Oundle School

Logo of Oundle School

Pupils Info

Gender – Co-Ed School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 1100 Pupils

Characteristics

Average Class Size: 20
Day and Boarding school
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 10%
Day: £19,695 – Boarding: £30,705
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 89%

SUMMARY

Oundle is the original all-rounder school: not in the sense that it is adequate in all areas but rather that it excels in them. Known across the country for their fearsome sports teams, the school also has a Drama Department that rivals the Old Vic and turns out artists that fly straight to Central St. Martins. The really surprising thing though, is that a school with so much emphasis on extra curricular activities can maintain high levels of academic achievement too (it is not uncommon for over 10 pupils in a year to get straight A*s). The school is large (around 1,100, the third largest public school after Eton and Millfield) but as the boarding Houses are small (there are eight boys’ houses, five girls’ houses, a day house and a junior house) students are focused on individually and get to know students across the years.

Background and Reputation

There are lots of things going for Oundle. One of the most striking, when you visit the school, are it’s facilities: each classroom looks like an outpost of the Pentagon; they have a state-of-the-art library of which Oxford would be proud that houses over 22,000 books and has its own Rare Book Room for “the School’s collection of rare and valuable books”, and more games pitches than any other school to be found. Oundle’s achievements are also aided by its large scholarship program: the numerous and manifold scholarships offered mean that Oundle is able to pretty well cherry pick the most gifted students from prep schools around the country. Whether it is enhancing the Art Department, or bulking up the Rugby team of simply raising the standard of debate within the classroom, these pupils are hugely important to the school’s success. The other great thing about the school is the standard of teaching: the enthusiasm of the staff toward their departments, their students and the school itself is almost palpable.

Academic and Exit Results

Oundle’s increasingly impressive academic record was upheld in the 2013 exam results. A Level’s pupils achieved 90% A* to B grades, with over 62% of grades either A* or A. 40% of the students were awarded three A grades or better, and 31 pupils achieved four A grades or better. The option of Cambridge Pre-U exams is now offered as a substitute for A Levels; and of those who decided to take it, fifteen percent of grades achieved the top distinction (D1) which is graded higher than the A* at A level. The 2013 GCSE results were strong too: 87% of grades were A* or A. The proportion of A* grades is 55%. This is the third year running that over half of all grades have been A. Girls averaged 60% for A and well over 90% for A*/A.

Social and Pastoral

Oundle is a sociable school. The mixed-age Houses mean that there is not the formality between years that can happen when each year group has it’s own House. As a result, there are constant running school jokes and pranks that everyone enters into together. Oundle is also known for the good relationships that exist between the girls and boys, who get on well together from the very first year (although there is some friendly competition about which sex does best in exams: overwhelmingly the girls. Pastorally, Oundle seems to have all bases covered with the belt and braces system of every student having a whole clutch of different adults to speak to: they all have a House Master, individual tutor, form teacher and House matron. As a Christian school, there is also a School Chaplain on call who is very popular with the students.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Oundle is known for its sport, and with good reason. The facilities are truly impressive: among the many many games pitches, there is a mile of rowing space on the River Nene, a sailing lake and a small-bore shooting range. Despite the huge range of sports on offer, the emphasis remains on the big traditional public school sports: rugby, hockey, cricket, rowing and soccer for boys, and hockey, netball and tennis for girls. Aside from their eye-watering facilities, the success of Oundle’s sports department can be attributed to several different things. The first is that sport is taken seriously: students are expected to play sports 3 times a week at the very least, and for members of the school’s top teams, pre-season training is mandatory. The sports coaching is also of the very highest standard: not many schools can boast five ex-England players heading up their teams. Perhaps the must integral thing to the department however, is the indelible competitiveness of Oundelians: “if we are going to do something we want to do it the best”, one student explained. Oundle’s Art Department is an inspiring place: not only are their four cutting edge studios, there is also an exhibition space called the Yarrow Gallery that shows the work of the students as well as that of outside artists. The department is an interesting mix of the traditional and the modern: students are expected to have a strong grounding in fine art appreciation, yet ever more of the art projects are computerized installations. As might be expected, unlike other schools that have been caught on the hop by the new techie direction that public exam course work as started to take (these days art students can achieve an entire A Level without going near a paint brush), the Oundle art department is fully stocked with souped up computers and other hi- tech gadgets. Music is a big deal at Oundle: over 60% of the pupils study an instrument and a large chunk choose to carry Music on as an academic subject for GCSE and A Level. These students are encouraged to perform to the school at every opportunity and even compose their own pieces to be played or sung by the school orchestra and choir. This musical confidence really comes to the fore in the school’s Rock Society (Roc Soc) gigs; and it is no surprise that Oundle has churned out it’s fair share of rockers (Bruce Dickenson is an old boy) over the years. The Oundle Drama Department is famous for spotting talent: relatively unusually, drama scholarships are offered to Common Entrance level students. These awards can be for just as large amounts as academic scholarships and are consequently just as prestigious and highly vetted. Like much at Oundle, the talent in the school is reflected and encouraged by the facilities on offer to the students: the Stahl Theatre, studio and practice rooms should be in the West End, while the department is given just as much status and nearly as many teaching resources as the Science Block.

Extracurricular

Pupils say that it is almost impossible to attend Oundle without participating (or being cheerfully coerced) into taking part in some form of Extra- Curricular activity: there is so much going on. Not just the usual public school after-school activities such as CCF and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, but many other things beside. There are two school newspapers, for instance, as well as an Oudelian radio station for those of a media bent. Another big thing is local charity work and never have the ties been stronger. Each week, over 300 Fifth and Sixth Formers go out into the town to participate in Community Action projects, as well as further afield to Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and Peterborough, on a weekly basis.

Contact

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