Our Lady's Abingdon

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Our Lady's Abingdon
Established 1860
Type Independent day school
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher Stephen Oliver
Founders Sisters of Mercy
Location Radley Road
OX14 3PS
England Coordinates: 51°40′34″N 1°16′35″W / 51.67599°N 1.27626°W / 51.67599; -1.27626
Local authority Oxfordshire
DfE number 931/7076
DfE URN 123298 Tables
Students 500~
Gender Co-educational
Ages 3–19
Website www.olab.org.uk

Our Lady's Abingdon is a Co-educational independent day school in Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England.For pupils aged 3-18.


Our Lady's was found in 1860 by Sister Clare Moore of the Sisters of Mercy, who worked closely with Florence Nightingale. The school's main auditorium is named after her, the Clare Moore Auditorium, known as the CMA. The school began educating boys and girls from the local area, with a boarding school created in 1866.

In 2009 the school began admitting boys into the senior school. The school name was changed to Our Lady's Abingdon to reflect the change. Since the 2013-14 academic year, it has been fully co-educational.[1][2]

Present school[edit]

Pupils take nine or ten subjects at GCSE, and normally between three and four AS/A2 subjects in the Sixth Form. Exceptional students at both GCSE and A-level have been known to take extra examined subjects out of normal curriculum time, such as Classical Greek studies. Sixth Form students also take part in an Enrichment Programme Course which is non-examined. Pupils achieve good examination results and almost all go on to Higher Education.[citation needed]

Out-of-school activities complement the curriculum. Extra-curricular clubs are on offer and pupils also participate in both the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and Young Enterprise Scheme. There is a strong link with Maryhill School in Uganda and students and staff from both schools have visited each other. In addition, students from Our Lady's Abingdon – more informally known as OLA – have opportunities to take part in language exchange visits abroad, annual ski trips, water sports activities in France every other year and expeditions (with a community work element) to countries such as Kenya, China, Patagonia, Peru, and more recently to Nepal and a trek to Everest Base Camp. In April 2010, the choir and musicians from both the Junior and Senior Schools also performed in France.[citation needed]

Each student and member of teaching staff belongs to one of four houses, named after figures key to the genesis of the school: Bowyer, Rich, More, and Challoner. There is a House Prefect from the UVI who organises house events, and two House Captains for each house from the LVI. Though a member of staff is Head of Houses, they often encourage the Sixth Form to lead activities by themselves. House activities range from sporting events to drama competitions. The 2011-2012 academic year welcomed the advent of two new inter-house competitions: the House Shout, a Glee-style group-singing competition; and House Challenge, OLA's version of University Challenge.[citation needed]

Building programmes over recent years have provided teaching facilities for subjects across the curriculum. A Sixth Form Centre and a second computer room equipped for subject-specific classes are recent additions and interactive whiteboards have been installed in key areas of the School. A major building programme was completed in September 2006. This includes a new auditorium, drama studio, science laboratory, exhibition and reception area, teaching space and library/resource centre. In 2008 the Sixth Form Centre was extended and a new science laboratory added to the main building.[citation needed]

Our Lady’s Abingdon Junior School, which takes boys and girls from the age of three, is on the same site and shares some of the Senior school's facilities. Almost all of the Junior School pupils move on to the Senior School at the age of eleven. The rest of the Senior School intake is drawn from a range of State and Preparatory Schools, some a considerable distance away.[citation needed]


A-level results 2013 Overall pass 100% Grade A* - B 63%

GCSE results 2013 Overall pass 100% Grade A* & A 49% Grade A* to B 80% Grade A* to C 98%

A-level results 2012 Overall pass 100% Grade A* - B 87%

GCSE results 2012 Overall pass 100% Grade A* & A 66% Grade A* to B 89% Grade A* to C 98%

A-level results 2011 Overall pass 100% Grade A* - C 95% Grade A* - B 87%

GCSE results 2011 Overall pass 100% Grade A* & A 51% Grade A* to B 81% Grade A* to C 98% Pupils attaining at least five A* to C grades 96%


Extra-curricular music includes choir, orchestra and wind-band. Other activities include Drama, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Greek, Languages, Poetry, Reading, Science and Textiles.

Students in Year 11 and sixth Form take part in a team challenge expedition and community work overseas.

The PE department run sports clubs Monday to Friday both at lunchtime and after school. Activities include swimming, netball, hockey, cross-country running, trampolining, fitness, football, badminton, rounders, athletics, tennis, basketball, synchronised swimming, dance and gymnastics.

Pupils are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular sports clubs regardless of their ability, and they offer a range of after-school fixtures which gives the pupils the opportunity to compete against other schools and take part in county and national competitions.

Young Enterprise is a popular activity, which gives students the chance to be a company director for one year. Every year OLA run two companies, one in Year 10, one in the Lower Sixth.

Pastoral Care[edit]

As a Catholic school, mass and feast days are regularly celebrated and open to parents and visitors. The school is located within the Parish of Our Lady and St Edmund and is regularly visited by the parish priest, who is also a member of the Board of Governors.[3]


Our Lady's offers individual lessons in school for piano, oboe, clarinet, flute, drums, violin and many more including vocal lessons as well as two weekly lessons in class. One lesson is used to teach theory, music, composers etc. while the other is used to teach keyboards/percussion in groups.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "School website, page on Co-education". http://www.olab.org.uk/771/about-us/co-education. 
  2. ^ "About Us page on school website". http://www.olab.org.uk/760/about-us. 
  3. ^ About Us — Spiritual Life

External links[edit]