The Abbey School is an independent girls' school in Reading, Berkshire, which offers a broad and balanced education for academically able girls from the early years of the Nursery through to the Sixth Form. With excellent teaching facilities and a wide range of subjects, girls are encouraged to achieve their full individual potential in a safe, supportive and caring environment.
It gives me pleasure to welcome you to our website. We trust that you will find the information helpful and interesting.
If you are experiencing our school for the first time, please view it as only the beginning of an opportunity to get to know us. Hopefully you will be able to glean an impression of The Abbey School community and be inspired to contact us for a visit. I would be delighted to meet you and your daughter personally.
Our current parents and pupils may now enjoy their own log-ins to access up-to-date information on all the school’s current activities, news and updates. We also welcome visits from members of our Old Girls Association, ASROGA, who will soon also be able to log in to a secure environment and update us on all their news.
I hope that you will enjoy browsing through these pages. We shall continue to develop and enhance the site, and look forward to feedback from you all.
Headmistress: Mrs Barbara E. Stanley, BA (Hons). PGCE, FRGS
The Abbey School has a long and impressive tradition of providing the very best education for girls. We are an independent day school for girls aged 3 to 18 years, our academic expectations are high and our excellent examination results ensure that our girls gain entry to universities and colleges of their choice.
The Abbey School welcomes girls of all faiths and appreciates their contribution. A Church of England school in its traditions, it fosters Christian values of spiritual awareness, understanding and respect for others as a fundamental part of the school’s ethos. All our pupils join in morning assembly, one expression of the community spirit which is strongly in evidence throughout the school.
Each girl entrusted to our care is offered a wide range of opportunities and we place great emphasis on breadth as well as depth of education. Through our strong commitment to the expressive arts and sport, we strive to develop individual talents and promote new interests. Regular concerts, drama productions and displays are an inspiration to the whole school community and our wide range of extra-curricular activities amply caters for the many and varied interests of our girls.
Crucial to our ethos is the personal rapport established between our dedicated staff and each girl. We aim to foster in her the knowledge, skills and sense of responsibility she will need to take her place in the adult world. Above all we believe it is the girls who make the school, each being a unique and valued member of our community. Their enthusiasm, their efforts and successes, their ideas and suggestions all contribute to the distinctive ambience of The Abbey School.
We are all proud of our school and hope to share its success with you.
The Abbey School was founded in 1887 and quickly established an outstanding reputation that has placed it at the forefront of girls’ education.
The Abbey School moved to its present site in 1905 under the visionary leadership of Miss Helen Musson (pictured above, seated centre). Since then there have been just five headmistresses through more than 100 years, ladies who have ensured that the school has continued to meet the constantly changing needs of education.
Substantial extensions have taken place over the years; however the character of the traditional buildings has always been retained and respected.
A History of The Abbey School 1887-2001 by Barbara M Laverack and Barbara C L Sheldon is available from the school at a cost of £5 plus £1 P&P. You may order a copy of the History using the downloaded document below.
Pastoral care is central to our thinking. Our Director of Pastoral Support co-ordinates the work of the Heads of Year, who in turn liaise closely with the Form Tutors to support any girl who is experiencing difficulties at home or in school. We monitor each girl’s academic and pastoral welfare and members of the Pastoral Team are always available to parents by email or to meet at a pre-arranged time in school. We value the strong links between home and school and in our Home School Agreement it states that "we feel that the best situation for a student occurs when parents, teachers and pupils are all 'pulling in the same direction' ".
There is a structured PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) programme designed specifically for each year group and delivered by each year team, utilising both internal and external expertise, which is regularly reviewed to meet changing needs.
The School also has a full-time medical nurse on site who provides First Aid care for any unwell or injured girls, takes responsibility for any prescribed medicines, including epipens, brought into school by pupils and keeps the appropriate records. She has links with the West Berkshire School Health Service, The Community School Nurses, with reference to immunisations, the School Doctor, parents and staff. Additionally, the school nurse delivers PSHE lessons on health issues to girls throughout the school.
