David Williams

Housemaster of Sargants

Sargants offers a busy and cheerful home base for boys aged 10–13 years. There are three things which I seek to encourage in all Sargants boys: be courteous, considerate, and communicate with one another.

My experienced team of tutors is sensitive to the needs of the boys in their care and we create a structure which allows the boys to become more independent in life and equips them to make good decisions. We encourage the boys to participate fully in all aspects of Oakham School life – sport, drama or music, as well as academic pursuits. We’re on a journey to make the boys become outstanding young men.

The tone of the House is set by the small details. We encourage the boys to make eye contact, to dress smartly, and to shake hands when being greeted. The house team likes to think of our boys as 'learning knights' and actively seeks to cultivate and model intellectual curiosity and values such as courageousness, valour, and chivalry.

We’re on a journey to make the boys become outstanding young men.

I encourage the boys to be aware of the wider world and knowledge of current affairs is integral to the comfortable and homely atmosphere in House. The news is on every morning in the Common Room and there is a general knowledge quiz every month. The boys are often happy to linger at the end of the day, which is an indication of how comfortable, secure and settled they feel.

We offer two quiet rooms where the boys can complete their prep, as well as places for the boys to socialise – the common room with its air hockey, table football and table tennis tables fills up with boys and noise during break times and outside there is an all-weather play area and lawn where the Lower School pupils can mingle and let off steam.

There is great integration between the day boys and their boarding peers and the day boys often take full advantage of the option to extend their day and join boarders for breakfast, supper and prep.

History of the House

  • Opened in 1974, Sargants is one of four Lower School Houses grouped together on the Jerwoods campus.
  • The House is named after W.L. Sargant, Oakham’s Headmaster from 1902–1929.
  • The Jerwoods site is named after John Jerwood (OO), a former Visitor (a highly esteemed member of the Trustees) and benefactor to the School.

About the Housemaster

I joined Oakham’s vibrant music department as Assistant Director of Music in September 2019 and was appointed Housemaster of Sargants in 2021. I have had the opportunity to teach in a variety of schools in the UK and Australia since 2002, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than working with young people and helping them discover and nurture their talents, whatever they may be! Outside of school, I love to travel, read and spend time with my family, friends and the dog!

Martha Backhouse

Martha Backhouse

Assistant Houseparent

I joined the Lower School boarding team in 2016 and live in Hodges with my husband Tom, who also coaches the boys rugby. In the past I have been privileged enough to combine work and travel with my previous career in yachting. I have also lived and worked in many different countries and I enjoy learning and embracing new cultures. Being from Somerset originally, I have a natural passion for the outdoors and try to enthuse the boys to enjoy this as much as possible. Walking, camping, baking and travel are my favourite past times but I also like to embrace my creative side by refurbishing old furniture. The most rewarding part of my role in the Lower School is organising fun games for the boys to enjoy during their free time and seeing them having fun.

Kian Middleton

Kian Middleton

Gap Student

I am working with the boys in Sergeants House, assisting Mr Williams. I went to Parel Vallei High School, in Somerset West. I am from Cape Town, South Africa, but I was born in Bristol, England and lived in Chepstow, Wales for 8 years there after before moving to South Africa where my family is originally from. What has impressed me about Oakham so far is how when I arrived it immediately felt like a home away from home, everyone at Oakham is like a big happy family and are always willing to go the extra mile to assist you in order to make you feel like part of this family. I'm really looking forward to working with all the staff and children here at Oakham School, as well as gaining coaching and in class experience while I'm at it. I hope to leave a positive mark here at Oakham School.