24 Apr 2020


This week’s mailing is:



From the Headmaster to all parents:

Although it is a clear second best to seeing the boys ‘in real life’, I’ve really enjoyed catching up with some of them via Zoom over the past few days. They have displayed their characteristic good humour, courtesy and cheerfulness, and it’s clear from my own conversations and from discussions with colleagues that the pupils are applying themselves with enthusiasm to their online learning. It’s been great to hear about the boys’ responses to the various challenges that they have been set by their Housemasters and their involvement with the Other Half too.

I think we are all finding ourselves spending much longer hours at our screens than we are used to, so I have encouraged the boys in my end-of-week video message to try and get away from their screens and to spend some time outside. I’ve also given them a gentle nudge to remind them that they should be helping with the chores at home; do send me some evidence of this!

I hope you and your families are all well and are able to enjoy some downtime this weekend.

Best wishes
Michael Windsor, Headmaster

Pupil attendance and contacting members of staff

During remote working, please email details of pupil absence to attendance@abingdon.org.uk in the first instance or ring a new number: 07818 051029.

In order to contact members of staff please email them directly.    Emails to common.room@abingdon.org.uk are monitored early each morning.

Annual Data Check

The Annual Data Check forms will be sent on Wednesday 29 April via iSAMS email, please complete and submit by Friday 15 May. The Data Check is an online process that takes a few minutes to complete. If you have any queries regarding the process please email elizabeth.reed@abingdon.org.uk.

360 Degrees virtual evening for parents and boys in Lower Sixth

This year our 360 Degrees event, to be held on the evening of Thursday 18 June, 7pm to 9pm, is going virtual.

“360 Degrees: discuss, discover, decide” should be seen as an occasion to consider possible degree subjects, universities and potential future pathways in the round, in order to put together a successful application. The event has been timed to provide a useful indication of the suitability of degree course and university choices, ahead of the summer holidays when university visits (virtual or otherwise) and personal statement drafts should be on the agenda.

In due course, your son will be invited to make online appointments for the evening to meet with staff to discuss his post Abingdon plans, his higher education aspirations and his suitability for his chosen course. We aim to have a range of subject specialists available on the evening –  for subjects akin to those studied at school (e.g. history, biology, physics) your son should book a meeting with teachers from the relevant department. In the case of those subjects not taught at school (e.g. law, engineering, anthropology), we hope to have staff available who can provide some insight into the study of those subjects at degree level. Nearer the time, we will be providing the boys with a list of staff available on the evening.

You and your son should also meet (online) with his tutor to discuss post school plans, university ambitions, etc. and how realistic and appropriate those plans are. The boys will be asked to make appointments for these meetings.

All members of the Sixth Form team will be available in their Zoom rooms for the 360 Degrees event. Your son can make an appointment prior to the event or please join the relevant room to chat to us on the evening if you would like to discuss the following:

Applications for Oxbridge – Richard Taylor
Applications for Medicine & Veterinary Science – Ben Whitworth
Applications to overseas universities, gap years and alternatives to university – Michael Triff
Anything related to UK universities and UCAS – Caroline Taylor & Sarah Gibbard
Nick O’Doherty, Head of Sixth Form

We are seeking alternative arrangements for overseas students and parents who may find it difficult to join the evening due to time differences.

We will be sending out more details about this event nearer the time, but invite you to put the date in your diary now.

Griffen Ball – update to Upper Sixth and parents from Clare Butcher, Financial Controller

I am sure this will not come as any surprise,  but due to the current restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,  the Griffen Ball, which was due to take place on Saturday 27 June 2020 has been cancelled.  If current Government advice regarding social distancing changes and we are able to rearrange this for later in the summer then we will do so.

Music – from Michael Stinton, Director of Music:

  • Music performances last term – Whilst disappointed to have had the Spring Concert on 19 March cancelled, we were so delighted to have been able to film two of the performances that were scheduled for that concert – Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2, albeit with reduced numbers in the orchestra. If you have not yet listened to Joe Bradley and David Bicarregui, respectively, there are snippets here on the website and I offer my congratulations to those two performers.
  • Music performances this term – I scarcely dare hope that we will be together after half term – but if so, we will rehearse and perform Mendelssohn’s E minor Violin Concerto with Alvin Tam, the current leader of First Orchestra. Alvin’s a talented and hard-working young musician who so much deserves this opportunity – though many will recall his wonderful playing of the first movement of Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto last summer and on tour to Japan/Hong Kong. If we cannot come together for our concert on 19 June, I hope that technology will nevertheless allow us to hear Alvin’s performance remotely.
  • Remote rehearsals and recorded performances – We would be grateful if parents could encourage their sons to continue to contribute at the well established rehearsal slots for our main orchestras, bands and choirs. We want to keep all our musicians playing so that when we do come together again we can produce some great performances – ideally together and live, and if not, then remote and virtual. I am so grateful to my colleague, Simon Currie, who produced a heart-warming collaborative band performance recorded by the boys on their mobile phones at the start of the lockdown period. If you have not seen it, please do so here. We hope to be able to bring you more such long range collaborative work.

Abingdon 150 Postcard Competition 

We are delighted to announce that the Headmaster, Michael Windsor, has selected the winner of our 150 years at Albert Park Postcard Competition. Congratulations to Eric Huang, 5th Year, Austin House who submitted the winning entry. Mr Windsor commented he ‘liked the fusion of ancient and modern, which captures a key aspect of Abingdon, and the fresh perspective he has taken.’  In second place was Teacher of Classics, Hugh Price, with special commendations for Boco To, Archie Turnbull and Adam Andrews for their fantastic entries. Thank you to all those members of the School community who submitted an entry.  Watch the Headmaster’s video message and comments here and to view the gallery of all of the competition entries for some fresh views of Big School.

Food for thought – Nick O’Doherty, Upper Master, writes the latest school blog

Originally written for the Sixth Form, Nick reflects on how the coronavirus outbreak has made him re-evaluate food. Read the latest blog.

Amey Theatre:

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and following the Government guidance and regulations, the Amey Theatre is currently closed. If you have booked tickets for an event, the Box Office will be in contact with you regarding your booking once we have an update on if it can go ahead.

Throughout the Arts World, there has been a huge collective effort to maintain access to the arts to all, either through online streaming of productions, operas, musicals, workshops and classes. These have been put on by venues ranging from the National Theatre and Royal Opera House in London to more local venues such as the Oxford Playhouse and Pegasus.

The Amey Theatre Team have also put together a list to many of these which can be found by clicking this link.

If you have any suggestions for us to add to this page, please let the Box Office know on boxoffice@abingdon.org.uk.

Abingdon News – Lent term 2020

Just in case anyone missed the link to the Lent term’s Abingdon News in the Headmaster’s letter at the end of term. Here is the link again.

News from the Week:

School Calendar

Given the number of calendar changes, owing to the impact of Covid-19, please continue to consult the School Calendar.

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.