The Abbey School’s pastoral aim is to ensure that all pupils can work in a caring and secure atmosphere which encourages learning and personal and spiritual development.
The Abbey School admits girls through an entrance assessment process where not only academic ability is assessed, but also the girls' potential and suitability to The Abbey environment.
We look for bright, enthusiastic girls who have a love of life and learning.
The procedures, open day information and examination dates are outlined in the following pages.
All enquires for admissions are managed by our Registrar, Mrs Jackie Miles. Please feel free to contact her directly either by phone, email firstname.lastname@example.org or post
The Abbey School adheres to a uniform policy for all pupils up to and including the Fifth Form (Year 11), which we believe unites the school and engenders a sense of identity and community. The main uniform colour is green.
Girls are identified through their Abbey School career with variations on their uniform:
Early Years Centre
Dark green track suit in winter and a green and white striped summer dress
Dark green tunic dress over a green and white striped blouse in winter and a green and white striped summer dress from reception upwards.
Dark green kilt style skirt with a green and white striped blouse in both winter and summer
All girls wear a dark green pullover with an embroidered school logo, green tights or white socks and black shoes.
Girls in the Fifth Form (Years 10 & 11) are given additional seniority status with a change to black tights and a black pullover.
The Sixth Form students do not wear uniform but we request that they dress smartly and appropriately for their working environment and with due regard to their status as the senior members of the school. Our students have chosen to adopt a dress code for smart or formal occasions of a black skirt or trousers and a smart plain white shirt.
Specific uniform is also required for games, sport and other physical activity and overalls for science, art and food technology. Details are available from the school office.
All uniform is available from Len Smith's Ltd, the school outfitter who operates from within the school, open every Monday afternoon during term time (21 Kendrick Road, Reading), by mail order or at thier shop in Twickenham.
The Abbey School Parents' Association runs a second-hand uniform shop with the aim of selling only good quality current uniform. If the item is "good as new" about 50% of the new price is charged. The shop is open every Monday afternoon during term time. (21 Kendrick Road, Reading).
Tuition Fees – 2007/08
Tuition fees per term from September 2007 are listed below. The fees includes the cost of examinations (except for *Optional Extras), and covers the provision of school lunches, mid-morning drinks, text books, materials required for instruction and personal accident insurance. Trips and outings are an additional cost.
Early Years Centre
Nursery (age 3+ years)
Full Day £2,200
Morning only £1,650
Reception (age 4+ years) £2,450
Preparatory (Year 1) £2,600
Transition – LIII (Years 2-6) £2,930
Before & After School Care
£2.50 per morning session (7.45-8.30 am)
£7.00 per after school session (3.45-5.45) includes provision of a snack in the afternoon
UIII – UVI (Years 7-13) £3,420
Breakfast Service £1.20 per day (8 am-8.30 am)
Music lessons are available from Lower 1 (Year 3) and tuition is available in a variety of musical instruments.
Speech and Drama lessons are offered to girls from Transition (Year 2).
Individual Music Lessons £165.00 per term
Speech and Drama Lessons £210.00 per year for group lesson
ALL FEES ARE PAYABLE IN ADVANCE ON OR BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF EACH TERM
NEW PUPILS’ CHARGES
Registration fee £75 non-refundable
Deposit £500 to be held for duration of daughter’s time at The Abbey School
For a download of the tuition fees click the link below
The Abbey School is a vibrant, dynamic and active community. Every school day is full and
each new term brings new opportunities for our girls.
From clubs to trips, educational outings to lunchtime activities, there is something for everyone at The Abbey.
Follow the links on the left hand side menu to read more.
All girls are placed in one of four Houses: Carrington (purple), Kensington (blue), Paget (yellow) and Ducat (red/orange). Girls with sisters at school or with previous family connections will be placed in the same house, where it is known.
