13 February 2020

Dear Parents

The first half of term has been packed with highlights, including two tremendous joint drama productions with St Helen’s, some outstanding sporting performances and evidence of great commitment and focus in academic work. Do have a look at the news pages on our website to get an insight into what the school community has been up to.

Giving Day

After half term we are looking forward to our first ever 24-hour Giving Day on 18-19 March. This is a digital fundraising and awareness campaign in support of the Abingdon Bursaries Fund. We are one of the first UK schools to do this and I hope as many of our community as possible will participate. Abingdon has a long tradition of offering free and assisted places and we want to continue to broaden access to the School to as many pupils as possible.

We have set ourselves an ambitious target of raising £3m for bursaries by 2025 and our Giving Day is the first initiative in our campaign. Ahead of Giving Day, I would encourage you to start following the Abingdon Twitter accounts (@abingdonschool and @abingdon_head) and keep an eye out for more information closer to the day. Further information as posted on Weekly Mailing is here.

Coronavirus update

We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are following the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Public Health England (PHE), the Department of Health & Social Care and the school doctor.

We have advised our boarding community not to return to China and other affected areas during half term. We have also suspended all visits to the school for prospective parents travelling from these areas, unless they are outside the 14-day quarantine period. The situation is dynamic and we urge parents to follow the travel advice given by the FCO and the Department of Health & Social Care.

We ask any parents who have travelled to the UK from China or other affected areas not to have direct contact with their sons until they have been in the UK for at least 14 days and remain free of any symptoms of the coronavirus. Boys who are in direct contact with people from affected areas are asked to take a period of quarantine in which the boy would not be allowed back to school. The quarantine would be the responsibility of the family to organise and not something the School could undertake. Materials will be available via Firefly so that pupils will be able to continue with their learning.

We would remind parents and guardians that boys should not return to school at the end of half term (or at the end of any holiday period throughout the year) if they are feeling unwell. We would advise general hygiene precautions at all times, such as using tissues and washing hands regularly.

Looking ahead to the Easter holidays, we advise families planning to travel that restrictions are very likely to still be in place and periods of quarantine may be needed. We cannot say for certain at this stage, but parents of boarders who live in affected areas should assume that restrictions may prevent their sons travelling home over the Easter holidays, and begin to make contingency plans with guardians accordingly.

I appreciate the added complications that may be caused to Abingdon families by these measures and am grateful for your ongoing support. The wellbeing of the whole school community is our priority and we will ensure that all our pupils are appropriately supported and cared for.

We will continue to monitor the situation and are taking a proactive approach to what is a complex and ever-changing picture. We will continue to update the Abingdon community over the coming weeks.

Faringdon Lodge

Despite Storm Ciara, work on the new building on Faringdon Road remains on track for completion by the end of the academic year. We look forward to showing parents in September our new facilities for Economics and Business, and Computer Science, as well as new houserooms for O’Doherty’s and Donnelly’s. The new building will also house a new reception area and the Second Hand Uniform Shop.

Abingdon Prep School

We were delighted that we recently received planning permission for development of our teaching facilities at Abingdon Prep School. This will provide a specialist music school, a second science lab, improved facilities for CDT and much more. Further information about the new development is available here.

I’d like to congratulate the boys on all their hard work so far this term. The mornings and evenings are (finally) beginning to look lighter and there is lots to look forward to in the second half of term.

I hope all the boys who are out on trips over half term enjoy their time away and I will look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Monday 24 February.

Best wishes

Michael Windsor

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