6 Mar 2020


This week’s mailing is:



Coronavirus COVID-19 update (6/3/20) – as emailed to parents on 6 March 2020

In order not to over-communicate, we will continue to update parents via the Weekly Mailing in the first instance and via email if required.

Families are asked to follow government advice and to call NHS 111 if they have health concerns. We would remind parents and guardians that boys should not be in school if they are feeling unwell.

We want to reassure you that we are making contingency plans to ensure the continuity of students’ education should the severity of the situation increase, resulting in the school being instructed to close for a period. We will communicate further on this as and when needed. In the coming week we will be talking to the boys further about what they will need to do as part of our contingency plans for remote learning.

We are mindful that the situation is fuelling lots of rumours. Our advice to the boys is to try to resist the temptation to gossip and rumour monger: what might seem amusing to some can be distressing to others. We would be grateful if you could reiterate this message in your conversations.

Some parents of boys with GCSE and A Level examinations this summer have naturally asked about the possible effect of the coronavirus on public exams. There are currently no changes to the plans for public exams. We are monitoring the situation and will communicate to parents if the advice changes.

The Department of Education has set up a helpline to answer questions about the coronavirus related to education. Parents, boys and staff can contact the helpline on:

0800 046 8687 and email: [email protected] (opening hours 8am – 6pm Mon – Fri).

We are conscious that this is an anxious time for boys and their families. Please rest assured that we will continue to do all we can to ensure the wellbeing of the entire community.

For 5th Year parents – Elevate Parents’ Seminar on revision on Thursday 19 March 7-8pm in the CMR

Following a seminar in the afternoon with all the 5th Years called ‘Ace your exams’. Elevate are running a parents’ seminar giving advice on how to support your sons with their revision.  Please fill in the form if you would like to attend.

5th Year, L6, U6 Parents: Abingdon Careers Convention: Friday, 13 March 2020, 7-9.30pm, Our Lady’s Abingdon – Reminder

The annual Abingdon Independent Schools’ Careers Convention, jointly run by Our Lady’s Abingdon, St Helen and St Katharine, and Abingdon School will be on Friday 13 March 2020, 7-9.30pm at Our Lady’s Abingdon. More than 120 parents and alumni of the three schools (representing some 80 different careers – more than many commercial career fairs!) have volunteered to serve as ‘career representatives’. This is a rare opportunity for students to gather information about careers of interest and educational routes into those careers from people who know. The format of the event is that of a careers fair, with students choosing and joining small discussion groups led by career representatives. Concurrent with the career fair will be presentations and the opportunity to have a walk-in, one-to-one meeting with an independent careers adviser. The event is compulsory for 5th year students and optional for 6th form students. Parents are welcome; no booking is necessary.

Abingdon 150 Giving Day, Wednesday 18 March – Fill up the Griffen!

Wednesday 18 March is the date for our Abingdon 150 Giving Day.  Boys will see a giant griffen outlined on the ground outside Beech Court and we have set ourselves a Giving Day challenge (#150challenge) to fill it with coins by the end of the day.  During morning break and lunchtime our pupil Charity Committee will be on hand to give cookies to pupils who bring their coins along to put into the griffen.  We are suggesting a donation of £3 in change and all proceeds from this challenge and Tuck Shop sales on Wednesday 18 March will go towards our Giving day total which support bursary places at Abingdon.

You can track the progress of our griffen challenge and all Giving Day activities on our School social media accounts.

Bedtimes…. (from Mark Hindley, Deputy Head Pastoral)

We have recently been asked by a number of parents about homework and sleep, and were a bit perturbed that a significant proportion of Third Year parents said that their sons were going to bed at 10.30pm or later most nights. For growing teenage boys, ensuring quality sleep is imperative, both for their academic progress and for their well being. We would advise the following bedtimes…

3rd Year – up to bed at 9.30ish, 15-20 minutes of reading (so no screens or TV!) and then lights out at 10pm.

4th Year – up to bed at 9.45ish, 15-20 minutes of reading (so no screens or TV!) and then lights out at 10.15pm.

