BENEFITS OF CHRIST CHURCH
Christ Church Cathedral School (CCCS) is, as its name implies, a part of Christ Church. We are very fortunate that we therefore have access to many of the resources, buildings, and gardens belonging to the largest College in Oxford.
Every week we visit Christ Church. On Friday mornings, the boys of the Prep School cross St Aldates and make their way round the statue of Mercury in the middle of Tom Quad heading for the Cathedral, which is effectively our school chapel. The service is a central part of our week and consists of a hymn, a reading, a short talk followed by prayers and, finally, a piece of music played by one of our pupils. Unquestionably, this experience of gathering regularly in such a beautiful building will stay with pupils long after they leave the School, if not for life.
We are very fortunate in the calibre of speakers who come to address the school. In recent years, we have listened to the Heads of many senior schools, including Winchester, Harrow, Bradfield, Abingdon, Radley, MCS, Shrewsbury, Charterhouse, Cokethorpe and Our Lady’s Abingdon. The Registrar and Senior Chaplain of Eton have visited us, as have many of the Cathedral Canons, and chaplains from a number of Colleges of Oxford University. The Deans of King’s College Cambridge and St John’s College Cambridge have spoken to us as has the former Bishop of London, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord Chartres. Parents are most welcome to attend and do so, often in large numbers. Coffee is always held afterwards in the Cathedral’s Priory Room allowing parents the opportunity to get to know one another as well as meet the guest speaker.
Twice a term, Pre-Prep also come to the service. On Mothering Sunday and at Advent they lead the service and, in October, they have a Harvest Festival. Parents attend and there are drinks afterwards sometimes in the mediaeval Chapter House which has been beautifully renovated recently. The School holds a number of important events in the Cathedral, including our Carol Service, at which all our choirs sing, our House Music Competition and Speech Day at the end of the year. The Cathedral is at the heart of our school.
The pupils are also fortunate in playing on some of the most spectacular pitches in the world, surrounded as they are by ancient buildings including the towers of Merton and Magdalen Chapels and the spire of Christ Church Cathedral itself. We have access to four grass tennis courts, some outstanding cricket nets, and an Astro Turf, all located on Christ Church’s College pitches just the other side of the River Cherwell. The pupils also make visits to the stunning Upper Library and to the Christ Church Picture Gallery, the oldest publicly displayed art collection in England.
Parents also benefit from the connection with Christ Church. Each term a visit to some aspect of Christ Church is arranged. Visits have included tours to the Picture Gallery, where we have been treated to exclusive viewings of Old Master drawings including some by Leonardo da Vinci; the Upper Library, where we have seen priceless books which have been put on display for us; a tour of the wine cellars, which are some of the most extensive in Oxford; a tour of the gardens by the Head Gardener; a tour of the Magnificent Tudor kitchens, still used today to prepare the food; and a visit inside Tom Tower to see one of the country’s largest mediaeval bells, Great Tom.
As teachers and parents, we benefit immensely from the fact that our School is part of Christ Church but more important, of course, is the impact this will have on the children. To be educated in such an environment will, I believe, have a profound effect on young minds.