Church Cowley St James
C of E Primary School

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Church Cowley St James
C of E Primary School

Contact the school

Our History

Exploring Oxford at Church Cowley St JamesThe original Church Cowley St James was opened in 1834, pre-dating the reign of Queen Victoria by 3 years. The school was attended by industrialist and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) throughout much of the 1880’s, when children would have remained at the school until the age of 14.

At this time the parishes of Church Cowley and Temple Cowley were still villages distinct from the City of Oxford. Ironically, it was in no small part due to Morris that the area experienced such rapid growth in the 1940s and 50s and that there was a need for a larger school. It was the success of the Morris Motor Company, on the current BMW site, that drove the demand for homes for the workers in his factories.

The new Church Cowley School was then built less than 1⁄2 mile from the original school on what became known at the time as the Airfield Estate. Demand for school places meant that both schools remained in use until the early 1970s when the original school finally closed its doors to pupils who were all to attend the renamed Church Cowley St James C of E Primary School on the Airfield Estate where we continue to teach today.

Reorganisation of Oxford City schools followed shortly afterwards and the school was designated a first school, admitting pupils from age 3 (in the nursery) to age 8, before transferring to middle school. Since 2002, a further reorganisation has meant that the school has returned to its status as a through primary school with children staying at school before transferring to secondary school at the age of 11, in line with the majority of local authorities around the country.

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