Innovations, Information and Imaging
1st April 2015

Over the February Exeat, eighteen Sixth Form pupils from Oundle School took part in the annual trip to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference held in San Jose California.

AAAS President Gerald R. Fink gave the opening address and developed the theme of the conference - Innovations, Information and Imaging - and the focus on transformations across all disciplines of science and technology brought about by rapid progress in organising, visualising and analysing data.

The Science Programme included listening to talks on The Online Revolution: Learning Without Limits, Post-Evolutionary Biology: Design of Novel Protein Structures, Functions and Assemblies, Optical Deconstruction of Fully Assembled Biological Systems and Finding Your Inner Fish. In addition pupils selected from some 100+ themed symposia with multiple talks on topical themes including Neutrinos to Exoplanets, Cannabis and Medicine via Chronic Pain, Industrial Chemistry to Neuroimaging: The Study of Human Brain Function, Privacy and the Internet of Things to the Communication of Science, Modelling Biospheres to Sustainability and New Agriculture.

School Undermaster, Physics teacher and Trip organiser, Anthony Burrows commented, “All the pupils found something of significant interest and took full advantage of the interesting range of talks and workshops on careers in Science. Their enthusiasm for the science was most rewarding.”

After the five day conference the group moved around Silicon Valley and their programme included a visit to Google, a bus tour of San Francisco, visits to the award winning Alcatraz, Berkeley University, the Giant Redwoods at Muir Woods, viewing the contrasting geology either side of the San Andreas fault.

Pupil, Hugh Tomkins (17) commented, The trip really broadened my horizons beyond the taught curriculum. Despite currently studying for engineering, it gave me the chance to engage with neuroscience, biochemistry, and geography. It was without a doubt a collection of the most interesting academic talks I have ever attended.”

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.


About Oundle School’s new SciTec Campus

Since the days of the celebrated Headmaster F. W. Sanderson, arguably the greatest educationalist of his age, Oundle has been recognised as one of the foremost schools for science and engineering in the country. In 2007, SciTec, a major and ground-breaking new science complex, opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. Oundle is now undertaking a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department built adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. 


Due for completion by September 2016, this development will position Oundle at the heart of applying science and embrace developments in new fields such as nanotechnology and mechatronics. It will enable pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology.  All STEM disciplines will be united both philosophically and physically, enabling pupils to understand fully how all the different stages interact.

The current Patrick Centre will be extended and exhaustively refurbished, re-launching as the Patrick Engineering Centre. The current ‘large projects’ space for which Oundle is famous will be retained but relocated, and a design laboratory for prototyping and design work will be created, acoustically segregated from the practical facilities.  A ‘clean laboratory’ will be provided adjacent to the design laboratory, enabling high-tech processes such as 3D printing and robotics to be deployed.  In addition to the large projects space, there will be four open-plan workshop bays that will enable pupils to be taught in small groups whilst sharing fixed machinery, as well as two new dedicated classrooms for design and theory that will be easily accessible from the workshops. 

The new Mathematics department will form the major part of an extension to the current SciTec building, which was envisaged as a future development of the original design. It will thereby complete the original architectural aspiration of a grand entrance to the whole SciTec Campus. An internal quadrangle will be created, giving equal status to all disciplines as well as a proper regard to the newly-refurbished Adamson Centre opposite, encouraging an interplay between Modern Languages and SciTec.  

The extension will also provide two new science project rooms adjacent to the current Biology and Chemistry laboratories, enabling experiments and projects to be carried out over a longer time-frame than is currently possible. This will bring particular benefits for pupils working on Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs). 

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:



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 due to open April 2015. 


There are currently 1100 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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