This week’s mailing is:
- To all parents – World Mental Health Day
From the Headmaster to all parents:
We are always keen to ensure that the boys have the opportunity to hear from voices from beyond the school gates and, although we are not able to welcome guests to the site at present, the power of Zoom meant that members of the Sixth Form and the Third Year heard two important talks this week.
The Sixth Form heard from Russell Robinson, a solicitor advocate, who was speaking on the topic of Teenagers and the Law, giving them some useful advice as they move through the later years of their schooling and onto university and the wider world.
Every year we invite Sabina Gray to speak to our Third Year boys as part of our programme of drugs education. Sabina tells a powerful story of her own experiences of substance abuse and addiction and reflects on the lessons she learnt, highlighting the dangers of taking drugs. We will pick up on these themes in tutor groups as well as in our programme of Personal Development Education and I hope parents will continue to have open discussions about this subject with their sons. You can find information about the School’s approach to the topic in our Drugs and Substances Policy.
The wider school community, and particularly the Old Abingdonians, were able to enjoy a talk via Zoom on Thursday evening by Sarah Wearne, the School’s Archivist, called What a Difference the Years Make! Abingdon School 1870-2020. We celebrate this year the move to our current site 150 years ago and Sarah gave a highly entertaining and informative insight into just how much Abingdon, and indeed education, has changed during this period. It’s well worth a watch; you can find it here.
Last Saturday, we hosted an online Open Morning for prospective pupils and their families. As we couldn’t welcome visitors onto the site, we commissioned a film which includes interviews with three of our pupils as well as shots of the grounds and facilities. If you’d like to watch it, you can find it here. The pupils give a fantastic account of themselves and the School.
With best wishes for the weekend, Mike Windsor
Covid-19: Information for parents
Parents have asked us for some additional information regarding the following questions. Please see the responses below. These questions and the latest Public Health England guidance can also be found on the Covid-19 Information for parents page of the school website.
Q: My child is self-isolating because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive but he has no symptoms and has had a negative Covid-19 test. Can he come back to school?
A: Your son will not be able to return to school. He has to complete the 14 days self-isolation as there is still the slight possibility that he could develop symptoms after the test was taken. Please follow this link for clarification.
Q: If the School tells me to isolate, is that the same as NHS Track and Trace – or is it just optional? Will I be fined if I ignore the School’s advice?
A: If someone goes against the School’s advice to self isolate then the School is obliged to inform PHE as a matter of protecting the health of the public. The School can give the details of the person/parent refusing to follow advice and PHE will then contact that person and it is at that stage that it can be legally enforced.
Q: What is a ‘cold’ cough and what is a ‘Covid’ cough?
A: Please refer to the PHE guidance which outlines Covid symptoms as opposed to cold symptoms.
Third Year parents’ evening: revised date
The dates for the 3rd year parents’ evening will be on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 February. These dates have been altered from a fortnight earlier to ensure that parents have some form of feedback and communication concerning their son’s progress each half term.
Parents of 6th Form Boys: North American Universities Advice Evening Webinar, Thursday 26 November 2020, 6.30-8.00pm, on Zoom
Is applying to an American or Canadian university right for your son, especially since there are so many excellent universities in the UK (and other European countries)? If this is a question you and your son are pondering, you both are invited to attend the North American Universities Advice Evening Webinar on Thursday 26 November 2020, 6.30 to 8.00pm on Zoom. Please register using link below. This webinar will provide detailed insights into all the important considerations required to decide whether or not to apply to—or attend—a university 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 2022. Register at: https://abingdon.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2NgUbeprR36wcIXidwLD2g
Home Clothes Day – Thursday 15 October
The first home clothes day of the academic year will take place next week. We are asking for a donation of £3 per student to take part. To avoid the exchange of cash we are asking for donations to be made via text message. Please text THREE to 70490 to donate £3, (texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message). All funds raised will go to our charities for the year which are to be decided by a student vote over half term.
Black History Month
For Black History Month this October the English Department has produced a list of great novels and poetry collections by black authors, which is available at this link.
6th Form Careers Evening with the Old Abingdonian Club – Thursday 19 November 2020
The Old Abingdonian Club, Abingdon School’s alumni association, will host its 7th annual Sixth Form Careers Evening on Thursday 19 November 2020, 7:00 to 8:45pm on Zoom. 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 40 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 son learned about this event during the morning tutor period, and he will receive an email next week inviting him to register for the event. The deadline to register is Friday 6 November 2020. Please find a moment over the upcoming October half-term break to encourage him to register and attend. Please note that the event is for students only. Thank you for your support! Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastoral advice for parents
A crucial part of the wellbeing of your sons is trying to ensure a joined up approach between school and home. To this end, please find attached an outline of some of our thinking on a number of important topics from anxiety to screen time to drugs. If there are any questions raised by this, then please don’t hesitate to contact Mr Hindley, Mr Gooding, or your son’s housemaster or tutor.
- Solo Platform No 1 – an edited version of this concert held on Tuesday 29 September is available to view here.
- Wednesday’s Woodwind Masterclass with Paul Harris saw some of our senior players in a fascinating session of teaching which was filmed and streamed for those that signed up at the online Box Office. An edited version should be available on the website very soon. There was a range of fabulous playing from the boys – congratulations to them all. A link to the write-up is available here.
- Intermediate Solo Competition – Wednesday 14 October at 6pm. On Wednesday next week, we have the first of our solo instrumental competitions, the Intermediate one (grades 6 to 8), adjudicated by Richard Stafford, Director of Music at Ardingly College in Sussex. Again, please do sign up with the Box Office if you would like to see this live-streamed. It should also be available a week from now as a video recording on the website.
Abingdon Box Office:
- Intermediate Solo Competition – Wednesday 14 October at 6pm
- Lloyd and Rose Buck: Our Life With Birds – Saturday 24 October at 7pm
News from the Week:
Food Menu for the coming week – Week 3
Please continue to consult the School Calendar for up to date information.
Here is the link to previous weekly mailings.