This week’s mailing is:
From the Headmaster to all parents:
I hope you and your families have all had a restful and enjoyable summer. I think many of us have made the most of what the UK offers as a holiday destination and I certainly enjoyed some bracing dips in the sea, some long walks and an attempt at paddle boarding, which is definitely harder than it looks.
I am very much looking forward to welcoming all our students back to school next week and of course we will be extending a particularly warm welcome to our new students and their parents.
Although we recognise that the pandemic is not at an end, we are planning for a return to a much higher degree of normality in school life which will be welcome to students, staff and parents alike. All the information you need about our approach to Covid can be found on the website and there are some important notices in the mailing below.
I’d like to remind you of a couple of key measures that we need all families to take. Children should not come to school if they are feeling unwell, even if their lateral flow test is negative. Also, please remind your child to get into the routine of taking a lateral flow test twice a week, ideally on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and then reporting the result. These measures will help us ensure that we can keep students and staff safe in school and allow them to make the most of all the opportunities that the school has to offer. We do of course have a contingency plan in place should cases proliferate and we remain in close contact with local public health authorities.
While students were away over the summer, our estates team has been busy overseeing the refurbishment of the Yang Science Centre. We have also installed 150 solar panels on the roof of the Sports Centre as part of our commitment to sustainability. You can read more about our approach to the environment here.
As we return to a more normal way of working, I am delighted that we can open up the school gates to welcome parents back to concerts, productions and social events, as well as fixtures. I am keen that all our parents feel that they too are part of the school community and so I look forward to seeing you on the touchline or at one of the many other events that will now make their way back onto the calendar.
Covid-19 arrangements for Michaelmas term 2021 and onsite testing Sunday 5 September
Earlier this week we wrote to parents with information about the Covid-19 arrangements for the Michaelmas term. A copy of this information is available on the Covid-19 webpage. The letter detailed arrangements and included a form for onsite Covid-19 testing for pupils on Sunday 5 September. If you have not completed the form and would like your child to be tested in school, please follow this link.
The School’s risk assessment is also available on this webpage.
Start of Term
We look forward to welcoming new pupils and those returning. Extract from Key Dates:
- Monday 6 September – First and third year induction
- Tuesday 7 September – Term begins (first day back for Lower Sixth)
Term Dates and Key Dates
Students will be given a hard copy of the calendar at the start of term if they wish, but, for information for new parents, there is an online calendar which is kept regularly up to date. It is available from the front page of the website under ‘What’s On’ then ‘Calendar’. In addition, there is a Term and Key dates page. This page highlights events such as social evenings and parents’ evenings for next term.
Teacher Directory – Reminder
Due to growing cybersecurity threats, we’ve decided to remove all individual teacher contact information from the public website. The Teacher Directory is now available inside the iSAMS Parent Portal. If you wish to find a teacher’s name and email address please log into the Parent Portal and navigate to “Links & Info” > “School Directory”. If you have any questions please contact email@example.com. Thank you – Niki Dinsey, Information Systems Manager
Requests for absence
Extract from 2021/22 Parents’ Handbook: Requests involving the absence of any pupil for more than a day of School time should be made in writing to the Headmaster. Their Housemaster may deal with requests involving absence of a day or less. Parents are strongly requested not to take their children out of School for any but the most pressing reasons. It must be said that we object strongly to applications for leave that have the effect of extending the already generous School holidays.
Please see the attached document for details of the tutor groups in each house.
Asthma: All pupils who require an inhaler must carry it with them at all times whilst at school. It must be clearly labelled with their name. The Health Centre will hold a spare generic inhaler for use in an emergency only.
Epipens: All pupils who have an Epipen or other adrenaline-auto injector (AAI) must keep 2 devices with them at all times. They must be clearly labelled with their name and expiry date. There will be generic AAIs kept in specific areas around the school for use in an emergency only.
