26 Jun 2020

WEEKLY MAILING

This week’s mailing is:

Letters:

Notices:

From the Headmaster to all parents: 

Dear Parents

Shortly after last week’s Weekly Mailing was published, Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, stated the Government’s aspiration to see all children back in school in September. I was delighted to hear this and subsequent changes to social distancing measures mean that we are confident that we can open safely to all in September, unless the national picture changes again.

We look forward to receiving detailed guidance from the Department of Education about the reopening of schools. We will communicate with parents once we have absorbed this guidance but it may well not be issued until after the end of term so please do keep an eye on your emails over the summer. We will be in touch next week with information about the Joint Bus Service and school uniform as I am sure parents will welcome clarity in those areas sooner rather than later. We will also be in touch with parents of boarders in the middle of next week, once the Government has conducted its regular review of quarantine arrangements.

I know some parents and boys were concerned to hear last week that we may not be able to run sporting fixtures against other schools next term in the usual way. I do need to emphasise that we cannot expect a ‘normal’ return to school; there will be changes. However, we are keeping the situation under constant review and I am grateful to Mr Bignell who has outlined our approach to sport in more detail below. I am increasingly confident that we will be able to give the boys a fulfilling and enjoyable sporting experience, even if it will feel different from our usual arrangements. I also believe that other elements of the Other Half will be up and running and that there will be much for the boys to enjoy alongside their academic lessons in September.

A key task for the School over the course of recent months has been the preparation of ‘Centre Assessed Grades’ for our GCSE and A Level candidates. Mr May, Deputy Head Academic, has described our approach to this in an article for the next edition of Abingdon News, which will be issued next week, but, in the meantime, you may like to read an outline of the process here.

I am looking forward to seeing members of the Fourth Year and Lower Sixth in school next week and I hope that you are all able to enjoy some downtime over the weekend.

Best wishes, Mike Windsor

Headmaster’s assembly – w/c Monday 22 June 2020 

In the Headmaster’s assembly this week, Michael Windsor encouraged boys to look at the facts and to have a considered interpretation of current journalism where sensationalism and negative news tend to dominate the headlines.  View the assembly.

2M Charity Back to School Challenge – congratulations! 

Congratulations to the boys, their families and Tutor, Mrs McRae, who successfully completed their back to school challenge last weekend. Together, they completed well over the target mileage and so far have raised over £3000 for Cancer Research UK. Follow this link to read all about it.

Sports Offering in the Michaelmas Term

As part of the ongoing planning for September the Sport & PE department is continuously reviewing the best practices suitable for the boys at Abingdon School in light of ever changing Sporting National Governing Body guidance.  At present our focus is on four areas we can make firm decisions on:

What Facilities, What Equipment, How we Clean and How we Change.  We now have a firm take on all these and are organising new logistics and ways of working so that they are in place in advance of the first day of term.

The fifth element of our planning is What Sports can we offer.  With the national picture changing regularly, we have taken the decision to hold off a firm decision until the tail-end of the summer holidays and we intend to contact all boys and parents with our plans in the week beginning 24 August.  We are mindful that there are planned fixtures in the calendar and all of these should be treated as TBC with our intention to make a firm decision on the viability of these on a month-by-month basis.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the sporting offer in September, please contact Mr Pete Bignell, Director of Sport (email: pete.bignell@abingdon.org.uk).

Rugby Pre-Season

Regrettably due to COVID-19 and health & safety concerns, this season’s Abingdon School rugby preseason is cancelled. We are endeavouring to complete as much rugby as possible when we re-start and will need to consider carefully governing body guidance.

Increase in Fraud Targeting Independent School Fee Payers

We have recently been made aware that there has been a notable increase in attempts to defraud the parents of pupils at fee paying schools. Emails are sent to parents of pupils, purportedly from the School, supplying them with fraudulent account details to receive the next school fee payment, often with a promise of a discount due to Covid-19. There have not been any cases at Abingdon as far as we are aware but these frauds are sophisticated and emails and domain names are made to look almost identical to those the school would use.

All parents should be aware that attempts like these are increasingly common and that account details at Abingdon have not changed.  If any parent does receive an email asking them to pay to a different bank account or to change any other details regarding their payment, please contact the school on a known email address or contact number to verify this information before making any payment.

Anti-racism at Abingdon

Parents may be interested to read a statement on anti-racism that we recently issued in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Equipping Boys for the 21st Century Workplace

In the last school blog of this academic year, Henry Morgan, Director of the Other Half and maths teacher, discusses the ‘soft skills’ needed for the 21st century workplace and how we can help boys to acquire them. Henry cites the British Academy paper that looks at the benefit of ASSH degrees and how they equip students for the future.  Take a look.

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.