The Houses are named after benefactors of The Abbey School. The first houses associated with the school were boarding houses; although the school was not founded as a boarding school modes of transport were limited at the beginning of the twentieth century and the provision of boarding places enabled more families to send their daughters to be educated at school rather than at home.
In 1918 the first houses, Carrington House and Paget House, were established for daygirls. Girls were allocated alphabetically; those with a surname from A-J were placed in Carrington and from K-Z in Paget.
Carrington House was named after Sir John Carrington who had been a member of the 1907 local committee working with the Church Schools Company. He was one of the three members of the Council of Management who saved the school from being offered to Reading Town Council. As first secretary to the Council, he worked untiringly for the school until 1911.
Paget House was named after Dr Francis Paget, who became Bishop of Oxford in 1901, was one of the founders of the school and as President always took the chair at the annual prize-giving ceremony. He was deeply committed to the school and was a personal friend of Miss Musson.
Ducat House was formed in 1923 by dividing Carrington and Paget. Archdeacon Ducat was a great friend of the school from 1905, and was Chairman of the Council of Management from 1909 until his death in 1922. He laid the foundation stone of the school in 1905. He too was instrumental in preventing the school from being taken over by the Local Education Committee and enabled the school to retain its Church status.
The alphabetical division was abandoned in 1935 in an attempt to keep numbers even between houses.
Kensington House, home of The Abbey Junior School, was used as a boarding house from 1928-1946. In 1946 boarding ceased at the school and Kensington became the fourth house, with the building retained for the expanding Junior School.
Colonel Kensington was a governor and benefactor of the school. He too was a prominent member of the Council of Management and its secretary for some years. He coached some of the seniors in Mathematics and would often chaperone the boarders on picnics.
These four houses have continued to this day. Two Sixth Form House Captains run them and competitions still feature prominently, with the House Challenge Cup awarded annually.
Before and After School Care
The Junior School operates an excellent, well-attended programme for girls in both the Early Years and the Junior School. The morning session runs from 7.45am until 8.30am daily at an additional cost of £2.50. The afternoon session runs from 3.45pm until 5.45pm at a cost of £7.00. Your daughter will be in a safe and stimulating environment, enjoying various activities such as indoor crafts and outdoor play. (N.B. Childcare vouchers can be used to pay for this facility as it is an OFSTED registered programme.)
The Senior school offers a free, supervised homework room between 3.45pm and 5.45pm where girls are able to work quietly whilst waiting to be collected for the day.
In response to requests from working parents, we are delighted to announce a newly-extended holiday programme for pupils at The Junior School and Early Years. This will operate during each half term and for most weeks of the longer school holidays.
All girls at The Abbey School enjoy an excellent standard of nutrition in their lunch time meals. Prepared on the premises daily, by Sodexho, these meals are fully included in the girls' school fees.
The menu always provides
two choices of the main meal
a vegetarian option
vegetables and/or a salad pudding
Click on one of the two links below to view the 4-week cycle of menus for the Junior School and the Senior School.
The popular and well-stocked Junior Library is used everyday by girls from Prep (Year 1) through to Upper II (Year 5), either choosing for pleasure in their lunch-break, having a quiet read of the many books and magazines available to them, or using the computer or reference books for their homework.
Library lessons take place for all classes every week during which the girls learn about how to use the library and its resources, as well as
having the opportunity to discover new authors and books to inspire them with their reading. Girls are also able to shadow some of the national book awards suitable to their age-group, such as the Greeaway Medal and the Smarties Prize. Book-related events and competitions are centred around the library throughout the year, with special events for World Book Day and Book Week.
The Taylor Library
An impressive, pleasant, spacious library is well stocked with a range reflecting the curriculum as well as catering for leisure interests. A variety of resources available for loan include books, videos, CDs, cassettes, periodicals, daily newspapers, and CD-ROMs. There is open access for all students and staff before, during and after the school day for research, resource selection and study.
