JOINING THE UPPER SCHOOL
To find out more about what life is like in Oakham’s Upper School, follow us online.
We’ve put this booklet together to answer some of the questions you may have about what you can expect when you join Oakham’s Upper School.
Based on the most popular questions people ask, we have included information about where you will live and work, who is there to support you, what daily life is like and what sorts of opportunities are on offer. We’ve also asked some of our current pupils for their advice and top tips.
Whether you are completely new to the School or are joining us from Oakham’s Middle School – as a day pupil or a boarder – the main thing to remember is that everyone is starting out together on an exciting new journey and there are lots of people around you who are keen to help you make the most of your time in Oakham’s Upper School and be the best you can be.
Megan Fairley Head of Upper School
WHAT IS OAKHAM’S UPPER SCHOOL?
Oakham’s Upper School is where pupils aged 16 + join us for their sixth form years: Form 6 (Year 12) and Form 7 (Year 13).
In Form 6 you will be based in one of our 10 welcoming Boarding and Day Houses at the heart of the School campus, with all of our fantastic facilities just a stone’s throw away. This gives you a chance to get stuck into Upper School life straightaway and take advantage of everything that we offer.
Whether you are new to the School or have been with us for a few years already, together you will have the opportunity to lead your House and act as a role model to the younger years.
In Form 7 (Year 13) you will move to your Final Year House, where your whole year group will enjoy the chance to spend their final year at School together in the oldest part of the campus, close to Oakham’s town centre. Pupils often say that they look forward to Form 7 for the chance to lead a more independent and selfmotivated existence.
There is also the opportunity to develop leadership skills further as part of the Decem; a Prefect team led by the Heads of School and their deputies, who work together with staff to ensure the smooth running of the School.
THE MAIN SCHOOL CAMPUS
1 Boys’ Boarding Houses
2 Girls’ Boarding Houses
3 Boys’ and Girls’ Day Houses
4 Smallbone Library and Careers Department
5 Mehra Faculty of Science
6 Queen Elizabeth Theatre (QET)
7 Music School
8 Barraclough Dining Hall
9 Medical and Pastoral Centre
10 Jerwood School of Design
11 Richard Bull Art and Design Centre
12 Sports Hall, Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre
13 Main Teaching and Learning Facilities
8 7 6 3 3 10 13 11 9 2 5 16 17 15 1 1 14 14 4 2 12
14 Sports Pitches 15 School House 16 Round House 17 Chapel
The Final Year Houses are in the oldest part of the campus, close to Oakham’s town centre.
“Oakham School is a nurturing family with endless opportunities, great fun and amazing mentorship. My time here has given me everlasting memories and friendships.”
WHICH HOUSE WILL I BE IN?
Your House is your home while you are at School. Like a home, it is filled with many different places where you can do your work or relax with your friends. There are creature comforts to enjoy such as your own study area, large sitting rooms with relaxing sofas and chairs, TVs, consoles and games, and a kitchen stocked with fresh fruit, snacks and hot drinks.
Whether you are a boarder or a day pupil, when you join a House at Oakham you automatically become part of a larger community of pupils and staff. Led by your Housemaster or Housemistress,
each House community is filled with people who are here to make your time at School as enjoyable as possible. You will have a Tutor to help you get organised with your work, plus each House has a Matron who is always on hand if you feel unwell. The Medical and Pastoral Centre offers a dedicated space to promote well-being, as well as offering medical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We organise lots of different events and social activities, to help you get to know your new surroundings, settle into your new daily routine and make new friends.
In Form 6 you will be a member of one of our 10 Boarding and Day Houses:
In Form 7 all girls move to Round House and all boys move to School House
Gunthorpe Hambleton Barrow Clipsham
Buchanans Rushebrookes Stevens Chapmans Haywoods Wharflands
WHAT IS DAILY LIFE LIKE FOR A BOARDER?
