Press Releases

Press Releases Below

1. TUESDAY 10 MARCH 2020: OLA ranked in top 5% of schools in England for adding value at A Level

2. MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2020: OLA to stage Grease on three sold-out nights!

3. THURSDAY 22 AUGUST 2019: Science tops the grade as OLA celebrates another strong GCSE performance

4. THURSDAY 15 AUGUST 2019: OLA celebrates outstanding A Level success 

1. TUESDAY 10 MARCH 2020

OLA ranked in top 5% of schools in England for adding value at A Level

Abingdon independent school OLA (Our Lady’s Abingdon) has been ranked in the top 5% of schools in England for adding value at A Level in the recently published Government results for the 2019 exams.

The School received a score of 0.42 in the league table, placing it in the ‘Well Above Average’ category, the highest a school can achieve and a rate well above most of its major local competitors.

These scores explain how much progress students who studied A Levels made between the end of key stage 4 (GCSE) and the end of their A Level studies, compared to similar students across England.

Commenting on the result OLA Principal Stephen Oliver said:

‘This is an outstanding result for the school. To read that our 2019 A Level cohort made much greater academic progress between their GCSEs and A Levels than those in other schools is a clear testimony to the dedication and hard work of both staff and students. What they achieved effectively built on from the ‘Value Added’ many of them had already achieved at GCSE, where their performance exceeded baseline expectations. The result reflects our commitment to see every student achieve their very best throughout their time at the school.’

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2. MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2020

OLA to stage Grease on three sold-out nights!

Students at OLA (Our Lady’s Abingdon) Senior School are busy preparing for their most adventurous production yet, the rock‘n’roll musical Grease!

Building on their hugely successful production of Hairspray in 2019, over a third of the School are involved this time building further on the school’s reputation for giving the widest number of students possible the opportunity to experience the creative arts.


Producing such a well-known and well-loved musical hasn’t come without its challenges for production managers Dr Elizabeth Lawson and Neil Farrow.


“If we really want to be critical, Grease does have some questionable morals. Sandy finds herself cruelly rejected and mocked by Danny, her summer love, only to be told by her friends that it’s because she’s reserved and boring. So, Sandy changes herself, sprays on some leggings and lands the lad. But if we look beyond those obvious pitfalls, there’s a lot that’s positive about Grease and that’s what we highlight in OLA’s production. It’s a story about the importance of friendship, having the confidence to stand up for what you believe in and a realization that there is more to relationships than image”.
Head of Drama/OLA 6th, Dr Elizabeth Lawson


“We are doing things a little differently! This version has some elements from the original stage production and some from the film – we aim to leave everyone happy with the familiar songs but concentrate on the strengths of our cast so that we are not just imitating the iconic performances of Travolta and Newton-John. Our band too is focused very clearly around some of our best instrumentalists in school; we are not just replicating the CD but allowing space for rock’n’roll improvisation”.
Director of Music, Neil Farrow

Grease will be performed at OLA on three consecutive nights from Tuesday 11 February to sold out audiences.

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3. THURSDAY 22 AUGUST 2019

Science tops the grade as OLA celebrates another strong GCSE performance

Students at Our Lady’s Abingdon Senior School are today celebrating another strong year of GCSE results. 

The 2019 results show a 4.1 % increase in grades 9 – 4 from 2018. The sciences are the stand out performers this year with Physics (88%), Biology (81.3%) and Chemistry (75%) of pupils achieving grades 9 – 7. This compares very favourably even with last year’s excellent figures of 63%, 79% and 74% respectively for these subjects. 

There were also excellent results in English Language where 79% of pupils achieved grades 9 – 7 and in Art where 72.7% celebrated the top grades.

Grades 2018-19 
Grades 9 -7  46.8%
Grades 9 – 6 64.8%
Grades 9 – 4 92.1%
Grades 9 – 1 100%
Number of pupils in year 39

Commenting on the GCSE results School Principal Stephen Oliver said:

“These are excellent results for our sciences in particular. I want to congratulate our budding scientists for all their hard work in achieving this magnificent performance building further on our science success in GCSE last year. I am also delighted by the increase in our grade 9 – 4 scores. This is testimony to the hard and dedicated work of our pupils and the excellent teaching and pastoral support they receive from our staff team. Well done to all concerned!”

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4. THURSDAY 15 AUGUST 2019

OLA celebrates outstanding A Level success 

Students at Our Lady’s Abingdon Senior School are today celebrating an excellent set of A Level results, building further on the reputation of the school for guiding its students to significant academic success.

The 2019 results show an impressive 16% increase in A and A* grades from 2018, with 53% of grades achieved above ALIS baseline predictions, the best on record. 

 Grades 2018-19 2017-18
Grades A* – A37% 21% 
Grades A* – B65%49% 
Grades A* – C79%75% 
Grades A* – E97%97%
Number of pupils in year3130 

Among our many smiling faces today are students who have achieved their requirements to continue their studies with prestigious universities across the UK and beyond. Subjects studied will include Business and Management, Politics and International Relations, Archaeology and History, Biochemistry, Theatre and English and Psychology.

OLA Head Boy Esmond Martin becomes the first OLA student to go on to study in the USA. Esmond has won a prestigious scholarship to Georgetown University in Washington DC. He will major in International Politics.

OLA students also returned another excellent set of results in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ requires students to pick a research topic and produce an independent piece of work. Our A* topics this year include:

• Do referendums enhance or diminish democracy by Will Allen

• Designing a netball dress by Katie Winnicott

• Modern Trends in Immersive Theatre by Bethan Corley

Commenting on the A Level and EPQ results School Principal Stephen Oliver said:

“We are thrilled. The results are a clear testimony to the hard and dedicated work of our students and the excellent teaching they receive from our staff team. Our small class sizes and highly praised pastoral support regularly help our students achieve beyond expectation but this year our value added has soared. This year’s results show 53.2% of grades achieved were above their ALIS prediction, a really remarkable achievement. Well done to all concerned.”

Head of Sixth Form Dr Elizabeth Lawson commented: “I want to congratulate every student for what they have achieved. It’s a joy to see all of the hard work paying off in such a happy and excellent way. It’s emotional!”  

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