The library maintains the most up to date resources, with regular acquisition of new resources including the recent installation of a complete workstation of 12 networked computers. This pleasant and spacious environment not only celebrates national events such as Book Week and World Book Day, but is also home to displays of our pupils’ work.
The library staff is always on hand to help and recommend whilst responding to individual requests for specific items. The library also arranges author visits, clubs, promotional trips, quizzes and competitions all the while adding to the life of this vibrant department.
The Careers Library
The Careers Library is extremely well equipped and there is an extensive section on University entrance with up to date information on all possible career areas, as well as GCSE/A level subject choices. Members of the Careers team are available to students every lunch time and at other publicised times during the day.
The Careers Library has a specialist area on Oxbridge entrance together with college entrance requirements.
The Abbey School enjoys an enviable reputation for academic excellence. Our highly qualified, experienced and dedicated staff mentor our girls through the years with an emphasis on independent learning. Abbey girls are usually of a high academic ability but the school’s ethos remains the ultimate priority – that of aiming to provide the best opportunity for every girl to achieve her own personal full potential.
Mrs B Stanley BA (Queen's Belfast), PGCE (Leicester), FRGS
Mrs S N Jones MAEd (Open), BSc (Reading), PGCE (Oxon)
Head of Junior School:
Mrs J C Tuckett MA (New Hall, Cambridge), PGCE (Homerton College, Cambridge)
Early Years Coordinator:
Mrs J Wilson-Brown
Senior School Assistant Heads:
Mrs S L Colebrook BSc (Sheffield), PGCE (Nottingham)
Mrs M A Lovett JP, BA, PGCE (Durham)
Junior School Assistant Heads:
Mrs L H Glithro BSc (St Andrews), PGCE (Reading), MA Ed (Open)
Mrs Y B Goldthorpe BA (Huddersfield), PGCE (Oxford Brookes)
Director of Holiday Provision:
Mrs R J Heywood BEd (Westminster College, Oxford)
Please click on the Teaching Staff document below to access the full list of staff.
We believe that we offer a unique level of opportunity and value at The Abbey School and it is truly gratifying to see how many of our pupils take up the challenge which we offer. We are determined to stay right at the top and we will do so by continuing to invest to the full in our staff and in our infrastructure.
The building which will be demolished was constructed in 1905 and formed the core buildings for the Reading High School, which was later named The Abbey School. Parts of the original building, including the Hardcastle Hall with its stained glass window, the main arched entrance and the oriel window above will be preserved, but the parts which will be cleared hold no particular architectural value. This part of the school is currently used for administrative offices. The ‘Art Shack’, a wooden building which was erected as a ‘temporary structure’ in the 1920s will also be cleared away. The demolition work will be completed during the school holidays
The new building will be constructed to maintain the character of the old building and will consist of three self-contained floors of four classrooms each, enabling 300 girls and staff to work in state-of-the-art facilities. The Art department, already renowned for its excellent results, will be a major beneficiary and the Art Suite will include a dedicated Sixth Form studio.
In keeping with the new 2007 regulations, the new building will be eco-friendly with restricted carbon emissions from the cooling and heating system, natural ventilation through the classrooms, modern low emission lighting, natural materials wherever possible and solar shading on lighting on the southern and western aspects.
Life at The Abbey is so much more than just the core curriculum subjects. The many and varied extra-curricular opportunities on offer encourage both individual and team participation as well as high personal aspiration. Clubs meet either before or after school, or even during the lunch break.
Drama forms an exciting and fun extra curricular activity with a wide range of opportunities available to the girls.
Music plays a strong part in extra-curricular activities with a very wide range of ensemble experiences to girls of all musical abilities. Some groups meet at lunchtime, others after school.
As well as the competitive sports offered through Physical Education, a wide range of recreational activities are on offer and there is also the opportunity for girls to take part in taster sessions for sports not usually offered by the school.
Learning support is available where necessary, giving all pupils the ability to achieve their full potential.