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What says..

It takes a leap of faith to choose a lesser-known school in an area overflowing with name brand options, and all will have thought long and hard about what they want from their children’s education. We had parents literally clamouring to speak to us, anxious to tell us how much they admired and appreciated the school. ‘The problem’, said one, ‘Is that because it is easier to get into, some people discount it’. Vast majority of families are ...

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What the school says...

Our Lady's Abingdon (OLA) is a Catholic, independent, co-educational day school which welcomes boys and girls aged 7-18 of all faiths and none.

Our Lower School, Senior School and Sixth Form (OLA 6th) are located on a single site with adjacent sports playing field, within easy walking distance of Abingdon town centre.

What makes us different?

The school’s success comes from a combination of six factors which create the unique OLA learning adventure. Each child embarks on a journey that uncovers their full potential and nurtures them to achieve, enabling them to thrive both academically and as a person.

1. SMALL SCHOOL: With under 400 pupils in total, OLA offers everyone the possibility of representing the school in a wide range of confidence-developing activities, including sport, drama, music, academic competitions and other chances to thrive, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

2. SMALL CLASSES: We have a very high teacher to pupil ratio, meaning our class sizes are smaller than you will find elsewhere. OLA provides a more individual learning experience that fully nurtures academic potential.

3. FUN AND INNOVATIVE LEARNING: Helps pupils to be fully engaged in the academic life of the school leading to exam results that regularly exceed baseline predications.

4. HIGHLY PRAISED PASTORAL CARE: Our staff work closely alongside our pupils to encourage, motivate and support each child, helping them to grow as confident, successful and happy individuals.

5. FAMILY COMMUNITY: OLA encourages an open dialogue between home and school through a range of effective channels.

6. CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN ETHOS: This is the foundation of everything we do, creating the family community so valued by OLA parents. The school accepts children of all faiths and none and helps them aspire to such values as integrity, compassion, openness, forgiveness, reconciliation, co-operation and courage.

The school was founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Mercy, a religious order which began in Dublin in the early nineteenth century led by Catherine McAuley. Until recent times the Sisters resident in Abingdon, played a major role in the life of the school, helping to strengthen the ethos of integrity and warmth that are two of its special characteristics. Governance of the school is now devolved to a body of lay trustees and a lay Principal.

Come and visit us at our next Open Morning or arrange a private visit.

We hope to see you soon.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2021, Daniel Gibbons, previously deputy head at Downside School, where he helped develop boarding provision. Has some overseas experience, including at the British International School in Jakarta. Has improved academic performance at all his prior schools and specialises in maximising value added.


Main intakes at age 7 and 11, following exam and interview (except for 2022 when there will be no exam; assessment will instead be based on online admissions interview, school report and school reference). Admission at sixth form requires a minimum of five GCSEs at 6 or above. Roughly 10 per cent of senior school entrants from local RC schools, mainly St Edmund’s which is a stone’s throw away. Over 95 per cent of the OLA lower school pupils move up to the senior school, and they are not required to...

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Please note: 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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