Pastoral Care

Abingdon School’s pastoral care revolves around the House system. Boys are all members of a house under the care of a housemaster. Each boy also belongs to a tutor group, within each house, and meets daily with his tutor, who is the principal liaison between a boy, teachers, school and home. 

“There is a caring atmosphere throughout the school.” - ISI Inspection

Big Opportunities but Personalised Care

At Abingdon the wellbeing of the boys comes first and each student is supported by our pastoral care structure beginning with his tutor. We are proud that our staff to pupil ratio is below 1:9. Economies of scale mean that we are a school that can offer a huge range of opportunities, but we never lose sight of the individual. Tutor groups are small, but choice is varied, so the combination of the Other Half and our pastoral structures means that students can build a wide range of different relationships and can find a path that is tailored to their own interests, and they are supported to do so.


We know that there is no one single route to positive wellbeing, so at Abingdon we offer our students different opportunities and approaches so that each individual is encouraged to find the strategies that work best for them. This process is led by our Head of Wellbeing and covers our Personal Development Education programme, and talks and initiatives on Mental Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Sleep Hygiene, Stress Management, and an ongoing programme to ensure that each member of staff has undergone the Youth Mental Health First Aid course so that we can all support each other in living a healthy lifestyle.

Our Pastoral Goal

Our aspiration is for boys to leave Abingdon knowing their strengths and their weaknesses, comfortable in their own skin, and with an awareness of their responsibilities that will make them a positive contributor to society.

At Abingdon we recognise that sometimes pupils can have worries, problems and difficulties. Being a teenager has always been complicated, but now there is even more pressure on teenagers academically, socially and digitally. 

The School’s pastoral system supports boys through their time at Abingdon and key pastoral figures can usually deal with most matters of concern. Advice can be sought from Housemasters, Tutors, the School Chaplain, the school nurses, Deputy Head (Pastoral) or the Head. However, there may occasionally be circumstances when it might be preferable to talk to someone who is a specialist in counselling. Phoenix Counselling Cooperative is a group of four professional counsellors who provide Abingdon with a school counselling service. They are very experienced in their field and boys will find it very easy to talk to them. They meet in Whitefields. They can be contacted on

Outside agencies can also be contacted such as:

  • PCAMHS (Primary Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) 01235 547170
  • Oxfordshire Social Services Dept. (01865 79534)
  • Childline (0800 1111)

Further information on Abingdon’s Pastoral Care System can be obtained from the Deputy Head Pastoral
Further information on Phoenix Counselling Cooperative

The School's responsibility for Child Protection

All adults working at Abingdon should be aware of their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of every pupil, both physical and emotional, inside and outside school. This involves ensuring that pupils are protected from significant physical or emotional harm and that there is a positive commitment to ensure the satisfactory development and growth of the individual.

Everyone working at Abingdon should be aware of and should follow the school's Child Protection Guidelines, which are in line with the Department for Education's (DfE) and Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board's (OSCB) practice and procedures - available online at

The School's Child Protection policy can be downloaded from the School's policy page.

All members of the Abingdon Foundation should be aware of the challenges presented by an increasingly online world. At Abingdon we promote a holistic view of digital citizenship, incorporating it into Lower School Computing, PSHCE, our Sixth Form Mindsets programme and in tutor periods. We look at dealing with cyber bullying, plagiarism and managing your online profile.

The School’s view is that all aspects of online behaviour should mirror the high standards we expect in regular, face-to-face behaviour. As of such, the School’s anti-bullying, safeguarding and ICT policies offer procedures and advice on all aspects of eSafety. See School Policies.

The DfE has issued some very helpful guidance for parents on cyberbullying, and CEOP’s ThinkUKnow website has some excellent resources for pupils and parents.

If you have a concern and want to talk to someone there are a number of ways to get in contact.

Points of contact:

Abingdon’s Designated Safeguarding Lead -
Abingdon Whistleblower -
CEOP’s Report Centre
Childline: 0800 1111

Further advice:

Guardian article for parents on how to teach eSafety
NSPCC advice
DfE Advice

PSHCE is an important part of life at Abingdon, and aims to foster boys’ emotional growth through personal and social education within a programme that engages boys’ emotional intelligence as much as their intellect.

In Lower School, PSHCE is delivered as part of the 21st Century Legacy “Be The Best You Can Be” scheme. Boys explore subjects such as emotional intelligence, coaching, target-setting and reflective practice in fortnightly 55 minute sessions. Each year, they are also treated to an inspirational speech from an Olympic athlete to launch the course. In addition, they are also given assemblies and seminars on topics such as safe use of technology, healthy eating, anti-bullying and mental health awareness.

