7 May 2020


This week’s mailing is:



From the Headmaster to all parents: 

Dear Parents

I am grateful to all the parents who responded to last week’s ‘pulse check’ that we sent out to parents of boys in the Lower School, Third and Fourth Years and Lower Sixth to ascertain opinions of our remote education programme. The feedback that you gave was overwhelmingly positive while also providing us with some highly constructive and useful feedback which we will use to inform our next steps.

Although the focus of the survey was academic life, the Other Half remains an important part of what we offer at Abingdon and it has been great to see the enthusiasm with which your sons have embraced what is on offer. I hope that you have heard from your sons about what they are doing outside lessons; there is an impressive programme on offer from our staff with 93 activities in the Summer Term programme. Many boys are also choosing to embark upon their own enrichment activities and they will be talking to their tutors in the next couple of weeks about what they have been up to. It has been good to see students proposing their own clubs, too, and we are delighted to be able to support them in bringing these into existence. As ever, some boys may be a little reluctant to engage with what is on offer at first, but our overwhelming experience is that boys thrive on their activities once they have begun them, and so please do encourage them to take up the opportunities presented to them, and get in touch with your son’s tutor if you have any concerns.

We are also keen to ensure that the boys are staying fit and active and the Sport and PE department have put in place a comprehensive programme to help them do so. If you have concerns about the level of exercise that your son is taking, do go through the programme with him and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to share them with your son’s tutor.

The Government has announced its intention to share its roadmap for the relaxation of the lockdown this weekend. I will be reflecting carefully on this with my colleagues next week and we will communicate our plans with parents as soon as they are finalised.

The 5th Year reach the end of their GCSE courses today and will be commencing their pre-A Level courses on Monday. My colleagues and I have been impressed by the focus and commitment that they have shown this term and I am sure that the boys will benefit from the courses over the weeks ahead, which will ensure that they are well-prepared for their time in the Sixth Form.

With a long Bank Holiday weekend ahead of us to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day (the focus of my assembly this week) and the weather forecast looking surprisingly benign, I do hope you and your families are able to enjoy some time together outside.

Best wishes, Mike Windsor

Headmaster’s assembly w/c Monday 4 May 2020

This week’s assembly focused on VE day and asked what lessons we can learn to help in the current crisis. Watch the video.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the theme is kindness. Tutors are going to be encouraging your sons to focus on this theme throughout the course of the week. We are going to be encouraging boys to think about what acts of kindness they can do this week and who has inspired them in their lives. We will also be encouraging your sons to look through the Wellbeing web pages on Firefly which has a wealth of resources on mental health and wellbeing. In addition, we will be asking the boys to watch an age-appropriate mental health and wellbeing talk prepared by Dick Moore (a former headmaster, rugby coach, and regular speaker at Abingdon School) specifically designed for Abingdon school boys. I would be most grateful if you could take the opportunity to reinforce these messages at home by talking about kindness, together with positive mental health and wellbeing, with your sons. Please also take the chance to follow us on Twitter @Ab_Wellbeing where we will be posting regular updates on mental health and wellbeing all year-round. Best wishes, Paul Gooding, Head of Wellbeing.

Recording of lessons

There might be times when it is helpful for staff to record lessons so that pupils can access them at a later date – for example if a pupil is ill, or in a different time zone. If a member of staff is intending to record a lesson, the students’ permission will be sought, and the recording stored on the cloud in zoom. If a student is unhappy being recorded he will be asked to mute his microphone and turn off his video. The recording will be stored until the end of term, and deleted before the start of the next term. If you have any further questions on this issue, please do contact mark.hindley@abingdon.org.uk.

‘Covid Chronicles’ writing competition for all pupils

Inspired by Radio 4’s Covid Chronicles feature, the English department is inviting boys to submit a piece of fiction or non-fiction reflecting their own unique perspective on the current situation. Boys can respond in any form they wish: a short story, a poem, song lyrics, diary entry, letter, article, account, interview. Entries should be no longer than 400 words.

The best entries will be collected in an anthology to be printed and published and there will be prizes for outstanding work. Please see this poster for more information.

Annual Data Check – Reminder 

The Annual Data Check forms were sent to parents on Wednesday 29 April via iSAMS email.   The deadline to submit forms is Friday 15 May. The Data Check is an online process that takes a few minutes to complete. If you have any queries regarding the process please email elizabeth.reed@abingdon.org.uk.

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.