John Mason School

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John Mason School
John Mason School logo.jpg
Mottoes High Standards, Happy School, Honourable Service.
Established 1960
Type Comprehensive: Community
Religion None
Headteacher Ms Di Mashiter
Associate Headteacher Mr Dominic Slatford
Chairman Of Governors Mr Paul Brooks
Specialism Visual Arts & Music
Location Wootton Road
OX14 1JB
United Kingdom
Local authority Oxfordshire
DfE number 931/4126
DfE URN 123256 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students c. 1000 Students - Including Sixth Form
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Thames, Ock, Stert

John Mason School, or JMS, is a state secondary school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. It has a specialist Arts College status.


Established as an old grammar school in 1960, Berkshire Education Committee named JMS after sixteenth-century intellectual, diplomat and spy Sir John Mason, whose picture can be found hanging in the school hall. He was born in Abingdon and educated at the nearby Abingdon School.

Situated on Wootton Road, John Mason is centrally located in a four-way partnership of Abingdon schools known as 14:19 Abingdon. The other members are Larkmead School, Fitzharrys School and Abingdon and Witney College. The four partners share Sixth Form lessons. John Mason has approximately 1000 students as of 2007. Ms Di Mashiter began as the school's new headteacher in 2008.


The school has three houses, Ock, Stert, and Thames, of the colors red, green and blue respectively. There was a fourth house, Isis, but this was dissolved in 1993. The houses are named after watercourses in the town of Abingdon.

Notable alumni[edit]

Paul Mayhew-Archer (a writer on The Vicar of Dibley and My Hero) was formerly a teacher at JMS.[1]

Famous pupil alumni include the Premiership footballer Matthew Taylor, BBC and Channel 5 news presenter Katie Ledger,[2] folk musician John Spiers[citation needed] and Dr Mike Leahy,[3] who presents his own TV programme Invasion of the Bodyscratchers and has appeared in many other medical programmes.

Specialist School Status[edit]

The three schools in the Consortium were granted Specialist School Status in 2004. John Mason now focuses in the visual arts department. This means it will now receive greater funding from the government to provide for specialist equipment. The school will continue to function as normal in all other departments, but with increased funding for visual learning equipment, such as data projectors. In 2006, JMS opened the 06 Gallery, a new construction reflecting this specialism, featuring many of the student artwork.

Positive Performance[edit]

According to the Department of Education 2011 breakdown of A-level results, John Mason were the sixth best in the UK for performance in mathematics, with 38% of students getting A* grade.[4] John Mason school has also been said to be "a school that, under a particularly inspirational head, is taking very very positive steps to provide students with a range of qualifications and the type of education that is relevant to the modern world. I've been very impressed by what I've seen." Michael Gove MP.

The Welsh Farm[edit]

The school owns a farm, known as the Welsh Farm of Troedyrhiwgellifawr ("House in the grove at the foot of the hill"), which lies near the village of Pumsaint and the town of Llandovery. Wales. Students commonly undertake a four-day trip while in Year 8, and some have the option to revisit in Year 10 for a Geography Fieldwork trip, Year 11 for a Triple Science Observational Cosmology Trip and in Year 12.

The John Mason Association owns and runs the Welsh Farm, which is visited by nearly all students, and used for field trips, tutorial group visits and other special trips.


  1. ^ Wittenham, Ross (7 February 2012). "Paul Mayhew-Archer talks about his life in comedy with the BBC". Daily Info (Oxford). Retrieved 4 August 2012. "After the interval we were treated to a talk by Mayhew-Archer himself, a mainstay of the British comedy scene for thirty years. Here he was playing to his home crowd, having started off his career as a teacher at John Mason School, just down the road." 
  2. ^ "Ignore moaners, says TV presenter". Oxford Mail. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Airs, Thom (2 November 2009). "Oxford scientist is really bitten by the TV bug". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Bardsley, Fran (24 July 2012). "Four schools among the best for A-Levels". The Oxford Mail. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°40′35″N 1°17′18″W / 51.6764°N 1.2884°W / 51.6764; -1.2884