Each day is slightly different, but you will soon get into the swing of things. Your Pupil Organiser will be your go-to guide for what happens when, but don’t be afraid to ask for help either – no one expects you to know everything straight away!
WHERE DO WE EAT OUR MEALS?
Everyone eats together in the Barraclough Dining Hall for breakfast, lunch and supper, which means you can socialise with your friends in other Houses at different points throughout the day.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?
Pupils and staff alike love the food and there is a choice of healthy dishes at each mealtime, including vegetarian options. We cater for all dietary requirements and the regular themed supper nights and our weekly Sunday brunch are particular favourites amongst the boarders.
A BOARDER: A TYPICAL WEEK
MONDAY TO SATURDAY MORNING 4.30pm Free time/Town time/ Supported studies/ Ensemble practice/ Drama rehearsals
From 1.25pm Lunch and Roll Call
SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND SUNDAY These will vary depending on whether you are a full or weekly boarder but typically:
Saturday afternoon Sports matches 6.25pm Supper - Evening activities Sunday Chapel, free time, activities/trips
7.30am Breakfast 2.20pm Afternoon sport 2.20pm Afternoon lessons 6.00pm Early Prep 6.25pm Supper 6.40pm Supper 7.25pm Evening Roll Call 7.25pm Evening Roll Call 7.30pm-9.00pm Prep 7.30pm-9.00pm Prep 9.00pm onwards Downtime followed by bedtime 9.00pm onwards Downtime followed by bedtime 4.30pm Wednesday
8.35am Tutorial/Chapel/Assembly 8.15am Roll Call and House meeting 9.15am-1.25pm Morning lessons
Friday – Activities
TUESDAY AND THURSDAY
WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY
WHAT IS DAILY LIFE LIKE FOR A DAY PUPIL?
As Oakham is a busy boarding and day school, each day is packed with lessons and activities. Your Pupil Organiser will be your go-to guide for what happens when, but don’t be afraid to ask for help either – no one expects you to know everything straight away!
WHAT TIME DOES MY HOUSE OPEN AND CLOSE EACH DAY?
Day Houses are open from 7.30am to 7.30pm, so you can arrive in time for breakfast and stay for supper if you have an evening activity or need to get some prep done at no extra charge. The library is open until 9.15pm most evenings, so you can continue working there if you would like to.
WHAT HAPPENS AT BREAKTIME AND LUNCHTIME?
When not in lessons or activities you can work and relax in your House. Lunch and all other meals are served in the Barraclough Dining Hall. There is a choice of healthy dishes, including vegetarian options.
At lunchtime there is always a variety of desserts on offeranything from fresh fruit to chocolate sponge and custard. Plus, there is a daily salad bar, sandwich bar, and pasta bar. We cater for all dietary requirements.
House opens (early arrivals go to the Barraclough for breakfast)
DAY PUPIL: A TYPICAL WEEK
MONDAY TO SATURDAY MORNING
8.15am Roll call and House meeting
9.15am-1.25pm Morning lessons
From 1.25pm Lunch and Roll Call
2.20pm Afternoon sport
4.00pm End of school
Supported studies/ Ensemble practice/ Drama rehearsals
House open for pupils to do prep; pupils staying for supper go to the Barraclough
2.20pm onwards Afternoon lessons
TUESDAY AND THURSDAY MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY 4.45pm End of school on Wednesday
4.30pm Monday and Friday – Activities
End of school on Monday and Friday
House open for pupils to do prep; pupils staying for supper go to the Barraclough
House closes; pupils can go to the library to continue their work until the library closes at 9.15pm
12.30pm End of lessons; pupils who are playing in afternoon sporting fixtures go to the Barraclough for lunch
WHAT COURSE SHOULD I STUDY: A-LEVELS OR THE IB DIPLOMA?
We are proud to offer two distinct academic pathways at 16+ to suit different learning styles and interests. Both programmes of study are two-year courses, both are highly regarded by universities and our experienced staff teach both pathways. The choice really depends on your own learning style, interests and future career plans. We will be delighted to help talk you through your options. For detailed information on 16+ subjects, see our Upper School Handbook.
