During the summer, the Oundle School Biology Department took a group of Lower Sixth Form pupils to the University of Pecs in Hungary for a week-long study visit at the Microbiology Department in the Faculty of Science.
Pupils gained first-hand experience of what a typical week as a student undertaking tertiary education entails. They received five mornings of excellent lectures and seminars, and also undertook three afternoons of laboratory work.
One of the most exciting talks was entitled ‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’, which focused on the treatment of hypoxic heart disease using cell therapy. Lab work included DNA electrophoresis on a bacteriophage's DNA, which resulted in the satisfaction of seeing the fragments ordered by size under UV light.
Beyond the academic work, the pupils enjoyed Hungarian meals and also undertook cultural visits in the late afternoon and evening, including the early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae), a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Trip leader and Biology teacher, Sudip Burman-Roy commented, “The lecturers were particularly impressed by the quality of questioning from our pupils as they demonstrated their ability to link what they had just heard with their prior knowledge. Dr Csaba Fekete gave up a vast amount of time and put together a fantastic schedule for us, for which we are most grateful”
Pupil, Anna Pathak (17) commented, “The best part of the teaching programme was doing DNA electrophoresis on a bacteriophage's DNA and having the satisfaction of seeing the fragments ordered by size under UV light. It let us try something carried out by professional biologists and felt like the first steps towards deciphering the genetic code of the bacteriophage itself - something I had only taken as facts and numbers, too complicated to understand let alone find out myself.”
Pupil, Laura Woodrow (17) added, “The talk ‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’ presented by Ildikó Bock-Marquette was definitely the highlight of the academic side of the trip for me. During our week in Pécs we had the chance to explore the town centre and visited the stunning Pécs Cathedral, listening to the organ as well as the Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae). This site consisted of a remarkable series of decorated tombs that were constructed in the cemetery of the Roman provincial town of Sopianae (modern Pécs) and is now a UNESCO world heritage site.”
Pupil, Isaac Uwins (17) commented, “My favourite aspects of the trip were the new topics covered that were beyond the standard A level syllabus and the experience of university life. The afternoon in the water park offered us a great way to cool off from the blistering heat, which rather ironically came to an abrupt end as a sudden storm erupted, knocking over trees and bringing heavy rain.”
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 which opened in April 2015 and new astroturfs due to be completed this year.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 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.