19 Mar 2021


This week’s mailing is:



From the Headmaster to all parents:

Dear Parents

The recent murder of Sarah Everard and the establishment of the website called ‘Everyone’s Invited’, which provides a forum for women to share their experiences of sexual harassment, has provoked much discussion on women’s safety and the role that men can play to stamp out male violence. I reflected on this theme and on the nature of masculinity in my assembly, which you can hear here.

Some of the key underlying principles of our Personal Development Education programme are that of respect, building healthy relationships, kindness and compassion. Throughout the programme, we explore topics such as consent, the damaging effects of pornography, sexting, how to navigate parties, feminism, everyday sexism, sexual harassment and the law. These are themes that we come back to and reinforce in the Sixth Form both through the lecture programme and the Mindsets course. To bolster our offering we also run sessions for the Third and Fourth Year on Relationships and Sex Education. These events are run by the School Doctor, an external theatre company as well as nurse practitioners. Further detailed information on our approach can be found by looking at our Relationships and Relationships Education Policy which can be found at this link on the school policies page. For students, we also have a wealth of information and support around these topics through our wellbeing webpages, which they can access through the Firefly platform.

We also understand that we are working in partnership with parents and carers so you might like to re-read this detailed letter, which was written by Mr Hindley (Deputy Head Pastoral) earlier in the school year. It contains a range of important information relating to pastoral matters and is intended to help you support your child. The School also runs regular webinars to support parents and carers and I would encourage you to join the upcoming Relationships and Sex Education webinar event to be held on Monday 17 May at 7pm led by Dr Eleanor Draeger. She is very knowledgeable in this field and is looking forward to sharing her expertise with you. Further details will be in the weekly mailing, but do save the date for now.

Earlier this week we completed our in-school Covid-19 testing programme and so we have now moved to the home-testing phase. Please see the information below in the weekly mailing and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.

Best wishes, Mike Windsor


Covid-19 home testing – Sunday 21 March (in the evening)

Students are asked to carry out a Covid-19 test on Sunday evening and the result of the test should be reported, the same evening, to the School and to NHS Test and Trace. We would appreciate parents reminding and supervising their children on Sunday evening please. Boarders will be taking their tests in their boarding households.

The details for parents about home testing were set out in last week’s mailing to parents and can also be found on the Covid-19 information page of the website. The information includes how to take a test and a government leaflet and video.

Students have had the home testing routine explained to them and they have been given test kits to bring home. More test kits are available from the Health Centre as needed.

Parents are reminded of the following:

  • Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if needed.
  • Students aged 12-17 should do the test themselves with adult supervision.
  • Students aged 11 must be tested by an adult and the adult must report the result.

Following this Sunday’s test, the next test that students should take at home is on the evening of Wednesday 24 March.
If a student tests positive then they will need to inform the School as quickly as possible, follow government guidance and self-isolate along with their household. They will also need to have the positive test confirmed by booking a PCR test. If you have any questions please email: [email protected].

Thank you very much for your support of the home testing which is a vital measure in keeping our community safe.

Covid-19 testing during the school holidays

The government has advised that children at secondary schools should continue to test themselves, twice a week, during the Easter holiday and into the start of the Summer term. Results should continue to be reported to NHS Track and Trace and to the School. We will therefore be giving each student additional test kits next week so that twice-weekly testing can continue over the holidays.


  • Concerts this week – Wednesday’s Solo Platform 4 and Thursday’s 5th Year Performance Evening
    The videos for our two concerts this week were made available online this week via the Box Office and are now accessible via the school’s Youtube video channel. There were some wonderful performances, numbering some 40 over the two evenings and all members of the school community are warmly invited to enjoy the recordings by clicking on the appropriate links – here (Wednesday) and here (Thursday).
  • Online Composer’s Masterclass with Edmund Finnis OA on Wednesday 24 March at 6pm
    On Wednesday next week, there is an unusual and exciting opportunity to see composing teaching in action from a distinguished composer and OA, Edmund Finnis. Edmund has an international career as a composer, including a composing professorship at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Five of our GCSE and A Level composers will be in dialogue with – and receiving a critique of their latest pieces from Edmund.  The recording of this masterclass can be accessed by requesting a link here from the Box Office in the usual way.

Abingdon Box Office:

  • Banff Mountain Film Festival, Ocean Film Festival and Top Dog Film Festival
    Although the Theatre is still closed, our friends from Snowline Media, responsible for the very popular Banff Mountain Film Festival, Ocean Film Festival and Top Dog Film Festival, have created a series of virtual Film Festivals for you to enjoy. For more information, please click here.
  • Kenton Cool: Everest the Cool Way
    We are also excited to announce our next planned event with an in person audience on 3 June 2021 will be a talk by climber Kenton Cool who has completed 14 Everest ascents. For tickets and more information please click here.

Old Abingdonians Talk Sport – if you missed the live webinar, you can watch the recording here: https://youtu.be/vQN5ICVG8iE

Sports Broadcaster and OA Johnny Burrow (2014) hosted a panel discussion with fellow OAs and sportsmen Alex Fisher (2007), Graham Scott (1987), Charlie Quarterman (2017), Ollie Cook (2008) and Theo Brophy Clews (2015). Whilst acknowledging the impact that COVID-19 has had on the sports industry, it was a delight to hear of the ways in which our sportsmen have risen to the challenges that the pandemic has presented, their learnings from this unique period of time and their hopes for the future both personally and for the sports industry as a whole.

News from the Week:

Food Menu for the coming week – Week 3

School Calendar

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

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.