what are college sundays (parade sundays)?

College Sundays are held once a month.  The day starts at 10am with an hour-long Service in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel.  The Service includes a Sermon delivered by a guest preacher and on some occasions there is also an opportunity to receive Communion.  After the Service, there is a Parade which involves all pupils in Form 3 up until the Upper Sixth and finishes at 12.20pm.  The pupils take pride in their appearance, wearing their No 1s uniform (double-breasted black jacket with two rows of four Royal Navy brass buttons, black trousers, white shirt and black tie, peaked cap and black leather shoes) whilst marching.

we heard you march at pangbourne - why do you do this?

Marching is a key feature of College Sundays and is a way of retaining links to Pangbourne’s past and marking its traditions as a nautical college.

what does the marching look like?

There is a Guest of Honour who goes along the ranks and watches the drill part of the marching whilst the Marching Band plays.  College Sundays are great showpiece events for Pangbourne’s talented musicians to get involved with the Marching Band which is led by a student.  The Parades are a great spectacle and it is a chance for Pangbournians to show the pride and sense of belonging they have in their school and surroundings.

what's so special about the marching?

The students enjoy the competitive element of marching and competing against their fellow Divisions (Houses) with the girls teaming up with their brother Divisions. 

Nearly all pupils join Pangbourne, having never marched or put on a formal uniform before and they soon relish the competitive nature of the marches and vying for the Parade Cup (awarded to the Division which has accrued the most points for their Parade etiquette), which is presented at the end of the year.

It teaches students about personal appearance, self-discipline, looking out for each other and moving beyond the individual.  They learn to take pride in their appearance and understand how to work together in a team, all in the spirit of fun and good-natured competition.  It’s another chance for Sixth Formers to take on leadership roles within their Divisions and is a great spectacle for all to perform in.

what do the students think of the marching?

“I like the marching.  It’s different.  It’s quite an unusual thing to do at the school but it’s exciting and, as well as the parades, I enjoy the performance aspect of it all.”

Scarlett Mettawa

Form 4 Full-Boarder, St. George

“The marching breeds a competitive spirit and cohesiveness – it’s not something where you can just rely on a few individuals.  It is all or nothing.  It adds to the identity of the College.  It helps in terms of responsibility and is a chance for Sixth Formers to show leadership.  It’s mostly up to the Sixth Form to make sure shoes are polished and everything is in order for the marching.”

Louis Ingrams, Harbinger

Lower Sixth Part-Boarder

“I think it’s a good thing because we march together which is good for co-operation and team building.”

Petra Oslovicova, Illawarra

Lower Sixth Full-Boarder

how many parents come along to the college sundays and how do they get   involved?

On average, between 250-300 parents attend each College Sunday!  Around double that figure attend the first College Sunday of the academic year, the Remembrance Sunday Service and Founders’ Day (which commemorates the end of the academic year in a fitting finale ceremony).

The great thing about the regular programme of College Sundays (Parade Sundays) is that it’s an opportunity for families to congregate.  They do this on a regular basis and the Parade Ground is nearly always full.  It is also a time for parents to meet together socially and attend the popular after parade drinks in their children’s Division.

A unique aspect of being a Pangbourne parent is that there are constant social interactions between fellow parents in the Divisions.  Parents are invited to Divisional competitions, Divisional dinners, sporting fixtures and concerts, as part of a thriving social sphere and this has led to the creation of the POPs (Parents of Old Pangbournians) organisation.

Parents and guardians can attend the Chapel Service and gather in the Mess Hall (Dining Hall) after the Service for tea, coffee and cake which is a good chance for them to socialise with one another.  With staff attending the College Sunday, parents and guardians can talk to the academic and Divisional teachers about the progress of their child.  It’s an informal way to see their children again.

On a College Sunday, parents of children in the Divisions (Houses) are invited to Divisional drinks. There’s a lovely community feel with groups of Pangbourne parents often meeting up in the village afterwards.

what is the everyday uniform worn by students? 

No other school in the UK has the privilege of wearing Royal Naval officer cadet uniform, and pupils wear it every day with pride.  Day-to-day clothing is known as No 2s and consists of black trousers or a black skirt, a blue shirt and a blue jumper.

The uniform is practical and comfortable.  The uniform is smart, yet sensible, for pupils of all ages.

what is the pops organisation?

Not only does Pangbourne have an alumni society (Old Pangbournians) but the College has an active POPs (Parents of Old Pangbournians) organisation.  POPs was set up by a parent, Mrs Lynne Michael, whose son attended Pangbourne and developed great friendships whilst he was here. 

POPs was set up as a way of parents keeping in contact with other parents with whom they had formed good friendships with.  The organisation is a way for POPs to get together to network and talk about Pangbourne.  POPs are invited to College events such as concerts, sporting fixtures and College Sundays, reinforcing the family atmosphere at Pangbourne.

how often can boarders go home at term time?

Boarders have the flexibility to go home for the night through parents and guardians communicating with their Housemasters/mistresses.  

what is the house system?

There are six Divisions (Houses) – four boys’ and two girls’ – for pupils in Form 3 through to the Upper Sixth.  All pupils are assigned to a Division where students in all age groups mix freely.  Pupils in Form 1 and 2 are split into Watches (Houses) in the Junior House (Dunbar).