28 March 2019

Dear Parents

As I write, the grounds are bathed in spring sunshine as the annual Road Relay comes to a close. This is always one of the highlights of the Abingdon calendar and this year was no exception as we saw a record number of teams participating on the 50th anniversary of the race. The emphasis is very much upon sport for all and it’s heartening to see students cheering one another on as they make their way around the course.

There has been so much to celebrate this term and I would like to congratulate students on their collective commitment to their studies and to the Other Half. It’s a great privilege of my role to be able to drop in and sample what our boys are up to day-by-day and I feel fortunate to be able to revel in the sheer range and diversity of life at Abingdon; be it debating or football, hockey or Young Enterprise, our students show exemplary engagement in everything that the School has to offer.

I have particularly enjoyed seeing boys committing themselves to the activities that we undertake in partnership with local primary and secondary schools. A notable example was the recent Family Science Day that took place in the Yang Science Centre as part of the ATOM Science Festival. A large number of students were involved, conducting experiments and welcoming guests. The Abingdon Science Partnership is just one part (a significant and successful one) of our growing partnership programme which this week included a Humanities day for pupils from six local primary schools. The partnership programme is overseen by Mr Southwell-Sander.

This is the season when we launch the Extended Project Qualification to lower sixth formers. This gives students the opportunity to write an extended piece of work or to produce an artefact related to their A Level studies. The focus is as much on the process as the final product and students are allocated to supervisors who guide them through to completion. I’m excited to be overseeing work in Physics and Psychology this year, which will take me some way away from my specialist subject area, but I’m looking forward to learning much more about black holes and schizophrenia, respectively.

Issues relating to climate change and sustainability have been in the news recently and I continue to work with our eco-committee to address these topics here at Abingdon. Next term we will experiment with a ‘meat-free Monday’ to highlight the impact of western high-protein diets and we are also keen to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that we use in school. We would encourage all students to bring in their own water bottle which can be topped up at one of the many water fountains around the school site. The boys have a long and busy day at school and it is important that they remain hydrated. Using their own water bottles would be an easy way to reduce the amount of waste that we generate.

There are many school trips taking place over the Easter holidays and I wish students and staff all the best with them. Of course the focus for many will be on revision. The key to success is to draw up an achievable revision timetable which allows time for relaxation and exercise alongside study – and then to stick to it. There is plenty of advice available on Firefly, including sample revision timetables. I’d also direct students and parents to a blog about revision recently written by Mrs Beynon from our Learning Support department which is available here.

It will be busy on the school campus over Easter as we get underway with the construction of a new building next to the Yang Science Centre. This building will house the Economics and Business department, as well as Computer Science, and will also provide two day houserooms. It will include a new reception area and the Second Hand Uniform Shop, providing improved access to these facilities both during the school day and out of hours. The building is scheduled for completion by September 2020 and I will ensure parents get regular updates.

You can also find updates on the new facilities and other news items on the school website. Rather than providing a long list of links to news at the end of my letters, we’ve decided to put links to news items in the weekly mailing, together with links to blogs and articles that my colleagues or I have written. You can also follow us on social media if you want more!

I’d like to finish by thanking our parents for the excellent support that you give the School in many different ways. It’s always good to catch up with you on the touchline or at concerts, productions and parents’ evenings and I’m grateful for the collective role that parents play in our community.

I wish you all the very best for Easter and I will look forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Wednesday 24 April.

Best wishes

Michael Windsor

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