10 Jan 2020


This week’s mailing is:



Allergies – nut allergies

Please can you talk to your children about the food they eat, and take on to the school buses. Can you remind them that they need to be very aware that there are pupils at both SHSK and Abingdon with allergies, particularly nut allergies, which could potentially lead to a life threatening reaction. ALL pupils need to be mindful of that. This is relevant to the Joint Bus Service, weekend fixtures, and trips. Many thanks.

Summer 2020 GCSE and GCE Exam Timetables

The Summer 2020 Exam Timetables have now been published on the website along with JCQ & CIE Exam Notices.  Please be aware that these are correct timetables as is and any clashes shown are yet to be resolved. Also your son’s personal timetable has now been released via the parent portal: however, it will be subject to change due to clashes (yet to be resolved) and access arrangements. All candidates will receive a personalised exam pack after the February half-term break. All candidates must be available on Wednesday 24 June as this is the JCQ Contingency day for GCSE and/or GCE examinations should sustained national or local disruption arise during the June 2020 examination series (GCSE, GCE, June 2020).

1870–2020: A Celebration of 150 Years at Albert Park

To commemorate this anniversary, which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Royal Mail’s first postcard, we will be printing a new School postcard which will be used as School stationery.  We are inviting pupils, parents, OAs, staff and friends of the School to submit a postcard entry inspired by Big School and its surroundings.  The winner will receive a £50 voucher and be announced in the Headmaster’s assembly at the start of the summer term.  Entries must be A4, and are to be submitted to the Old Abingdonian Club Office, Abingdon School, Park Road, Abingdon, OX14 1DE or digitally to [email protected]. Closing date for entries is Friday 27 March. More details here.

6th Form Parents: Gap Year Advice Evening, Thursday 16 January, 6:30-8:00pm, St Helen and St Katharine

Is your son thinking – even remotely – about taking a Gap Year? If he is, this is an event he and you will not want to miss. Abingdon School and St Helen and St Katharine School are co-hosting a Gap Year Advice Evening on Thursday 16 January 2020, 6:30 to 8:00pm at SHSK. The event will feature a 20-minute presentation about what is involved in planning and managing a Gap Year. This will be followed by a 45-minute panel discussion featuring five alumni from Abingdon School and SHSK who took gap years, and then a 20- minute Q&A session with the panel.  Please book online. Parents welcome. Note: Students can download (from the Gap Year page of Firefly) the Abingdon School Gap Year Guide, which is intended to help them think carefully through all the considerations involved in electing, planning, and managing a Gap Year.

5th Year Parents: Summer Work Experience Placements

If your 5th year son has already applied for, and even secured, a summer work experience placement, please praise him for his initiative! The ‘early bird catches the worm’ when it comes to work experience, especially at employers with popular work experience schemes. If your son has not yet applied for a summer work experience placement, please encourage him to do so…and soon. There is a special 5th Year Work Experience Scheme page on Firefly (the pupil intranet) with a list of employers who offer placements and links to application information. Most summer work experience schemes have application deadlines in January or February, so time is of the essence. Of course, your son can also approach employers of interest who don’t offer a formal work experience scheme but may be happy to host a placement from time to time.  Parents are strongly advised to download from this web page a checklist of things to consider when preparing for their son’s work experience placement. Your support and encouragement is very much appreciated. Michael Triff, Head of Career Guidance.

All Parents: Volunteer Career Representatives needed for Abingdon Careers Convention, Friday 13 March 2020, Our Lady’s Abingdon

Michael Triff, Head of Career Guidance, is still looking for parent volunteers in several key career areas for the upcoming Abingdon Independent Schools’ Careers Convention in March.  If you work in one of these career areas, and can volunteer as a career representative at the event (6:00pm-9:30pm), he would love to hear from you: Business (Operational Roles), Charities/NGOs, Education (Primary), Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical), Financial Services (Investment Management, Commercial Banking, Private Equity/VC), Health Care (Nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatry), Social Care, Psychology, Legal Services (Barrister Chambers), Property (Architecture, Agency, Planning, Construction), Scientific Research (all areas), Policing and Intelligence Services, Government/Civil Service, Media (Journalism – Print and Broadcast), Sports Organisations, Information Technology (Hardware, Website Development, Services/Networks), Tourism and Leisure (Hospitality, Site Management). Please register your interest online as soon as possible. Thank you!

Parents’ Prayer Meeting

The next meeting of the joint Abingdon/SHSK parents’ prayer group will take place on Thursday 16 January at 7.45pm. It will be held at the home of Kevin and Catherine Mentzel, Ragstone Barn, Faringdon Road, Abingdon OX13 6LL.


This term is a very busy one for our musicians. The Lent Term Music Calendar gives up to date information about our plans.  Please make a note in your diaries of the following highlights – all are events at which you will be most welcome.

