St. Clare's, Oxford is unique. It offers students from all over the world the opportunity to pursue a first class education in Oxford, one of the most vibrant and interesting cities in Europe. St. Clare's, Oxford was founded in 1953 with a mission to advance international education and understanding and has been doing so successfully ever since.
St. Clare's, Oxford was founded by Anne Dreydel OBE and Pamela Morris, and grew out of a scheme to establish links between British and European students after the Second World War. The original name was The Oxford English Centre for Foreign Students, which later became St. Clare's Hall, and then St. Clare's, Oxford. The College grew quickly to encompass a wide range of nationalities and programmes, both at university and pre-university level and in English Language. In the mid-50s, students came mostly from around a dozen Western European countries, as well as UK; nowadays there are over 40 nationalities represented on the IB programme alone.
As well as longer courses of study, shorter summer courses also became a central feature of the College in the early days.
Links with universities in the USA date back to the 1960s and formal agreements by which American university students could gain credit towards their US degrees by studying abroad at St. Clare's started up in the 1970s, and gradually replaced the University of London external degrees that had previously been taught.
In 1977 the College introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma for pre-university students, only the 41st school in the world to do so, there are only 13 other institutions in the world who have taught the IB longer than us. "A" levels were gradually phased out as the IB became established and we are now the longest established IB school in England. Nowadays there are over 1500 IB schools in the world.
The College campus has grown with the increase in student numbers. From its original base in 141 Banbury Road, the College expanded to allow more teaching space and a wider range of subject choices, and early homestay arrangements were largely replaced with residential accommodation, as new houses in the area were acquired and refurbished. In 1999, the College bought the Oxford Academy site in Bardwell Road, which became the International College offering adult courses.
In 2008, we purchased a very large residence next to the main campus buildings. Completed in 2010 at a cost of £1.3 million, the house holds 24 students plus warden and features many energy efficient measures – rain water is harvested, the house has been super-insulated and the lights are motion-sensitive so that electricity is not wasted. In 2008 we were also successful in being awarded planning permission to build student accommodation and art studio in the grounds of one of our existing buildings.
The College continues to improve and grow. IB students are achieving their required grades and are being offered places at their chosen universities. Younger students coming to us for their summer holiday courses continue to recommend us to their friends, a clear indicator that our courses combine holiday fun with study success. Our adult students are undertaking more in depth and challenging courses with a clear target of improving their future studies and careers.