At 10am on 12th May, just minutes before Charles Bush, Headmaster of Oundle School, broke the ground to mark the start of construction work for the new SciTec Campus, the roof of the old workshops came tumbling down in one of the final stages of the demolition process. It was a touching moment for all watching and marked a symbolic step towards the next phase of the School’s workshop tradition, which was established in the 20th century under the celebrated Headmaster F W Sanderson.
The development of a SciTec Campus completes the original vision for the award-winning science complex of SciTec which was built in 2007. It will see the construction of a new Mathematics Department, new Science labs and a complete refurbishment of the Patrick Engineering Centre. It will link Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, providing state-of-the-art facilities for tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.
The ceremony was attended by guests including the Chairman of Governors, Julian Tregoning, the Town’s Mayor, Gwen Ratcliffe and representatives from Kier, the construction company. The spade used for the sod-cutting was a special, engraved shovel made in the School’s workshops and used for the equivalent ceremony in 2007, when the construction of the first phase of SciTec began.
Since the launch of the fundraising campaign back in October, nearly 50% of the funds required to complete the project have been secured and the School is extremely grateful to all donors for their commitment to educating the scientists and engineers of the future. The aim is to provide ‘practical hands-on experience’, with pupils able to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of workable technology, whilst embracing new fields such as nanotechnology and mechatronics.
SciTec Campus Model
Former pupil (Old Oundelian) and major donor, Alex Patrick CBE commented, “Since the Victorian Era, Great Britain has excelled in producing some of the world's greatest scientists, engineers and innovative thinkers. William Sanderson, Headmaster at Oundle School from 1892-1922 recognised this in the early part of the 20th Century and pioneered education in science and engineering at the School. Many pupils who attended the School because of such aspirations have gone on to become the technological leaders of their generation.
Indeed today our country continues to lead the way with companies such as Jaguar/Land Rover, JCB, Cosworth, McLaren and Dyson to name but a few. The greatest concern however, is that without practical as well as theoretical experience, we are in danger of losing the innovators who will help our future.
As an Old Oundelian I always enjoyed my time in the school workshops. Today's pupils continue to experience this opportunity and it is for this very reason that I, and my family trust, are committed to the further development of the Oundle SciTec Campus. In so doing I hope to help ensure that Oundle remains at the forefront of schools, providing the facilities by which we can inspire future innovators at an early stage in their career development.”
A further transformational philanthropic gift has come from the Michael Uren Foundation. Michael Uren OBE and his other Trustees are passionate about seeking to encourage the education of engineers and development of engineering within the UK. One of Michael’s principal objectives is to help to create the engineers and entrepreneurs of the future and his donation for the SciTec Campus reflects his support for the School’s vision to provide state-of-the-art facilities for tomorrow’s engineers.
Michael Uren said, “This wonderfully exciting project places Oundle where it should be - one of the foremost engineering schools in the country. The UK needs engineers and entrepreneurs if it is to compete and succeed in the future. We are delighted that my Foundation can assist Oundle to achieve its fund-raising dreams of completing the SciTec Campus and enhancing the Patrick Engineering Centre.”
Headmaster, Charles Bush commented, “Engineering is the lifeblood of Oundle’s history and heritage. Just last year, 31% of our School leavers went on to read Sciences at University, with 15 of those pupils reading Engineering as a subject. We must continue to inspire pupils to take interest in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and help them contribute to British industry. We are immensely grateful for the enthusiasm of all those who share our vision.”
In addition to Academic Scholarships, the School offers two Scholarships for Design and Technology, one at 13+ and one at 16+. Entry forms and further details are available on the admissions section of the School website: www.oundleschool.org.uk .
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015.
There are currently 1100 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.