The Climbing Tree
The climbing tree stands majestically at the corner of the school site and is known to all Wychwood girls past and present. Everyone climbs the tree and everyone knows who the best climbers are. Look out for the red lines and see how they have grown just as Wychwood girls have done.
There has always been a swing at Wychwood, and why not? We might pretend that we grow out of swings but is that really the case? Swinging into a starlit night and pondering the universe, or competing for height in a form frenzy under the midday sun, the swings are almost always occupied – and not always by the girls! Originally the Wychwood swing was a single wooden construction and the latest double swing was a gift from the Friends of Wychwood, and far more fitting for the friendships forged in sharing these apparently carefree moments.
The most exciting date in the school calendar for both current and Old Girls alike is that of ‘Form Plays’! Once the title is decided upon, girls in every form spend three weeks writing, directing and rehearsing, taking responsibility for costumes, props, and lighting. All plays are performed in front of a packed house of staff and girls. Adjudication from an Old Girl, revelling in her memories of past Form Plays, results in prizes for the best script, best actor, best set and best overall play. All are fiercely contested! What a highlight!
Each year, on the penultimate day of the Trinity term the whole school, girls and staff, head off to a mystery location for the whole school picnic. Staff are sworn to secrecy on the venue and girls try their hardest to find it out! We spend the morning on a social excursion, for example touring Broughton Castle or Kew gardens before the hampers are unpacked and lunch is served as we all settle down on blankets for our feast. When the various delicious treats have been devoured, impromptu games start and before you know it, the whole school is playing rounders or frisbee before begrudgingly heading back to Oxford.
Girls form strong friendships at Wychwood both within their class and with girls across the school. Girls take part in activities and trips, clubs and sports matches across the year groups and they socialise together at lunchtime, after school, during outings and particularly on the swing. Laughter is a common feature of life at Wychwood. These friendships last lifetimes and our alumnae stay in regular contact with each other.
A strong feature of life at Wychwood is the relationships that pupils have with each other and with the staff. As a small school we get to know each girl very well, her strengths, her weaknesses, her ambitions. This allows us to tailor what we offer to suit each individual. As a result they form strong bonds with their teachers and non-teaching staff which last well beyond their school years. These relationships are very much in evidence in our alumnae community who have very strong links with the school and play an active role in Wychwood life.
Pleasure of Food
Food is very important at Wychwood. Seeing the girls convene on the dining hall at break for cookies, soup or smoothies or for toast and hot chocolate at the end of the day is something special. It is more than simply the delicious food at Wychwood though (as important as that is) as mealtimes and breaks allow the girls the chance to come together, to chat, to laugh. The chef and her team play a central role in the school alongside the School Nutrition Advice Committee (SNAC!) offering a balanced yet tasty menu, taking into account dietary requirements, cultural tastes and social responsibilities.
Our girls have more opportunities to learn, to explore, to fail and to succeed because of our size. Trips and activities play a central role with approximately 50 a term in addition to the 35 extra-curricular activities offered each week. Musicians, athletes and actors take to the stage and to the field on an almost weekly basis and all girls are involved. Students develop a variety of skills through activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Model United Nations and Young Enterprise. Leadership opportunities are presented through membership of School Council, as Sports Leaders and pastoral mentors. Girls have invaluable and numerous opportunities to try things, to work out what they like, what they are good at and what they want to try again.
Boarding at Wychwood provides a unique atmosphere where girls of different ages share the houses living together as a family. Girls can fully board, weekly board or flexi board meaning no two nights are the same yet the core sense of ‘home from home’ remains. Golden ticket evenings also allow girls to invite friends to stay for the night and all take part in a variety of special activities including watching a film, playing games or joining in with a disco.