Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Friends look back on life in the first year

THE school day begins for many first year boys at Abingdon School on the joint bus

THE school day begins for many first year boys at Abingdon School on the joint bus service shared with the girls of St Helen’s and the Manor Prep School.

Twenty-four bus routes cover Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, arriving at school in time for registration at 8.35am. Tutor period follows registration or on Wednesdays it’s chapel, which is a weekly, non-denominational gathering for each year group.

Recent themes include “Wisdom tweets” with just 140 characters to get the message across. Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa have all featured.

Teaching begins at 9am and there are two 50-minute lessons before break. Firm favourites with the first years are drama — Macbeth is currently under discussion — and design technology, where maze games are being constructed. PE, maths and German also come highly recommended. Very popular at break are the snacks available in the school café and dining hall — brownies and cookies whizz off the trays. There is also time to relax in the lower school houseroom and perhaps fit in a quick game of pool.

There’s another lesson after break and then it’s lunch with time to eat and to do an Other Half (extra-curricular) activity.

Popular with the first years are music, sport, chess and debating, but with around 100 activities on offer there is something for everyone.

Opportunities are diverse — from learning to kayak and art club to singing in the chapel choir and, for budding thespians, the lower school drama production.

Whether you are a serious sportsman or you just want to play for pleasure, there are more than 20 sports to try — from rugby, hockey, cricket and football to table tennis and Pilates.

After the Other Half it’s back to work. Most days there are two lessons in the afternoon. The sciences are very popular and there’s great anticipation for the new Science Centre, which will rehouse all the science subjects in 21 stunning laboratories.

On Wednesdays there’s just one afternoon lesson, followed by Other Half activities and sports fixtures.

At 4pm lessons finish and there is a further opportunity for the Other Half or supervised prep before catching the school buses home at 5.20pm.

Once home, food is a pretty high priority followed by relaxation and homework. The first years soon get accustomed to doing a bit of work at home.

It builds up gradually and teaches the boys to be organised about their work — though judging by the last-minute activity on the school bus in the morning it takes a while to get used to!

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