For Parents of 5th Year Pupils: Morrisby Profile Programme – IMPORTANT INFORMATION
In July, you will have received an email about the 5th Year Career Guidance Programme, including details about the Morrisby Profile Programme. This Programme is operated by Abingdon at a cost to parents of £86 with the choice to opt-out. Should you wish to opt your child out of the Programme, email Michael Triff at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than midnight on Monday 13 September 2021; otherwise, your child will be enrolled in the Programme and the £86 charge will be made. We regret that refunds will not be possible after this date. To read more about the Morrisby Profile Programme, go to bottom of this web page: https://www.abingdon.org.uk/academic/career-guidance/
Saturday Bus Service
This service will start on Saturday 18 September. Please see the school website which identifies the six different bus routes, including the individual stops and the designated times. We are very keen for as many pupils as possible to use this service. It has been set up to ease the burden on parents of getting their children to School for the inter School fixtures. There is no charge for this service.
The buses are scheduled to arrive at School at 11.30am, allowing the pupils time to have lunch in the Dining Hall, have a brief team meeting, and depart for their fixtures on time. Those pupils who are involved in home fixtures will be catered for and supervised until the start of their matches. This service applies to all pupils involved in sport on a Saturday afternoon, whether it be in cross country, badminton, rugby or any other sport. If you would like to make any comment, or have any queries in this regard, please contact the Director of Sport and PE, Pete Bignell. If you intend to utilise this service, please ensure that your child is at the appropriate stop 5 minutes before the scheduled departure.
Inter School Fixtures
Abingdon has a strong tradition of participating in inter school fixtures across the age ranges. In recent years we have strengthened our fixture list, and been more ambitious in the schools we have been playing. Pupils are expected to be available for matches against other schools unless specific permission has been sought from, and granted, by the Headmaster. Please avoid asking for leave of absence. Any request should be made well in advance, at least one week before the fixture. The Director of Sport and PE, Pete Bignell should be copied in on any such leave of absence request.
To assist parental planning, please view the Sport and Physical Education Department’s dedicated website (abingdonsport.org.uk) where all fixture and teamsheets can be found. Teamsheets are published on the website 48 hours in advance i.e. on a Thursday for Saturday or a Monday for Wednesday.
It is vitally important that parents contact the appropriate member of staff in cases of illness on a Saturday morning so that replacements can be sought, and we do not end up in the embarrassing situation by being short of players to fulfil our fixtures. Sanctions will be applied to those pupils who fail to comply with this request. Parents may also use the Abingdon Sport emergency number 01235 422858 in case of any problems arising.
Pupils who are unable to participate, because they are ‘off games’, must excuse themselves in advance. Pupils must present an ‘off games’ note/letter from parents or the Health Centre to the member of staff i/c their activity, by lunchtime on the day of the activity. Alternatively, the pupil should report to the member of staff at the start of the activity to excuse themselves in person. Sending a message via other pupils is not acceptable. Team players, who are able to do so, should attend the training session in order to pick up coaching points and so that the coach has an opportunity to talk to the pupils about likely availability for the next match.
If the pupil has a medical note or advice from a medical professional regarding the rehabilitation process, please send in a copy of this note so that the School can play an active role through use of the Fitness Suite or by maintaining fitness through participation in an alternative activity. If you have any queries in this regard please contact the Director of Sport & PE, Pete Bignell.
Concussion is something that we are all very sensitive about and we want to ensure we follow the best possible practice. Please follow the link to RFU website so that you can familiarise yourself with the suggested protocol and perhaps take the online parent course in support of your child. We do need to highlight one very important point, especially for day pupils. In case of a head injury please ensure the following steps are undertaken:
If a pupil sustains a head injury during a rugby match on a Saturday on either of our 3 sites – Cox’s, Tilsley Park or Abingdon School we will have a doctor on the school site who can see them on the same day. If a concussion has occurred, the pupil will be off games for a minimum of 23 days. During this period they will follow a graduated return to play programme and this will include being reviewed by the school nurses at week 1 and week 2. Before being allowed to return to full contact sport, they need to be reviewed by a doctor to confirm they are fit to play – this can either be with your own GP or the Sports Doctor in the school Health Centre on a Saturday. Please note, if the pupil is to be reviewed by their own GP, please ensure the GP is happy to provide this service; occasionally the GP surgery may charge you for this service.
