b'HOME COUNTIES WESTAbingdon School FN1Park Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 1DE01235 849041|[email protected]|www.abingdon.org.ukAges: 11-18 Pupils: 1,063; sixth form: 356; Boarders: 111 full, 27 weeklyFees: Day 21,600; Boarding 35,97044,070 paHead: Since 2016, Michael Windsor, previouslyAbingdon has been through a period of sig-head of Reading Blue Coat School. The son ofnicant growthboth in terms of pupil numbers two linguists (his father was a lecturer at theand building projectsand Mr W feels that the University of Bristol and his mother taughtschool is now as big as it will get. He does have French and German at Badminton School), he wasplans; hes keen to develop more areas of collab-a chorister at Bristol Cathedral School. Thenceoration (academic, pastoral and extracurricular) to Durham University and rst-class honours inwith St Helen and St Katharine, the neighbouring French and German. Worked briey in publishingindependent girls school (where his daughters before heading to Bologna where he toyed withare pupils). We wish him good fortune. There the idea of becoming a professional musician andhave been attempts in the past to take things making a living from his double bass. That lastedbeyond sharing actors, musicians and school until he got hungry, at which point although hebuses, but as one boy put it, timetables never knew he denitely didnt want to be a teacher,seem to match up.he gave up jazz for teaching English as a foreignAcademic, musical and sportyMr Windsor languageand met his future wife. On his returnis such a good t for Abingdon, embodying three he did a PGCE at the Institute of Education andof the schools great strengths. Hes also down-to-then joined Kings College Wimbledon to teachearth, good humoured and at ease with himself foreign languages and become the rst direc-very much a head, rather than a gurehead. The tor of its IB programme. He describes his workboys think hes great and love the way he seems introducing the IB as an amazing project butto turn up and enjoy everythingquite an accolade has no such plans for Abingdon (we checked).considering just how much goes on at the school. Moved to RGS Guildford where he was deputyWe felt a genuine groundswell of goodwill and sup-head (pastoral) and after ve years there took upport for Mr Windsorboys, staff and parents, even the headship at Reading Blue Coat. Has coachedthose parents we spoke to who have yet only seen rugby, hockey and athletics and was involved inhim in the distance are right behind him.CCF and World Challenge expeditions. Thats three academic boys schools (okay, two haveEntrance: At 11 candidates from local primary co-ed sixth forms) and Abingdon makes it four.schools and some preps, such as Chandlings, are Must be habit forming. tested in English, maths and reasoning. On the Mr Windsor also has an MA in modern Germanbasis of performance in the test boys are then studies from Birkbeck and is an ISI inspector. Hesselected for a friendly interview. Year 7 pre-tests a keen musician, plays the double bass in classicalfor 13+ entry. For entry to sixth form a minimum and jazz ensembles and recently surprised (andof 6 in all I/GCSEs, and 7 in the subjects to be delighted) boys and parents with a guest appear- studied at A level (8 for further maths) required.ance playing bass guitar in the schools Big Band (jazz). Married to Shanti, who works at ReadingExit: Around 10 per cent leave after GCSEs. Nearly University; they have two daughters. all sixth formers head for mainly Russell Group He says he felt drawn to Abingdon, especiallyuniversities to study serious subjects. Bath, Bristol, the culture of exceptionally high expectationsExeter, Durham, Nottingham, Manchester and that pervades all aspects of school life. Hes alsoLeeds all popular. Lots of engineers, chemists, enjoying working with the prep school. Eveneconomists and theoretical physicists as one would without the prep, Abingdon is much larger thanexpect, but also historians, classicists and philoso-his former school and he concedes his new rolephersits that kind of school. Three medics in is less hands on and he doesnt have time to do2021, plus 17 to Oxbridge and two to study over-any teaching, although he says he would like to. seasWaseda University, Japan, and Yale, USA.338'