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We had a fright upon discovering a full-size coffin laid out in one room, only for the drama teacher to pop up and explain its presence as a prop for the summer performance of Oliver! ‘One of the dads is an undertaker – very handy!’ she exclaimed with glee. In the classes we visited, we didn’t see a single teacher behind a desk but instead often huddled down at eye-level with the children, friendly enthusiasm combined with focused attention. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about the annual ‘animal blessing’, where children bring their pets in to be blessed. ‘We had horses in the gym!’ shrieked one...

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What the school says...

Our Lady's Abingdon Junior School is a friendly school with a strong sense of community and fun. We welcome boys and girls aged 3 to 11, of all faiths and none.

We offer a distinctive and successful combination of four key factors which together create our unique OLA environment that helps our pupils achieve more:

1. Small, Friendly School

OLA is a small school of under 500 pupils in total including our Nursery and Reception, Junior and Senior Schools and Sixth Form. This has major benefits. Our small is beautiful approach with all age groups being taught on the same site in central Abingdon, means Junior School children benefit from access to the trained teaching professionals from our Senior School. This includes:

1. Specialist Science teaching in the Senior School laboratories for our Year 5 and 6 pupils

2. Teaching in the Senior School Design and Technology suite for our Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils

3. Specialist PE staff who support our own Head of PE and Games

4. Specialist French lessons

5. Swimming teaching from specialist swimming instructors in OLA's 25m indoor pool

Being a small community, pupils have greater opportunities to represent the school in a wider range of activities than is possible in schools with larger pupil numbers. These include sport, the performing arts, music and inter-school academic challenges, as well as nationally recognised activities such as the English Speaking Board. All of these play a valuable role in building pupil self-confidence as children move through the school.

2. Small Classes

We have an excellent teacher to pupil ratio. We pride ourselves on the individual relationship we have with each pupil, which enables teachers to really get to know each child and help them develop and exceed their potential.

3. Highly Praised Pastoral Care

Our pastoral care is highly praised by parents. Each child is known as an individual and OLA's caring, family atmosphere enables children to flourish, both academically and beyond the classroom. Our children are nurtured to achieve their best and encouraged in every way.

4. Personal Values

Our Catholic Christian ethos is at the heart of everything we do. It is reflected in the positive relationships that exist between all members of our school community. The encouragement given to each child to be the best they can be is part of that positivity.
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Other features

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.

Sports

Fencing

What The Good Schools Guide says

Headteacher

Since February 2019, Brigid Meadows, previously deputy head of junior school. Joined in 2001 as head of music and year 5 class teacher. Mrs Meadows has a music degree from Trinity College of Music, London and a PGCE from Roehampton Institute of Higher Education.

Entrance

Children are accepted into the school's nursery class at any point after the beginning of the term in which the children reach their third birthday. Flexible about entry at other stages. From years 4 and above children are given short written assessments to determine their academic ability.

Currently 50 per cent local (Abingdon), 30 per cent slightly further (Didcot, Wantage) and remainder up to 20-30 miles away.

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