5th Year – up to bed at 10ish, 15-20 minutes of reading (so no screens or TV!) and then lights out at 10.30pm.

Sixth Form – more flexible, but again aiming for a period before sleep without screens or TV and aiming to be going to sleep by 11pm.

These are the routines that we aim for in our boarding houses and that would be advised by most schools.  If your son is struggling to make these times due to pressure of work, then I would ask you to contact his tutor, and to encourage your son to chat to his tutor about managing his workload and commitments. As ever, please do feel free to discuss any concerns with his housemaster as well. If your son feels these timings are harsh or overly restrictive, do feel free to blame me – I am happy to discuss with him in person the rationale behind these routines.


Do consider attending what will be a fantastic two hours of teaching in the operatic masterclass next week being led by opera singing star and Abingdon parent, Richard Burkhard.  Andrew Yeats, our singing teacher has arranged for Richard to coach the boys in scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Rigoletto and Britten’s Billy Budd. Two years ago this event was a huge success and a hit with the boys and all those who attended. Here’s the poster – don’t miss it , and it’s free!

Further ahead

  • Tuesday 17 March at 6pm in the CMR – Solo Concert Platform No 4
  • Thursday 19 March at 7pm in the Amey Theatre – Spring Concert featuring our main bands and orchestras.
  • Thursday 26 March at 6pm in the Chapel – School Choirs Evening includes 50 minutes of music from the Academicals, Chapel, Gospel and Joint Chamber Choirs.

Read the latest school blog: Celebrating 150 years and our inaugural Giving Day

In the latest school blog, the Headmaster.  Mike Windsor talks about the 150th anniversary of the School at Albert Park and our long tradition of providing free and assisted places. Mike reveals his plans for an early morning swim as part of his contribution to raise money to fund bursaries during the upcoming Giving Day on Wednesday 18 March.

Annual Boat Club Dinner – Reminder

Last chance to book for the Annual Boat Club dinner – ticket sales close on Sunday 8 March.

Courses and Holiday Camps 2020

We would like to let parents know that our courses and holiday camps for 2020 are now available to browse and book. We have extended our programme this year, to include a more varied range of high quality activities and experiences, providing an opportunity for students to develop new or existing skills, led by qualified, experienced and DBS-checked coaches and staff. This includes a High Performance Tennis Academy and a Junior Triathlon Camp.

We also have Ultimate Activity Camp and Academies of Sport running exceptional courses and inspiring sport coaching camps throughout Easter and Summer, which are running at both Prep School and Senior School, as well as at Tilsley Park.

For more information or to book, please visit our Leisure website.

High Performance Tennis Academy – Monday 30 March – Friday 3 April 2020 Boys: Aged 11-13 years  

Abingdon boys are invited to join us for our high-level Tennis Academy at Abingdon School, which focuses on developing each player to their maximum potential. This academy is aimed at boys that play in tournaments or are in teams A, B & C only. This will be led by Martin Butler, Abingdon School’s Head Coach and Maria Llorca who has represented Spain at two Olympics as well as in the Federation Cup, won 10 WTA tour titles and is a world class elite WTA top 60 coach.

This high-level intensive & unique academy includes:

  • Before and after video analyses in order to measure improvement
  • Computer analyses of power, spin, contact point and serve motion
  • Tactical analysis
  • Match-play with statistics after the match
  • Talks from Maria on mentality, how to constantly strive for the next level on the court and in the classroom
  • Talk through a professional recorded match with Maria. Learn what is happening technically and tactically to the top players

Please click here and here for more information and to book your son’s place online.

Abingdon Box Office:

ATOM Festival of Science and Technology (various events) 20 – 22 March

ASPA  – All School Quiz

Come and join parents from across the School on Saturday 25 April – 7.15pm arrival for 7.30pm prompt start in the Hospitality Suite (Sports Centre).  Details on menu and further information can be found here.  Either make up a team of 8 or let us know if you would like to join another team and we can sort it out!  Tickets – £20 per head.

News from the Week:

Food menu for the coming week – Week 3

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.

For forthcoming events, here is the link to the School Calendar.