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Historical Background of the Oxford Educational Network

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1471-1530)

The Oxford Educational Network is a Network of Universities, Colleges and Schools that operate under a Royal Charter from Charles I of England.

All Members of the Oxford Educational Network share values and attitudes toward Excellence in Education.

Most Universities, Colleges and Schools favor the English System of Education which allows the Student to "Read" a Subject enhanced by lectures, independent study, life experience and evaluations based upon a student's demonstrated knowledge.  Grading is usually "Pass" or "Fail".

"Elite Schools" will only issue a grade of "Pass" to undergraduate students who achieve an equivalent grade of "B" or 3.0.  Graduate students must achieve a grade of "-A" or 3.5 to receive a grade of "Pass".

History Of The Oxford Educational Network

The Charter from King Charles I of England, dated 1640, was originally granted to Wolsey Hall at Oxford.  Wolsey Hall was named for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1471-1530) who had set up Cathedral College which was re-named Christ Church College.  Private Halls were founded by different Christian denominations which still retain their Religious Character.   

After an illustrious history, Wolsey Hall was not making sufficient profit as a Theological School in England.  A number of English, American and Canadian Theological Schools were able to secure the Original Charter and the Right to continue as the Oxford Educational Network.

The Oxford Educational Network now has schools in England, America, Canada, Central America, South America and Italy.

Short History of Oxford University

Oxford is a unique and historic institution. As the oldest English-speaking university in the world, it lays claim to eight centuries of continuous existence. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

 In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the assembled Oxford dons and in 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the first known overseas student, initiated the University's tradition of international scholarship. By 1201, the University was headed by a magister scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred in 1214, and in 1231 the masters were recognized as a universitas or corporation.

 In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (students and townspeople) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence. These were succeeded by the first of Oxford's colleges, which began as medieval 'halls of residence' or endowed houses under the supervision of a Master. University, Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between 1249 and 1264, were the oldest.

Less than a century later, Oxford had achieved eminence above every other seat of learning, and won the praises of popes, kings and sages by virtue of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine and privileges. In 1355, Edward III paid tribute to the University for its invaluable contribution to learning; he also commented on the services rendered to the state by distinguished Oxford graduates.

 Oxford early on became a centre for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. John Wyclif, a 14th-century Master of Balliol, campaigned for a bible in the vernacular, against the wishes of the papacy. In 1530, Henry VIII forced the University to accept his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. During the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford. The University was Royalist in the Civil War, and Charles I held a counter-Parliament in Convocation House.

In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of treason, was forced to flee the country. The 18th century, when Oxford was said to have forsaken port for politics, was also an era of scientific discovery and religious revival. Edmund Halley, Professor of Geometry, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; John and Charles Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.

The University assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially in religious controversy. From 1811 onwards The Oxford Movement sought to revitalise the Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its leaders, John Henry Newman, became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and was later made a Cardinal. In 1860 the new University Museum was the site of a famous debate between Thomas Huxley, the champion of evolution, and Bishop Wilberforce.

From 1878, academic halls were established for women, who became members of the University in 1920. Since 1974, all but one of Oxford's 39 colleges have changed their statutes to admit both men and women. St Hilda's remains the only women's college.

In the years since the war, Oxford has added to its humanistic core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its traditional role as a focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate.

Structure of Oxford University

Oxford is an independent and self-governing institution, consisting of the central University and the Colleges.

The Vice-Chancellor, who holds office for seven years, is effectively the 'Chief Executive' of the University. Three Pro-Vice-Chancellors have specific, functional responsibility for Academic Matters, Academic Services and University Collections, and Planning and Resource Allocation. The Chancellor, who is usually an eminent public figure elected for life, serves as the titular head of the University, presiding over all major ceremonies.

The principal policy-making body is the Council of the University, which has 26 members, including those elected by Congregation, representatives of the Colleges and two members from outside the University. Council is responsible for the academic policy and strategic direction of the University, and operates through four major committees: Educational Policy and Standards, General Purposes, Personnel, and Planning and Resource Allocation.

Final responsibility for legislative matters rests with Congregation, which comprises over 3600 members of the academic, senior research, library, museum and administrative staff.

Day-to-day decision-making in matters such as finance and planning is devolved to the University's five Academic Divisions - Humanities, Life and Environmental Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. Each division has a full-time divisional head and an elected divisional board. Continuing Education is the responsibility of a separate board.

The Colleges, though independent and self-governing, form a core element of the University, to which they are related in a federal system, not unlike the United States. In time, each college is granted a charter approved by the Privy Council, under which it is governed by a Head of House and a Governing Body comprising of a number of Fellows, most of whom also hold University posts. There are also six Permanent Private Halls, which were founded by different Christian denominations, and which still retain their religious character. Thirty colleges and all six halls admit students for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Seven other colleges are for graduates only; one, All Souls, has fellows only, and one, Kellogg College, specializes in part-time graduate and continuing education.


List of Schools at Oxford

(In Their Entirety, These Schools Are Not a Part Of, Or Associated With, The Oxford Educational Network)

All Souls College

Balliol College


Brasenose College Campion Hall Christ Church
Corpus Christi College Exeter College Green College
Greyfriars Harris Manchester College Hertford College
Jesus College Keble College Kellogg College
Lady Margaret Hall Linacre College Lincoln College
Magdalen College Mansfield College Merton College
New College Nuffield College Oriel College
Pembroke College The Queen's College Regent's Park College
Somerville College St Anne's College St Antony's College
St Benet's Hall St Catherine's College St Cross College
St Edmund Hall St Hilda's College St Hugh's College
St John's College St Peter's College Templeton College
Trinity College Westminster College Wolfson College
  Wolsey Hall  

Outlook for the Future - Oxford Educational Network

The Board of the Oxford Educational Network has determined that it can better serve the needs of its member schools by expanding the Network to include additional schools who have a sufficiently High Standard of Excellence to bear the Name and Reputation of the Oxford Educational Network and to call themselves Oxford Schools.

Schools may request consideration for Membership in the Oxford Educational Network by completing an Application.  (See the site map at the top of the page.)

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