Newsletter from Oxford

December 2023

Mark Fletcher-Single

Head of School, EF Academy Oxford

Dear Families,

I hope you have all enjoyed the first week of the winter break, and students, the opportunity to unwind . School holidays are, of course, breaks from the everyday, pauses in the sometimes clockwork nature of school life (that is exactly why we have them). So students, please ensure you take full advantage of this time, to recharge in preparation for the new, and for Year 2s, possibly most significant term, in January.

For me, the beginning of any break is a time to reflect and, specifically at this time of year, celebrate what we have, the opportunities afforded us, and very importantly, what has been achieved. I wholeheartedly encourage parents to spend time this holiday purposefully talking to your daughter / son: what have they been most proud of this last term?, what achievements would they like to celebrate?, have they taken full advantage of the opportunities available to them in school?, what have they learned about themselves since September?, etc. I always advise families start these conversations by first reading this newsletter together, try it.

I am very much looking forward to pausing my school life too, and spending time with my family. This is the time of year, more so than any other, I think, we can close our front doors, hunker down, and enjoy being with our family and friends. I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big 'thank you' to my colleagues, both in school and around the world. You may say I am bias, but I think we are pretty special bunch, and I remain enormously grateful, and proud, to work with colleagues who continue to ensure our students have the best possible international boarding school experience here, at EF Academy Oxford. Thank you.

I wish you all a lovely winter break, enjoy your time together, and take care of yourselves and each other.

ps - let's do it all again next term

Updates & Reminders

Mid-term break

18th-22nd March

Deadline to reserve seats for Year 2 graduation

18th-22nd March

Year 2 Graduation 

18th-22nd March

Department Updates

Dona Jones


Kevin Cousineau


A-Level & IB Academics

Assessment grades information

Assessments are key times for students to practice examination style questions based on recent course work and this will trigger important interventions if the course target grade is not met. We have a number of ways to support students not meeting target grades all designed to help them improve. Academic support sessions and booster lessons offer extra times with teachers to go through areas of the course that need improvement in understanding. Applied pathway support offers additional time after school for supervised study.

The next assessment grade (AG3) is timetabled as follows:

Dr. Mark Zumbuhl

UK Director of University Guidance

University Guidance

Assessment grades information

The final UK university application deadline on UCAS passed on 25 January and all students applying to the UK had their applications submitted in good time. The remaining applications to be made in the year group are for some European and Asian countries over the next few months, but the majority of the Year 2 students are now just waiting to hear the outcomes. We are very pleased to report that Ivy (Heyi) Wang has been offered a place at Cambridge University to study Education. There are several other excellent university offers through the year group, and some of the students who applied for Medicine have already had interviews or been invited to interview. Later this term there will be special sessions to explain to students the next steps in the process, including how to accept university offers. An important factor in deciding which conditional offers to keep are students’ mock examination results, as these will provide good insight into how students will perform in the final examinations this summer. Therefore, students should make sure to revise thoroughly in order that they can demonstrate their full potential in the mock exams.

The primary focus of university guidance shifts now to Year 1 students. Before the winter break we introduced students to the Bridge-U platform and they have been exploring different courses and options in various countries. This term there will be several more activities explaining in more detail how to research courses, getting students familiar with the written aspects of applications, and showing how to write strong application essays and personal statements. There will also be strategy meetings for students interested in particular kinds of applications (e.g. for medicine, engineering, or applying to the USA) and some test preparation sessions for the small number of students who may need to take specific aptitude tests. There will also be opportunities for students to attend university fairs as part of our trips, following on from the mini university fair hosted here in Oxford last term.

EF Academy Student Profile

This month, we would like to recognise and celebrate the Student Profile attributes by congratulating Anna Ladusch, who was selected by staff for her recent kind and helpful assistance to the boarding team, particularly in the evenings whilst serving snacks and drinks to the rest of her boarding house. Well done, Anna!

Activities and Adventures

Saturday Trips

Students visited 'Bear Grylls Adventure' in Birmingham, where they completed obstacle courses, archery, climbing and escape room challenges! The students also travelled to Cadbury World, birth place of the wonderful Cadbury's chocolate! They toured the museum and sampled many chocolate treats.  Also this month, students have had weekend swim sessions, been bowling and had a special brunch cooked by the boarding team. Coming up in February the students will have the opportunity to go go-karting, to have a guided tour of Cambridge, to see Hamilton the musical in London and to visit the historic Warwick castle!

After school club of the month - Running club!

During the Winter months, it can be hard to find the motivation to look after our bodies, but it is so important! One club who have met weekly, even in bad weather, are the running club! Every Monday, maths teacher James Messer takes a group of students running. Running is so beneficial for mental and physical health and the students who are in the club attend and enjoy it every Monday -  what a great way to start a new week! The club will hopefully be taking part in their first race in May. Well done James and running club! 

Boarding Life

It has been lovely to welcome back the students after Winter break, and to welcome new students to campus, too! We have had a great start to the new year with many activities taking place. The students have enjoyed celebrating the Lunar new year with several students cooking dumplings and spring rolls! Students continue to enjoy the hot chocolate nights and even took part in some Karaoke whilst waiting in the queue! We had brunch and a pool competition last weekend with tea and cake the weekend before that. We look forward to many more enjoyable events in boarding!

Other news

On Friday 21st April, Year 2 students will have their graduation Ceremony at the historic and beautiful Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.
The ceremony starts at 2:30pm and friends and relatives of graduating students should aim to be at the venue for 2pm. It will be a fantastic day, celebrating your child's hard work over the last 2 years. Please email your child's pathway manager with how many guest tickets you require, by March 17th. 

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