This week’s mailing is:
From the Headmaster to all parents:
As we break up for half term, I would like to express my thanks to everyone in the Abingdon community for their support over the past few weeks. I’m grateful to the pupils who have responded positively to the measures that we have taken to counteract Covid-19, while teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that the boys’ education has not been affected. I would like to thank you all too for the support you have given the School, which is much appreciated.
We have regular reviews of the measures we have introduced to manage the school during the pandemic, for example our temporary policies on year group bubbles, uniform, music, lunch, sport, trips and the JBS. At present the policies are working well and we do not expect to be changing anything for the start of the second half of term, although we will of course continue to monitor government guidance carefully. We will keep parents updated throughout the term if we feel revisions to any of our procedures are necessary. We hope that parents feel that they are being kept informed and I would like to remind you all of the Covid-19 Information for Parents page on the website where all of the current information can be found.
There have been some suggestions in the media that the Government might be contemplating imposing a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown. We have not received any further information about this but have advised boys to take home their books in case we need to move to a short remote working phase again. I feel this is pretty unlikely but it is good to be prepared.
Parents may well be aware that the Secretary of State for Education has announced that next summer’s GCSE and A Level exams will take place three weeks later than usual. The precise dates have not been confirmed yet but we believe that most GCSEs and A Levels will take place after the summer half term, between 7 June and 2 July 2021. We have been informed that one GCSE English and one GCSE Maths paper will be scheduled before the summer half term and that some exams for A-level qualifications which typically have low entry numbers will also take place before the half term break. We will of course confirm dates as soon as they are available.
It has been wonderful to have your sons back on the school site since the start of term and to see them enjoying their lessons and activities together. A number of our boarders will remain on site over half term and we have a programme of activities planned for them which will provide a good break from the usual school routine. I hope that all our pupils will enjoy their downtime over the next couple of weeks and that you are able to enjoy some rest and recuperation with them.
Best wishes, Mike Windsor
GCSE and A Level course changes for Summer 2021
Some of you will be aware that a decision was taken over the summer to reduce the content of some subjects to recognise that, across the country as a whole, a good deal of teaching time was lost last summer term. Some of these changes will affect what the current 5th and U6th are studying and how they will be examined. At this point, when the sands are still shifting and the government is due to announce its more detailed thoughts on how the summer exams will be handled, making further change likely, we do not see the point in publishing a digest of the current changes to parents, even though we know some other schools have done. Please rest assured that we have kept abreast of the changes such as they affect us and have adjusted courses appropriately. We will let you have any updates when we have received and digested them.
5th Year parents: ‘Into the Sixth Form’ webinar
Please make a note of the ‘Into the Sixth Form’ webinar which will take place on Monday 9 November at 7pm. This event is designed for our 5th Year students and their parents. Further details will be sent out at the start of next half term.
Save the date – Parents’ and carers’ webinar, “Navigating the Teenage Years”, Monday 16 November, 7.00-8.15pm
This webinar is particularly recommended for all 1st and 3rd year parents together with any parents who have not seen the webinar before, or indeed those who would like a refresher. Further details will be emailed to you after half term.
Middle School Scholars’ Presentations Afternoon – Video
Watch a recording of the Middle School Scholars’ Presentations Afternoon here.
The best of the Middle School Scholars’ summer research projects were showcased last Friday in the Amey Theatre, with parents watching along online via the live-stream. The fourth and fifth year academic scholars gave detailed and well delivered presentations on a wide range of topics from Why We Laugh to Cartography through the Ages. The event was a great example of the independence, inquiry and initiative which is promoted through the scholars’ programme. Well done to all involved! Andrew Jamison, Head of Middle School Scholars.
Saturday Sports for 2nd Half of Michaelmas Term
It has been superb to see so many boys participating on a Saturday over the past 4 weeks. As a School we are still ensuring that our Abingdon Year Group bubbles are maintained therefore we have taken the decision not to seek any inter-school fixtures next half term; that being said we are keen to keep a varied programme in place and are now in a position to let you know what our Saturday Sport offering will look like. Please see letter here. Boys have been sent the sign up sheet earlier in the week which must be completed by 5pm on Sunday 18 October. Please note that for logistical reasons we will not accept forms after this time.
- The Intermediate Solo Instrumental Competition was held on Wednesday. The event was adjudicated by Richard Stafford, who is Director of Music at Ardingly College in Sussex. We had 13 participants in an exciting and high level of competition limited to those boys between grade 6 and 8 in standard. Congratulations to Laurence Peverall (piano) who took first place with Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis – Prelude and to Josef O’Connor (bassoon) and Thomas Wilson (cello) who took 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The event was filmed and live-streamed for those that registered with the Box Office. If you wish to “attend” the event, it is accessible here.
- The second half of term. I am delighted to let you know about our concerts and events, which will also be recorded and streamed and are as follows. Please note that the events are moving forward to 5.30pm. The on-line calendar has been amended.
- Wednesday 4 November – 5.30pm Senior Solo Instrumental Competition (adjudicator, Richard Poyser, Director of Music at D’Overbroeck’s in Oxford)
- Tuesday 10 November – 5pm Music Theory online examination
- Tuesday 10 November – 5.30pm Solo Concert Platform No 2
- Wednesday 18 November – 5.30pm A Music Society Violin Masterclass with Levon Chilingirian
- Wednesday 25 November – 5.30pm Junior Solo Instrumental Competition (adjudicator, Sean Fitzpatrick, Director of Music at Abingdon Prep School)
- Wednesday 2 December – 7pm Christmas Concert recorded and streamed
Abingdon Box Office:
- Lloyd and Rose Buck: Our Life With Birds – Saturday 24 October, 7pm
- Senior Solo Competition – Wednesday 4 November, 6pm
- Abingdon Film Unit Screening #2 – Wednesday 11 November, 7pm
News from the Week:
Food Menu for the coming week – Week 1
Please continue to consult the School Calendar for up to date information.
Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.