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Celebrating 450 Years


During the academic year 2021-2022, we celebrated 450 years since the founding of Burford School as a free Grammar School.  The foresight and imagination of the townsmen of Burford, with merchant, Simon Wysdom at their helm, has ensured that the children of Burford, have been given the opportunity, over the last four and a half centuries, to receive a standard of education second to none. Today the land and property provided by Simon Wysdom, and added to over the years, is held in trust by our Foundation Governors and each year this gift continues to give, to the benefit of all our students.

Burford is one of the oldest schools in the country and has seen many changes during the course of its existence. In its early days, it offered an education to the sons of the ordinary men of Burford – the sons of merchants and tradespeople, as well as local dignitaries – something that was highly unusual at the time.  The cost of an education was four pence for enrolment and a further eight pence per year to go towards the upkeep of the school and the salary of the masters.

Originally housed in what is now the Boarding House, the school has grown to just over 1400 students.  Over the years a very successful farm was run and although this is now gone, there is still a strong, rural feel about the school.  Today we have an active environmental group, close links to the Cotswold AONB, who run courses in rural skills for our students from time to time, and each summer we hold a horse show on the school fields.

The young people of Burford still take up places at the school but since 1925 the school has welcomed girls and today our net is cast much wider, with students attending from as far away as Hook Norton in the north to Lechlade in the south.  Boarding has always been a part of Burford, with the original students housed with families in the town.  It continues to go from strength to strength and today provides a home for 100 students from both the local area and abroad.

450 years after the founding of the school, Burford remains popular and successful.  As members of the school, both staff and students we are immensely proud to be part of this institution and hope that our founders would be equally proud of what their legacy has become.

Please do read our Review of 450th Anniversary Celebrations.


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