As the Prince and Princess of Wales ponder the difficult choice of where to send the future King to secondary school, a new institution is reportedly in the running.
The Mail on Sunday reported this weekend that Kate, 42, and William, 41, have listed the prestigious Oundle school among their top choices for their eldest son, 11, who is leaving primary school this summer.
It comes amid reports that Kate’s alma mater, Marlborough School in Buckinghamshire, where fees amount to £47,000 a year, is at risk of being “flashy” and a source reveals the Princess of Wales is an “underrated wealth”.
By contrast, Oundle School, in north Northamptonshire, claims to help shape its pupils to be “decent”, “open-minded” and “ambitious” but never “arrogant” adults.
The institution, founded in 1556, boasts that the pupils, known as Oundelians, “share the town of Oundle” with residents, as its buildings are scattered around the area on an open campus that includes a chapel and a field of cricket.
The prestigious Oundle School in north Northamptonshire is rumored to be among the “top choices” for Prince William and Kate Middleton, where they will send Prince George to secondary school.
Headteacher Sarah Kerr-Dineen, who has studied at Oxford and Cambridge, describes the school’s pupils as “intellectually curious, energetic and resourceful”.
And he adds: “They don’t show off” among the students.
Speaking of the adults who were educated at the Northamptonshire school, Mrs Kerr-Dineen says: ‘What I see in them is a sense of decency and an enjoyment of other people’s company; a sense of loving opportunities and challenges, but not having rights or feeling like you are owed something.
‘In my experience, the people of Oundel work hard with feelings. They enjoy friendships, they enjoy relationships.’
Ten-year-old George will attend secondary school from September, however Kensington Palace has not confirmed which school he will enroll in.
Oundle School, founded in 1556, offers pupils a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
The school’s open campus includes a chapel (pictured) and a cricket pitch.
As for the curriculum, the school’s website explains that students between 11 and 12 years old are taught more academic subjects in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for “creative subjects and sport.”
“At this age, children’s minds are most alert in the morning,” the website explains.
Pupils also study Latin and have the opportunity to take French or Spanish, but also have the option to explore ancient Greek, German and Chinese.
School fees at Oundle for full-time boarders are £34,515 per year for Year 7, but the fee rises to £45,435 from Years 9 to 13.
Fees for Year 7 day pupils are £22,350 per year and rise to £29,370 for Years 9-13.
However, the school’s website says: ‘Oundle is built on philanthropy and we firmly believe that for well-prepared children, financial circumstances should not limit access to an Oundle education.
“We will endeavor to support any family whose child has the potential, but not the financial means, to come to Oundle.”
In addition to providing its students with a strong sense of community, the school emphasizes its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and encouraging students to be “environmentally minded.”
The picturesque school is located in the north Northamptonshire market town of Oundle and pupils mix with the town’s residents.
Oundle’s key goals include “increasing environmental awareness across our school community” and “improving energy and water efficiency.”
The school also operates a “tree management strategy” that plants three new trees for every tree removed, as well as a biodiversity campaign by planting wildflowers.
The school’s commitment to environmental sustainability may well appeal to Prince George’s conservationist father, Prince William.
The Prince and Princess of Wales are also known to champion young people’s mental health, which is another philosophy prioritized by Oundle.
The school employs a mental health lead, who leads a wellbeing team there to support students.
Oundle offers one-on-one sessions for any students who need emotional support in their Clayton Rooms, where they can also pamper Mabel the black Labrador.
The school also runs a student ministry forum, whose members are members of the Sixth Form.
The PPF focuses on the areas of gender, race, health, mental health, LGBT+ issues and neurodiversity. The school’s website says the aim of the PPF is to “ensure that voices are heard and that a spirit of open conversation is encouraged throughout the school, leading to understanding and tolerance”.
Societies students can join at school include a mindfulness group, a clothing group, and a model United Nations.
Although Prince William and Prince Harry were educated at Eton College, a short distance from Windsor Castle, it has not been confirmed whether Prince George will follow in his father and uncle’s footsteps.
He has also been linked to his mother Kate’s former school, Marlborough College, where Pippa and James Middleton were also educated.
The Mail on Sunday reported that George has already been allocated a “house” in a secure location and has been assigned a manager at the school if he eventually attends.
But there are said to be concerns that Marlborough has become “too flashy” after a rise in its popularity among ultra-rich families due to its association with the Middletons.
“The 2024 version of Marlborough may be quite different from how Kate remembers it,” a source said. “It’s become a little more jet-set. Many parents have villas in Ibiza, chalets in Verbier or a private jet, which is not Kate’s style. She prefers discreet wealth.
They added: “Kate wants a school that suits all her children and keeps them grounded.”