The service activities at Abingdon cover a wide range of initiatives from the CCF and Moldova Project to volunteering in the local community. Through a wide variety of clubs and activities, our students have the opportunity to visit the local hospital, residential homes, primary schools and charity shops. Not only can the boys take pride in helping the local community, they also learn about residents’ lives and, for our overseas students, British culture. Through our partnership programme, students work on a wide range of projects with local organisations and schools. Read more about the role of Community Service at Abingdon.
“The Baker Award” (named after retired teacher, Mr Roger Baker) represents an Abingdon School junior version of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme designed to run over the course of a boy’s time in Lower School. All Lower School boys are automatically entered for the award. There are four sections: Skill, Service, Expedition and Sport. Boys are strongly encouraged to become involved in all sections, keeping track of their participation by using a record book. Satisfactory completion leads to a certificate, presented at the end of the second year.
Biology Department Volunteers
A small number of lower school pupils can get involved in the biology department helping out with a variety of tasks. Primarily they will be involved with the routine care of the animals in the department and maintenance of the fish tanks. At certain times of year work will need to be carried out in the departmental pond and we would also be looking to set up a wildlife area somewhere on the school grounds.
The Charities Committee organises and co-ordinates the key charity events within the school and is responsible for fundraising. The pupils involved help with the selection of charities to support as well as the planning, organising and promoting of events. Pupils tend to find the work very rewarding and enjoyable.
Combined Cadet Force
CCF membership is voluntary and begins in the 3rd Year. Recruit training takes two terms and boys are expected to parade every week in uniform. Pupils are expected to commit to attending for a whole year at a time – and to keep their hair cut short and smart. The CCF is a disciplined organisation, which emphasises qualities of leadership and teamwork, common sense and responsibility.
It involves a variety of activities on Tuesday afternoon, parades and camps, exercises and field days throughout the year. At least one camp must be attended in each year, and in the first year this will be the Easter recruit camp.
Cadet training continues throughout their time with the CCF, in either the RAF or Army sections of the CCF; it involves academic work, adventurous and military training. There are opportunities to fly, shoot, take part in joint exercises, to train alongside the regular armed forces in the field, and to develop an understanding of why these forces are needed and how they operate. We are well supported and Abingdon’s CCF is highly regarded outside the School for its excellent standards. A number of cadets go on to join the armed forces as commissioned officers.
Eco Committee is open to any student with an interest in sustainability and the environment. We have worked on making Abingdon School more environmentally aware, both in its actions and through raising discussion with the rest of the students.
Students look into waste, recycling, plastic, wildlife, carbon emissions and Global Citizenship, and work with different groups within the school to try and help improve our environmental impact.
This year we organised our first ever Eco Week - including a panel discussion of local experts on the “climate emergency”.
By virtue of school membership everyone should consider themselves a part of the Environmental Service scheme. Our Environmental Service scheme seeks to increase awareness of waste recycling and energy conservation within the School and the broader community.
The third year programme is a compulsory element of the Service scheme: the aim of the 5/6 week course is to heighten awareness of our School policies and mechanisms for waste recycling and energy efficiency within the School plant.
This is suitable for any age group within the School, as part of the Lower School Wednesday afternoon programme as well as a service activity contributing towards the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme. Timing and levels of commitment are negotiable.
This would be an excellent opportunity for boys with an interest in environmental issues and architecture to make a real difference at the School. In addition, there is a pupil sub-committee of the School's Environment Committee. The aim of this committee is to coordinate specific campaigns during the year to raise the profile of environmental issues within the school. In addition, this sub-committee will aim to monitor and audit our overall programme of activity and to drive new initiatives as and when appropriate. It is an important conduit for pupils to suggest and coordinate new initiatives that could become part of school policy.
Gardening and Conservation
The School has a fruit and vegetable garden at the back of Whitefield. There will be opportunities to maintain this and develop it as a source of vegetables and summer fruits. Conservation work will takes place including maintaining a list of plant and animal species, removal of dead/decaying timber and providing management of a nature reserve.
In the weekly sessions, third and fourth year boys learn how to prepare a language lesson (French, German, Spanish or any other native language), giving each other feedback and working together. They then go to a primary school at the end of each term to teach it to a group of pupils.
At the end of a full year boys gain a Language Leader Award, which can count towards the volunteering or skills section of the DoE award. This activity will develop both your leadership skills and linguistic skills.
The Library Team is open to students interested in supporting the running of the school library, increasing their understanding of how libraries work and developing skills in library administration. Regular activities include helping prepare books for the shelves, re-shelving books, tidying the library and discussing ways of improving the library service.
Students commit for a year at a time, at the beginning of their second or third year. For 4th Years, 5th Years and Sixth Formers, the Library Team is limited to boys who have previously committed.
Most students who join the Library Team remain with as they move up the school, taking on increasing responsibility for training and managing younger members of the team and developing valuable skills in ICT, information management, marketing and problem-solving.
Since 2000, Abingdon has been supporting the work of AGAPE, a charity working with young people in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. There is an annual Sixth Form visit to Moldova to run a summer camp for disadvantaged Moldovan children. The project represents an excellent chance to learn about a culture very different from our own – and to provide support and friendship to those in real need of it.
Third Year Service and Citizenship Scheme
The Third Year Service and Citizenship Scheme was set up to help pupils to develop a broader understanding of their place in the wider community (local, national and global) and to encourage them to make an active contribution to the society in which they live. All pupils in the Third Year who are not involved in CCF participate in the scheme.
A range of different activities is available for which boys are invited to express their preferences at the beginning of the school year. They are then put into groups, which will change on a termly or half-termly basis.
In some cases boys will go out into the local community to undertake activities ranging from visiting residential homes and entertaining the residents, to offering ICT help in the Abingdon town library. In other groups boys will be acquiring life skills such as managing personal finance or touch-typing. Contemporary global issues will be covered by activities such as Environmental Service, Leadership and Politics and Citizenship.
Within the scheme, pupils will have the opportunity to do a basic First Aid course or some expedition training that will be particularly useful if they are thinking of participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in the 4th year.
With such a wide range of activities on offer, boys are able to gain experience of different aspects of service and citizenship and many choose to continue serving the community higher up the School.