8 Oct 2021

WEEKLY MAILING

This week’s mailing is:

Letters:

Notices:

From the Headmaster to all parents:

Dear Parents

I would like to offer my thanks to all the students who supported our Open Day last Saturday. We welcomed a record number of visitors to the School and the students responded magnificently. Whether they were acting as tour guides or taking part in demonstrations, they were courteous, articulate and smart. They were a great credit to the School and I am grateful to you too for ensuring that they could be with us on Saturday.

The aim of the Open Day was of course to highlight to visitors the value of an education at Abingdon. I am keen to make that opportunity available to as many young people as possible, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. I’m delighted therefore to be able to introduce you to our new campaign to raise funds for bursaries, Seven Years to Change a Life. There’s a very short introductory video here and you can read the campaign brochure here.

It looks like the weather is set to be fair this weekend after last Saturday’s deluge; I hope you get some time to enjoy it. I’m hoping to catch the new Bond film – no spoilers please…

Best wishes, Mike Windsor

 

Covid-19 vaccines for eligible pupils

  • The NHS letter with the consent/decline form for the Covid-19 vaccine was emailed to the parents of Second to Fifth year pupils yesterday.  (Please give or decline consent by the deadline of midday Wednesday 13 October).  It is important to complete the form to give or decline consent – even if your child has already received the Covid-19 vaccine or tested positive within 28 days prior to the vaccination date.  Please note the equivalent year group for your child which is needed for the consent form: Second Year = Y8, Third Year = Y9, Fourth Year = Y10, Fifth Year = Y11.
  • As always, please refer to the Covid-19 Information page on the School website.

Students returning to school after Working from Home

If your child’s PCR result has come back could you please inform school using covid.testing@abingdon.org.uk to advise us of the result before your child returns.

Obviously if the result is negative and your child is well enough they can return to school straight away.  If your child is still too ill to return to school but the PCR result is negative they will no longer be able to join lessons remotely but should rest and recuperate at home and catch up on missed work in the usual way.

We need to try and inform teachers in a timely manner if students are returning to lessons in person to avoid unnecessary work for them.  Many thanks for your help in this matter.

Learning via Zoom – Mixed Mode Teaching is only for covid related cases

We thought it would be helpful to clarify our protocols for ‘mixed mode’ teaching. These are lessons where the majority of students are physically present in the classroom with one or two joining via Zoom.

We have put mixed mode teaching in place in the interests of the small number of pupils affected by the Covid-19 situation. We want to ensure continuity of education for pupils who are healthy but required to self-isolate due to waiting for tests, or after a test positive result.

We need to stress that mixed mode teaching is limited to these circumstances and is not available for pupils who are off school due to illness, or other circumstances. This is for the following reasons:

  1. We are very aware that the facility to join lessons via Zoom has the potential to put pupils (and parents) under undue pressure. If a pupil is unwell, we want their focus to be on getting better and convalescing. We are concerned that diligent, conscientious students (and their parents) may feel a pressure to join lessons via Zoom, when actually if a pupil is ill, or in pain, they need to take the time out to get better, without feeling compromised about this. Zooming into lessons would potentially stop them from relaxing, sleeping and recovering in the way that they should.
  2. The flipside of this is that we do not want pupils who are not genuinely unwell to abuse the system by opting to join lessons via Zoom on days when they could and should be in school. We know that this will be a small minority, but we need to be mindful of guarding against this.
  3. Mixed mode teaching is not an ideal solution for either pupils or staff. It is not equivalent to the full remote school that we were able to deliver last year, and mixed mode teaching is not only a poor relation for the pupils on Zoom but also makes the delivery of lessons in the classroom much, much harder for staff. We are therefore very concerned about the potential risk of a deterioration in the quality of the physical classroom experience if the facility to join lessons via Zoom is over-used.
  4. It is important that we give teachers as much notice as possible that pupils may be joining lessons via Zoom to enable them to plan accordingly. This is manageable if we restrict numbers to those who are Covid-related cases. It would be very difficult to sustain if we extended provision to those ill due to non-Covid issues.

There will inevitably be some interruptions to pupils’ attendance this term. We believe that our mixed mode provision will allow for as much continuity of education as possible but also hope that parents will understand why we cannot allow it to extend to all pupils who are off school for other reasons.

For Parents of 4th and 5th Year Pupils: Foreign Languages and Careers Event, Tuesday 2 November, 4-5pm, Sports Centre Hospitality Suite, Abingdon School

Is your child enjoying studying foreign languages?  Are they considering continuing with foreign languages in the 6th form and possibly pursuing a career in which they can use foreign language skills?