How the IB Diploma and A-level grades typically compare:
THE IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME
• All students study six subjects, three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. These subjects include Maths, English, a language, a science and a Humanities or Social Sciences choice.
• Students also study a Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course and do extra research for an Extended Essay (EE)
• There are different types of assessment: coursework, oral exams, as well as external exams at the end of the two years.
• The Diploma is awarded out of a maximum of 45 points: 7-1 points per subject; ToK and EE count for 3 points.
• Personal development is an integral part of the Diploma provided through the Creativity, Activity and Service element of the course.
A-LEVELS AND BTEC
• Most students will begin with three subjects.
• Assessment at A-level is by exam only; there is only limited coursework.
• Individual grades for each subject: A*-U at A-level and Distinction* down to Pass at BTEC.
• Students wishing to extend their knowledge of a subject via an extended essay may complete an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
• There is no formal requirement for ‘Creativity, Activity and Service’, although we expect all students to engage in our co-curricular programme.
IB Diploma A-level 34 points A, B, B 36 points A, A, A 38 points A*, A*, A 40 points 4 A*s
WHAT ACADEMIC SUPPORT DO YOU OFFER?
The increased freedom offered by the Upper School means that pupils have to organise their time more effectively and work with greater independence. We help you achieve this in a variety of ways.
Our Tutorial Programme is designed to help our Sixth Formers thrive in the Upper School. Its mix of academic, pastoral and social activities helps pupils get to know each other and familiarise themselves with their new subjects and also creates a sense of belonging.
On the academic side of things, we introduce you to the library catalogue and digital databases and provide sessions covering research skills, academic honesty and how to use digital devices to build a Personal Learning Network via Twitter, Podcasts, YouTube and other websites and apps. In addition, we focus on experimenting with new learning strategies and managing timetables to strike a healthy balance between work and play.
Our carefully designed pastoral curriculum sits alongside the academic support we offer. This includes talks from guest speakers who are experts in the health and welfare of young adults, wellbeing sessions, regular tutorial sessions with your Tutor and social events to help you integrate as a year group.
You will have the same Tutor for Form 6 and 7 who you will meet on a regular basis to help you keep on top of your work and support you with any issues – academic or pastoral – that may arise. They also help with university applications and preparing for interviews.
To help check that you are making the right kind of progress in your studies, we set regular cross-set tests in each subject over the course of Forms 6 and 7. We then review these results with you and provide support and extension sessions where necessary.
In order to inspire you and enrich your subject knowledge further, we offer a plethora of academic societies in the Upper School. The societies meet on a regular basis and run a rich programme of events that might include lectures from outside speakers, workshops on a particular subject area, or screenings of films relating to the topic being studied.
The Learning Support Department offers assistance to students, as appropriate at this level: this could be anything from teachers providing one-to-one support, to students using the purpose-built suite of rooms in the department as a good environment in which to study.
ENGLISH AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE (EAL)
The EAL Department welcomes non-native speakers in Forms 6 and 7 when a need is recognised for subject-specific support in their A-level or International Baccalaureate studies.
We also offer IELTS test preparation lessons to students who do not have an English Language GCSE qualification, and who enter Oakham in Form 6 to study on the A-level courses. This qualification is an entrance requirement for UK universities.
“What I most enjoy about Oakham is that the School is passionate about all aspects of the curriculum, and students are encouraged and supported no matter where their interests lie.”
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM DO YOU OFFER?
We are passionate about offering our students opportunities beyond the classroom and the Upper School is no exception. No matter what you are studying, we encourage all our students to achieve a balance between work and leisure.
SPORT AND ACTIVITIES
We offer a wide variety of sporting activities for all levels of participation. Many of our elite athletes get the chance to train and play with county and national squads in selected sports in tandem with the excellent coaching provided by our sport and strength and conditioning staff. The choice of sports in which students can participate and play competitive matches is broad, with lacrosse, girls football, shooting and golf popular options in addition to our core sports: rugby, hockey, cricket, netball, tennis and athletics.
