11 Sep 2020

WEEKLY MAILING

This week’s mailing is:

Letters:

Notices:

From the Headmaster to all parents: 

Dear Parents

It has been wonderful to have the boys back in school with us this week. My colleagues and I have enjoyed the sights and sounds of them enjoying life in school together. I became quite emotional earlier this week at even routine sounds like the clatter of rugby studs on the bricks outside or the tones of a pianist practising his scales. (You will be relieved to know that I have now recovered my British reserve and sangfroid.) Collectively the boys have embraced the challenges of the new school year and give the impression of settling rapidly into their routines.

Our new boarders are also settling into their new home with us and are enjoying their time together in the evenings, with their first weekend on site to look forward to.

I have enjoyed talking to the boys around the school and seeing them getting stuck into their academic work. One 1st Year boy told me that the highlight of his day had been his supervised prep session as he’d loved doing his homework. Long may this continue…

The boys have also made a good start on their Other Half activities. Although there has had to be some adjustment to the programme in the light of the pandemic, there is still a wide range of activities available to the boys and tutors will be encouraging them to develop a balanced approach to school life that allows them to enjoy academic life alongside the other opportunities that we offer for personal development.

As we reach the end of the first week, I suspect that some boys may be feeling a bit fatigued, having got out of the habit over the last six months of early starts, coach journeys and so on. I hope that the weekend will offer them some time to recover but I would want to reiterate that we are of course here to help and support the boys. I hope parents will not hesitate to get in touch with their son’s tutor or Housemaster if they have any early concerns. Please do not keep these to yourselves as I am confident that we can address them and improve matters.

I hope that you too are able to have some downtime over the weekend. We look forward to next week!

Best wishes, Mike Windsor

For Parents of 5th Year Pupils: Morrisby Aspirations Programme – IMPORTANT INFORMATION

You will have previously received an email about the Morrisby Aspirations career profiling programme, designed and delivered by the Morrisby Organisation. This Programme is operated by Abingdon at a cost to parents and on an opt-out basis. The cost for a 5th Year pupil to participate is £85 (including VAT), which will be charged via your next school bill.  To read more about the Morrisby Aspirations Programme, go to the bottom of this web page: https://www.abingdon.org.uk/academic/career-guidance. If you do not wish for your son to participate in this Programme, you may opt-out. To opt-out, a parent or guardian must email Michael Triff at michael.triff@abingdon.org.uk no later than midnight on Friday 18 September 2020; otherwise, your son will be enrolled automatically in the Programme and the £85 charge will be made. We regret that refunds will not be possible after this date.

Summer Reading Challenge

If your son has completed the Summer Reading Challenge, he can hand in his form to his English teacher this week to receive a prize. Here is a copy of the Reading Challenge grid for anyone who needs it.

From the Head of Wellbeing

Dear parents, I hope your sons have had a great start to the school year. I would encourage you to follow our Wellbeing Twitter feed @Ab_Wellbeing and take time to read this very helpful guide about talking tips for parents which are produced by the Anna Freud Centre. Very best wishes for the start of term, Paul Gooding (Head of Wellbeing).

Saturday Sporting Offering

Each sport normally has a wide range of fixture opportunities across the academic year against other schools but whilst we are maintaining our Abingdon ‘Year Group Bubbles’ we feel that this is not possible.

Saturday fixtures not only provide a specific focus to the boys but also allow them to build team spirit, resilience and develop their leadership skills.  As such we feel that the culture of representing the School at weekends is vitally important, so this half term we will be running ‘Year Group Bubble’ internal competitive fixtures in both Rugby and Cricket each weekend.

In order to facilitate two sports across 7 different ‘bubbles’ we are alternating the offering each week as shown below.

Year group saturday 19 september saturday 26 september saturday 3 october saturday 10 october
1st Year Cricket Rugby Cricket Rugby
2nd Year Cricket Rugby Cricket Rugby
3rd Year Rugby Cricket Rugby Cricket
4th Year Cricket Rugby Cricket Rugby
5th Year Cricket Rugby Cricket Rugby
Lower 6th Rugby Cricket Rugby Cricket
Upper 6th Rugby Cricket Rugby Cricket

Boys can choose to participate in just one sport, both sports or no Saturday sport; however we do hope that they will develop the life skills mentioned above as well as enjoyment in the Saturday Sport offering this half term.

