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Abingdon School Admissions Officers Interview | Part I

Added on: 2017-07-31Share on :

Do you know how to check whether a student has grasped major learning of a certain subject? The best way is to see if the student is able to tell and teach others what he has learnt. Clearly, Abingdon School coming the 18th place in UK academic ranking understands this philosophy quite well and makes it part of the school's teaching experience. Today, let's hear this practice from Jane Jorgenson Director of Admissions and Marketing, and Mark Hindley Deputy Head of Pastoral at Abingdon in their exclusive interview with us.

Do you know how to check whether a student has grasped major learning of a certain subject? The best way is to see if the student is able to tell and teach others what he has learnt. Clearly, Abingdon School coming the 18th place in UK academic ranking understands this philosophy quite well and makes it part of the school's teaching experience. Today, let's hear this practice from Jane Jorgenson Director of Admissions and Marketing, and Mark Hindley Deputy Head of Pastoral at Abingdon in their exclusive interview with us. 

 

Click the link below to watch the video

 

 

https://v.qq.com/iframe/preview.html?vid=c0529183whc&width=500&height=375&auto=0

 

 

 

 

BE: Could you please tell us about your school and how is it different from other schools in the UK?

 

 

Mark Hindley (Mark): Our school is a very old school. We can trace back to 1100, the first headmaster, Richard Pedagogue. But we'd like to think that the date that the school actually started is 1256 when we first have the written document. So we are a school that traces our roots back very far. And we could look at the 1624, we started one of the colleges in Oxford, Pembroke College. It was started by Abingdon pupils and Abingdon teachers. And then we moved to our current site in 1870.  

 

 

 

 

Believe it or not, we've got a lot of history. We are a very modern, forward-thinking school. We guess we've got some tradition, but we like to combine modern feels. So we have a lot of new building, excellent facilities, a brand-new science center, 21 labs, sports halls, swimming pools. We've got lots of open areas for playing sport. We've got astro turfs both for hockey and artificial grass astro turf. We also have a boat club where boys can learn to row. So we've got lots of history, but we want to think ourselves as modern, not only in our facilities but also in the way we approach our teaching and the way we approach education.

 

 

 

Jane Jorgenson (Jane): I think what makes Abingdon different is that we don't have what we would say as a typical Abingdon pupil. Because we are very keen on boys as individuals and wanting boys to be themselves as an individual. So we offer to them a vast number of academic subjects with what I want to put our boys into choice. For example, at A levels, we don't talk about option blocks. We actually say to the boys "which subject do you like to choose at A level". And they then create their own blend of subjects. 

 

There are obviously solid strengths within that for certain further disciplines in the university. We have this very keen interest in boys as individuals. So that I would say what stands us apart is that the interest in being yourself. 

 

 

 

 

BE: So what is the education philosophy of Abingdon and could you tell us about the "other half"?

 

 

Mark: In terms of the philosophy of teaching, one of the things that set us apart is that we really stress that we want our teachers to be learning. So we want our teachers to be constantly pushing themselves and striving to be the best possible teacher. So I think it's very important for us as a school that our teachers are teaching each other and teaching themselves to be as good a teacher they possibly can be. And that then gets reflected on the pupils as well. Because clearly that sends a sense of learning, a sense of education, the enjoyment of the subject and of the process of education. It makes the whole school come to life. 

 

 

 

And we really want lessons not just to be sitting there, doing what you are told and learning thing and just repeat, but actually to be engaging with the subject and really learning about this things, and really enjoy the intellectual academic challenge.

 

Jane: The other aspect to those teachers is engaging and actually encouraging the boys to themselves take part in the lessons. So there will be boy-led lessons as well. So within that teacher then bringing the boys into the lesson is a very potent part of what we are doing at the Abingdon. Moving to things what we do outside the classroom—the other half. The teachers are very involved in all those other half, those extra-curricular activities. They really are half of what we offer to the boys each day and on the weekend. 

 

 

 

And the teachers themselves will be coaching certain sports. They might be running the chess club, leading the debating society, or taking the boys off on their business studies trips to visit a company producing cars in Oxford. Those things are really important: bring together the boys and the teachers not just in the classroom but also outside the classroom.

