Abingdon News No.51

2 September 2019 The Headmaster When Will Gompertz formally opened Beech Court, he challenged us all to ‘think like an artist’. Art is about turning ideas into something tangible, into reality, and as such its lessons resound far beyond the subject of Art per se. One of the great benefits of Beech Court has been the expanded facilities for the Art department on the top floor. Art departments always have their own particular feel and style that is quite different from other disciplines, and our new facilities really benefit from the high ceilings and the gentle north-facing light that ensures our artists have the best conditions in which to work. I’ve been excited to see the work of the department developing over the course of the year and it was highlighted at the Celebration of the Arts in June, which also included poetry, film, drama and music. It was fascinating to look at pieces from younger year groups and to see them working on the techniques that will allow them to express their ideas later on while their love and appreciation of art grows. There was some fantastic work on display from our GCSE and A Level artists, some of which is featured in this issue of Abingdon News. It ranged from detailed architectural studies to abstract pieces, from portraiture to more conceptual work. As much as I enjoy seeing the boys’ final pieces, I always find it more interesting to dip into their sketchbooks to learn how they have taken inspiration from other artists, how they have responded to feedback and how they have developed and refined their ideas. These skills of review and reflection are critical to all areas of the curriculum and they are given a particularly satisfying outlet in Art. Michael Windsor, Headmaster Abingdon News Raising awareness of Mental Heath The School took delivery of a black dog, kindly provided by the charity SANE, which stood outside the cafe to act as a talking point for boys and staff during mental health awareness week. It was wonderful to see the boys talking about the black dog (some even hugging it!) as they passed by. We hope that by providing an opportunity for the school community to talk more about mental health it will help to reduce the stigma which can exist in society around people accessing the help they need. Also, dogs, like mental health conditions can be tamed; there is hope. Pond Dipping with the Abingdon Science Partnership The Science Centre’s outdoor learning spaces were put to excellent use in the Primary Schools’ Science Club with our student Science Ambassadors leading a session of pond dipping in the rill at the front of the building. Lower school boys were treated to a thought-provoking and inspiring talk from Al Sylvester who served in the Royal Air Force’s Mountain Rescue Service for over 20 years and undertook expeditions to some of the most extreme environments on the planet. His talk focused on the challenges he faced when leading the RAF’s first unsupported attempt on the Geographic South Pole and he encouraged all the boys to follow their dreams and never to think that they can’t do something. Exploring the Antarctic