In early February, Oundle School’s Design Engineering and Technology department welcomed five postgraduate and undergraduate students from the College of Engineering at Swansea for three days of hands-on collaboration with staff and pupils.
The Swansea students form part of the F1 Student initiative who design and build their own F1 car in competition against other world class engineering faculties. Their expertise was invaluable for Oundle’s own F1 competition, EPQ / A-level project guidance as well as helping set up lesson initiatives using the School’s new tensile machine.
The visiting students themselves also gained a valuable insight into teaching and using the impressive new facilities in Oundle’s recently newly refurbished Patrick Engineering Centre.
Pupil, Poppy King (17) commented, “I was given the opportunity to work 1:1 with one of the students from Swansea who provided me with useful and constructive criticism on my project as a whole. He assisted me with some of the technical aspects of designing the mechanisms involved and specifically gave me suggestions on designing some of the highly complex parts as well as providing assistance on the Solid Works programme, in order to render different components of my project in 3D.”
Head of Design, Engineering and Technology at Oundle School, Jon Baker commented, “The Swansea University students gave our pupils an exciting insight into the projects and disciplines they could study in the world of engineering after leaving Oundle. The pupils enjoyed drawing upon their expertise in such fields as aeronautics and mechanical systems for their curricular and co-curricular projects and challenges.
The Swansea team's vibrant and personable approach certainly added to the pupils learning journey during their stay and we look forward to the development of this relationship between Oundle School and the Swansea University Faculty of Engineering.”
About Science and Engineering at Oundle
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. 2016 saw the furthering of this vision with the completion of SciTec, incorporating a new Mathematics department as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department, now known as the Patrick Engineering Centre.
SciTec, an award winning and ground-breaking science complex with sixteen state-of-the-art laboratories, opened in 2007. This latest development, which focused on uniting the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) philosophically and physically, positions Oundle at the heart of applying Science and Engineering and embraces developments in new fields such as nanotechnology and mechatronics. The aim is 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.
The facility, designed to nurture the UK’s next generation of great scientists, puts the School, which lists evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins and astronomer and space scientist Dr Roger Malina among its former pupils, at the forefront of the continuing national drive to tackle the dearth of scientists in the UK.
The original Design and Technology department has been extended and exhaustively refurbished, retaining the ‘large projects’ space for which Oundle is famous and adding two design studios for virtual modelling and prototype development, acoustically segregated from the practical facilities. There is now an advanced manufacturing suite adjacent to the design laboratory, enabling high-tech processes such as metallic/UV cured polymer 3D printing and robotics to be deployed. In addition to the large projects space, five open-plan workshop bays enable pupils to be taught in small groups sharing fixed machinery, whilst new dedicated classrooms for design and theory are easily accessible from the workshops.
As envisaged in the original SciTec design, the new Mathematics department forms the major part of the extension to the SciTec building, completing the architectural aspiration of a grand entrance to SciTec. An internal quadrangle has been created, giving equal status to all disciplines as well as a proper regard to the Adamson Centre opposite, encouraging an interplay between Modern Languages and Science. The extension also provides 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 was currently possible. This will bring particular benefits for pupils working on Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs).