13 Mar 2020


This week’s mailing is:



COVID-19 update to parents (13/3/20)

I am writing with a further update about the situation regarding the Coronavirus. I am aware that this is an anxious time for many members of our community. We will continue to do what we can to protect the welfare of everyone in school.

We are monitoring advice from Public Health England carefully and will continue to update parents via the Weekly Mailing in the first instance and via email if required. As I am sure you are aware, the Government advice is that schools should remain open and so, despite the unusual circumstances, we aim to keep the School running as normally as possible.

Families are asked to contact NHS 111 online if they have any health concerns. Boys should not be in school if they are feeling unwell and we ask parents to follow the normal procedures for reporting absence. We continue to reinforce the message around school about the need for good hygiene and regular hand-washing.

As the Government has moved its response to the Coronavirus to the ‘delay’ phase, the School has decided to put a number of measures in place that will limit the number of interactions members of the school community will have with those outside that community. Thus, from Monday 16 March until the end of term:

  • The School will be closed to visits that may lead to more than five visitors congregating in a space, such as partnership events. Parental events such as concerts and sports club dinners will be postponed;
  • Outdoor events will continue to take place, including away fixtures, but boys and staff will be instructed to avoid opportunities for sustained contact with people outside the school community, such as match teas, meals, overnight stays;
  • All visits that take pupils off site but principally take place indoors, such as museum visits, will be cancelled;
  • The Sports Centre and the Amey Theatre will be closed to all visitors. Tilsley Park will remain open to visitors.

We are reviewing all upcoming trips, including taking on board government guidance about foreign visits. We have a number of trips and visits scheduled to take place during the Easter holiday and will contact parents of the boys involved next week with further information.

As we reported last week, contingency plans are in place to ensure the continuity of students’ education should the severity of the situation increase, resulting in the school being instructed to close to pupils and visitors for a period of time. We will communicate further on this as and when needed but the matter is firmly in hand. During the course of this week, we have been talking to the boys about what they need to do as part of our contingency plans for remote learning. A copy of the presentation given to boys is available here.

If the School is required to close to pupils and visitors, the site itself will remain open from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, so pupils will be able to collect books, folders, etc.

We continue to monitor the possible effects of the coronavirus on public exams. At present there are no changes to the plans for exams and we encourage boys to continue their preparations as normal. We will of course communicate with parents if the situation should change.

A reminder that the Department of Education has set up a helpline to answer questions about the coronavirus related to education. Parents, boys and staff can contact the helpline on: 0800 046 8687 and email: [email protected] (opening hours 8am – 6pm Mon – Fri).

The boys in school are coping extremely well in the face of the ongoing uncertainty and are pulling together to support one another.  Please rest assured that we will continue to do all we can to ensure the wellbeing of the entire community.

Michael Windsor, Headmaster

RSE (Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education) Guidance

We would like to draw your attention to the Sex and Relationships Education Policy and the various topics that we cover throughout your son’s school career.  We are conscious that parents are the first teachers of their children and that they have the most significant influence in enabling their children to grow and mature and to form healthy relationships.  At Abingdon, we hope that the various programmes of study that we have put together will enhance your son’s overall emotional and physical wellbeing.  However, if you have any comments or feedback please contact Paul Gooding, Head of Wellbeing, or Mark Hindley, Deputy Head Pastoral.  Do also look out for various parents’ wellbeing events, the next of which takes place on Monday 27 April at 7.30pm and will be in the mailing shortly.  Do also follow us on Twitter @Ab_Wellbeing if you have not had the chance to do so.

150 Years at Albert Park Postcard Competition – Reminder

The 150 Years at Albert Park Postcard competition closes in two weeks.  Our challenge to the School Community is to create a Postcard to show Big School & its surroundings in a way we haven’t seen before. You could use digital media, paint, pencil or even textiles. Why not create something abstract, from a different perspective, or perhaps in the style of an artist you admire?  The winning entry will be printed as a new School postcard, and the winner will receive copies of these, as well as a £50 voucher.  Entries must be A4, and are to be submitted by Friday 27 March to the Old Abingdonian Club Office, Abingdon School, Park Road, Abingdon, OX14 1DE or digitally to [email protected].  More details here.


Instrumental Reports for boys in the 3rd Year and Lower Sixth

As the 3rd Year and L6 students have a self reflection report this term, we would ask parents to contact their sons’ teachers direct for an update of their progress, please.  It is suggested that parents could respond when receiving their sons’ invoices for their lessons next term.


Congratulations to musician, David Bicarregui in the Upper Sixth, who is this year’s recipient of the Michael Pendred Award from Oxford Opera for showing dedication, determination and outstanding promise as a musician.  David has been closely involved as a singer in this year’s highly successful performances of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Oxford Playhouse.

Tuesday 17 March – Solo Concert Platform No 4 at 6pm in the CMR – CANCELLED

Thursday 19 March – Spring Concert at 7pm in the Amey Theatre – CANCELLED

News from the Week:

Food menu for the coming week – Week 1

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.

Given the number of calendar changes between now and the end of term, please consult the School Calendar.