like to find out more about what it means for us to be a Catholic independent school, please read Catholic Independent Schools and the Common Good.

Exam results

Our 2020 A-level results were some of the best we have ever achieved, with 80% of students achieving grades A*-B. This is an outstanding achievement, given that our pupils start OLA with a wide range of abilities, and shows the excellent ‘Value Added’ that we give them. Find out more about our examination results.

Leavers destinations

Our Upper Sixth leavers regularly go on to a wide range of universities. This includes Oxford, Cambridge and many leading Russell group institutions. Among them we have medics, vets, scientists and artists, the range of subjects here reflecting the breadth of interests encouraged at OLA. Find out more.

Co-curricular programme

Our co-curricular programme is equally broad and is an integral part of the education that pupils receive at OLA, not just an add-on to what happens in the classroom. Find out more about our Lower School and Senior School co-curricular programmes.

Come and see us!

We would love to welcome you to OLA. Book your appointment with or join us on an Open Morning.

We hope to see you soon!

Stephen Oliver, Principal