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School has a long-held reputation for the quality of its art, design and technology, and as you enter through its light and lofty Mall, walls are adorned with quite breathtaking artwork. The school motto is 'Age quod agis' (Whatever you do, do well) and while grades are strong, emphasis is on cultivating confident, well-balanced members of society rather than Nobel Prize winners. Touring the classrooms, we saw obvious efforts made to inject imagination and fun into learning. One year 8 Latin class in the middle of learning about Pompeii had just scattered outside to start building volcanoes...

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What the school says...

The only Catholic, co-educational independent day school in Abingdon. Entrance exams: 11+ English, Maths & VR; 13+ English, Maths, VR, French & Science; 16+ At least 5 GCSE passes A*-B, with grades A-B in subjects to be studied at A Level. Pupils interviewed at each of the above entry points.

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All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2012, Stephen Oliver BA MLitt PGCE (50s), previously deputy head of St Benedict's, Ealing. Educated at the universities of Birmingham (Latin with Greek), Cambridge (PGCE) and St Andrews (ancient history) and has taught at Stonyhurst, the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, Uppingham and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School.

Was a novice monk at Downside Abbey for a year and a half in his 30s in between teaching posts. Enjoys cricket, jazz and writing - has published Smoke in the Sanctuary, a comic novel set in a Catholic parish in the west of England, and is currently writing his second novel. Frequent, erudite blogs on the school website clearly demonstrate his literary leanings.

This is his first headship, and he says that he was drawn to OLA’s ‘calm atmosphere’ and...

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Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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