A Welcome from the Headmaster

A Welcome from the Headmaster

Welcome to our website, and welcome to our school in what are exciting times at Cothill House! After 150 years as a dedicated and successful prep boarding school, we have now opened applications for day places.

Why are we doing this? Well, the world is a different place to what it was 150 years ago - and what some of today’s parents are looking for in terms of a Prep School education for their sons has changed too - so we will adapt and develop to meet their expectations without losing our special ethos, ambition and community.

We will remain loyal to our boarding heritage and continue to offer an exciting, extensive and enriching education to our full boarding pupils. The development will mean that we will be welcoming boys from the local Oxford area as day boys. They will be in school from breakfast through to after prep and will be so much more than day boys – in fact as close to boarding pupils as it’s possible to be. We should invent a new moniker that reflects their unique status. Day Boarders perhaps…or Home Boarders…. or even Pre-Boarders!

Duncan and Maria Bailey with their daughters.

All this means that what we offer will be open to more families, so if you are considering a full boarding or a day place for your son, then I hope you enjoy browsing through our website. You are all also welcome to sign up to one of our exciting Autumn Events dedicated to giving you and your son an enjoyable introduction to Cothill life. There is a link to more information and to a sign-up form at the top of this page. I would be delighted to welcome you.

Cothill House is globally recognised as one of the UK’s leading prep schools set in wonderful grounds just a short drive from central Oxford. Our pupils enjoy inspirational teaching and an amazing range of opportunities outside the classroom – not to mention proven preparation for entry to some of the country’s top schools. They leave us as confident, happy young men who know and embrace the value of hard work, integrity, teamwork and decency – young men of whom we are always incredibly proud, and who we know will forge a place and make a difference in the world.

Please do feel free to come and visit. Maria and I would be delighted to meet you, and to show you round our school.

Duncan Bailey

Introducing George May

Duncan Bailey, Headmaster, will leave Cothill House for Runnymede College, Madrid at the end of this summer, having led the school with his wife Maria for 12 years.

His successor, George May, hails from Radley College, Oxfordshire, where he is a senior Housemaster with a reputation for exceptional pastoral care, and buckets of energy and empathy.

A champion of academic, music and dramatic endeavours, after Eton he gained a First Class degree in Architectural History at Edinburgh University and then was awarded a two-year Post-Graduate Acting place at LAMDA. His 20s were spent writing, directing and performing a classical and modern repertoire in London, Europe and America, before joining Radley in 2006, with his wife, Emi-Lou, a writer and teacher.

George and Emi-Lou have welcomed many a Cothillian taking his first tentative steps at Radley, and, along with their four children and two dogs, have created a warm and much sought-after ‘home from home’ at the heart of the Radley community.

George May, who will take over the Headmaster's baton from Duncan Bailey in September 2023

When asked what to expect under his Headship, he said:

"I will initially be focusing on the academic, music and drama fronts, without losing sight of what makes Cothill unique: a family home where children have space to be children, with outdoor adventures, pillow fights, playing conkers and general youthful exuberance the order of the day.

"The aim is to develop confidence and curiosity, equipping them for any challenge the future holds."

The school provides a magical five years and a superb underpinning for all future education.