This year marks my fourteenth year under the umbrella of an Oundle Education – a reasonably long tenure for a member of staff, let alone a pupil. During this time, I have had the opportunity to experience five School plays, thirteen speech days, over 150 School fixtures, approximately 2,830 School lunches (of varying quality), and no public exams. What’s more, I have enjoyed innumerable school concerts, twelve Field Weekends, five international trips, and 1.5 years of lockdown and mask-wearing.

Some of these, however, might be indistinguishable from those of any other large boarding school. Many other schools have Astros and tennis courts. All schools feed their children (I hope). Some schools even offer learning in classrooms and music in orchestras. All of these things are important, but they are not unique.

Spectacles of an Oundle Education

  • The view of the Chapel from Milton Road on a frosty winter morning
  • The stunning beauty of Chapel’s John Piper windows illuminated at the School carol service
  • The chorus of a whole-School Stahl production on opening night
  • The town’s War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday as Oundle’s CCF Marching Band strides past

Other aspects of an Oundle education, however, are truly distinctive. Some are found only here at our School, others are notable for their scale, or unparalleled in the prowess with which they are undertaken. It is these special moments which make Oundle the vibrant, diverse school with which we are all familiar. Here, in both words and images, is a small catalogue of those spectacles and experiences which my peers and I believe are truly unique to Oundle.

It is these special moments which make Oundle the vibrant, diverse school with which we are all familiar
Thomas, Laxton

Importantly, however, this is but a short selection of the moments and experiences at Oundle which define the School. It would not be possible to list them all – nor should we try. Most significantly, this is because the majority of these unique moments are not rare occasions or grand celebrations. Rather, they are the superficially humdrum, unremarkable aspects of Oundle life which leave an indelible mark upon individuals during the course of their education. It is the Thursday afternoon lunchtime concerts in St Peter’s for example – ordinary for their regularity, notable for the skill and ability of performers. It is the productive vols sessions where confusion and despair suddenly shift to understanding and confidence, or the late-night Colloquium on the Italian Mafia in a random classroom.

Spectacles of an Oundle Education

  • The roar of our School community belting ‘Jerusalem,’ led by the magnificent boom of the chapel organ
  • The SciTec drains during a torrential downpour – Oundle’s waterfall
  • The banks of the River Nene on a perfect summer afternoon – or ideally tapping along in a rowing boat
  • Producing, organising, and broadcasting an OSCAR show with friends on any topic or interest.

As the Head often remarks, it is the pupils which make Oundle the School that it is. An Oundle education, whilst possessing certain common features and shared experiences, is a truly individual experience – reflective of the eclectic, vibrant lives which Oundelians lead both at School and beyond.

Spectacles of an Oundle Education

  • Gascoigne car park on a Thursday evening between 5 and 7 as OSJO’s groovy melodies and syncopated rhythms float down from the Recital Room
  • Cobthorne garden and house – always an impressive sight
  • Patrick Engineering Centre, bustling with activity
  • The incessant flow of pupils at SciTec crossing and through the town after period four
  • House Shout in the Great Hall
Written by
Thomas, Laxton

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