Abingdon News No.49

2 January 2019 Message from the Headmaster On 9 November we welcomed Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor, for the formal opening of Beech Court, which came into use in September. It has been hugely exciting to see this project unfold over the past couple of years. Best of all has been to see how pupils and staff have settled into the new facilities and made them their own. There is a quiet hum in the Sixth Form Centre on the ground floor as students chat to one another, get on with their work with their friends around them or sit quietly on their own. The students have much easier access to our Sixth Form team now too, so teachers and advisors are immediately on hand if the boys want to discuss a university application, progress in their work or just catch up. The library on the first floor has proved hugely popular. It has some of the best views in the school, especially of the beech trees which give the building its name, perfect for giving poetic or academic inspiration! Collaborative and silent spaces mean that boys can choose the working environment that suits them best. I was particularly pleased to hear that boys are taking out more books than ever to read, with the library catering for every reading taste and predilection. Our Art department has space to breathe on the top floor and pupils have been gaining inspiration from their surroundings. It’s particularly exciting to visit the Sixth Form Studio and to sample the range and ambition of the work that our A Level artists are taking on. Another significant benefit of Beech Court is that it has opened up a number of informal ‘quiet spaces’. The school day at Abingdon is always busy and some pupils in particular benefit from time out when they can enjoy some peace. The opening of Beech Court has allowed us to undertake a significant reshuffle of departments and facilities across the whole of the school site. Mercers’ Court, the former art facilities and the Lower School Houseroom have all benefited enormously from considerable refurbishment. This has given us an environment which I hope allows all staff and pupils to give of their very best and indeed to draw inspiration from the wonderful mixture of older and modern buildings that make up the Abingdon site. Michael Windsor, Headmaster Abingdon News Lunch with the Lords Six lower sixth students enjoyed the All Party Parliamentary Engineering Group lunch at the House of Lords, engaging in conversation with lords, MPs, industry leaders and fellow students from across the country. A post-lunch question and answer session on 2018 Year of Engineering included equality in STEM subjects, studying engineering at university, and the wide range of fields engineers can work in, from railways to video games. The students had a wonderful day and were a great credit to the School. Outstanding Economics Sixth former, Sam Christie, came equal second out of 1300 entries in the Royal Economic Society’s Young Economist of the Year essay competition. Sam’s essay on GDP measurement came top of the entries on that topic. This success followed hot on the heels of second place for Sam in Cambridge University’s Marshall Society Economics Essay Competition where he wrote about optimal currency areas.