On Friday 1 December, Oundle School CCF’s Marching Band had the honour of playing during the half time interval of the match between Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons at Franklin Gardens. The Band, now forty eight strong and under the direction of Band Mistress and Head of Brass, Adele Hudson, Band Captain Juliette Carmichael (17), and Drum Major James Gaby (17), performed a short marching display before halting in the centre of the pitch to play a special arrangement of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ much to the 13,000 strong home crowds delight.
The marching routine included a new manoeuvre where the Band counter marched as two separate divisions before reforming on the half way line – the product of WO2 Wayne Palmer’s hard work with the Band on the preceding Wednesday afternoons.
The evening was another high point in the Band’s year, which previous to Friday evening included performances at the Menin Gate in Ypres and the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme. It is hoped that they will be invited to perform at Franklin Gardens next season. Their next performance will be on the day of the Contingent’s Annual Inspection on the School’s parade ground in May.
The Contingent Commander, Major Andrew Mansergh RM said, “It is an honour to have been invited to play at this premiership match and the Band has worked tremendously hard to reach the standard required to do so; every Cadet should be very proud of the performance that they gave.”
Oundle’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF)
Contingent Commander: Major A.C. Mansergh Royal Marines
The Cadet Force is the largest single organisation in the School; numbering 460 cadets out of an eligible pool of 820 pupils. Eighteen members of staff provide a varied and exciting training programme every Wednesday afternoon during the term. Additional staff assist during the field weekends and holiday periods. Success and recognition is achieved at national levels; in both 2010 and 2011 a senior cadet was the runner up in The Duke of Westminster Award. Drawn from the country’s best 200 cadets this annual competition is run to find the top cadets. Oundle has produced three finalists in the last four years.
The CCF comprises of three sections: the Army Section, the Royal Navy Section and the RAF section, and is compulsory for all pupils for one year only (in the Fourth Form or Year 10). All three sections have a common core of Drill, Turnout and Skill at Arms. The RN Section then specialises in rowing, sailing and power boating, the Army Section in infantry skills and tactics, and the RAF Section in flight training. At the end of their Fourth Form year cadets may leave or decide to stay in the CCF. For those who wish to continue their cadet careers the options include remaining in the Single Service Sections, undertaking NCO Cadre training, or joining one of the specialist training sections: Fire and Rescue (the unit trains on its own fire engine), Adventure Training, and Diving.
Training takes place every Wednesday afternoon with two field weekends, one in September and one in April. In addition, every cadet will undertake at least one camp during School holidays. These camps include skiing in the Alps, diving in the Red Sea, climbing in the Alps and Scottish Highlands, as well as military camps organised by the RAF and Army.
The Oundle School Corps dates back to 1902, as the 'Rifle Corps' 1st (Volunteer) Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment. Since 1958, the Cadet Corps at Oundle has continuously maintained all three Service sections (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force). Cadets are able to attend the many national camps and courses available to them, some of which are aimed towards gaining qualifications (e.g. power-boating and first aid) whilst others are aimed at developing leadership and teamwork skills.
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.