Under the terms of Sir William Laxton’s will, The Worshipful Company of Grocers (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. Today, The Worshipful Company of Grocers 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.
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 senior day House. Laxton Junior School, located on East Road in Oundle, remains the name of the 4 – 11 day school which is part of the Corporation of Oundle School.
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 object of The Corporation shall be to provide at the School an education of the highest class”
The School is governed by its Royal Charter dating from 1930, and last amended by granting of a supplemental charter in 1999. Oundle’s Governing Body consists of seventeen members, including eight Governors nominated by the Court of the Grocers’ Company.Governance
Oundle has long shown itself to be open to innovation and change, combining a strong and traditional educational model with new disciplines, techniques and facilities. 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 embarked on a further SciTec development project completed in 2016, which saw a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec, as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department which has now become the Patrick Engineering Centre.
The development united Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering (STEM) 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 resulting STEM facility, developed with the support of strong links with both Imperial College London and Swansea University Engineering department, sets the benchmark standard for school – and indeed university – science and engineering facilities across the country.
Under the Headship of Sarah Kerr-Dineen, Oundle’s focus on ensuring expert and separate specialist provision for its youngest pupils has been significantly strengthened. In 2018, Scott House, a new day House for 11 – 13 day pupils opened adjacent to The Berrystead, the junior boarding House, with both Houses sharing a large garden, tennis courts and other facilities. At the same time, a new role of Head of Lower Years was created, ensuring cohesion of curriculum from First Form into Third Form as well as a gentler and more guided transition from pupils’ prep and junior schools.
The most recent focus of Oundle has been on resourcing a modern, thoughtful vision of sport as part of an education which informs pupils’ lives long after they have left school.
New facilities will support sport at a top competitive level whilst catering for a multitude of sports and leisure activities at all levels. These include a new athletics track, eight additional tennis courts, two new AstroTurfs and six additional netball courts; all complementing the award-winning JM Mills Cricket Pavilion which opened in 2015.
The flagship building is the new Sports Centre, opening in Spring 2020 and housing a new fifty metre swimming pool, an eight court hall offering adaptable playing space for a range of sports, as well as the opportunity for whole school assemblies through use of retractable bleacher seating, a separate fitness suite with seventy stations, a dedicated dance studio and three further multipurpose studios. The existing School Sports Centre has been retained and renamed The Acre, providing maximum flexibility for pupil sporting provision.
Dual use has been factored into the development to ensure that there will be year round community and sports club access to the new Sports Centre.Sports Masterplan