Lead School: Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London in Northamptonshire. 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. 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.
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.
Oundle Hub leader, Sara Davidson
Head of Modern Languages at Oundle School and Chair of the Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association
Originally from Lancashire, Sara studied German at Edinburgh University in the early 90s. She completed her PGCE at Manchester University, and then immediately took up her first teaching job at Oundle School in 1994. She taught German and Russian there for 6 years working also as Assistant Housemistress, Coordinator of Chinese and ‘Administrator’ and then moved to Chetham’s School of Music as Head of Languages, where she also managed to get her Turkish GCSE at night school! Sara returned to Oundle in 2008 to lead this much larger language department which offers seven languages on timetable and has 28 members of staff and resides in the refurbished, state-of-the-art Adamson Centre for Languages. She completed an MEd in International Studies and Education at Birmingham University in 2012 within which she researched the effects of Pupil Voice in the German classroom and how teachers are supported and developed in Northern Iraq. In July 2014 she was the proud recipient of a German Teacher Award from the German Embassy and since then has had her views on language issues published by the ALL, ISC, The Times and The Guardian Teacher Network, as well as being interviewed on radio. She has also worked as a senior consultant for BBC Languages during the revamping of the BBC GCSE Bitesize online resource for German, attended roundtable meetings with the Schools’ Minister, worked with Ofqual on their research into severe grading, wrote a PGCE course for German teachers for BPP University (London) and is a member of the APPG for Modern Languages. She has been Chair of the Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association (ISMLA) since February 2015.
Oundle itself is a beautiful, buzzing market town with delightful mix of cafes, independent shops, farmers’ markets and food traders. As a cultural hub with music, literature, sporting and food festivals, its pull has never been stronger.
EXPERIENCING THE WORK WORLD IN SPANISH
Twelve Lower and Upper Sixth Form pupils studying Spanish enjoyed a week’s work experience in Cordoba, Spain over the Half Term. The aim of the trip was for pupils to experience full language immersion in an authentic environment.
Pupils worked for four hours a day in a variety of different placements. Grace, Tavi, Ruben, Olga and Daisy all worked in pre-school crèches, where looking after large groups of very young children proved the most challenging placement.
Grace and Emily worked in shops, Harry worked in the reception of a museum, and Hugo worked in an Arabic baths.
Lily worked in a vets washing dogs all week and Emily and Ollie both worked for a language exchange company.
In the afternoons pupils enjoyed trips to the cinema to see a Spanish film, which they managed to understand without subtitles, and cultural trips around Cordoba. Pupils stayed with families and were able to practice their Spanish with the families in the evenings, too. On the weekend, pupils went to both Granada and Seville where they visited the famous Moorish Alhambra palace in Granada, the Alcazar and cathedral in Seville, giving them all a real sense of the rich legacy left by the Moors in Andalucía.
Hub partner schools
If you train in this geographical hub you could have a placement in one of our partner schools.
Where are they now?
Many of our current trainees have already secured job offers before finishing the course. These include Pauline Livreau who will be working at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire; Lucy Dales who will be working at Clifton College, Bristol; Rosie Bond, who will be working at Kingswood School, Bath; and Cristina Muñoz, who will be working at Downe House, Berkshire. We are delighted that they have all been so successful and wish them well in their new careers.