20 Mar 2020

WEEKLY MAILING

This week’s mailing is:

Letters:

Notices: There will be the usual end of term Weekly Mailing next week (Friday 27 March).

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

It has been a highly unusual couple of days in school. We have seen many of our boarders depart, while everyone has been preparing themselves for the remote working phase. It is an unsettling time for everyone and I have spoken to every year group in person to offer reassurance and to talk about our ways of working from now on.

I’ve emphasised with them the need to show independence and self-reliance while counting on the support of the School. I have also stressed the need for them to play their part in the face of this crisis, particularly in the local community, for example by offering assistance to elderly people in their neighbourhood who might value simple acts of kindness, such as helping ensure that they get all the shopping that they need.

Obviously, the situation is particularly tough for the Upper Sixth and Fifth Year who were expecting to sit public exams next term. I am put in mind of a track from Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell album: ‘All revved up and no place to go’.

This afternoon, the Department for Education published further guidance as to how grades will be arrived at. We will be processing this information over the weekend and will be in touch with boys and parents with further guidance early next week. A key message for the Upper Sixth is not to feel rushed into hasty decisions about university offers but rather to seek advice from Mr O’Doherty and Ms Taylor before proceeding.

We had an important moment of farewell with the Upper Sixth in the Chapel this afternoon, singing some of the boys’ favourite hymns and sharing a time of togetherness before we move into remote working. These boys have given so much to the School and I regret deeply that they have not been able to enjoy the same rituals of departure that usually mark the end of a significant chapter in the lives of our students. We will, of course, ensure that whatever the next few months bring, there will be the opportunity for these boys, their parents and teachers to come together for a proper farewell.

In my letter to parents yesterday, 19 March, I wrote to you about how remote learning will work for your sons. We have been planning this for some time and are well prepared. There will inevitably be teething problems next week but nothing is insurmountable and we will fine tune our processes so that we can have a smooth start to the summer term.

In yesterday’s letter, I also gave a link to a form for parents who are key workers to complete. Thank you for all of the responses that we have received. They have been very helpful as we put in place the necessary arrangements to deliver on our commitment to help the community deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Further details about our arrangements for the sons of key workers is now available by following this link.

We are absolutely committed to supporting all key workers at this difficult time, but would remind you that the government guidance states “the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.”

If, in light of this guidance, you still need your son(s) to come into school during term time or the Easter holidays and you are a key worker please complete a new, more detailed form by following this link. (Please complete this form even if you filled in the form that I sent out yesterday in my letter to register as a key worker.)

I would like to express my thanks to everyone in the school community for pulling together in magnificent fashion over the past few weeks. The next few weeks offer opportunities as well as challenges. I will of course be in regular contact and urge you to get in touch if you have any concerns.

Best wishes

Michael Windsor, Headmaster

Wellbeing Support Guide for Students

Dear parents, we hope that this student wellbeing guide will provide help, support, and reassurance for your sons during this difficult period.  Please take the time to read it so that you are aware of how your sons can look after their own self-care at this time.  Many thanks Paul Gooding, Head of Wellbeing.

Reporting absences

If you are reporting your son’s absence, please email attendance@abingdon.org.uk, rather than leaving a voicemail message.

For L6 parents: Futures Fair Monday 27 April – CANCELLED

Following government advice surrounding COVID-19 and mass gatherings, we are cancelling our Futures Fair event on Monday 27 April. This probably comes as no surprise and we hope that you respect and understand our decision.

We will look to see if the event or alternatives can be rearranged but obviously the coming weeks are rather unpredictable. We will update you as and when we can.

We will be encouraging our students to check out the online resources available on individual websites should they wish to explore courses and student life at particular universities. We would appreciate your support in encouraging them to do this during the Easter break.  We would also like to remind the boys of the following resources:

Music:

  • New arrangements for postponed music events this term.  We would like to inform parents and friends that we plan to present in our Summer Concert on Friday 19 June the works that we were planning for Thursday’s (19 March) concert – particularly the concertos, Chopin 2nd Piano, Elgar Cello and Marcello Oboe Concerto. To this we hope to add the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto 1st movement, played by Alvin Tam. The concert will also include items from the other senior orchestras and bands. The 2nd year Choir will be performing in the Lower School Gala Concert.
  • Next Term’s Music Calendar.  Please follow this link to see advance details of next term’s Summer Music Calendar.

Abingdon Box Office:

ASPA Quiz – 7.15pm, Saturday 25 April 2020 – CANCELLED

Stevensons

Please see this link with an update from Stevensons.

News from the Week:

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.

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