Wednesday afternoons at Oundle are dedicated to Service and Activities for Third Form upwards, with the two younger years offered their own unique programme. There is a huge variety that pupils can get involved in, from local journalism, bee-keeping and photography to our own radio station, volunteering and the Green Team. The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and Community Action (CA) sit at the heart of our offer.
Our CCF is the largest single organisation in the School and the largest School CCF, with around 460 cadets parading on a weekly basis. Participating in CCF develops leadership skills, teamwork, self-reliance and a sense of service; for some pupils, it will introduce them to a career in the military. The CCF comprises three sections: the Army, the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) and all pupils in the Fourth Form take part. Each section specialises in different aspects of the military: the RN Section specialises in rowing, sailing and power boating, the Army Section in infantry skills and tactics, and the RAF Section in flight training. At the end of their Fourth Form, cadets decide whether to explore other aspects of co-curricular activity or remain with the CCF. If choosing the latter, they will join one of the specialist training sections: Advanced Infantry, NCO training within the Services, Fire and Rescue or Adventure Training and Diving.
CA represents the very best of Oundle. Time and again pupils talk about how their Community Action involvement has changed them and how much it has meant to them.
Our programme is about putting our pupils at the heart of our local neighbourhood and services, empowering them to engage and build a stronger, more connected place to live and study. They are involved with over seventy-five activities across Northamptonshire, including helping the elderly, supporting primary and secondary schools, working with people with disabilities, helping in the environment and supporting community clubs and charities.
Whether they are visiting elderly residents at home and sharing a cup of tea and a chat, attending a disco at the PHAB Club in Peterborough with adults with disabilities or working in soup kitchens, our pupils have every opportunity to make a difference to the various communities they serve.
The DofE Award reflects our ethos and vision. It is a major challenge which requires commitment and perseverance, as well as a significant amount of personal responsibility. Pupils find themselves out of their comfort zone and work as a team to be active members of a wider community. Oundle is the largest DofE Centre in the Central England Region, with 10 staff members being qualified Expedition Assessors and a further five being affiliated Volunteer Assessors.
OSCAR Radio is the longest running school radio station in the UK. It is the only station run by pupils under the age of 18 and broadcasts for up to eight weeks a year to Oundle and the surrounding area. In 2019 OSCAR retired its FM transmitter and now broadcasts exclusively via the internet stream to its thousands of listeners across the world.
Oundelians are committed, creative and generous in their fundraising efforts for charities, typically raising in excess of £80,000 a year. Our Houses are encouraged to adopt and develop connections with a particular charity and to build on any personal links. Indeed, each academic year starts with the annual Charities Fair which raises funds for individual charities chosen by each House.
Organised along similar lines to Young Enterprise schemes, pupils form companies comprising six to eight members, each bringing talents suited to different roles, such as finance, product development or communication. Each member of the company is elected by the group to fill a post, such as Managing Director, Finance Director or Marketing Director. Pupils operate their businesses as independently as possible, with all financial affairs run through the School and staff acting as mentors throughout.