  • Inter-School Charity Concert – Care across Continents – Wednesday 5 February at 7.30pm at St Michael’s, Lonsdale Road, Summertown, Oxford. Alongside several schools, including St Edward’s, Cherwell and others, Abingdon will be represented by two of our senior ensembles – the Senior Piano Quartet and Brass Quintets. This should be a wonderful and inspiring event raising funds to support refugees in Africa. Please see the poster and come and cheer them on! Please note that tickets need to be purchased in advance using this link (tickets are not available at the door).
  • Martin Speake International Jazz Quartet Concert – Monday 24 February at 8pm. This is an amazing opportunity to hear outstanding jazz of the quality to be found in London’s Ronnie Scott’s, but on our own patch! It should be a must for all our jazzers and is strongly recommended for all. Please share the poster with your friends and buy your tickets online using this link.
  • Annual Chamber Music Concert – Wednesday 26 February at 6pm in the Amey Theatre. The concert will feature a number of our chamber ensembles across all the instrument families, particularly strings. Admission is free and we’ll be really glad to see you!
  • Music Society Singers’ Opera Masterclass and Workshop with Richard Burkhard – Wednesday 11 March at 6pm in the Amey Theatre. This is the second time we have hosted Abingdon parent and international opera singer, Richard Burkhard. He will work on several opera scenes, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, giving our senior singers all the benefit of his experience as an opera singer. Please join us – admission is free.
  • Spring Concert – Thursday 19 March at 7pm in the Amey Theatre. This, our main concert of the term, will feature our senior orchestras and bands in a range of repertoire, including Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 with Upper Sixth soloist, David Bicarregui. Please purchase your tickets from the school’s website in advance.
  • Annual School Choirs Evening in the Chapel – Thursday 26 March at 7pm in the Amey Theatre. This, our last concert of the term, features about an hour’s music making from our senior choirs, led by Adam Treadaway and Jason Preece – Chapel, Gospel, Joint Chamber Choirs and the Abingdon Academicals. Do, please, join us.
  • Alexander Technique lessons in the Music Department at Abingdon – We are delighted to have the services of an Alexander Technique teacher at Abingdon School. Cathie Kidger has already worked her magic with several of our senior musicians in reducing their physical stress and improved posture and we hope that other musicians will wish to benefit from her teaching, which is offered on the same basis as other music lessons. Please read more on the attached link and if you wish to request lessons please contact the Director of Music on [email protected]

Reminder – Sport priority on a Saturday

In planning for this term, please observe this extract from the Parents’ Handbook:

Boys are expected to be available for matches against other schools unless specific permission has been sought from and granted by the Headmaster. Any request should be made well in advance, at least one week before the fixture and copied to the Director of Sport and PE, Pete Bignell. Abingdon has a strong tradition of participating in interschool fixtures across the age ranges. In recent years we have strengthened our fixture list, and been more ambitious in the schools we have been playing, and we are putting out more teams. Please avoid asking for leave of absence. We are keen the boys practise and play together, that the boys develop an allegiance to the School, and that our opponents have the best opposition we can provide.

Reminder – Saturday Bus Times

Timings of Saturday School buses are the same as last term.

Abingdon News 

The latest issue of the School’s termly magazine, Abingdon News, January 2020 edition No. 52 is now available to view online.  Hard copies of the magazine will be given to boys in the First to Third Years to take home and sent to boarders’ parents. Boys in Year 4 and above no longer receive hard copies but boys and their families can use the link above to view the magazine.  If you would rather receive a hard copy then boys can collect one from outside Common Room or in Beech Court.  Any feedback is always welcome to [email protected]

ASPA Lower School Parents’ Burns Night Reminder – Saturday 25 January 2020

Tickets are now on sale for the Lower School Parents’ Burns Night.  All details including menu, timings and how to book tickets can be found here.

Health Centre 

Please can parents ensure that the Health Centre is kept up to date with any changes to your son’s health. This is especially important following a holiday period so that we can update our records accordingly.  Boys with medication: all boys who carry any form of medication on them e.g. inhalers for asthma, Epipens must ensure that it is clearly labelled with their name and is still in date.

Abingdon Box Office:

ROH Live: The Sleeping Beauty – 7.15pm, Thursday 16 January

Abingdon & St Helen’s Present: King Charles III – 7pm, Wednesday 29 – Friday 31 January

Latest School Blog – New year, new me. Set goals but learn to love the process.

By Elliot Birkbeck, Teacher of Physical Education.  The start of term and the New Year sees many of us setting goals to achieve in the coming months but the latest blog from Elliot Birkbeck asks us to consider the process not just the target – interesting reading for all.

News from the Week:

Food menu for the coming week – Week 2

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.

For forthcoming events, here is the link to the School Calendar.