2 Oct 2020


This week’s mailing is:



From the Headmaster to all parents:

Dear Parents,

One of the jewels in the crown of the Other Half at Abingdon is the Film Unit, which gives students the opportunity to work alongside tutors from the television and film industry to produce their own short films. The focus is generally on the making of documentaries, inspired by the work of Michael Grigsby, an OA who went on to have a distinguished career as a documentary-maker.

The Film Unit had their first showing of the academic year on Wednesday night and, although we were disappointed not to be able to welcome families and guests to the Amey Theatre in the usual way, our theatre crew ensured that a live broadcast allowed lots of people to view five films by first time filmmakers, now in the 4th Year. Just completing the films in the time of a pandemic was a feat in itself, but the standard was breathtaking. My congratulations go to all the boys involved and my thanks to their families who have supported them.

Earlier this week, we dealt with the first positive cases of Covid-19 in the school. I am grateful to my colleagues for the calm way in which they managed the situation and to students and parents for their supportive response. We will continue to improve our processes in the light of our experiences but this is a timely opportunity to remind students of the need to follow our hygiene and distancing procedures.

We should have been welcoming hundreds of prospective pupils and their families to the School tomorrow for our Open Morning, which is always an enjoyable event. We will instead be holding an online event – more details here – and my thanks go to the students and staff who have contributed content.

I hope you and your families all have a great weekend.

Best wishes, Mike Windsor

Lower Sixth Parents’ Meet the Tutor Evening

For any parents of Lower Sixth pupils who were unable to attend the webinar at the start of this evening, you can listen to it via a link which has been emailed to you today.  Please be reminded of a few key dates:

  • Monday 16 & Tuesday 17 November: Internal Tests
  • Thursday 19 November: OA Club Careers Evening
  • Thursday 26 November: North American Universities Advice Evening
  • Monday 30 November & Tuesday 1 December: Parents’ Evening

Covid-19: PHE guide for parents and carers

Public Health England has issued a summary guide to help parents and carers to know when and how to get a test for their child and when to self isolate. The guide has been included on the Covid-19 Information for parents webpage.

Returning to school after a covid test

If your son is returning to school having received a negative covid test result, please can you ensure that you let the school Health Centre and Attendance Secretary know. If he is returning after the school day has begun, then before he arrives at school, parents need to inform [email protected] so we have a record of the negative test result, and the boy MUST sign in at reception.  This will enable us to update the register and inform his teachers.

Health Centre

If your son is feeling unwell please do not send him into school. It is the school policy that pupils need to remain off school for 48 hours from the last incident of vomiting or diarrhoea. Please see the link which gives advice from the NHS.

Abingdon School is a Nut Free School

We have several boys who have a serious nut allergy that can cause anaphylaxis.  Even small traces of nuts on the hand of someone else can be enough to cause a reaction.  For this reason we would like to remind everyone that nuts must not be brought into school.

National Poetry Day 2020 – Virtual Open Mic – Video

This year Abingdon School’s celebration of National Poetry Day has moved online, with a Virtual Open Mic, featuring students and staff from across the school community recording themselves reading their favourite poems. As ever, the school has held a writing competition, with winners to be announced next week. Here’s a link to the video and we hope you enjoy sharing our celebration of the written and spoken word.


  • This Week’s Solo Platform No 1 on Tuesday 29 September.  On Tuesday we were delighted to have had our first live music concert for some time. Although the concert was live streamed that evening (to those that requested access from the Box Office), we will make an edited version available to view in next Friday’s mailing.  Congratulations to the boys who played, for this lovely and varied concert.
  • Next week’s Woodwind Masterclass with Paul Harris – Wednesday 7 October at 6pm.  We are excited to have another visit from distinguished clarinettist, educator, composer and examiner, Paul Harris, a regular visitor to the school. He will be working with a number of our woodwind players in a live context, observing the required covid-safe routines. Like the solo platform, this event will have no audience apart from the participants, but will be live-streamed for those that request it from the Box Office. We will make it available in next Friday’s mailing for the viewing of an edited version.
  • One-to-one music lessons from Monday 5 October.  Following the end-of-September review mentioned in the Q&A to parents of 21 August 2020 our one-to-one music lesson arrangements have been amended, and I am pleased to announce that some lessons will, for now, happen face-to-face on site, while others will continue on Zoom – all will be given in clearly designated rooms in the Music School.  In deciding which lessons will be taught by the teacher in one of our music rooms, we have needed to consider the size of the music rooms, the smaller ensembles and the personal circumstances of the staff.  Earlier issues with wifi coverage to enable Zoom in music rooms have been resolved, but should your son have any concerns, he should report them to the Music Office.  As always, these arrangements will be subject to review if the situation changes and different measures are needed to be implemented.  Added precautions for face to face music lessons:
  • 1.  Pupils must sanitise their hands at the start and end of lessons.
  • 2.  Pupils may find that their VMT is wearing a face covering.
  • 3.  Pupils of wind and brass instruments will stand in profile to the teacher, rather than face on – this is particularly the case for wind instrument and singing teaching.
  • 4.  Only rooms which allow for adequate distancing can be used for face to face instrumental teaching.
  • 5.  Small ensembles will continue to be limited to boys from the same year group.
  • 6.  Pupils may opt for Zoom lessons with teachers if they prefer.
  • 7.  Boarders may have Zoom lessons from their own study bedrooms.

Archive Webinar:  What a Difference the Years Make! Abingdon School 1870 – 2020, Thursday 8 October, 7.30pm

The past 150 years have seen enormous changes at Abingdon, not only to the buildings, nor just in pupil numbers, but in the way we think, dress, study and play. Using the School’s vast archival collections, the archivist, Sarah Wearne, will show what a difference the years have made.  Open to all. For more information and to sign up, visit: www.abingdon.org.uk/the-oa-club/event/archive-webinar/

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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.