If they are playing away they should be seen by the medic covering the match; they may be advised to go to the Emergency department. This information then needs to be shared with their coach, Pete Bignell (Director of Sport) and Matt Gold (Director of Rugby) and the Health Centre must also be copied in. The Health Centre can then get them reviewed with the nurses at week 1 and week 2 and by a doctor at week 3. Again, the advice is clear that no pupil can play competitively until a medical professional signs them as fit. Any queries to Pete Bignell or Matt Gold please.
Mouthguard Fittings – Reminder
Opro dentists will be coming in to do mouth guard fittings on Tuesday 7 September between 1.30pm and 4.30pm and Thursday 9 September between 1pm and 3pm in the Sports Centre. First, Second, Third and Fourth Years will have their fittings during their sports lesson on Tuesday. Third, Fifth Years, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth should attend when available between 1.30pm and 3pm either day. An email with a link to an order form has been previously sent by Andy Broadbent.
Coach Park and Faringdon Road
Parents are reminded that cars waiting by the coach park impede prompt departure of the buses as well as causing traffic problems. The pick up point is Park Crescent.
Parents are asked to remind their children that they should wait to cross the road until well after the coach has departed from a stop, to ensure pupils have full sight of other traffic.
- Music lessons for new pupils
A message to parents of all new musicians: We are looking forward to welcoming your children to music at Abingdon. Where requested, music teachers have been allocated and lists of pupils and their teachers will be published at the start of term. Pupils will be sent details of how to access their music timetables and music lessons and ensemble rehearsals will start from Monday 13 September.
- Music events in the Michaelmas Term
We have a full programme of concerts, recitals, masterclasses and competitions each term and parents are warmly invited to attend them. These include some events sponsored by ASMS, the Abingdon School Music Society, a group of parents who support the school’s music, including masterclasses and fund-raising for our music tours. The music calendar for the summer term can be accessed here – and we look forward to seeing you at our music events this term.
- Cuillin Sound presents Winds at Sea – a professional woodwind concert – Wednesday 15 September at 6.00pm
We would like to invite all parents to join us for this concert of four of the UK’s leading woodwind players very early this term. Please apply to the box office for tickets. This quartet includes our very own Maddy Aldis-Evans (oboe) and the ensemble will be running a workshop with our 1st year pupils during the afternoon – so it will be particularly relevant to parents of pupils looking to take up a new instrument this term. The pupils will learn more about musical instruments in their class music lessons this term.
Book Collection – Reminder from last term
With most students on campus for their last lesson in each of their academic subjects, they should ensure they return their books to their class teachers during their final week, or follow local departmental instructions.
Only the few pupils who are working remotely should bring their books back next term if they are due back in September: they should return them directly to the Second Master in his office on the first day of term.
Many departments number each book, and record the book number. Students MUST put their name in the book, too. When the issued copy is returned by your child the head of department then knows not to charge parents for the book. If the pupil returns a copy belonging to someone else then their parents are billed for the ‘missing’ copy and the original ‘owner’ is credited with having returned his book.
Teachers do not spend valuable time issuing emails to parents asking for books to be returned, as we expect students to be responsible for this operation. Please remind your child.
Parents are not reimbursed for the late return of textbooks which have been charged on their bills because heads of department have had to spend resources on buying replacements for books not returned.
Many thanks for your help in this matter.
OA Club: Media Monday Event
Abingdon School parents working in the media sector are warmly invited to join Old Abingdonians at a career networking reception to be held between 6.00 pm and 8.30 pm on Monday 11 October 2021 at The National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HE. Booking is available here.
Abingdon Box Office:
The Amey Theatre will be opening to the public again this month. We have a great variety of screenings and talks coming up. More information and tickets can be found on our website here. We hope to see you at an event soon!
Food Menu for the coming week – Week 1
Please continue to consult the School Calendar for up to date information.
Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.