Oundle School headmaster Charles Bush has broken the ground to mark the start of construction work for the school’s new SciTec campus. This will see the construction of a new mathematics department, new science labs and a complete refurbishment of the Patrick engineering centre.
The ceremony was attended by guests including the chairman of governors, Julian Tregoning, the town’s mayor, Gwen Ratcliffe and representatives from Kier, the construction company. The spade used for the sod-cutting was an engraved shovel made in the school’s workshops and used for the equivalent ceremony in 2007, when the construction of the first phase of SciTec began.
Since the launch of the fundraising campaign in October, nearly 50 percent of the funds required to complete the project have been secured. Former pupil and donor Alex Patrick said: “Since the Victorian era, Great Britain has excelled in producing some of the world’s greatest scientists, engineers and innovative thinkers. William Sanderson, headmaster at Oundle School from 1892-1922 recognised this in the early part of the 20th century and pioneered education in science and engineering at the school. Many pupils who attended the school because of such aspirations have gone on to become the technological leaders of their generation.
“Indeed today our country continues to lead the way with companies such as Jaguar/Land Rover, JCB, Cosworth, McLaren and Dyson to name but a few. The greatest concern however, is that without practical as well as theoretical experience, we are in danger of losing the innovators who will help our future.
“As an Old Oundelian I always enjoyed my time in the school workshops. Today’s pupils continue to experience this opportunity and it is for this very reason that I and my family trust are committed to the further development of the Oundle SciTec campus. In so doing I hope to help ensure that Oundle remains at the forefront of schools, providing the facilities by which we can inspire future innovators at an early stage in their career development.”
A further gift has come from the Michael Uren Foundation. “This wonderfully exciting project places Oundle where it should be – one of the foremost engineering schools in the country,” said Michael. “The UK needs engineers and entrepreneurs if it is to compete and succeed in the future. We are delighted that my foundation can assist Oundle to achieve its fundraising dreams of completing the SciTec campus and enhancing the Patrick engineering centre.”
Headmaster Charles Bush commented: “Engineering is the lifeblood of Oundle’s history and heritage. Just last year, 31 percent of our school leavers went on to read sciences at university, with 15 of those pupils reading engineering as a subject. We must continue to inspire pupils to take interest in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and help them contribute to British industry. We are immensely grateful for the enthusiasm of all those who share our vision.”