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Oakham are winners of Independent School Awards!

Published Friday 14th of November 2014 01:43:16 PM

Oakham School's dedication to offering Voluntary Action activities to the community in and around Rutland was recognised last night when the School won the Independent School Award for an Outstanding Community Initiative.

Oakham was one of only four schools to have been shortlisted for the category at the 5th annual Independent School Awards. Leading schools from across the country were present at the awards evening held on Thursday evening.

The School merited the award as a result of its Voluntary Action activities and in particular, one where pupils spend time playing indoor croquet with dementia patients. Oakham has been successfully running the 'Through Hoops to Hope' programme, established by the American charity JiminyWicket, for over a year now.

The croquet sessions have been recognised as improving the lives of the patients in a range of different ways mentally, physically and socially. Elaine Elsey, Activities Co-ordinator at Tixover House Care Home, says, 'What the pupils are doing is astounding. We have all noticed a difference in the residents who take part. It makes them smile. At that moment, it gives them joy. It really is remarkable to watch residents who don't normally take part, to get up and have a go.'

Hundreds of nominations for outstanding schools, departments and individuals were submitted across 12 different categories. 'I am delighted that Oakham is the recipient of this well-regarded award,' says Headmaster Nigel Lashbrook. 'Given that these awards showcase and celebrate excellence in independent schools across the whole of the UK and indeed the world, it is certainly a significant achievement.'

Voluntary Action is an important aspect of life at Oakham School. 'Around 100 pupils engage with the local community each week in a wide variety of ways,' says Head of Voluntary Action, Kevin Beadle. 'The School has a long history of supporting local community groups. Along with croquet, pupils visit primary schools, help out in charity shops, and more recently have started to offer computing lessons in conjunction with Age UK. The long-running Harvest Party is also enjoyed by hundreds of elderly members of the local community every year.'

What sums up the success of our Voluntary Action programme is, perhaps, Elaine Elsey's comment, 'We have community visits from other schools, but nothing is as inspiring or memorable for our patients as playing croquet with the pupils from Oakham.'

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