Oakham School recently marked a major milestone by celebrating 50 years of co-education with a special event for its Old Oakhamians.
OOs across the first few years of co-education from 1971 onwards returned to campus to celebrate the joint education of both boys and girls with a chapel service and afternoon tea.
During the chapel service, Headmaster of Oakham School, Henry Price, spoke about the School’s history whilst OO Jonathan Stevens, who left Oakham in 1979, shared his thoughts and stories of when the School first became co-educational.
Although the campus has changed a lot in the past 50 years, iconic buildings such as the School Chapel have remained the same. Many of the guests were given tours of the School and were able to see the newer facilities, such as the BAFS Sports Pavilion.
The afternoon tea was served outside Round House, the first purpose-built girls’ boarding house, which was erected in the 1970s on what was School House tennis court.
Amanda Roberts (née Gibson), who attended the School from 1974 to 77, said: “I joined Oakham as a co-educational school from an all girls’ school and it was a breath of fresh air; we were treated like adults and it felt like a more normal environment.”
“It certainly helped prepare us for life after school as we were very comfortable around the boys and I think we both benefited from each other’s presence.”
Headmaster Henry Price said: “This is a fantastic milestone for Oakham School and our first event with the Old Oakhamians was a great way to celebrate 50 years of co-education.”
“Oakham’s deeply embedded co-educational ethos and structure is one of the fundamental pillars of the School. It not only allows girls and boys to live, work and grow up side by side, but also to learn from each other whilst appreciating their strengths and weaknesses, and enjoying each other’s company.”
“We want Oakham to continue to be a forward-looking school, which allows boys and girls to thrive and develop their varied talents.”
The afternoon tea event marks just one of many celebrations planned over the academic year, including a series of talks from OOs.
The School will also be releasing a series of three exclusive podcasts on what it truly means to be a co-educational independent school.