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.
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 familiarThomas, 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.
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.