Covid-19 Information for Parents | Abingdon Prep School

Our first priority is the safety of all those in the Abingdon Prep community and we have put in place appropriate measures in order to operate safely.

The situation is dynamic and the guidance we are able to give parents is often dependent on the information we receive from the government. We will update this page and notify parents when further details become available.


Music update 7 October 2020

APS VMT lessons from Monday 12 October

One-to-one music lessons

Following the end-of-September review mentioned in the Q&A to parents at the beginning of September, one-to-one music lesson arrangements have been amended, and I am pleased to announce that some lessons will, for now, happen face-to-face on site, while others will continue on Zoom.

In deciding which lessons will be taught by the teacher in one of our music rooms, we have needed to consider the size of the music rooms, the instrument and ensemble activities offered by the visiting music teachers (VMTs), as well as their personal circumstances.

As part of these considerations, for the APS site it has been decided that brass, woodwind and singing lessons will continue remotely for the time being. This decision has been made with consideration for the wellbeing and health and safety of our pupils and staff, is based on current government guidance and recommendations of social distancing for these disciplines, and will be regularly reviewed on a go-forward basis.

It has also been agreed, for safeguarding and health and safety reasons, that lessons for pupils in the Pre-Prep (Year 2 and below) will remain remote for the time being. We continue to work hard to enable all pupils to have lessons in school, and our procedures will continue to be reviewed.

As always, all music arrangements will be subject to review if the situation changes and different measures are needed to be implemented.

Precautions for face to face lessons:

  • Pupils must wash their hands before the lessons.
  • It is recommended that pupils wear a face covering for all VMT lessons.
  • Pupils must wait outside the practice room and await the VMT’s permission to enter.
  • During the lessons the teacher will wear a face covering.
  • Perspex floor-standing screens will be provided in rooms where necessary.
  • Only rooms which allow for adequate distancing can be used for face to face instrumental teaching.
  • Pupils should wash their hands after the lesson before returning to class.
  • Teachers will clean equipment after each lesson.

Further information, including more specific information on internal protocols will be communicated to parents directly.

If you have any issues you wish to raise, please contact:

Sean Fitzpatrick, Director of Music 

PHE guide for parents 24 September 2020

Public Health England has issued a guide to help parents and carers know when and how to book a test for Covid-19 for their child. The guide, linked below, also gives advice on what to do if a child tests positive or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

We have also been asked the following additional questions which are answered below:

Q: My child is self-isolating because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive but he has no symptoms and has had a negative Covid-19 test. Can he come back to school?

A: Your son will not be able to return to school. He has to complete the 14 days self-isolation as there is still the slight possibility that he could develop symptoms after the test was taken. Please follow this link for clarification:

Q: If the School tells me to isolate, is that the same as NHS Track and Trace – or is it just optional? Will I be fined if I ignore the School’s advice?

A: If someone goes against the School’s advice to self isolate then the school is obliged to inform PHE as a matter of protecting the health of the public. The School can give the details of the person/parent refusing to follow advice and PHE will then contact that person and it is at that stage that it can be legally enforced.

Q: What is a ‘cold’ cough and what is a ‘Covid’ cough?

A: Please refer to the PHE guidance below which outlines Covid symptoms as opposed to cold symptoms.


Read the guide

NHS Test and Trace - letter to parents 23 September

The following letter is from NHS Test and Trace



23 September 2020

Dear parents and guardians,

This is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest way possible.
One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
Therefore, I ask that you all follow these principles:

▪ You should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus symptoms:

1. a high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature)
2. a new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
3. a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal

▪ Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.

▪ If you are unsure about whether to get a test, please check the official list of symptoms on the NHS website, which is reviewed regularly:

▪ Only the person with symptoms should get a test. You do not need to get a test for anyone else in the household unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. All members of the household need to self-isolate whilst waiting for the test result.

▪ If the person with symptoms’ test comes back positive, other members of their household should continue self-isolating for 14 days and only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms.

▪ If a pupil in a class or bubble tests positive for coronavirus, anyone who is advised to self-isolate does not require a test unless they subsequently develop symptoms.

No one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any action unless advised by the school. Schools have detailed guidance and access to a Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.

Contacts of a person who has tested positive must follow the guidance carefully and in full, which means they must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected. Students should only book a test if they get symptoms.

The NHS has produced some guidance to help parents understand when their child can and cannot attend school which you may find useful:

It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make this possible.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Viv Bennett CBE
Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and Early Years | Public Health England
Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery
Follow me on Twitter: @VivJBennett

Dr Susan Hopkins
Interim Chief Medical Officer | NHS Test & Trace
Deputy Director | Public Health England
Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology
Royal Free, London

APS Q&A for parents 21 August 2020

We hope that the following Q&A will answer many of the questions that parents have about returning to the Prep School for the Autumn term. We will update this document if the government or the School’s own guidance changes and we will notify parents that the document has been updated. Any further queries should be emailed to the Headmaster at

Download the Q&A for parents

Minibus service update 21 August 2020

Abingdon Prep Minibus Service – update regarding September 2020

After much planning and work on how best to safely operate our minibus service in September, I am pleased to say that we will be running a fully operational service. There will be additional cleaning taking place on the minibuses and we are asking for all boys to wear a face covering when undertaking a journey. There will be a seating plan in operation and boys will need to sanitise their hands before embarking. Sanitiser will be available on the minibus. We would also ask that parents ensure that face coverings are well-fitted before the boys get onto the bus and that they have washed their hands before leaving the house.

The same procedures will be in place before the boys embark on the minibuses from school. The drivers will have a plastic screen in place between the passenger area and the driver’s area. The JBS (Joint Bus Service) will be sending out confirmation timings for all the routes to those of you who have signed up via the JBS website. If you are still keen to utilise the service, then please do sign up via the JBS website where details on routes and timings are available.

School uniform update 21 August 2020

For September, boys should come to school each day in the following:

Pre-Prep (Reception, Year 1 & Year 2)
Summer uniform – grey shorts, navy polo shirt, teal sweatshirt, grey socks
Navy shorts, white APS t-shirt, white socks (stored in the front pocket of your son’s bag)
Black outdoor shoes to come to school in and white, non-marking plimsolls in your son’s rucksack

Years 3 to 8
Either white PE shorts or blue games shorts
Either white APS PE t-shirt or rugby/football top
Tracksuit (this may not be needed but should be in your son’s bag in case he gets cold)

Uniform will be reviewed at the end of September and parents will be given sufficient notice of any transition to more regular uniform requirements.

Music update 21 August 2020

Please follow this link for information from the Music department regarding music for the Michaelmas term.

Reopening risk assessment 1 September 2020

This risk assessment is for the phased reopening of the school on 8 September 2020.

Download the reopening risk assessment