Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
About Oundle School
Location and introduction
Oundle School is one of Britain’s leading co-educational boarding and day schools, situated in the charming market town of Oundle, Northamptonshire. London is just an hour away by train via Peterborough and Cambridge is within easy access. Its buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, giving the school a unique and distinctive character. For over 460 years, the School and town have been part of the same community and both Oundelians and staff take their place within this community, not isolated from it.
Oundle has long been associated with the very best of modern independent education, especially boarding. As one of the largest boarding schools in the UK, Oundle ensures great breadth of extra and co-curricular opportunity with few limits on subject choice. It has 1,100 pupils on roll from age 11 to 18, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. The school attracts pupils from over 120 feeder schools across all corners of the UK and around 20% of pupils come from over 30 countries worldwide, ensuring a global outlook at the heart of a very British boarding education.
Oundle has a strong academic reputation; Oundelians have a natural love of learning and are ambitious in their approach to opportunity and the life of the intellectual mind. Average grades at A level are 20% A* and 57% A*A. At IGCSE/GCSE, over half of all pupils achieve 8s and 9s. Around 20 Oundelians receive Oxbridge offers each year and while most go on to Russell Group Universities, increasing numbers of pupils look across the Atlantic for higher education with a more global approach. Seven timetabled languages, 28 A level options, 26 IGCSE/GCSE subject options and over 40 different academic societies are offered. Oundle’s non-examined academic curriculum is particularly broad and challenging. Through the support of talented and dedicated teachers, pupils have ample opportunities to explore areas of personal intellectual interest, therefore succeeding as independent learners, capable of thinking, questioning and debating.
Oundle is a seven-day-a-week boarding school. It has a full boarding ethos and this is one of its greatest strengths for both boarders and day pupils. It is a big School with a big heart and whilst its size may seem daunting initially, it is carefully mitigated by the secure, smaller havens of the Houses and tutor groups. Effective care and support for pupils is ingrained in every aspect of pupils’ School lives. From the carefully structured House tutorial system to the informal, yet highly intuitive relationships that pupils form with supportive staff, Oundelians always have someone to turn to and someone to look out for them.
Oundle has a well-earned reputation for musical, theatrical and sporting excellence as part of an extraordinarily rich co-curricular programme. Based on the three strands of leadership, adventure and service, the programme provides pupils with opportunities to engage with the world outside School. Oundle takes seriously its responsibility to its pupils so that they can emerge as decent, open-minded adults: ambitious about what they can go on to achieve and contribute, but never arrogant.
Vision and Values
Oundle sees its role not simply to steer pupils successfully to eighteen, or even to the point at which they join the world of work, but rather to support them in achieving the qualifications, skills, values and attitudes that will sustain them through what it hopes will be long, happy and productive lives. At the heart of the School’s Strategic Plan lie five core values: pupils, staff, opportunities, communities and quality. In the Head’s own words: “Pupils are at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. We value the staff who contribute to the lives of our pupils in whatever capacity. We value the opportunities that the School makes available both to pupils and to staff, as well as the various communities of which we form part, not least former pupils and parents. We also recognise the value of seeking the highest quality in all that we do.”
Oundle traces its history back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers endowed a ‘Free Grammar School’ in Oundle, where he had been educated at the original Gild School founded in 1506. 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. Following a series of major capital developments including the Cripps Library and the Adamson Centre for Modern Languages, SciTec was completed in 2016, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering (STEM) both physically and philosophically. The resulting STEM facility, developed with the support of Imperial College London and Swansea University Engineering department, sets the benchmark standard for science and engineering facilities across the UK.
The most recent development focus at Oundle has been on resourcing a modern, thoughtful vision of sport. A new Sports Centre housing a 50m pool, an 8 court sports hall, a fitness suite and multiple studios opens September 2020 alongside the existing School sports centre. The new facilities, which include a new athletics track, tennis courts, AstroTurfs, cricket nets and netball courts, will all support sport at a top competitive level whilst catering for a multitude of sports and leisure activities at all levels.
Within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for 260 children aged 4 to 11.
Independent Schools Inspectorate
“Oundle School is highly successful in meeting its aims and pupils’ overall achievement is excellent, as demonstrated by their high levels of performance in public examinations and lessons, and within extra-curricular activities… The curriculum which underpins pupils’ learning is broad, well balanced and offers choice and challenge at all stages.”