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28th March 2022

Lower 1 Pupils Travel Back to the 1970s for Decades Project

As part of its 50 years of co-education celebrations, Oakham School has been sharing with Lower 1 (Year 6) pupils what life was like in Oakham in the 1970s.

With a special class focused on the history of the School, the pupils were given old photographs and School memorabilia to teach them about Oakham School from when it first become co-educational in 1971.  

The pupils were joined by Sue Healey, a former pupil who was at the School in the 70s and now teaches Biology at Oakham, the School’s Archivist, Aurore Guillomot-Bonnefond and Charlotte Woodward who works for the Old Oakhamian Club.

The photos presented to the pupils included the old School uniform, including the girls’ iconic tartan trousers as well as images of lessons, sports matches, House photos and shots of Oakham town and the School campus. Each of the photos represented the renowned Oakham School community feel and showed current pupils that whilst a lot has changed over the years, Oakham has always been a special place for many students.

Sue Healey shared stories of her time at Oakham School in the 1970s and gave the pupils an insight into what it was like to join as one of the first female pupils in a previously all-male school. The pupils asked her several questions about the School, such as who the Headmaster was at the time, how many Houses there were and how the school day has changed.

Lower 1 pupil Isabelle said: “It was fun looking at the different uniforms and how the school buildings have changed. I prefer how the school uniforms are now, but I suppose that’s how it was in those days.” 

Harry added: “I enjoyed learning facts about the school’s history and how it developed over the course of 50 years. I really liked learning about famous Olympians like Crista Cullen and how the Oakhamian magazine changed from a black and white newspaper-like booklet to a wonderful informative colourful magazine.” 

Pupils were especially excited to see some Red Books – the School’s termly calendar and academic schedule – from 50 years ago to see how activities and trips have changed. They also reviewed the School’s Oakhamian Magazines from the 1970s, which included drawings and poems done by the pupils in this era.

They were also able to take a look at some of the former pupils’ School Reports from the 1970s, which they noticed are very different to how they are now.

Matthew Sutterby, Head of Lower 1 at Oakham School, said: “The materials presented really captured everyone and it was wonderful to see the differences, similarities and changes over a vast array of things in the 50 years of School being co-ed.”

“Having Mrs Healey join us to talk to Lower 1 pupils was an added bonus and one that the children could relate to. It was a wonderful afternoon!”

The visit was part of a wider project in the Lower School which sees Lower 1 pupils review how life has changed through the decades, whether that be through the evolution of technology, the world of work or seeing life through the eyes of their parents.

Oakham School first welcomed the girls through its doors in September 1971, which heralded a new era of success and growth for the School. 

Find out more about 50 years of co-education at Oakham School.


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