Stowe Development Update

2016 has been a transformational year for our fundraising efforts. We are close to having received all our donations for the Science Building, which is now fully operational. This new building has made a noticeable impact on the School and to Science, in particular. 

Our Science Societies such as Quantum, Biomedical and Robotics have never been more popular. Students are spending more time in the building and our results continue to look incredibly encouraging. We are extremely grateful to all our donors and, of course, I would like to mention particularly our Old Stoic donors, who are always so generous towards these worthy and worthwhile projects.

We now look forward to working on the last two remaining areas in real need of regeneration, namely Design & Technology and our indoor Sports facilities. Both of these projects have fantastic cases for support and will make a significant impact on Stowe and the education it provides.

stowe-development-3Design, Technology & Engineering

We plan to add Engineering, as a discipline, into our Design & Technology building. DT has moved on from woodwork and metalwork to now being one of the most important industries in the modern world.

The iPhone that I am writing this update on is, in large part, successful due to its design. That design was, and continues to be, the brainchild of an Englishman. When you consider that the Apple store in New York is the largest grossing store per square metre in the whole of the United States, it becomes then quite easy to explain why we should invest in Design, Technology & Engineering.

Manufacturing and design has changed a great deal and is not even recognisable from the 1960s from when our building dates. Design is no longer just a paper and pencil affair, manufacturing can now be entirely automated and completely clean, using software, code, 3D printing, CNC machines and other modern techniques and materials. It is a hi-tech business which can deliver incredible results. It sits extremely well with our creative Stoics and there is currently a significant shortage of engineers and designers in the United Kingdom, suggesting a huge opportunity for us as a school and a nation to develop this further in our curriculum.


The value in offering such a wide range of sports and activities (Stowe offers 27 Olympic sports) is that it allows everyone the chance to find the Sport that they really love and which will last a lifetime. Whilst our major sports remain a key rallying point for the School, the interest in trying new sports is vast and as varied as eventing, fencing, badminton, zumba, strength and conditioning, clay pigeon shooting, squash, beagling, sailing, football, polo, indoor hockey and so on.

Exercise is well known to benefit physical and mental health. Today, when pressures are even greater for our young generation, finding a lifetime sport is essential for wellbeing. At the moment, our indoor facilities are overstretched. We do rely on our single sports hall and we now require studios and other spaces to allow multiple activities to take place at the same time.

We would also be very keen to expand our Sports Science Department which is housed in the Drayson Hall. This has become an increasingly popular subject and ties in extremely well to our investment in Science. As a contributor to the UK economy, sport is in fact larger than insurance, telecommunication services and legal services. As an industry in its own right, sport is an area worth investing in.

Maybe these Sports Scientists will combine with our Design & Technology students to come up with brand new sports technology. The other day I read that the winner of the Dyson Design Prize is a young female student from New York who, fed up with carrying a bulky bicycle helmet, has designed and manufactured a folding bicycle helmet, made out of paper, using a 3D printer – quite brilliant.

Bursaries and Scholarships

Finally, I come to Bursaries and Scholarships, which are a favourite cause to support for Old Stoics. It is a superb reflection of the great impact that these programmes make, that a number of our largest donors to this fund, were recipients of these awards when they were at Stowe. I don’t know what better endorsement it could have.

We currently have almost 230 students on an assisted place and our ability to do this comes down to gifts from you. Our fabulous legacy giving Roxburgh Society, which has its own section in this magazine, is a big supporter of Bursaries and Scholarships. We thank them very much indeed and it is incredible to see so many new members this year. Well done to Nigel Rice (Chatham 64) and Hannah Al-Anazi, Development Manager, for a tremendous year.

If you have any desire to support us in these projects, please do let us know. We have a wide community and we are always at risk of missing someone who would like to contribute. We are very grateful for all donations. Thank you very much for your support.

I hope you found this article interesting and I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can.

Ben Mercer, Development Director