Welcome to Our Lady’s Abingdon, Oxfordshire’s leading co-educational Catholic day school.
I joined OLA in 2012, a few years after the school started admitting boys to the Senior School. We are now fully co-educational across all year groups for the first time in our history. The move to co-education has proved to be an extremely positive one and OLA continues to build on its strong reputation for academic excellence, outstanding pastoral care and an environment that makes all its pupils feel valued.
What are the qualities that mark OLA out from other schools? Principal among these is our supportive and nurturing ethos. The school was founded in 1860 and has been a beacon of Oxfordshire education ever since. True to the spirit of our founders, we care very much for the individual child, looking to draw out the talents each one has. We believe in forming the whole person, stretching pupils academically but also fostering their enthusiasms, whether these be sporting, musical, dramatic or any of the myriad other possibilities open to them at OLA.
The motto of our school – ‘whatever you do, do it well’ – sums up this approach. Pupils are taught to develop their talents, not just for their own benefit but for the benefit of the wider community. As a result, they leave the school as well-rounded, thoughtful individuals, imbued with the key quality of emotional intelligence so valued in today’s employment world.
Integral to our approach here are small class sizes, along with many and varied opportunities for our pupils to shine in a range of activities. Our 2015 GCSE results were some of the best ever achieved, with no fewer than twelve students securing five or more A* grades. 100% of pupils achieved grades A* - E and there was a 13% increase in the number of students achieving A-A* grades compared with the year before. There were also some excellent results at A Level, with 88% of students achieving grades A* - C. Our Young Enterprise groups regularly win prestigious awards at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University and the popular Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is pursued up to Gold level. Our wide range of extra-curricular activities is an integral part of the education that children receive at OLA and not just an add-on to what happens in the classroom.
OLA continues to expand and upgrade its already extensive facilities. Recent developments have included a multi-use games area, a state of the art Design and Technology Centre and additional classrooms and Science laboratories. New dining facilities for senior students and an extensive refurbishment of our Sixth Form Centre have also been completed. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the environment enjoyed by our pupils and other ways to enrich the educational experience on offer.
These are exciting times at OLA, so please come and visit us to find out more. I look forward to welcoming you to the school very soon.
Stephen Oliver, Principal