Abingdon School

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Group.png Abingdon School  
Abingdon School crest.png
"Highly selective, strongly academic" upper-class English boarding school for boys

Abingdon School is a day and boarding independent school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. The twentieth oldest independent British school, it celebrated its 750th anniversary in 2006. The school was described as "highly selective, strongly academic" in The Tatler School Guide.[1]


The schools has been in existence possibly since the 1100s, with the first written reference in 1256.

The school experienced a successful period during the 18th century under headmaster Thomas Woods (1716–1753), known as "Flogging Tom". The school became favoured among the local aristocracy and many OAs went on to successful careers. In 1743, The Old Abingdonian Club was inaugurated, it is consequently one of the oldest such organisations in the UK.

At the turn of the century, the school entered a period of decline under the leadership of the "incompetent"[2] headmaster Dr. John Lempriere. As a consequence, Pembroke College, Oxford, used the Oxford University Act 1854 as an excuse to cut its links with the school.

In 1998, it merged with Josca's, a preparatory school four miles to the west at Frilford which since 2007 has been known as Abingdon Preparatory School, with both schools becoming part of the Abingdon Foundation. There are strong connections with the nearby School of St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon. In 2003, the new Arts Department was opened (adjacent to the Amey Theatre).

In September 2010, Felicity Lusk, formerly headmistress of Oxford High School for Girls, a GDST school, replaced Mark Turner as Head of Abingdon. She became the first female Head of a boys' boarding public school.


The school holds a number of events, dinners and balls throughout the year.

The "Foundation Dinner", to honour the school's founders and benefactors, is held once a year towards the end of Lent term. It is normally attended by Abingdon Town Councillors, supporters of the school, governors, famous OAs, school prefects and upper sixth scholars.


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