OLA Senior School provides an inspiring, vibrant and well-ordered environment for boys and girls aged 11 to 18, welcoming children of all faiths and none.
We offer a distinctive and successful combination of four key factors which together create our unique OLA environment that helps our pupils achieve more:
1. Small, Friendly School
Because we are a small school, with an intake of no more than 60 pupils into Year 7 each year, students have more chance to thrive. Each is known as an individual and OLA’s caring, family atmosphere enables children to flourish, both academically and beyond the classroom.
Pupils have greater opportunities to represent the school in a wider range of activities than is possible in schools with larger pupil numbers. These include sport, the performing arts, music and inter-school academic challenges, as well as nationally recognised activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and Young Enterprise.
All of these play a valuable role in building pupil self-confidence as they move through the school.
Trips and Expeditions
A huge range of trips and expeditions are organised for students of all ages. In recent years there have been music tours to Barcelona and Venice, an expedition to Borneo, skiing trips to Colorado and exchanges with students at our partner schools in Uganda, among many others.
2. Small Classes
Throughout the Senior School our class sizes are small with an excellent teacher to pupil ratio. For example, in Years 7 and 8 form sizes are typically 20 pupils or fewer and in many subjects groups are even smaller than this.
We pride ourselves on the individual relationship we have with each pupil, which enables teachers to really get to know each child and help them develop and exceed their potential.
Years 7, 8 and 9 constitute Key Stage 3, where the preparatory work for GCSE is done. In Key Stage 4, consisting of Years 10 and 11, pupils study for their GCSE courses and normally study ten or eleven subjects.
3. Fun and Innovative Learning
Our fun and innovative learning approach helps pupils to be fully engaged in the academic life of the school leading to exam results that regularly exceed baseline predications. Read about our GCSE and A-level exam success.
4. Highly Praised Pastoral Care
A major strength of OLA is our pastoral system, which is highly praised by OLA parents and was described as ‘outstanding’ in our most recent full ISI Inspection Report.
A Year Tutor (Head of Year) system operates, whereby the Year Tutor follows the academic progress and pastoral care of a pupil from Year 8 through to Year 11, following an initial year spent with an Induction Tutor. Each child also has a Form Teacher.
Both Year Tutor and Form Teacher quickly get to know the children in their care and their families extremely well. Our success in pastoral care is due to the emphasis we place on the partnership between home and school.
4. Family Community
Our close family community creates a deep sense of belonging and support. This is achieved through:
- A close working relationship between teaching staff, pupils and parents
- The weekly term-time parents’ eNewsletter
- A system of parent class representatives who report to the Parent Voice group, resolving issues and providing feedback. OLA encourages an open dialogue between home and school.
5. Catholic Christian Ethos
OLA’s caring and nurturing Catholic Christian ethos means that we put a great deal of care into developing the character of every student as they move through the school. Our education is holistic, meaning that, as well as ensuring that children flourish academically, we also foster in them the values they will need for life beyond the classroom.
Pupils leave OLA as happy, emotionally intelligent and confident individuals, ready to take their place in the outside world. The ‘value added’ that we give has been a feature of OLA throughout its long history, reflecting the values of the school’s founders that continue to be at the centre of our approach up to the present day.
Visit our Sixth Form pages to find out all you need to know about OLA 6th.