If so, please encourage them to attend the upcoming “Foreign Languages and Careers” event, Tuesday 2 November, 4-5pm in the Sports Centre Hospitality Suite at Abingdon School. The event features two brief presentations (one on career areas where you can use foreign languages and the other on what studying foreign languages in the 6th form is like), a panel discussion with four leavers from Abingdon School and SHSK who use foreign languages in their jobs, and an opportunity to speak with current 6th form German, Spanish, and French linguists. This event is being jointly hosted by the Careers and Modern Foreign Language departments at Abingdon School and SHSK and will be open to GCSE students from all the secondary schools in Abingdon.  If you have any questions, contact Michael Triff, Head of Career Guidance on Michael.triff@abingdon.org.uk.

For Parents of 6th Form Pupils: 6th Form Careers Evening with the Old Abingdonian Club, Friday 19 November 2021, 6-9pm, Yang Science Centre, Abingdon School

The Old Abingdonian Club, Abingdon School’s alumni association, will host its 8th annual 6th Form Careers Evening on Friday 19 November 2021, 6-9pm in the Yang Science Centre at Abingdon School. Old Abingdonians (mostly at early and middle stages in their career) will provide insights and advice about their education and career journey to date. More than 30 different occupations will be represented. The event can help students decide what options to pursue after leaving Abingdon, and can inform longer-term career thinking and planning. Earlier today, your child learned about this event at 6th Form Assembly, and they will receive an email next week inviting them to register for the event. The deadline to register is Friday 5 November 2021. Please find a moment over the upcoming October half-term break to encourage your child to register and attend. Please note that the event is for students only. Thank you for your support!  Questions? Email michael.triff@abingdon.org.uk.

For Parents of 6th Form Pupils: North American Universities Advice Evening Webinar, Thursday 25 Nov 2021, 6.30-8.15pm, on Zoom

Is applying to an American or Canadian university right for your child and you, especially since there are so many excellent universities in the UK (and other European countries)? If this is a question you both are pondering, attend the North American Universities Advice Evening Webinar on Thursday 25 November 2021, 6.30 to 8.15pm on Zoom. Register here to get the webinar link and password.  This webinar will provide detailed insights into all the important considerations required to decide whether or not to apply to—or attend—a uni in the USA or Canada. There is much to consider! The focus will be primarily on American universities, with some information on Canadian universities.  Both North American options will also be compared to and contrasted with UK universities. While the webinar is chiefly for L6 students, it is also for U6 students planning to take a gap year and enter university in autumn 2023. If you have any questions, email Michael Triff, Coordinator of Overseas University Applications at Abingdon School, at michael.triff@abingdon.org.uk.

School Policies

Parents are reminded that all School Policies, including the Safeguarding Policy,  are available under the “About” & then “Policies and Statements” menu of the website.  They are reviewed and updated from time to time.

Abingdon Box Office:

  • All Shook Up – Abingdon Operatic Society – Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 October
    The music of Elvis Presley comes alive in All Shook Up and we’re bringing it to the stage of the Amey Theatre in October 2021. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, All Shook Up is a rocking, heartwarming tale about following dreams, opening up to love, and the power of music, featuring a whole host of hit songs from the Elvis songbook.
  • 5th Year Production – A reminder that auditions for the 5th Year Production are on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 October. The production this year is Chaos by Laura Lomas. Students should sign up if they would like to audition: the sign up sheet is outside the drama office along with audition pieces to prepare.

Reminder to book October half term camps: 

We would like to remind parents and pupils that we have a variety of high quality October half term activity camps on offer that we hope will be of interest to you.  These include:

Football Skills Camp – Monday 18 October – Wednesday 20 October
The camp will offer a structured environment for players to develop their individual skills, team tactics and confidence on the field. Led by experienced UEFA Qualified coaches including staff from Fulham FC and Reading FC. Available to participants aged 11-14 years.

Competition Level Tennis Academy – Monday 18 – Friday 22 October 2021
This academy is aimed at competitive level players who have played for their school or are playing for a club. Led by Martin Butler, Abingdon School’s Head Coach. Available to participants aged 11-15 years.

Hockey Skills Camp – Wednesday 20 October – Friday 22 October
This camp offers fun and enjoyable hockey sessions full of skill development, gameplay and tactical aspects. Available to participants aged 11-14 years.

Rugby Skills Camp – Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 October
This is a high-quality coaching camp led by Premiership Rugby Club Wasps, which focuses on core skills such as catch and pass, tackle, breakdown, support, back play and set-piece play.  Available to participants aged 12-16 years.

Development Level Tennis Academy – Monday 25 – Friday 29 October
This academy is aimed at development level players who understand the basics of technique. Led by Martin Butler, Abingdon School’s Head Coach. Available to participants aged 11-15 years.

The World of Games – Coding Camp – Monday 25 – Friday 29 October
This camp gives participants the opportunity to simulate mechanical puzzles, create special effects and learn how to develop a 2D video game from start to finish. Available to participants aged 11-17 years.

For more information and to view the full range of activities available to pupils, please click here. Please note, all of these courses can be booked directly through the Leisure website.

News from the Week:

Food Menu for the coming week – Week 3

School Calendar

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

Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.