On the afternoon of Sunday 24 September, over 200 adults and children with physical disabilities and/or learning difficulties, together with their families and/or carers visited Oundle School’s Have a Go Day (HAGD) event which was hosted by over 150 pupils.
Visitors took part in a wide variety of activities including swimming, badminton, basketball, archery, football, indoor rowing, crazy golf, face painting, boccia, yoga, music and art activities.
This year, swimmers were joined by former nine times Paralympic swimmer, Martin Mansall. Martin brought along his Floatsation equipment (www.floatsation.com) - a unique matrix of balls which give total support and independence in the water for people of all abilities.
Liz Turnbull, Head of Community Action at Oundle School, commented “Have a Go Day’ has been running for over thirty years and has established itself as a favourite date in the calendars of special needs clubs and schools. It provides a really encouraging and relaxing environment in which visitors with special needs can try their hand at new sports and activities in a safe and familiar environment. We aim for everyone to leave with smiles on their faces – staff, pupils and visitors alike.”
Some visitors make a bee-line for their favourite activity as soon as they arrive; the archery is always well-liked and well this year the Floatsation equipment proved very popular.
Sophie Lee (16) added, “Have a Go Day was one of the most enjoyable days I have had since being at Oundle School. Swimming and playing water games with the guests was a real pleasure and it was wonderful to see people, of all ages, having the courage to swim, although many had not been for a long time. The afternoon had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and it was really encouraging to see so many smiling faces and all the guests chatting enthusiastically with the helpers. The guests were incredible to spend time with; it was a privilege to meet them.”
Pupil, Freddie Turner (17) commented, “Have a Go Day is an event that everyone involved with Community Action at Oundle School looks forward to. It is a time when we entertain guests of all ages with a variety of disabilities. Watching our visitors enjoy the activities is an incredibly heart-warming experience and everyone has fun participating in all sorts of sporting and crafting activities.”
Visitor Feedback: “Many thanks for another lovely afternoon at ‘Have a Go Day’ from Wellingborough Gateway Club. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the weather was an added bonus. The guys that swam have been talking about meeting a gold medal swimmer – it was so nice to meet Martin.”
Any clubs wishing to be notified of future events should contact Oundle School Community Action department on 01832 277267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Background Information on Community Action at Oundle School
Over 300 pupils are engaged during the year in providing service in the community in Oundle and surrounding villages and as far afield as Corby, Kettering and Peterborough. Pupils work in schools and nurseries, with the elderly and infirm; provide drama for special needs schools, environmental support work at the country park; offer ICT lessons for beginners; help at a local special needs club and produce a Community Newspaper (Oundle Chronicle) to name but a few of the fifty plus activities.
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 sixteen state-of-the-art laboratories. The School has now completed the development project which sees a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to the original SciTec building as well as a significant upgrade to and refurbishment of the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. 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. An ongoing Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 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.