For both sports we will group boys into teams for each Saturday and play a recognised competitive form of either Rugby or Cricket as set out by the relevant National Governing Body.  At present this will be a T20 style game for Cricket with a focus on all boys batting and bowling; whilst for Rugby it will be the RFU’s Ready4Rugby game.

Your son will receive a sign up form via e-mail later today and I encourage you to discuss the Saturdays with him before he completes the form.  The deadline for making his choices is Monday 14 September at 5pm.

Concussion in Sport

Concussion is something that we are all very sensitive about and we want to ensure we follow the best possible practice. Please follow the link to the RFU website so that you can familiarise yourself with the suggested protocol and perhaps take the online parent course in support of your son. We do need to highlight one very important point, especially for day boys.  In case of a head injury please ensure the following steps are undertaken:

If a boy sustains a head injury during a sporting activity they will be seen by a member of the Health Centre for assessment.  If a concussion has occurred, the boy will be off games for a minimum of 23 days. During this period they will follow a graduated return to play programme and this will include being reviewed by the school nurses at week 1 and week 2.  Before being allowed to return to full ‘contact’ sport, they need to be reviewed by a doctor to confirm they are fit to play – this can either be with your own GP or the Sports Doctor in the school Health Centre.  Please note, if the boy is to be reviewed by their own GP, please ensure the GP is happy to provide this service; occasionally the GP surgery may charge you for this service.

Mouthguard Fittings

We have delayed this year’s mouthguard fittings until later this term due to the limitations of dentists.  We will not start ‘contact’ training until we have provided either an in-house dentist fitting or approved OPRO at home impression kits to boys.

Off-Games Procedure

Boys who are unable to participate, because they are ‘off games’, must excuse themselves in advance. Boys must present an ‘off games’ note/letter from parents or the Health Centre to the member of staff i/c their activity, by lunchtime on the day of the activity. Alternatively, the pupil should report to the member of staff at the start of the activity to excuse themselves in person. Sending a message via other pupils is not acceptable. All boys, who are able to do so, should attend the training session in order to pick up coaching points and so that the coach has an opportunity to talk to the boys about their injury.

If the pupil has a medical note or advice from a medical professional regarding the rehabilitation process, please send in a copy of this note so that the School can play an active role through use of the Fitness Suite equipment positioned outside or by maintaining fitness through participation in an alternative activity. If you have any queries in this regard please contact the Director of Sport & PE, Pete Bignell.

Music:

  • Music Concerts and Events this term
    Parents are warmly invited to look at the music calendar. In line with our Covid-19 policies, parents will see that we are not allowing audiences to come into school – instead, we are currently investigating the best way to film and stream our events to be made available to watch online. We will be posting information on how to view these events in subsequent weekly mailings, or please check www.ameytheatre.co.uk for any updated information.  We plan to record some festive music with various ensembles and choirs for a Christmas Celebration Concert.
  • Music Ensembles and Choirs this term
    Parents may already be aware that we have reorganised much of our ensemble work in line with the Abingdon Foundation Guidance for Music and we have explained this to the boys. This means that the following ensembles involving mixed year groups have been postponed – House Singing, Senior Wind, Brass and Big Bands and 2nd Orchestra. Instead we have organised for 3rd year and 4th Year Bubble orchestras, both meeting on Fridays. A Summary of Other Half Music is attached – they will be rehearsing with strict guidance in sectionals and with social distancing etc.
  • Music Lessons are to be given in school – remotely by zoom
    Parents will be aware that, apart from the music lessons given by Head of Strings (Mariette Pringle) and Head of Piano (Lynette Stulting), all other music lessons are going to be given by Visiting Music Teachers by zoom in rooms allocated for year group bubbles in the music school. This means that the boys will need to bring their instrument and their device to the Music School in good time for their lesson so that they can find the designated room, set up their instrument and device and be ready for a lesson with their teacher. This has been explained to the boys carefully, as well as how to find their music lesson time and day on Firefly. It would be no bad idea for parents to ask their sons to explain to them how this is working! Music Lesson timetables will be devised and ready to view by the end of the week and music lessons start from next Monday 14 September.

Abingdon Box Office:

While the Amey Theatre remains closed, please visit our ‘Arts in Lockdown’ page for up-to-date information on where to watch performances online.

News from the Week:

Food Menu for the coming week – Week 2

School Calendar

Please continue to consult the School Calendar for up to date information.

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.