Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 22 June 2018

Dear Parents,

If ever proof were needed that your sons set themselves high standards in all they do, just take a look at some of the achievements of this week. Reception were, I gather, the perfect guests when they visited Mrs Hess’s garden to see the chickens and enjoy a most delicious tea. Years 3 and 4 delighted us all with their performances of The Pirates of Penzance. Their mastery of music and dialogue, delivered with striking clarity, was admirably combined with some tremendously spirited acting and, above all, a palpable sense of enjoyment. The Choristers gave us a super informal concert of solo and ensemble items on Monday and rounded off the week by singing to a full house in a professional lunch-time concert today. Year 8, in ever-energetic post-exam mode, have not only managed an accomplished play-reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a prelude to our Summer Drinks Evening, but have impressed us with their TED talks on a most interesting variety of topics, while the quality of 8S’s CREST award entries and the wit and erudition of their Maths video have been hugely impressive. And, above all, the consummate way in which every NCS boy moved up for an hour to their new classes today and greeted new pupils and teachers was testimony to their general good sense and confidence. As ever, I am very grateful to all my colleagues who do so much to gently organise and encourage your sons in all this.

The Pirates of Penzance; Fete preparations; TED talks; Breaktime in the Garden

A parent kindly drew to my attention this week comments by Carnegie medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean who roundly criticised publishers for the way in which they have promoted dumbing down in the language of children’s literature, maintaining that this will lead to “an underclass of citizens with a small but functional vocabulary: easy to manipulate and lacking in the means to reason their way out of subjugation. Blink twice and today’s junior school readers will be in secondary school, armed only with a pocketful of single-syllable words, and with brains far less receptive to the acquisition of vocabulary than when they were three or seven or nine.” She added that young readers “should be bombarded with words like gamma rays, steeped in words like pot plants stood in water, pelted with them like confetti, fed on them like Alphabetti spaghetti.” Seeing our pupils hugely relishing Gilbertian and Shakespearean vocabulary this week proves her point. Children are perfectly capable of enjoying sophisticated vocabulary at all sorts of levels: simply enjoying the sound of unfamiliar words almost invariably leads to a will to discover their meaning. But, quite obviously, if we don’t set their aspirations high, we’ll never know what they can achieve. And even when we do, in my experience they can often exceed them, which is excellent news!

A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Cloisters

Sport. We have just finished an extremely busy week of sport with cricket and athletics teams in action. Firstly, the U11 cricket teams have hosted Sibford School in an ‘A’ & ‘B’ team fixture and, thanks to some good batting and heavy-run scoring, both teams managed to win. The ‘B’ team was thankful for Felix Nolan’s strong batting and even better fielding. In the ‘A’ team, Ben Harkness once again demonstrated his skills with both bat and ball and was key to the team’s success. On Thursday, the ‘A’ team made the journey over to Bruern Abbey School. The boys played in a cracking game of cricket and, in batting first, amassed a very impressive 106 for 9. Alex Smith got us off to a very bright start with a quick fire 9 as did Fraser Mackenzie with his powerful stroke play. However, it was Ben Harkness and Boaz Rossington who batted in the middle order who scored the runs this time. Ben was playing as well as we have seen this term. On a tricky wicket, he managed 32 before being bowled to a low shooter. After the break and a wonderful beef curry match tea, NCS bowled and fielded superbly to make sure our hosts were always behind the required run-rate. The opening pair survived for 10 overs but, thanks to discipline and good field placement, the boys did not panic. Once the openers were removed, the flood gates opened and we quickly rattled through the order restricting Bruern to 92 for 8 at the close. A well-earned final win the for this excellent U11 team. Special mention has to go to Jack Rothery who stepped in to keep wicket at the last moment; he did a spectacular job and even took a brilliant one-handed catch! The U13 ‘A’ & ‘B’ team both played our neighbours at Christ Church on Wednesday and, in two very entertaining games, both teams recorded convincing wins. The ‘B’ team won by 74 runs and we had the pleasure of watching Lyndon Chen bowl the best he has all season long! Nick Petrov also deserves a lot of praise after his big hitting in the middle of our innings. Some great fielding and tight bowling meant the CCCS 2nd XI could not get near our total of 118. Well done all on a fine win. In the 1st team game, the bowlers again bowled a tight line and Joseph Conway struck three times with his pace attack. With the bat, some steady scoring from the openers was followed by Krishen Rao and his powerful hitting. A six-wicket win was convincing and well deserved: this team are playing some super cricket at the moment.

In the Mercia Athletics Area Championships this week there were some notable performances from Joseph Conway and Fraser Mackenzie, who both qualified for the 100m finals, and Alex Smith, who narrowly missed out on national qualification in the U12 800m with a brilliant third place and a new personal best of 2m35s. Dennis Pym recorded a new school record in the shot putt, breaking an 8-year-old Macpherson record with a 6m29 effort! However, the stars of the show were Henry Channon and Theo Stavrik both of whom qualified for the National Championships in the 800m and 100m respectively. Henry won the 800m in a very impressive 2m14s, despite a crowded and bumpy start. Theo was second in the 100m final in a new school record of 12.16s and he even stated after the event he felt he could go even faster! Some really tremendous achievements all round!