Additionally, Upper School students benefit from a structured activities programme full of enrichment opportunities to suit all interests. This could be volunteering in local charity shops, trying a spot of Mooting for Law Club, debating political issues in Model United Nations (MUN) or analysing European poetry. The Matthews Society, which is open to all Form 7 students, is a student-led group that meets every month to discuss issues affecting gender equality in society.
As well as weekly 1:1 music lessons and music ensemble rehearsals, there are regular informal and formal concerts, plus there are regular rehearsals for the many different Drama productions.
You can choose one of our three Service Options: the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (D of E), the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), or Voluntary Action (VA) to develop your innovation, teamwork and leadership skills and help your local community.
In Form 6 you can participate in Gold Sailing, Cycling and Walking in D of E. In Forms 6 and 7 there are leadership opportunities in CCF and the chance to do the D of E Gold Award via the CCF Expedition. Recent expeditions have seen pupils travel to Norway, Italy and southern Spain.
Our rich Voluntary Action programme provides a variety of opportunities for pupils to give something back to the community. Recent activities include:
• Hosting the Annual Harvest Party for members of our elderly community.
• Renovating local gardens and communal areas.
• Running an activity day for children with additional needs.
There are many trips on offer to pupils in Forms 6 and 7 to enrich your learning and help your personal development. From exploring coastal erosion in North Yorkshire to presenting at a Model United Nations conference in Holland; planting trees in Derbyshire to working in a primary school in Kenya, for every trip we run you have the chance to step out of your comfort zone, face new challenges, discover more about the world and become a better global citizen.
HOUSE SOCIALS AND EVENTS
There are many different House trips, socials, charity events, and all-important interhouse competitions to take part in each term to build a sense of belonging in your House community. There’s never a dull moment!
HOW DOES THE UPPER SCHOOL PREPARE ME FOR LIFE BEYOND SCHOOL?
CAREERS AND HIGHER EDUCATION
There is a wealth of experienced and dedicated staff who offer specialist support to prepare you for life beyond School. The Careers Department is led by a full-time Head of Careers and Progression who is a qualified careers advisor, in addition to a fulltime Careers and UCAS Co-ordinator and our Work Experience Co-ordinator. The department also benefits from the support of the Clinical Applications Co-ordinator, who works with those applying for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science courses, and the Oxbridge Co-ordinator.
We are an SAT test centre for College Board, meaning that we can hold the entrance examinations used by many universities in the USA at Oakham. This wide range of expertise ensures that we can offer you tailored support as you apply for competitive courses in the UK and overseas, and for those choosing other pathways, such as Degree Apprenticeships.
The School works closely with external partners and contacts, as well as its extensive alumni network, to introduce students to careers and work experience. Numerous events are hosted each year, for example a Careers and HE Fair, a Science Guest Night, Careers Week, and University Day.
To help Oxbridge aspirants demonstrate their academic potential in the most effective possible way in their applications, we bring them together on a weekly basis to discuss their academic reading, research and interests. In these meetings we also give guidance on appropriate course choices and how to put in the best possible application. In addition, we provide practice for admissions tests and organise mock interviews.
DRAMA AND MUSIC
We provide excellent preparation and support for students who wish to study Drama or Music at university, specialist drama schools and prestigious music colleges. In the last few years Oakhamians have received offers to study at top drama schools worldwide, including RADA, LAMDA, Guildhall, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
THE OLD OAKHAMIAN CLUB
Even after you have left School, we continue to support you through our Old Oakhamian (OO) Club. The OO Club helps you keep in touch with your friends and your School by organising events where your year group can get together in the future; by sharing memories and news within the OO community and by helping you make the most of the fantastic Oakham connections for your work and career development.
You can keep in touch with us and one another via our dedicated website, The Oakhamian Connection.
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