Ashley Denman

Housemaster of Barrow

As a Classicist the Barrow House motto, “γνωθι σεαυτόν” – “Know thyself”, means much to me. It is my, and my house staff’s, mission to produce young men who truly know themselves, who are proud of their achievements, and who are equipped to succeed in whatever they choose to do. 

In Barrow, effort as well as success,  in all aspects of school life, is respected and praised by all.

Barrow House aims to be a beacon for all that is great at Oakham. We are a diverse and sociable group of individuals and there is excellent interaction between year groups. In Barrow, effort as well as success, in all aspects of school life, is respected and praised by all. While we count in our numbers some of the School’s brightest scholars, there is a vast range of talents, with outstanding musicians, county sportsmen (in rugby, hockey, and cricket), international triathletes, gifted actors and old fashioned grafters, who are all able to come together and make up the fabric of a successful and happy house. It is my vision that the boys are able to pursue their strengths and passions with the encouragement of their peers while continuing to value and respect each other.

Barrow offers a friendly home environment for about 75 day boys, aged between 13–17 years. Our position in Schanschieffs means that the boys have easy access to all playing fields and we are just a short walk from the main hub of the School. Within the House itself we have a computer room, separate form rooms, two changing rooms, a Common Room, equipped with television, DVD player, table tennis, table football, numerous chess sets and a pool table and an adjoining kitchen that is shared by all the boys. Barrow is open from 7.30am–7.30pm in the week and from 7.30am–4.30pm on Saturdays.

I believe the greatest asset to our boys is the Barrow House staff. I have an excellent Tutor team, each of whom is on duty at least once a week to liaise with the boys, often informally outside of weekly tutorials. Our domestic staff offer an incredibly high level of cleanliness and care for the House and the boys.

Our aim is for our boys to become men who will make a difference and who will selflessly serve those who follow them. Whether the boys are championing a cause, organising an event or acting as a prefect, we provide abundant opportunities for service and leadership. 

History of the House

  • Opened in 1997, Barrow is one of four Middle School Day Houses, which together form the part of the school campus known as Schanschieffs.
  • In common with the other Houses in Schanschieffs, the House derives its name from a local village: Barrow, where Oakham’s first female Deputy Head, Jane Matthews, lived.

About the Housemaster

I have been at Oakham since 2003 and started as Housemaster of Barrow in 2021. I teach PE and Sports Science and was Director of Hockey for 10 years. I am married with two daughters at the School.