Future Leaders in Engineering at Oundle Honoured
24th November 2017

Two Oundle School pupils, Alfie Dobson (16) and Hugh Ralli (16) have each been awarded a much sought-after Arkwright Engineering Scholarship that identifies them amongst the country’s future leaders in engineering and related areas of design.  

The boys were selected for their potential as future engineering leaders during a rigorous assessment process which looked at their academic, practical and leadership skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The criteria comprised: an assessed application form including a teacher’s supporting reference; a two-hour aptitude exam and a university-based interview. The scholarships support STEM pupils through their Sixth Form studies and encourage them into top universities or higher apprenticeships.

The scholarships consist of an annual financial award to each Scholar and to his/her school, as well as enrichment activities such as mentoring and industry visits that enhance a Scholar's experience of engineering in a real-world context. Arkwright Engineering Scholarships are highly regarded by university admission tutors and industry recruiters and are one of the most prestigious accolades that a sixth form student can receive.

More than 200 different sponsoring organisations support the scholarships: commercial and industrial companies, industry regulators, Government organisations, universities, Professional Institutions, Trade Associations, Training Boards, Livery Companies, all three Armed Services, Charitable Trusts, personal donors and Schools.

Alfie, whose scholarship is funded by Bosh Thermotechnology Ltd, is currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and History at A level. He is currently restoring a 1977 Landrover series 3 and would like to study Mechanical Engineering at university.

Hugh, whose scholarship is funded by the Sir William Lyons Charitable trust fund, dedicated to Sir William Lyons who founded Jaguar, is studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography at A level. He also plans to study Mechanical Engineering at university, and hopes to work in this field as an automotive engineer. He has recently restored a 100cc dirt bike.

The scholarships were formally presented to the pupils at a prestigious ceremony in London supported by The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Jon Baker, Head of Design, Engineering and Technology commented, “We are very proud of our Arkwright Scholars. An Arkwright Award helps open the gateway to an engineering career by putting the recipient in touch with sponsors and with everything that this collaboration can offer, giving them invaluable opportunities outside the classroom.”

Dr Kevin P Stenson, Interim CEO of The Arkwright Scholarships Trust, and CEO of sister charity The Smallpeice Trust, said: “An impressive 1,594 students applied to be an Arkwright Engineering Scholar in 2017 and we are delighted to have been able to present a total of 425 students with invaluable scholarships. Each of this year’s scholars is incredibly talented and we hope that their Arkwright Engineering Scholarship will mark the first step in a long and successful career in engineering.

We are very grateful to the sponsors who recognise the potential in these talented students and choose to offer their support to help them develop their skills and fulfil their potential as future leaders in engineering. Each of the Scholars gains access to a fantastic range of enrichment experiences, including Conferences, Engineering Experience Days, Mentoring, Residential Courses, and University VIP days.

As CEO of The Smallpeice Trust, I always enjoy meeting Arkwright Engineering Scholars on our fantastic Year 12 residential courses at leading universities around the UK. I am also proud in the knowledge that there are a number of Arkwright Scholar Alumni whose journey began with The Smallpeice Trust. Whenever I think about leaders in engineering, I think about Sir Richard Arkwright, who the Trust is named after, and Dr Cosby Smallpeice, who began The Smallpeice Trust over 50 years ago. Both are fantastic role models and leaders, and so are our Scholars.”

Nic Merridew, Director, Arup said “Congratulations to all this year's new Arkwright Scholars. It was inspiring to meet so many talented young people and I was blown away by what they have achieved already. Doubtless there are many future leaders in engineering within these scholars. As we increasingly rely on automation and digital technology, we will need these scholars’ enthusiasm, innovation and engineering invention to meet the exciting challenges ahead.”


About Oundle’s SciTec development incorporating the Patrick Engineering Centre

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 opening of the completed SciTec project, incorporating a new Mathematics department and a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department, now known as the Patrick Engineering Centre, into the existing SciTec, an award winning and ground-breaking science complex with sixteen state-of-the-art laboratories which opened in 2007.

The 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 embrace 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 was 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 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). 



Notes from Arkwright


The Arkwright Scholarships Trust has conducted its annual award of prestigious Scholarships to future leaders of the engineering profession. 425 sixth form Scholarships have been awarded this year at Ceremonies in London and Edinburgh.

Arkwright Engineering Scholarships act as a beacon to the most talented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students in UK schools and help to ensure that high-potential young people stay engaged in the engineering careers pipeline, in the critical 16 to 18 age range.

The new Arkwright Engineering Scholars received their Awards at Ceremonies supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and themed around the Built Environment, supported by Principal Awards Ceremony Sponsors, Arup. This year’s Scholars come from all educational backgrounds across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and a growing number of British Overseas Schools. A record-equalling 29% of the new Scholars were female.

Two Arkwright Undergraduate Scholarships, each £12,000 in value, were also awarded at the Ceremonies, generously funded by The Reece Foundation.


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. 

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