Major donor highlights importance of ‘hands-on practical experience’
23rd February 2015

In early April, building works are due to commence on the final development phase of Oundle School’s SciTec Campus, an award-winning and innovative science complex, opened in 2007. This second and final phase, incorporating both a brand new Mathematics department and a significant refurbishment of the Patrick Engineering Centre, will link Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically.


Since the launch of the fundraising campaign back in October nearly 40% 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. Major donor and former pupil (Old Oundelian), Alex Patrick CBE DL, whose generous donation facilitated the development of the original Patrick Centre back in 1998 has been instrumental in funding the feasibility, design and build phases of the of the newly named Patrick Engineering Centre, which will provide state-of-the art facilities for tomorrow’s engineers. His further donations and commitment to the project will enable the School to continue 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.




Alex Patrick CBE commented, Since the Victorian Era, Great Britain has excelled in producing some of the world's greatest 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 engineering at the School. This reputation of engineering success at Oundle remains strong; 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. The Patrick Engineering Centre at Oundle School will provide pupils with the challenging opportunity not only to design items theoretically but actually use their hands to bring their ideas to life.

The Campaign For Science And Engineering warns that without practical skills 'many young people will be able to leave school with the highest grades in science without being able to do science at all'. This will certainly not be the case at Oundle, where both boys and girls are enthusiastic about the facilities and opportunities available.

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.”





Alex Patrick joined PMG (Patrick Motors Group) in 1962 as the third generation of his family to be involved with the business. He was a driving force for the business and oversaw successful ventures such as PMG Forecourts Ltd, The Patrick Motor Museum and The Lombard Room Restaurant.. Whilst overseeing the consolidation within the motor trade, he also maintained the property portfolio within PMG and followed his father to become Chairman of The Patrick Trust, a role he continues to this day. PMG sponsored the  British Saloon Car Championship winning Mini in 1978 and 1979 and the car is again competing in historic car racing including at Goodwood this year.

He is a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands, a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a committee member for The Stonehouse Gang. His charitable work includes acting as chairman of the Patrick Trust, Chairman of the Joseph Patrick Trust (Muscular Dystrophy Equipment Fund) and Honorary Life President of The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. He is also an Honorary Visiting Fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford.


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, including Alex Patrick, 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: .


Further details about the development can be found on the School’s website: under ‘Development Plans’.


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.


There are currently 1110 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. 

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