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A Morning of Inspirational Speakers
4th October 2016

On 26th September, as part of their bi-annual Field Weekend, Community Action pupils at Oundle School were inspired to fundraise and volunteer by a number of inspirational speakers representing , Sue Ryder (Thorpe Hall) Hospice, Barnardos, A.G.E.O.P (an Italian cancer charity) and Stronger Together (a charity working with businesses to combat Modern Day Slavery).

Pupil, Bella Dixon-Smith (17) produced a film about modern day slavery and trafficking for her Extended Project Qualification whilst in Lower Sixth Form. She sent this to David Camp at Stronger Together, who was so impressed he asked to come and talk to pupils at Oundle and showed the film as part of his presentation. After his talk David was interviewed at Oundle by the BBC for the Inside Out current affairs programme. 

Bella commented,

“I wanted to be able to educate people about the issue of Modern Day Slavery and highlight the different ways that we as individuals can make a difference. After completing my project, I sent the video to various charities with some very kind and encouraging replies. In particular from David from ‘Stronger Together’ who kindly agreed to come and give a talk about what his charity do to help stop slavery in supply chains. 

I felt David gave a very compelling and engaging talk which not only highlighted the key features of modern slavery but also served to illustrate ways in which we as a school could help and I have heard nothing but positive remarks about his talk. It was lovely to have been able to meet him and I hope he will be willing to return in the future and talk to us more.”

Virginia Bernardi (17), who invited Giada, from A.G.E.O.P in Italy and translated her presentation for her commented,

“I invited Giada to Oundle because I have been personally involved with A.G.E.O.P. in the past and believe that it does great work for sick children in Bologna. Having her speak was really exciting because it meant that I had helped them gain some international recognition.”

Head of Community Action at Oundle School, Liz Dillarstone added,

“Pupils at Oundle School are already very active volunteering and fundraising and in fact between them did over 18,000 hours of volunteering last year alone and raised over £50,000 with numerous charities. The morning provided a platform for local, national and international charities to raise awareness of their causes and gave pupils an opportunity to consider both fundraising and volunteering/internship possibilities.”

Each week, over 320 Oundle pupils are engaged in providing service in the community of Oundle and surrounding villages and as far afield as Corby, Kettering and Peterborough. Pupils work in schools and nurseries, with the elderly and infirm; provide drama for special needs schools, environmental support work at the country park; offer ICT lessons for beginners; help at a local special needs club and produce a Community Newspaper (Oundle Chronicle) to name but a few of the 50+ activities. Pupils also take part in an annual Sleepout, sleeping rough to raise money for St Basils’ homeless shelters in Birmingham as well as entertaining adults and children with physical disabilities and/or learning difficulties at their bi-annual Have a Go Days.

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 sixteen state-of-the-art laboratories. The School has now completed the development project which sees a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to the original SciTec building as well as a significant upgrade to and refurbishment of the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. 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. An ongoing Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.

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. 

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