In the summer, Oundle School staff succeeded in assessing a number of the School’s Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award expeditions with zero emissions.
Three teaching staff, who are all qualified Duke of Edinburgh Assessors, used a mixture of foot (walking and running), bike, electric car (largely recharged from green energy sources) and even an electric boat to assess the expeditions of over 150 Bronze candidates and six Gold sailors. They covered hundreds of miles checking that the various groups being assessed met the twenty conditions the DofE Scheme, whilst themselves avoiding creating any air pollution or adding any carbon to the atmosphere.
Philip Pitcher, who organises the School’s annual Climate Week said, “Since we constantly ask the pupils to be more aware of their carbon footprint, it seems sensible that we try to do the same.”
Alex Brighton, who recently ran the London Marathon said, “The pupils look at me like I'm a bit mad when I turn up in running kit, but considering that we already know the route and aren't carrying big packs, we've got it easy in comparison.”
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a four section programme with three progressive levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. A specific time on Wednesday afternoons is set aside for Oundle pupils to receive instruction and guidance.
Head of DofE, Trudie Raftery commented, “All Third Form (Year 9) pupils are strongly encouraged to partake in the Bronze level, with the Silver and Gold levels being entirely voluntary thereafter. It offers a constructive individual challenge, enjoyable activities and encourages personal development. It also helps to develop initiative and organisation, and always includes an Expedition, which has sometimes been completed in a foreign country.
At any one time, from the Third Form to the Upper Sixth, almost half the School is involved in the scheme, making Oundle's Award group one of the largest of any school in the country.”
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 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting 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. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, 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.