London Oratory School

London Oratory School

Infobox UK school
name = The London Oratory School

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motto = Respice finem
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established = 1852
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closed =
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type = Voluntary Aided Comprehensive
religion = Roman Catholic, Oratorian
president =
head_label = Headmaster
head = David McFadden
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street = Seagrave Road
city = London
county =
country = England
postcode = SW6 1RX
ofsted = 100365
staff =
enrollment = 1,365 (350 in sixth form)
gender = Years 1-5 boys, sixth form mixed
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houses =
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website =
website_name = School website
The London Oratory School is a Roman Catholic, voluntary aided, comprehensive secondary school in Fulham, London. The Headmaster is David McFadden. [ BBC News | EDUCATION | London Oratory: A high profile school ] ]


London Oratory educates boys in the age range of 7-16 and boys and girls in the age range 16-18 (the sixth form) in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church. There are around 1350 pupils including about 350 in the sixth form. The proportion of minority ethnic students is much higher than in most schools, with over 50 first languages represented. The school shares its religious and cultural identity with the Oratory Church, and its close connection with the church helps ensure its strong links with the Catholic community. [\\school\\100\\s5_100365_20060612.pdf "The London Oratory School - Inspection Report"] ,Ofsted, 12 June 2006]

The "Good Schools Guide" said that there is "Much that is excellent but also much potential for building this school – in bricks and mortar terms as well as educationally and spiritually. Destined for stardom." []


Founded in 1852 by the London Oratory Fathers, the school was first situated in King William Street in the City of London. In 1856 two parochial schools were opened in Chelsea, West London. In 1863, a boys school was started in Chelsea, at the request of Cardinal Wiseman, and in 1870 a school for girls staffed by the Daughters of the Cross. The schools were fee paying until 1912 when they were amalgamated as Central Schools on a site in Stewart's Grove, Chelsea. In 1962 the Daughters of the Cross were withdrawn and, in 1963, the school became an all boys, four-form entry schoolCite web | url = | title = History of the School | publisher = London Oratory School | accessdate = 2008-05-03]

The school moved to its present site in Seagrave Road, Fulham, West London in 1970. It became an all ability school for boys from 11+, admitting 180 boys in the first year. Girls are admitted in the sixth form. In September 1996, a Junior House was opened which admits 20 boys for a specialist musical education with an emphasis on Catholic liturgical music. Also opened in 1996, the Arts Centre (renamed as the 'John McIntosh Arts Centre' in December 2006, in honour of the recently retired Headmaster) provides music and art facilities for the pupils. In 1998 the school became a voluntary aided school continuing in the trusteeship of the Fathers of the London Oratory, who own the building and grounds and appoint the majority of the governors, having been a grant maintained school since 1989.

In 1999, John McIntosh, a former headmaster at the school, asked parents to pay a monthly levy. The school's grant maintained status was removed by the Education Department. The changes means the school had a 250,000 pound deficit. Parents were asked to pay 30 pounds for one child and an extra 15 pounds for a second child. McIntosh considered commercial sponsorship if not enough money was raised. [ [ Duplicity claim in PM boys' school row | Politics | The Guardian ] ]

David McFadden, an Oratory old boy and former teacher at the school, took over as headmaster on 1st January 2007, after the retirement of John McIntosh. [Cite web | url = | title = The London Oratory School| accessdate = 2008-05-02 | publisher = London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham] McIntosh had been at the school for just over 39 years, (29 as headmaster). Mr McFadden was previously headmaster of the Christian Brothers College in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Academic standards

The school's most recent Ofsted report, published in 12 June 2006, classed the school as "outstanding", the highest possible grade. Separately, the sixth form was also assessed as "outstanding". The report said: "The London Oratory School is an outstanding school with a distinctive ethos and vibrant environment. The standards pupils achieve in public tests and examinations at all ages are outstanding. The headmaster's leadership of the school is excellent and he is well supported by a very effective senior management team. There is a strong international dimension to the school's work which many pupils are involved in."

