Our Lady’s Abingdon is a thriving independent day school for boys and girls aged 7-18 years set in beautiful grounds near the centre of Abingdon. A Catholic school, we warmly welcome children of all faiths and none, encouraging all to benefit from our inclusive, nurturing ethos.
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For over 160 years OLA has had a reputation for high academic standards and excellent pastoral care. We are proud of our distinctive family atmosphere, which fosters a real sense of community and happy relationships between staff and pupils. OLA aims to develop the individual talents of each student, every child being seen as a unique person with gifts to be recognised, valued and nurtured. Our co-educational ethos provides an atmosphere where pupils are at ease with one another and natural relationships are fostered.
At OLA, pupils have a positive and purposeful approach to learning. Behaviour is excellent and our small class sizes enable us to challenge and support according to individual needs. Because we are a small school with under 400 pupils, children develop a strong sense of belonging and contribute fully to school life, participating in the wide range of enrichment opportunities on offer. This means that they leave OLA as well-rounded, confident and well-qualified young people, ready to face the challenges of the adult world.
OLA’s Catholic Christian ethos informs all that we do. We strongly believe that children will do well academically if they are happy in themselves, their learning and their friendships. Our outstanding system of pastoral care puts this belief into action, ensuring that pupils flourish in the classroom and in the activities they take up, whether these be sport, drama or one of the many other opportunities on offer.
OLA provides an outstanding, all-round education, giving students a firm foundation for the world beyond school. Excellent facilities and small class sizes make this possible, meaning that our pupils, whatever their talents, receive the individual attention they need to succeed. Our school motto, age quod agis – ‘whatever you do, do it well’ – encapsulates the attitude we encourage our pupils to take.
OLA Junior School welcomes children aged 7 – 11. We are a small school, which means that each child is known and valued by the other members of our community. The children are members of house groups and ‘buddy families’, mixed age groups of three or four children who help each other in the playground and for special events such as Christmas Dinner and the Easter Egg Hunt. We are renowned for our outstanding pastoral care –something that the staff are justifiably proud of. The result is happy children who feel safe and make excellent progress in their learning.
OLA’s Senior School provides an inspiring, vibrant and well-ordered environment for boys and girls aged 11 to 18. Pupils take ten or eleven subjects at GCSE, including the core subjects of Maths, Sciences, a Modern Foreign Language, English Language and Literature and Religious Studies. Additional subjects come from a wide range of options, including Drama, Latin, PE, Textiles and Design & Technology.
In the Sixth Form, students usually take three A Levels, or four with Further Maths. Each year a group of Lower Sixth students complement their A Level studies by working towards the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This gives them the chance to research a topic of their choice, enabling them to develop their research skills in preparation for university study. Many clubs and societies are on offer and pupils participate with notable success in both the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Young Enterprise Scheme.
Physical Education/Games are a key part of the timetable for all students. As well as the traditional range of sports, such as football, cricket and rugby, students can choose as they go up the school to participate in activities such as aerobics, body combat, fencing, judo and ice-skating. Our 25m swimming pool is a wonderful resource at the heart of the school and popular and well-used by all age groups in the school. As well as the pool, facilities at OLA include a Sports Hall, multi-use games area, tennis and netball courts and a sports field for rugby and football. We use other local facilities close to the school for cricket and hockey.
It is an indisputable fact that children who come to OLA make excellent progress in their academic studies. A combination of excellent teaching, small subject groups and hard work from our students has put OLA’s Sixth Form in particular in an elite group in the country for student achievement. This is in addition to the added value we give through our co-curricular programme, which develops our students into well-rounded and confident individuals, alongside the academic stretch and challenge they receive in the classroom.
We place great emphasis on our pastoral provision and providing a nurturing environment for our pupils. Our aim is to educate the whole person, enabling each child to flourish personally and socially as well as academically. Form groups are small, meaning that heads of year and form teachers really get to know the pupils in their care.
OLA prepares children for life. Students leave us at 18 as young men and women not only equipped academically for university, but as well-balanced individuals with the confidence to make their way successfully in the world beyond school. Following their chosen path with enthusiasm, they can use the skills they have acquired at OLA to exploit their abilities and make them count in society.