b'HOME COUNTIES WESTLatest results: In 2021, 91 per cent 9-7 at I/GCSE;selective intake means all are working above and 80 per cent A*/A at A level (94 per cent A*-B). Inbeyond. Good staff mix of male and female, old 2019 (the last year of exams), 88 per cent 9-7 at I/ timers and recent graduates; sensible creative GCSE; 69 per cent A*/A at A level (90 per cent A*-B). latitude given to non-standard teaching stylesmuch appreciated by boys, parents and (we Teaching and learning: Academics matter hugely,assume) the teachers in question. Great engage-but not exclusively. I/GCSE headliners are English,ment and rapport between boys and teachers in maths and sciences, but A*/9-8 by far the mostlessons we sawlots of fun and sparky ideas in common mark in all subjects apart from art, RSyear 9 English where boys were coming up with and drama (where the A/7s have it). In addition toliterary foods: apple pie for Paradise Lost, pina IGCSE maths, boys in the top sets also sit the free- colada for Robinson Crusoe and our favourite, standing OCR additional maths qualificationa saucy stir-fry for Chaucers Canterbury Tales. and take it in their stride with the vast majority gaining top marks. French, Spanish and GermanLearning support and SEN: Abingdon is an academ-are the core language options with Russian andically selective school, but its a broad enough Chinese offered as additional subjects. Healthychurch to accommodate bright boys with mild to numbers and outstanding results for Latin,moderate SEND (mostly dyslexia and dyspraxia). ancient Greek and ancient history (Latin is com- In-class, small group and one-to-one help provided pulsory in years 7 and 8). Only a very few marksby well-regarded learning support department. at grade C/4 or below, but the boy who gets aPupils who are identied as needing short-term grade 6 in one or two subjects wont feel alone.help with, for instance, study skills, receive six Not a school that kicks unexpected underper- one-to-one sessions free of charge. Parents tell us formers out post-GCSE either that the department is on the ball and that staff are extra vigilant at high pressure times such as school and public exams.Academic, musical and sporty The arts and extracurricular: Music, art and DT Mr Windsor is such a good fit fordont attract huge numbers at A level, but are well resourced and get good results. Dynamic music Abingdon, embodying three of thedepartment will seek out and nurture every kind schools great strengths: very muchof musical talentfrom pipers, choristers and countertenors to, famously, all ve members of a head, rather than a figurehead Radiohead. Every boy is encouraged to take up an instrument when they join the school if they Most popular A level by far is maths (followeddont already play one. Unsuspecting parents may by chemistry and physics); over half of sixth formnd their son coming home drooping under the boys take maths and the vast majority get A*/A,weight of a French horn or bassoon in an ever-further maths is an option. Parents generally veryoptimistic effort by the schools director of music pleased with A level maths teaching, but one orto uncover a virtuoso in these vital, but less popu-two felt that boys in lower sets didnt always getlar, orchestral instruments. A plethora of choirs, sufcient support. Word on the local tutor grape- bands, orchestras and chamber groups, plus an vine conrms that some feel the need to buy inambitious programme of concerts for all abilities, external help. equals quite a few nights out for supportive par-Large take-up and excellent results too for his- ents. Regular organ and choral scholarships to tory, economics and geography. Pre-U exams onlyOxbridge and music colleges.for French, German and Spanish (results outstand- Annual drama productions for lower, middle ing), but as elsewhere, modern foreign languagesand senior school boys plus house drama and joint are a minority interestthere are more takersventuresand theatre studies A levelwith girls for Latin. Indeed, classics department is thrivingfrom St Helen and St Katharine. Theatre design (described to us as inspirational), sending annualworkshops, modern foreign language plays and small, but perfectly formed contingent of bright- a podcasting club add to the repertoire. Newly est and best to Oxbridge. High praise also receivedrefurbished Amey Theatre is the main venue for for history teaching. Psychology has been a fairlyconcerts, plays and other whole school events. recent introduction to previously ology allergicThe addition of a projection screen and surround A level menu. Jury is still outas yet the subjectssound has made it a popular local venue for lms, popularity and exam record are on a par. live theatre and opera screenings.Lessons are fast paced and challenging All the above and much, much more is setting for maths and science from year 9, butincluded in the schools famous Other Half pro-gramme. You wont hear music, art, DofE, CCF, 339'