24 May 2018
This is a rather unusual time of year for the School as our normal rhythms are disrupted by the departure of year groups on study leave and public examinations.
Last Friday the Upper Sixth had their last day of formal teaching when they were welcomed into the Old Abingdonian Club and enjoyed their final Chapel service together. The leavers had selected their three all-time favourite hymns and almost lifted the roof off with the volume of their singing. Seeing them gathered in the Chapel gave me a great opportunity to reflect on the significant contribution that these pupils have made to so many different areas of school life. It is the real strength of Abingdon that pupils can achieve a balance between high levels of academic achievement and meaningful engagement in the Other Half in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support. I wish our leavers all the very best for the A Level exams and am delighted that many of them will continue their involvement in wider school life over the coming weeks, be it on the water, on the cricket pitch or through music, with our summer concert to look forward to on Thursday 28 June.
I am also experiencing a public examination season from the perspective of a parent for the first time as my daughter is tackling her GCSEs this summer. I hope this has given me an even better perspective of what the pupils – and also the parents – are going through! I hope too that the pupils continue to be able to achieve a healthy balance between revision and other activities and that they enjoy their Work Experience when they come to it once their exams are over.
I am pleased to be able to report that we have now completed our staffing for September and I am delighted that we have a strong team in place for the coming academic year. There are too many changes to list here but many parents will be aware that we have appointed Mr Southwell-Sander to the position of Partnerships Director. This reflects our growing commitment to a programme of partnerships with maintained primary and secondary schools and the wider community which is of great mutual benefit to both pupils and members of staff. We have also recruited a very strong team of Assistants to support Mrs Reading in her role as Director of Teaching and Learning. This team will help us keep focused on pedagogy and ensure that we are doing all that we can to improve pupil learning.
We also want to ensure that we provide an optimal environment in which pupils can flourish. We are moving towards completion of the Beech Court project and indeed we hope to start showing pupils round the new building towards the end of term. We are also scheduling opportunities for parents to visit in the first half of the Michaelmas term. The new building will allow a significant reshuffle of departments around the School. Work on this will start over half term.
I hope you will enjoy the many highlights of this half term – please follow the links below to find out more.
I look forward to seeing you during the many events that will take place towards the end of term but for now I wish you a very happy half term.
CCF Biennial Inspection
Race For The Line Regional Final
Moldova Project fundraising
YE teams win awards at County Final
Lower School Assistants at work
Boarders: Cinema trip
Exciting new workshops for ASP
U15A County Cricket Champions
Oxfordshire Schools’ Golf Championships
Independent Schools Football Association representation
Croquet: Portsmouth Grammar, Winchester and Radley
Athletics: Achilles Relays, Marlborough, Radley Relays, Multi Event
Cricket: Pre-season in Barbados, Reading Blue Coat & Stowe, Warwick, Cheltenham College
Rowing: Boat Club BASHER, Wallingford Regatta