Pangbourne is a small, modern co-educational boarding school which maintains links to its past as a naval college through parading and ceremonial traditions. Students in Form 3 and above perform parades and this quirky aspect of Pangbourne life is a much-loved activity enjoyed by pupils, staff and the wider community alike.
Parade Sundays are held once a month with pupils dressed in 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) and coming together to march.
The monthly parades throughout the year culminate in Founders' Day which brings together the entire College community, including family, friends, Old Pangbournians, Parents of Old Pangbournians and local dignitaries, to commemorate the end of the academic year and to mark the final day of the Upper Sixth at Pangbourne.
The best of Pangbourne is showcased on Founders' Day with the community acknowledging the College's heritage and nautical traditions – specifically, its two founders, Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, who opened the school in 1917, and Sir Philip Devitt.
The parades develop confidence and self-discipline in the students who learn about teamwork and leadership in the process, as well as a completely new skill. Parade Sundays and Founders' Day engender community spirit with pupils, parents and staff coming together, and this enables a family feel to proceedings.
When marching in the parades, the students have to work together and be aware of everyone around them so they march in time. Pangbournians show their pride through their performance and the care they take in ensuring their No 1s uniform is immaculate for inspection by the Guest of Honour for Parade Sundays.
The performance aspect of the parades gives students the confidence to stand up and be counted in front of large crowds. The occasions bring a great buzz to Pangbourne and it is a chance for Pangbournians to show the pride and sense of belonging they have in their school and surroundings.
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.