Tucked away in the English countryside is the sleepy town of Sibford Ferris. It is a quintessential Oxfordshire village with narrow streets and sandstone houses built in the Cotswold Style.
Sibford’s school is an essential part of village life and the small but proud local population of just over four-hundred will be sure to welcome you and your groups with open arms.
“Sibford is a lovely small town in the English countryside so it’s very quiet and so great for young groups,” says Oscars International Centre Manager, Andy Redwood. “There are great facilities, it has tennis courts and swimming pools, there’s a really good playing field available plus they’ve got really awesome custom music and art studios where we do the onsite courses with the experts that the school brings in.”
As well as being just a short bus trip from Oxford and Cambridge, the campus is located less than 90 minutes from Heathrow Airport and day trips to London are a straightforward trip down the M40.
For Andy Redwood the biggest plus is being “so close to the cities” while at the same time enjoying the “safe tranquility of the countryside”.
One of the most unique courses run in any of the Oscars campuses throughout the UK and Ireland is the music experience at Sibford. Afternoon activities are run by two teachers who between them have over forty-five years of experience teaching music.
Fiona Hudson is currently Head of Music at Sibford School and we at Oscars were lucky enough that every year she offers to stay on during the summer and work with us.
Her qualifications are outstanding. She studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Trinity College London and has over thirty years experience teaching music.
“When we put the course together we were conscious of the fact that these students are coming here to learn English and so we adapted the course to help them with their language skills,” she explains. “So we make sure that they learn lyrics. It’s well-known that one of the best ways to learn a language is through song and not necessarily because of the words they’re learning but because it also builds their confidence to say the words out loud. So we keep it quite contemporary so they’ll actually like and know the music that they’re learning.”
Fiona’s colleague Barney Porter has been teaching has been teaching guitar since the age of fifteen and has played in many bands across England since then.
“This is the third year myself and Fiona have worked on this activity together,” says the thirty-two-year-old, “and we’ve had students who have come back to us each year so that’s a nice endorsement.”
“The music room is great,” he continues. “There’s lots of room in there and that’s where all the ensemble stuff happens. There are drums, keyboards, bass amps, guitar amps. We have other smaller practice rooms too that people can go off to if they want to work on something one-to-one or on their own for a while.”
Students at Oscars International Sibford also have the opportunity to take part in the unique Art activities, overseen by teacher Frances Hudson. Frances takes her classes in what she calls “an inspirational studio environment” and works with students on textiles, Still Life Painting and Portraits.
As well as the opportunity to indulge in the arts, Sibford offers exceptional food and an extremely comfortable and well-maintained 90-bed residence.
“I think the thing about Sibford is that it’s so unique,” says Aidan O’Shea, Principal, Oscars International. “This is really the type of thing that you only really see offered to adults but we know that younger people have talents in music and art that they want to explore during the summer too. There’s nobody else offering this kind of experience in the market but we know we’ve done the right thing offering this experience because every year it becomes more and more popular.”