In the 2007 examinations, 90% of pupils attained five or more GCSEs, Grade C and above, including English and Maths. This compared with a national average of 46.7%. 86% of pupils secured at least two good GCSEs in sciences. [ [ "The London Oratory School"] , BBC News, 10 January 2008]


Political interference

In 1999, John McIntosh, the London Oratory School's headteacher at the time and member of a Tory education think tank, was accused of using his position as headteacher to embarrass Labour. In a letter to 1000 boys at the school, he asked parents to contribute at money to cover a deficit in the school's budget that he blamed directly on government policy. This was on the eve of Labour's party conference and McIntosh attracted much criticism. [ Duplicity claim in PM boys' school row | Politics | The Guardian] [ Duplicity claim in PM boys' school row | Politics | The Guardian] [ Oratory head is condemned over levy on parents] [ Oratory head is condemned over levy on parents] [ National Association of Head Teachers] [;fa_related_widget Oratory still asks parents for money despite loan offer]

Abuse inquiry

In 2001, police and social workers investigated child abuse claims against Father David Martin, a former chaplain and governor at the school. Pupils alleged that they were abused by him. Anonymous letters were circulated to Church figures and the media. Numerous people contacted Childline and made specific allegations against Martin.

At least six pupils were alleged to have met with Martin in his rooms at the London Oratory church, which is affliated with the school. Two boys were said to have expressed fears that they might have contracted the HIV virus from Martin. [ [ Abuse inquiry over HIV chaplain at Blair school] , "Daily Telegraph"] [ [ Child abuse probe at top Catholic school | Mail Online ] ] [Sex abuse inquiry at Oratory school,7369,407036,00.html] [ [ BBC News | UK | Abuse inquiry at top Catholic school ] ] . The allegations were never proven and no evidence was ever found to support furthering the investigation [ [ BBC News | EDUCATION | Oratory school abuse claims 'unfounded' ] ]

Pupil interviews

The governors of a local primary school complained about the admissions procedures at the London Oratory school. It also launched a separate complaint about the "clarity, fairness and objectivity" of the school's approach to over-subscription. [ Criticism for Blairs' school | UK news | The Guardian ] ]

Adjucator Elizabeth Passmore decided to uphold the complaint about the school's interviewing procedures and confirmed that it has breached the new admissions code. The old code allowed the school to interview parents and prospective pupils to assess religious or denominational commitment. The new code says that interviews should not be used in any part of the application or admission process, except in a boarding school for a boarding place. []

The London Oratory went to court to continue interviewing parents of prospective pupils. It won a case in 2006. [ [ Blair defends school reform climbdown - Times Online ] ]

Terrance Higgins Trust

In November 2007, the London Oratory School dropped the Terrence Higgins Trust as the nominated charity for a World Aids Day concert. This was one month before the concert was scheduled to take place. (The Terrence Higgins Trust is a British charity that campaigns on various issues related to AIDS and HIV. It advocates the use of condoms to prevent AIDS and is a lead organisation in the England & Wales gay men's health promotion partnership).

McFadden wrote "The London Oratory school will always want to make sure its charitable fundraising work and its work … are done with organisations whose philosophy, aims and practices support Christian values. As the nominated charity does not meet this criterion it would be inappropriate for the school to financially support this charity from the proceeds of the concert." [ Callow Quits London Oratory Post] McFadden did not explain why the Terrence Higgins Trust was nominated in the first place. [ The Pope Vs Terry Higgins]

The replacement charity would be Surf, which helped survivors of the Rwandan genocide who had been "deliberately infected" with Aids, he added.

A priest linked to the school was HIV positive and was cared for by the Terrence Higgins Trust. Father David Martin was chaplain and governor at the school (see "Abuse Inquiry" below). [ [ Top Catholic school's U-turn over concert for Aids charity | UK news | The Guardian ] ] Martin was also the focus of an abuse inquiry.

In response, Actor Simon Callow threatened to resign as patron of a choir at the school in protest. He was also a patron of the Terrence Higgins Trust. [ [ Callow in threat to quit Oratory post | UK news | The Guardian ] ]

London Oratory School Schola

The "London Oratory School Schola" is a notable choir that was established in 1996. The current director of the Schola is Lee Ward. [ [ "The Schola"] , The London Oratory School, "accessed 2 May 2008"] [ "London Oratory School Schola"] , Boy soloist, "accessed 2 May 2008"] In addition to liturgical and concert performances, the choir has recorded film soundtracks and audio albums. [ "London Oratory School Schola - Filmography"] , The New York Times, "accessed 2 May 2008"]

Notable former Oratorians

* Wayne Andrews, footballer
* Hayley Atwell, actress
* Euan Blair
* Kathryn Blair
* Nicholas Blair
* Simon Callow, actor
* Johnnie Jackson, footballer
* Diarmuid O'Neill, volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army
* Bridget Prentice, politician


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Schola site]
* [ Ofsted site for the London Oratory School]
* [ Profile at the Good Schools Guide]

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