The importance of PSHCE at Abingdon is such that in third and fourth year, it is taught by specialist teachers in fortnightly 55 minute lessons, covering the following topics:

3rd Year

  • Wellbeing and our Values
  • British Values
  • Challenging Discrimination, Minority Visibility and LGBTQIA
  • Friendship and anti-bullying
  • Alcohol & Drugs
  • Healthy Eating
  • Love and Commitment
  • The nature of Love and Relationships
  • The Impact of our online world

We also run an SRE morning every May for third years, which in the past has included performances about sexual health from professional Theatre-in-Education companies, as well as talks about men’s health issues from the School Doctor and presentations on STI’s from visiting healthcare practitioners.

4th Year

  • Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
  • Stress Management
  • Masculinity; what it means to be a man today
  • Human Rights and Responsibilities
  • UK Government and Politics
  • Feminism
  • Sexual Harassment and Consent
  • Sex and Relationships
  • Pornography and Digital Wellbeing

In addition to these lessons, all pupils are under the guidance of a form tutor. In tutor time they will cover various topics centred around national focus weeks such as anti-bullying, mental health awareness, e-safety, homophobia awareness, and SRE. Tutors work on a number of life skills topics with their tutees, including study skills.

In the fifth year, PSHCE is delivered in weekly tutor time by tutors, focussing on the following topics that are explored via a number of learning methods, such as discussions and practical activities:

  • Body Image
  • Personal Financial Management
  • Exam Revision
  • Anxiety Management
  • Looking after our Mental Wellbeing

In the Sixth form our PDE programme continues. The Lower Sixth are taught “Mindsets” as part of their tutor periods, and the Upper Sixth have a roundabout of different life skills and PDE sessions that makes up an Enrichment Programme. Sixth Form Enrichment Programme.

The librarian works with students across all year groups to help them develop the mindset and skills necessary for information literacy, focusing on how to find, evaluate and use appropriate sources of knowledge, both for their school work and more widely. This includes timetabled lessons on Reading and Research for 1st and 2nd Years and sessions on Thinking Outside the Classroom for the Upper Sixth,​ alongside ​teaching and one-to-one consultations geared towards the requirements of particular classes, projects and students.

Finally, a number of aspects of PSHCE are also taught cross-curricularly throughout the school via weekly chapel services, through house and section assemblies and in biology lessons and religious studies. This is also underpinned by the School’s philosophy of the Other Half. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Rev’d Paul Gooding, Head of Wellbeing

Telephone: 01235 849059
Duty mobile: 07748591057

Opening hours, term time:

  • Monday to Friday 08:00 – 18:00
  • Saturday 09:00 – 17:00

The Health Centre is located on the ground floor of Whitefield next to Crescent House (Glyndowr) in the beautiful setting of Park Crescent. We have light, airy rooms should the need arise to be an inpatient. We will look after unwell or injured dayboys until their parents/carers are able to collect them.

The Health Centre is staffed by the Senior Nurse Helen Morris, her deputy Carrie Berry and three Health Care Assistants. They all have a wealth of experience and provide a professional and caring environment for the boys.

Outside of opening hours one of the team will be on call to answer any queries regarding the boarders. Should a boy be unwell out of these hours then a member of the Health Centre team will remain in the Health Centre to take care of the boy.

During winter terms the Health Centre staff are fully involved with covering sport training sessions and match day cover alongside a suitably qualified doctor or paramedic.

We need to be kept informed of any new medical issues or any changes to current treatment or medication. This allows us to maintain up to date health records and enables us to take an active interest in the boys' health.

Concussion is taken very seriously and we will follow the RFU guidelines for a graded return to sport. Boys will also be assessed weekly during this time and will have to be assessed fit for return to sport by a doctor.

All the boarders are required to register with the School GP, Dr Khan. Dr Khan works locally at the Malthouse Surgery and provides a weekly surgery in the Health Centre on Tuesdays at 8.00am. The boys can either book an appointment directly with the HC staff or ask their Matron to make one for them.

If there is more of an urgency to see Dr Khan the boys can have an appointment made at The Malthouse the day required.

We all take an active interest in health promotion and have notice boards with current issues. We are always happy to chat about any issue - large or small.

Health Centre
18 Park Crescent
OX14 1DD

Forms and guidelines: