5 September 2019
It’s been a great pleasure to welcome the boys back to school this week and to hear about their experiences over the summer. They seem collectively in good heart, refreshed and ready for the new school year.
I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome parents who are new to the School to the Abingdon community. I hope that your sons will be very happy at Abingdon and that you too will feel part of the community. You are very welcome to the many events that take place during the school year – fixtures, concerts, drama productions and so on – and I’d also urge you to take advantage of the great opportunities to meet other parents at events organised by ASPA (our Parents’ Association), Touchliners, the Music Society and the Friends of the Boat Club. I will look forward to getting to know you over the years ahead.
It has been a superb summer for the School with an exciting blend of achievements in the Other Half and in academic life; the hallmark of Abingdon.
We achieved some of our best-ever results in public examinations. Over 30% of A Level results were at A* and just under 70% at A* or A. Over 90% were A*-B. At GCSE, 58% of results were at 9/8 or A* and 87% at 7-9/A-A*. 44 boys in the year group achieved all their results at 9/8/A* and there were some powerful individual stories of endeavour and commitment which allowed boys to achieve results of which they can be very proud. Our new Lower Sixth have certainly established a strong platform for success at A Level. You can see more detail about academic results on the school website.
There were also some wonderful opportunities for the boys in the Other Half over the summer. These included the music tour to Japan and Hong Kong, the CCF Central Camp, the Sixth Form trip to Moldova, sailing at Cowes, shooting at Bisley, the GB rowing trials and the rugby tour to Chile and Argentina. A group of students from Abingdon and St Helen’s also took a production to the Edinburgh Fringe. I’ve received excellent reports of the boys’ conduct on all these trips; they showed themselves to be superb ambassadors for the School. I was also very pleased to see so many pupils taking part in the multi-activity and rowing camps as well as pre-season training for the rugby season.
Work has continued on site on our new building on Faringdon Road. This will be completed by the start of the next academic year in September 2020 and will include facilities for Economics/Business and Computer Science, as well as two day houserooms and a new Reception area and Porters’ Lodge. The zebra crossing on Faringdon Road to the War Memorial pitches has been completed and this will enhance the boys’ safety as they make their way across the road. They have been reminded to take care and also to exercise caution when they use the traffic lights to cross Stratton Way and go into town.
At our beginning of term assembly, I also reminded the boys of the need to use the litter bins around the site as all our rubbish is taken off site for separation and recycling. We are trying to eliminate the use of single-use plastic water bottles in school whenever possible so please encourage your son to bring in a reusable water bottle. There are plenty of water fountains around the school where they can top them up.
We have welcomed a number of new teachers to the School this term and I hope that your sons will enjoy working with them. They are:
Mr Stephen Bates – Rugby Coach
Mrs Maris Elmore – Maths
Mrs Clare Hamilton – Biology
Dr Becca Justice – English
Mr Nick Laws – Boathouse Manager/Rowing Coach
Mr Philip Lowther – Physics
Dr Glyn Meredith – Chemistry
Miss Alix Merrifield – History
Mr Harry Moulder – Physics
Mr Steven Richards – PE
Mr Callum Richardson – Economics/Business
Mrs Behnoosh Sabah – Maths
Mr James Taylor – Physics
A reminder that Mr Morgan has taken on the new role of Director of the Other Half and Mr Donnelly has taken over his day house. Mr Evans, who led the Other Half for over twenty years, has stepped back from full-time teaching but retains a role as Director of Activities.
Finally, I would like to wish you and your families all the very best for the academic year ahead. I will look forward to meeting you over the course of the year.