This week’s mailing is:
- To all parents – from Mr Kevin Gordon, Corporate Director of Children’s Services, Oxfordshire County Council re return to school on Monday 8 March
From the Headmaster to all parents:
I am very much looking forward to welcoming students and staff back to the site for lessons on Monday. Although everyone has risen to the challenges of remote learning in impressive style, we are all craving more face-to-face interaction, while recognising that a number of our overseas boarders will continue to join lessons via Zoom. We hope it won’t be too long till we can welcome them back to the boarding houses too.
I can imagine that there may be some nerves, alongside a sense of anticipation, as students contemplate the return to school. This is completely understandable but I am confident that anxieties will fade as everyone gets accustomed to routines again. Tutors and Housemasters, and our pastoral structures more widely, are there to help with support for those who find the going tough.
I am grateful to everyone for engaging with our testing procedures in advance of the return to school. Two busy days lie ahead over the weekend for our testing centre in the Sports Hall but please rest assured that we will look after the students and make sure that social distancing is observed throughout the testing process. I’d remind you that the students need to wear a face covering and bring a pen/pencil when they come to have their test.
If you have any questions about testing or about the return to school, I hope you’ll be able to find the answers on our Covid-19 Information pages on the website. You’ll find here our updated risk assessments that incorporate the latest government guidance for the return to school on Monday. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.
You may also be aware that the government’s online system for ‘household testing’ is now open for the families of all school pupils in England to be able to order Covid home test kits for use in their household. The link is here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Although we are delighted that we will have students and staff back on site soon, it is important to note that this does not give students carte blanche to meet up freely outside school hours and that the country remains essentially in lockdown. I am keen for life to return to normal for our young people as quickly as possible but mixing outside school beyond the guidelines is only going to drive up rates of infection, place pressure on the NHS and hold up the return to normality which we can now see on the horizon. I would be grateful for your support in ensuring your children continue to stick closely to government guidelines; the end really is in sight and we’ll get there more quickly if we can all pull together for a little longer.
It looks like we have a sunny but crisp weekend ahead of us. At the time of writing, it looks like the England cricket team may struggle to keep the final Test alive until then but I do hope you are able to find some alternative entertainment and some downtime.
Best wishes, Mike Windsor
A Level/GCSE Assessment Process: Webinars on Monday 15 & Tuesday 16 March 2021
We will be holding a webinar for Upper Sixth students and their parents on Monday 15 March at 7pm where we will be describing the A Level assessment process. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. Further details will follow soon.
A similar webinar will be held for 5th Year students and parents on Tuesday 16 March at 7pm to describe this year’s GCSE assessment process. Again, an invitation and further details will follow soon.
Both webinars will be recorded and shared with parents in the relevant year groups.
Helping students with the transition back to school
Sarah Beynon, our Acting Head of Learning Support, has written this very useful school blog looking at helping students with the transition from remote learning to being back in the classroom. Well worth taking a look here.
- Owen Ravden’s Musical Lockdown Project – No Diggity
This week I am delighted to share another fantastic musical performance – this time a cover of the 1996 Hip-hop track “No Diggity” from an album of songs that A Level musician, Owen Ravden, has put together over Lockdown. Owen multi-tracked this performance – he is also playing all the keyboard, drum and backing vocals in this song. The performance can be enjoyed by clicking here. It’s a big contrast of genre from Oliver Simpson’s outstanding cello playing last week, but absolutely just as brilliant and impressive in its way! Congratulations to Owen!
- Instrumental Music Lessons from Monday 8 March
A good number of our Visiting Music Teachers are returning to in-school music lessons, with the exception of those who are shielding etc. The pupils will have been advised about this. The music lessons will be delivered as last term with pupils coming to the music school with their instruments and music at their allotted times and with their devices to connect via zoom with those teachers who are continuing to teach remotely. The pupils have a lot to remember so it might be worth checking on Sunday evening they are aware of their music lessons.
- Music Ensembles from Monday 8 March
From Monday we are so much looking forward to making music together again with all those pupils who are back at school. The rehearsals for orchestras, choirs and the Jazz/sax ensembles will resume the pattern of last term with all the necessary precautions in place. I have written to the pupils and hope to see them at the following times:
- 1st Orchestra – Thursdays 3.45 to 5pm
- 4th year Bubble Orchestra Friday lunchtimes 1.15 to 1.50pm
- 3rd year Bubble Orchestra Friday after school 4.00 – 4.45pm
Abingdon Box Office:
- Solo Concert Platform No.4 – Wednesday 17 March, 6pm
- 5th Year Solo Performances – Thursday 18 March, 6pm
Old Abingdonians Talk Sport – Wednesday 17 March 2021, 7.30 pm
Abingdon invites a panel of OA sportsmen to discuss their sporting careers and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry. The panel includes Alex Fisher (OA 2007, footballer for Exeter City FC), Graham Scott (OA 1987, Premier League Referee), Charlie Quarterman (OA 2017, Professional Athlete at Trek-Segafredo), Ollie Cook (OA 2008, GB Rower) and Theo Brophy Clews (OA 2015, Rugby Player at London Irish RC) and the evening will be hosted by Johnny Burrow (OA 2014 and Sports Broadcaster). Open to all. Sign up here: https://forms.gle/vWLiRv6kbvaVBmT26
News from the Week:
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.