The Beacon School Leaderboard 09/05

New Modern Foreign Languages Centre

Published on isbi School News dated Friday 11th of October 2013

At a ceremony on 5 October, Chairman of Governors, Julian Tregoning officially opened Oundle School's newly refurbished Adamson Centre for Modern Foreign Languages. The event was attended by donors, parents, former pupils and their families as well as representatives from international partner schools. After a welcome speech by both the Chairman and Headmaster of the School, as well as an introduction to the Department by its Head, Ms Sara Davison, visitors were invited to look round the new building at their leisure, taking in the myriad of language lessons that were in full flow. The morning concluded with a short film and a buffet lunch serving a delicious range of international dishes.

The opening of Oundle School's Adamson Centre marks a new and exciting phase for the Modern Languages Department and is the latest completed project in Oundle's comprehensive and ongoing development plan. A stunning blend of traditional architecture and contemporary glass features, the Adamson Centre, formerly the Sir Peter Scott Building, has been redesigned specifically with the teaching of foreign languages in mind. In addition to welcoming over 900 pupils a week, the Centre will also provide a hub of excellence within the wider community of teaching, with staff hosting conferences and lectures to promote the development of languages.

The Modern Foreign Languages Department is one of the largest in the School, with seven languages being timetabled: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. More pupils than ever are learning two or more languages, with many more taking advantage of the breadth of clubs, societies and lectures on offer outside the curriculum. A Level and Pre-U results continue to rise; last summer saw pupils gain 45 A* and A grades at A2, with 20 Oundelians going on to read one or more languages at university.

The building is named after major benefactor and former pupil David Frederic Dobell Adamson who left the School in 1937. He requested that 'this bequest be used to improve facilities for and give opportunities to students to learn to speak and communicate in foreign languages'

The Adamson Centre facilities include:

* 14 Teaching Rooms: Each classroom focuses on a single language and culture and is equipped with high quality audio speakers, an interactive whiteboard and projector.
* 2 Sony Language Laboratories: Two dedicated PC suites combine all the features of a traditional laboratory with the latest multimedia technology, including Sony Virtuoso language software.
* 6 Language Assistant Pods: Fully equipped with touch screen computers, these modern glass fronted rooms are designated specifically for conversation classes and oral examinations.
* The Raymond Lee International Suite: The centre-piece and 'hub' of the Department, this Suite provides a perfect venue for language conferences, films, lectures from visiting speakers and competitions. It is equipped with the latest Skype technology, blu-ray cinema system, projector and blackout blinds.

Head of Modern Languages, Sara Davidson commented, 'Working in such state-of-the-art surroundings is a source of inspiration and dynamism for both the teaching staff and our pupils. Internationalism is important to Oundle; today's pupils will be competing for jobs in a highly competitive and global world. Our aim is not only to be at the cutting edge of teaching and learning, but ultimately to enable Oundelians to learn and appreciate any language of their choosing.'

Pupil, Laura Mangiavacchi (17) commented, 'Learning languages is very important, not only to communicate and make friends with people all over the world, but also to understand their culture and mannerisms. I think the new building will make everyone want to learn a language; the individual speaking pods, the international cinema room and the language labs all offer wonderful opportunities to broaden our knowledge.'
Headmaster, Charles Bush, commented, 'Three of the four pillars of the core academic curriculum are now housed in outstanding buildings with excellent facilities: SciTec for Science, Old Dryden for English and the Adamson Centre for Modern Languages. Our next project, SciTec B, will see a purpose-built base for Mathematics, linking it with Science in SciTec and Design Technology in the Patrick Centre, both physically and philosophically.'

He continued: 'We are indebted to our large and generous community, whose support for such projects is invaluable. We are particularly grateful to the Adamson Centre major donors, after whom both the building and individual teaching rooms are named. Two rooms bear the names of former Oundle teachers Arthur Marshall and William Cartwright.'

Former pupil, George Hammon commented, 'Oundle has always been a pioneer in modern languages. As I look back on working in Paris for many years, on graduating from France's top business school, and on my life now in Geneva, I am very grateful for the excellent grounding I was given, and with it, access to the global world of today.'

New Modern Foreign Languages Centre - Photo 1New Modern Foreign Languages Centre - Photo 2New Modern Foreign Languages Centre - Photo 3
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