For a week in August, thirteen current Oundle School Sixth Form pupils and seven former pupils spent a week volunteering for Children’s Country Holiday Fund (CCHF), a charity that provides a countryside action packed holiday for disadvantaged children from London. The week’s activities took place at Oundle School and hosted twenty-seven children from Birmingham.
Pupil, Hebe Hughes (18) commented, “After preparation and training, and with just a little apprehension we welcomed the excited children off the bus and after playing games in the garden including hide and seek in the woods that evening, we watched their confidence grow along with ours.”
Activities throughout the week included water sports in the School pool with games for all of the children to get involved with; large floats dotted around the pool meant that the children who were unable to swim could still be involved in the football, volleyball and games of catch that were being played. The group headed out to Grafham Water, a great place for the children to shine and work together raft building, canoeing, paddle boarding and boat racing. A scavenger hunt took place one evening, with the children trying to find the helpers who were hidden around the house wearing ridiculous costumes. To tire the children out before bed, the ‘Olympic Games’ took place with all the children showing their competitive side, and with the winning team receiving medals, although they all went to bed with a smile on their faces. The group also enjoyed a day at ‘Tree Ninja’ - an obstacle course in the trees.
Hebe added, “At first some of the children were scared to go on the high ropes, but with a little encouragement they all managed to go along the paths up in the trees and all came down enthused about how much fun it had been.”
A trip to the bowling alley once again brought out the competitive side in some of the children - many of them had never been bowling before and were so happy with how well they had done.
On a visit to Warwick Castle the children enjoyed the bowman show, watching the ‘birds of prey’ and visiting the dungeons. A circus skills session in Oundle gave the children the opportunity to have a go at juggling, tight rope walking, walking on stilts, plate spinning and riding a unicycle. A trip to Wicksteed Theme Park concluded the week with children enjoying the dodgems and the log flume followed by a Talent Show which provided an opportunity for the children to show off their amazing dance and hoola-hooping skills as well as singing and finishing off with a disco for everyone to have a good time.
Hebe concluded, “It really was a great way to finish the week with everyone smiling and laughing.
On Friday morning when the children departed for home in Birmingham there were many tears, and not just from the children! Oundelians were seen to shed a few as well. It was a hugely successful week where everyone had fun and hopefully it was a bit of sunshine in their difficult lives.”
Holiday organiser and Head of Biology at Oundle School, Penny Rowe commented, “This holiday camp gives our pupils a greater appreciation of the difficulties that some children face and have to deal with as they grow up. It also gives our pupils a real opportunity to make a difference and help children who come from a very different background to their own.”
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.