In the first week of the October holiday, thirty nine Oundle School pupils from Fourth Form to Upper Sixth Form (Years 10-13) flew to Naples for the Senior Classics trip to Italy.
Arriving to glorious warm sunshine, they headed straight for Herculaneum, where they were able to see the fantastic remains of this Roman seaside resort, excellently preserved by a series of successive pyroclastic flows, thanks to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a constant presence (even now) looming over the town. The pupils particularly enjoyed seeing the ‘thermopolia’ (Roman fast food counters!) which gave them a real insight into life for the everyday Romans.
Climbing to the top of Mount Vesuvius the following day, the group were able to peer into its spectacular crater, left by a series of volcanic eruptions. This enabled them to gauge for themselves the immense scale of the eruptions that obliterated the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum which they could see below. A highlight for many pupils was the afternoon visit to the site of Pompeii, and being able to look round its amphitheatre and forum.
Pupil, Henry Sleight (16) commented, “Having poured over the exhibition at the British Museum it was so much more moving to walk amongst the debris of life and death in situ. To be atop the volcano of Mount Vesuvius one moment and then walking down its greedy molten passage to the very streets of Pompeii beneath, it was impossible not to feel the intimate, human scale of the tragedies.”
The group visited the Island of Capri, and the villa of the Emperor Tiberius, perched on the top of the Island - thankfully avoiding the fate of many an unwanted slave tossed over the side of the cliffs to the rocky shore line far below!
The pupils spent their first day in Rome walking around some of its more ‘modern’ attractions, like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. On the final morning, they rounded off the trip with a visit to some of Rome’s more well-known ancient attractions, like the Colosseum and the Forum.
Pupil, William Brettle (16) commented, “Overall, the trip was a huge amount of fun and included swimming in the sea off Sorrento and eating plenty of pizza and ice cream in the evenings.”
Classics teacher and trip leader Clare McDonnell added, “Visiting ancient sites is a fantastic opportunity for pupils studying Classics to see first-hand the ways in which the Ancient Romans may have lived – walking down the streets, peering into the windows, and sitting in the theatres. We are already looking forward to the Classics Department trip to Greece in October 2015.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.