Oundle School is one of Britain’s leading co-educational boarding and day schools situated in the charming market town of Oundle, Northamptonshire, about 90 miles north of London. It lies just 15 miles south of Peterborough, where there is a 45 minute direct train to London King’s Cross.
The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town. This level of co-existence with the town gives the School a unique and distinctive character; pupils pass through the streets as they go to lessons, games or other activities and this instills in them an appreciation of being part of both a School and a local community.
The School’s history dates 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.
Under the terms Sir William Laxton's will, the Grocers’ Company has been supporting the School since its foundation. There are 108 livery companies in the City of London, with the senior livery companies being known as The Great Twelve. The Worshipful Company of Grocers today ranks second in the order of precedence that was established in 1515. Originally known as the Guild of Pepperers, whose earliest records date from 1100, the Grocers’ Company was formed as a religious and social fraternity of merchants and moneyers who traded in spices, gold, and other luxury goods from Byzantium and the Mediterranean. Their use on occasion of pepper as a currency gave rise to the expression “peppercorn rent”.
The Grocers' Company gives generously to charity and continues to support the School through the provision of bursaries, scholarships and grants.
The School is governed by its Royal Charter dating from 1930, and last amended by granting of a supplemental charter in 1999. The Governing Body consists of seventeen members, including eight Governors nominated by the Court of the Grocers’ Company.
In 1876, the Grocers’ Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School and Oundle School. In 2000, following a long period of integration, the Grocers’ Company formally united 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 experienced significant expansion and investment under the leadership of its most famous headmaster, FW Sanderson, whose innovations put Oundle at the forefront of science and engineering education, establishing a reputation still renowned today.
Following a series of major capital developments including SciTec, the Cripps Library and the Adamson Centre for Modern Languages, the School is now embarking on a major SciTec Campus development project. This 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 Master Plan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion which opened for the spring 2015 season.
The third largest independent boarding and day school in England, Oundle has 860 full boarders and 250 day pupils. Committed to a full boarding ethos, which benefits both boarders and day pupils, Oundle attracts pupils from over 120 feeder prep schools from all corners of the UK. It is also proud to welcome around twelve percent of its pupils from over 20 countries overseas. Oundle has 13 senior boarding Houses – eight for boys and five for girls – with about 60 pupils in each. Day pupils are accommodated in Laxton House, and there is also a mixed junior boarding House of about 40 pupils for entry at 11+ or 12+.
Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school located in East Road, Oundle for children aged 4 to 11.
Click here to read Country Life's feature article about Oundle School.