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that Wykeham Day is tomorrow and includes a good variety of special events, culminating in the Fête. Timings are as follows: 11.30am: Concert in the School Hall; 12.30pm Cricket vs OBs on Field; 1.00pm: BBQ on Field; 2.00 – 4.00pm: Summer Fête on Field. Please would parents keep a particular eye on younger children to ensure they don’t get caught up with the cricket or wander near the river. Many thanks! Limited parking available is available in the school playground and please do not double park so others are blocked in. Otherwise, please park in surrounding roads (or better still cycle of walk if possible!).

Saturday Morning Music School will start as usual tomorrow at 9.45am and lead up to the Wykeham Day Concert. Boys are encouraged to attend the concert if at all possible. It will last a little beyond the normal Saturday finishing time, so boys attending or playing should be collected around 12.20pm. If boys are not staying for the concert, they can be collected at 11.20am from the playground, after signing out with a member of staff.

My good wishes to everyone for a really successful Activities Week. I know my colleagues have put a great deal into planning what I’m sure will be an outstanding week. I’m sure the boys will be appreciative of their efforts. Because so many of the boys are away, there will be no School Service on Wednesday 27th June and no Saturday Morning Music School at the end of Activities Week (30th June).

Activities Programme. Please note that no after school activities will run in the next two weeks for Years 3- 8. Next week in Pre-Prep, Year 1 Drama will run on Monday, Year 2 Spanish on Tuesday and Active Kids on Friday will run only. Judo will not run next week owing to activities week but will be held at the usual time on Monday 2nd July. Please could boys be sure to have their judo kit school.

Finally, thank you for all your support so far for our end-of-year events. Do continue to join us when you can over the coming couple of weeks.

Pre-Prep’s ‘Wild’ Picnic is on Tuesday 27th June at 2.30pm in Savile Road garden. Parents or carers who are free are warmly invited.

Sports Day is on Tuesday 3rd July at the University Sports Ground in Iffley Road. Parents are warmly invited to join us; please bring a picnic lunch. Pre-prep sports last from 10.00 – 11.00am and pupils may either stay on with their parents for the prep school sports at 11.00am and lunch the return home or return with form teachers to school. Prep school sports last from 11.00am until about 3.00pm, after which pupils may go home with their parents or return to school to be collected at the usual time. Limited parking will be available at Iffley Road and at School.

• Wednesday 4th July is the Leavers’ Service at 10.00am in New College Chapel. Parents of leavers are particularly invited to join us. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft.

The Pre-Prep Summer Show and award of annual certificates is also on Wednesday 4th July at 2.00pm. All pre-prep parents are invited but, for reasons of space, we need to limit tickets to two per family. Parking available in the playground from 1.30pm.

The Fathers vs Leavers Cricket Match is also on Wednesday 4th July at 6.00pm on Field. Parking available in the playground and some limited parking on Field.

The Leavers’ Concert is in the University Church at 7.00pm on Thursday 5th July, followed by a reception at School. Parking available in School.

Term ends at 12 noon on Friday 6th July, following prizegiving at 10.45am (to which parents of prizewinners in Years 3-8 have been invited). Parking available in school from 10.20am.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Wykeham Day

11.30 OBs and Pupils' Concert, School Hall

12.30 Cricket vs OBs, Field

13.00 BBQLunch, Field

14.00 School Fête, Field (ends 16.00)

18.00 CHASSOC Evensong, Chapel

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sicily trip (Yr 8) departs

Monday, 25 June 2018

Activities Week

Art Activities Week (Yrs 2 & 3)

France trip (Yrs 5-6) departs

Isle of Wight trip (Yr 7) departs

12.00 U9 BBQ & Cricket games, Home

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

13.30 U9 A Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

13.30 U9 B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

No School Service

Summer Banquet for Pre-Prep and Year 3

Malvern Hills trip departs (Yr 4)

Friday, 29 June 2018

Pre-Prep activities week outing to Warwick Castle

17.00 Year 4 return from Malvern Hills

Years 5-8 return

Monday, 2 July 2018

No after school activities in the last week of term

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Sports Day: Pre-Prep 10.00am ; Prep School 11.00 a.m. Iffley Road

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

10.00 Leavers’ Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Headmaster. Coffee for parents and visitors afterwards in the Undercroft.

13.00 Form Period and Distribution of Reports

14.15 1st XI Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Away

14.00 Pre-Prep Summer Show and annual certificates, School Hall

18.00 Leavers vs Fathers Cricket, Home

Thursday, 5 July 2018

19.00 Leavers' Concert, University Church

Friday, 6 July 2018

9.00 Final Assembly for Whole School, School Hall

10.45 Prize-Giving for Years 3- 8, Sports Hall

12.00 End of Term 12.00 noon

Sunday, 8 July 2018

12.30 NC Choir Cricket, Field

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