 

Mark: And added to that, every single teacher in the school is also a tutor. So every teacher in the school has a tutor group. The tutor group tend to be ten or so. One teacher per ten or so pupils. That means they get to know the boys really well. So the boys are not just numbers to them. They are real people. And we really want to encourage all the different character traits, the quirkiness of some and just try to build that sense of pupil as an individual. 

 

 

 

As Jane said, one of the key things we've done in the last few years is that we moved from shorter lessons about 35 minutes to lessons about 50 to 55 minutes. Because as you can see if it's a shorter lesson, the teachers just stand upfront and just deliver information. Whereas a longer lesson, the teacher sets up an activity, the pupils then do something and have to really engage and then you can bring it together of the end. And having those longer lessons, it enables to be about the pupil, not just about the teacher, talking.  

 

 

 

BE: What's the advantage of the School's geographical location?

 

 

Jane: We are very fortunate to be at a very green part of the country. So we are in a very small town. But we are only one hour from the center of London and one hour from Heathrow Airport, ten minutes from the center of Oxford, which is a very famous university city. We are really in a marvelously convenient location. Lots of green around us, but very close connections with buses, trains, motorways, all leading very easily into London.  

 

 

 

Mark: We are on what in England we call the N4 corridor, which is the motorway, so we are really near to London. But because we are just near all those motorways, it means the communication links with all sorts of parts of Britain are just there. It is 45 minutes away from Stratford, where Williams Shakespeare was born. Or you can just pop down the N4 to Baths with Roman Baths, or Bristol, or famous warrior castles. It's just out the road. And yet you're also just stone's throw away from London Heathrow. So it is really an ideal location. 

 

And Abingdon is supposedly the oldest town in England. Lots of people claim that. We are really lucky, because although we are in the town, we are in a conservation area within that town. So we are in a Victorian conservation area, which means that there are lots of trees and parklands just near us. So it's a very leafy, clean, very English location. And the air is very clean.

 

 

 

 

BE: What's the percentage of internationals and boarders

 

 

Jane: The international percentage is roughly 8 percent in our senior school. We do also have international students in junior school, but very few. We really value tremendously our international students and I think none of us would feel comfortable living in the world in the 21st century if we didn't take account of all the different cultures, and nations that live around us. So to us, it is a vital part of living in the 21 century. 

 

Mark: And there is something very important to us. We have as a school a lot of day boys, boys who live within 20 miles or so of Abingdon who come in every day.

 

 

 

 

Abingdon School Profile

 

 

 

Facts and Figures about Abingdon

Country: England

Founded in: 1256

Type: Boys' school

Nearest airport: one-hour-drive to the Heathrow Airport

Location: Oxfordshire

Age range: 11-18

Number of students: 950

Teacher to student ratio: 1:7

Percentage of boarders: 15%

Percentage of international students: 10%

Tuition fee and boarding fee: £38,970/academic year

Website: www.abingdon.org.uk

 

 

 

Curriculum and Destinations

 

 

A-level subjects

Science and Mathematics are the most popular A level subjects, followed by Geography, History and Economics; Art, Drama, Classics; Design & Technology, Computing (ICT)

 

Sport

There is a wide range of sport on offer at Abingdon to broaden pupils' view. It has a sporting tradition, especially in rugby union, hockey and cricket; the boat club has competed at national championships. 

 

Art

Music plays a prominent part in the life of Abingdon School. Instrumental tuition is offered in all orchestral woodwind, brass, strings, etc. Close harmony ensemble, Joint Choral Society and Chamber Choir (with St Helen's School); the Abingdon Film Unit has created nearly 100 films since its creation in 2004.

 

Science

Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computing, etc.

 

Extra-curriculars

More than 100 activities are available such as sports, community service, art design, drama, music. Characteristic clubs include Chess, Cooking, Debate, Computer Programming, etc. 

 

Destinations

Aston, Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, De Monfort, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Imperial College London, Kent, King's College London, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Liverpool, London School of Economics and Politics, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, Queen's Belfast, Reading, Sussex, Swansea, University College London, Warwick.

 

NEWS:

Abingdon School, together with over 10 leading boarding schools in the UK will attend The 2017 China Summit of the Association of Leading Independent Schools in September for admission interview.

 

 

Pre-test registration is now open!

 

 

 

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