26 Mar 2021

WEEKLY MAILING

This week’s mailing is:

Letters:

Notices:

From the Headmaster to all parents:

Dear Parents

On Wednesday afternoon this week, I was able to enjoy from my study window, the spectacle of the Lower School football tournament unfolding on Upper Field, all marshalled superbly – as you would expect – by Mr Jenkins, the Lower School Housemaster. The air was full of the students’ shouts and cheers in the spring sunshine. It was a confirmation of just how good it is to have students and staff back on site and you can get a flavour of this from this compilation of photos from the term.

It seems hard to believe that it was just over a year ago that we entered our first period of remote working, not least as January alone seemed to go on for about a thousand days. It has been a time of great challenge, filled with concern for family and friends. Many members of the wider Abingdon community – OAs, parents, governors and friends of the School – have been on the front line dealing with the impact of the pandemic in different ways and our thanks go to you. I would also like to thank all our parents for the way in which you have supported the School over the past twelve months.

In my final assembly of the term, I expressed my thanks to the students for the remarkable resilience that they have shown this term. They coped admirably with the challenges of sustaining momentum and motivation during the period of remote learning at the start of term and it has been great to see them embracing the joy of camaraderie and the structure of routine since they’ve been back on site, although I know not all of them have found the transition easy. This is completely understandable and our focus, once everyone returns refreshed after the Easter break, will be to help everyone return to their routine so that they can enjoy everything that the School has to offer.

I do not wish to jinx it but it seems that there are real reasons for optimism, as case numbers and hospitalisations drop steadily in Oxfordshire and across the UK. We look forward therefore to a greater return of normality, including inter-school fixtures, as well as to the rites of passage that mark the last few weeks for the departing Upper Sixth in school. All being well, the lifting of restrictions on 21 June will allow us to be able to welcome parents and visitors to the school site, and we are very much looking forward to seeing you in person.

We also look forward to welcoming back to school next term a greater number of our overseas boarding community, who will start arriving at the boarding houses during the Easter holidays to ensure that they have completed quarantine protocols before the start of term. I wish them a safe journey to the UK.

There will, of course, still be measures in place next term to restrict the spread of Covid-19, and we will continue to reinforce the importance of good hygiene and appropriate social distancing. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that we strongly encourage students to continue with the lateral flow testing programme over the holiday. Students have been issued with testing kits and test results should be reported to the NHS and the School. As ever, you can find more information at the Covid-19 information pages of the website.

I hope that all Abingdon families are able to enjoy some rest and downtime together over the holiday and I look forward to the start of the Summer term on Tuesday 20 April (Week B).

With best wishes for Easter,

Mike Windsor

 

Start of next term

Term begins on Tuesday 20 April, with registration and tutor time at 8.35am.  Normal Tuesday lessons, using Week B timetable, begin with period 1 at 9.00am.

Study Leave for 5th year & U6th Assessment Weeks

We are planning to run 5th year assessments from Tuesday 4 May to Wednesday 12 May inclusive.  This will be followed by U6th assessments from Thursday 13 May to Friday 21 May inclusive.  During the relevant assessment time for each year group, students will be allowed study leave.  This means that they need only be in school if they have an assessment to take; otherwise they may be at home revising.  Students who would still like to be in school even when they don’t have an assessment will be offered study rooms where they will be able to revise quietly.

Internal Examinations in Summer Term

Internal exams for years 1-4 and L6th will all take place after half term, beginning with L6th and 4th years straight after half term.  Year 1-3 will have reduced-sized examinations in the middle of the second half of term.  The precise timetables for these exams have not yet been worked out and will be published next term.

Abingdon School Summer Term Sporting Offering

Full details of the Summer term sporting programme can be found here; however I am very pleased to say that we are in a position to offer a full offering that is further supported by some traditional Lent term sports being offered in the Other Half programme.  It is also exciting to say that we are returning to inter-school competitive fixtures after Easter and these are further supported by some pre-season opportunities in Cricket, Tennis & Rowing. Further details of the inter school fixtures can be found here.

Trips 2021

Please click here to view the latest trips cost matrix for Summer Term and Michaelmas Term 2021 which is also available to view on the School website at > What’s On > Trips > Residential trips 2021.

ASiP Presents: Emotional Wellbeing For You and Your Family, Wednesday 19 May 2021 at 7:30pm

Mental Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, Natalie Hunt will be hosting this parent webinar on Wednesday 19 May with 2 special guest speakers, Natasha Devon MBE and Kate Silverton. They will be sharing advice for parents/families on not only looking after our children’s wellbeing and understanding the early signs of mental health difficulties, but how to look after our own wellbeing as parents and working against toxic feelings of shame and guilt.

It is a free event exclusively for the parent/carers of our partnership schools. We only have capacity for 500 attendees, so it will be first come, first served. You can book your place here.

April – Stress Awareness Month

Natasha Devon MBE is hosting a free online event, ‘Back to School Mental Health Refresher’ event on 6th April, with a host of prolific speakers on key issues like social media/body image, anxiety and self harm. It is free and you can book here.

We recommend ‘Burnout: The Secret to Solving the Stress Cycle’ by Amelia and Emiy Nagoksi and ‘The Stress Solution’ by Dr Rangan Chatterjee. For more information and resources on managing stress, please contact Natalie Hunt at natalie.hunt@abingdon.org.uk.

Music:

  • Composers’ Masterclass with Edmund Finnis OA – Wednesday 24 March
    The video recording of the composers masterclass with five of our GCSE and A level pupils is available to view here for a limited time only. Whilst the programme is also visible on the video there is also a version of it here, where the students have provided a short resumé of their pieces and there is a short biography of Edmund. The video makes for fascinating viewing and gives an idea of some of the outstanding creativity in composition that we have in the school at the present time. My congratulations to the pupils and my thanks to Dr Preece who put the event together via zoom.
  • Music Calendar for the Summer Term 2021
    We are delighted to share here our plans for our music next term and we hope that at least some of them will happen in a face to face scenario, though it is likely that the first half of term will continue to be remote and online.
  • A brief review of this last term’s music
    Despite the obvious challenges of sustaining music-making in ensembles in the remote environment for most of this term, music has continued in many different ways, and with particular success in our recorded and streamed concerts. These have involved many musicians recording themselves playing solos at home, sometimes using piano accompaniments that have been sent to them as backing tracks. There have been a total of more than 70 solo performances and all those pupils are to be congratulated on showing great creativity and resilience during the period of remote learning.
  • Our events this term have included:

·      Two Solo Concert platforms no 3 on Wednesday 27 January and no 4 on Wednesday 17 March

·      The Sixth Form and Fifth Form Performance Evenings on Thursday 11 February and Thursday 18 March respectively

Since returning to school, it has been wonderful to be making music in bubble orchestras and in sectionals – and we are looking forward to some great music events next term. Although very different, this has been a very busy time for our musicians and we pay tribute to the resilience and flexibility of all the pupils and to the enthusiasm and professionalism of their music teachers.

News from the Week:

Food Menu for the coming week – Week 1

School Calendar

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

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.