SciTec Campus enters final phase

As Oundle School’€™s hands-on science complex nears completion, a major donor has extolled the value of practical experience

In early April, building works are due to commence on the final development phase of Oundle School’s SciTec Campus, an award-winning science complex opened in 2007. This second and final phase, incorporating both a brand new mathematics department and a significant refurbishment of the Patrick Engineering Centre, will link science, mathematics, design, technology and engineering both physically and philosophically.

Since the launch of the fundraising campaign back in October nearly 40 percent of the funds required to complete the project have been secured and the school is extremely grateful to all donors for their commitment to educating the scientists and engineers of the future. Major donor and Old Oundelian Alex Patrick CBE DL, whose generous donation facilitated the development of the original Patrick Centre back in 1998, has been instrumental in funding the feasibility, design and build phases of the newly named Patrick Engineering Centre, which will provide state-of-the art facilities for tomorrow’s engineers. His further donations and commitment to the project will enable the school to continue to provide practical hands-on experience, with pupils able to move from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of workable technology, whilst embracing new fields such as nanotechnology and mechatronics.

Alex Patrick said: “Since the Victorian era, Great Britain has excelled in producing some of the world’s greatest 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 engineering at the school. This reputation of engineering success at Oundle remains strong; 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. The Patrick Engineering Centre at Oundle School will provide pupils with the challenging opportunity not only to design items theoretically but actually use their hands to bring their ideas to life.

“The Campaign For Science And Engineering warns that without practical skills ‘many young people will be able to leave school with the highest grades in science without being able to do science at all’. This will certainly not be the case at Oundle, where both boys and girls are enthusiastic about the facilities and opportunities available.
“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.”

Alex Patrick joined PMG (Patrick Motors Group) in 1962 as the third generation of his family to be involved with the business. He oversaw successful ventures such as PMG Forecourts Ltd, The Patrick Motor Museum and The Lombard Room Restaurant. Whilst overseeing the consolidation within the motor trade, he also maintained the property portfolio within PMG and followed his father to become chairman of The Patrick Trust, a role he continues to this day. PMG sponsored the  British Saloon Car Championship winning Mini in 1978 and 1979 and the car is again competing in historic car racing including at Goodwood this year. He is a deputy lieutenant for the West Midlands, a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a committee member for The Stonehouse Gang. His charitable work includes acting as chairman of the Patrick Trust, chairman of the Joseph Patrick Trust (Muscular Dystrophy Equipment Fund) and honorary life president of The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. He is also an honorary visiting fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford.

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, including Alex Patrick, who share our vision.”

In addition to academic scholarships, the school offers two scholarships for design and technology, one at 13+ and one at 16+. Entry forms and further details are available on the admissions section of the school website.

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