The Head’s Welcome

I am honoured and privileged to be the Head of OLA. I said this to pupils on the first day of term. I said this to staff. I have posted this on social media. And I am delighted to be able to say it to you. 

OLA is an excellent school. Pupil achievement is excellent. Pastoral care is excellent. And what really makes this school excel, and how we can best demonstrate how wonderful OLA is, is through our pupils. They are quite simply fantastic. And that is why I feel honoured and privileged to be the Head. 

One theme I like to always bear in mind is ‘Transformation’, and transformation not in the sense of change per se, but in all of us at OLA, pupils and staff, being the best that we can be, and all aspects of the school being the best that it can be. 

Mr Daniel Gibbons, Head of OLA

Founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Mercy, OLA has been a beacon of Oxfordshire education ever since. We are a small, independent day school for pupils aged 7 to 18. The school provides a highly successful, fun and innovative learning experience within a happy and friendly community. This leads our pupils to achieve some exceptional academic results. Each one guided throughout their time at the school by our caring and dedicated teachers.

At OLA, we believe strongly in the value of co-education because we feel that it is the best environment for empowering our pupils to develop as confident and articulate young people who are equipped to make a difference in the world. We want to quite literally ‘spread the good news’ that we are fully coeducational, and that our pupils come from a wide range of backgrounds, both faith and non-faith. In the spirit of our catholic foundation, we ‘welcome’ and embrace all.

Our Lady’s Abingdon School (OLA) has a well-deserved reputation for providing academic excellence for boys and girls aged 7 to 18.  Our Lower School, Senior School and Sixth Form are all located on a single site with adjacent sports playing field, within easy walking distance of Abingdon Town Centre.

What makes OLA different to other primary, secondary, prep or senior independent schools?

As a Catholic independent co-educational day school, our success comes from a combination of factors which create the unique OLA learning adventure. Each child embarks on a journey that uncovers their full potential and nurtures them to achieve. A journey that enables them to thrive both academically and as a person.

An excerpt from our Mission Statement: “To each according to their needs” – we nurture wisdom, the value of learning, independent thinking, a sense of self-worth and care for each other that all may reach their full potential.

Small school:

With under 400 pupils in total, OLA offers everyone the possibility of representing the school in a wide range of confidence-developing activities. This includes Sport, Drama, Music, academic competitions and other chances to join in and excel, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Small classes:

We have a very high teacher to pupil ratio. This means our class sizes are smaller than you will find in other primary, secondary, prep or independent senior school. OLA provides a more individual learning experience that fully nurtures academic potential.

Fun and innovative learning:

Our fun approach to education helps pupils to fully engage in the academic life of the school. This leads to exam results that regularly exceed baseline predications. Find out more about our exam results.

Highly praised pastoral care:

Our staff work closely alongside our pupils to encourage, motivate and support each child. We help them to grow as confident, successful and happy individuals.

Family community:

OLA encourages an open dialogue between home and school through a range of effective channels and a weekly eNewsletter showcasing pupil activities, achievements and highlights.  Subscribe to the eNewsletter.

Catholic Christian ethos:

This is the foundation of everything we do, creating the family community so valued by OLA parents. The school accepts children of all faiths and none. We help everyone to aspire to such values as integrity, compassion, openness, forgiveness, reconciliation, co-operation and courage. If you would like to find out more about what it means for us to be a Catholic independent school, please read Catholic Independent Schools and the Common Good.

Examination results

Our 2021 A-level results were some of the best we have ever achieved, with 67.8% of students achieving grades A*-A, a 20% increase on last year’s A*-A results.  The A*-B results are also the best in the school’s history, with 83.1% gaining A*-B grades.  This is an outstanding achievement, given that our pupils start OLA with a wide range of abilities, and shows the excellent ‘Value Added’ that we give them.

Leavers destinations

Our Upper Sixth leavers regularly go on to a wide range of universities. This includes Oxford, Cambridge and many leading Russell group institutions. Among them we have medics, vets, scientists and artists, the range of subjects here reflecting the breadth of interests encouraged at OLA.

Find out more

Co-curricular programme

Our co-curricular programme is equally broad and is an integral part of the education that pupils receive at OLA, not just an add-on to what happens in the classroom.

Best Schools Guide - Review of OLA

The Muddy Stilettos Best Schools Guide review of OLA.

Good for: Kids who could benefit from a nurturing, supportive, non-hot-house style school. Joiner inners – with small numbers, comes opportunity to play instruments, have a go at sports and be part of the community.  Read more.

Come and see us!

We would love to welcome you to OLA. Book your appointment with admissions@ola.org.uk or join us on an Open Morning.

We hope to see you soon!

Contact Admissions