Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 16th November 2018

Dear Parents,

I know that in my newsletters I not infrequently try to reflect upon some current educational ideas and cast some thoughts about how education will best serve our pupils for the future. But a chapter on teaching which I came across this week, written in 1902 by A.C. Benson, a master at Eton and later a don at Magdalene College, Cambridge was a pertinent reminder that whilst educational theories and fancy resources come and go, the craft of good teaching is perennial. I trust Benson would recognise his precepts in NCS classrooms of 2018. “A school lesson should be of the nature of a dramatic performance, from which some interest and amusement may be expected; while at the same time there must be solid and business-like work done. Variety of every kind should be attempted; the blackboard [here perhaps substitute ‘interactive screen’] should be used, there should be some simple jesting, there should be some anecdote, some disquisition, and some allusion if possible to current events, and the result should be that the pupils should not only feel that they have put away some definite knowledge under lock and key, but also that they have been in contact with a lively and more mature mind. Exactly in what proportion the cauldron should be mingled, and what its precise ingredients should be, must be left to the taste and tact of the teacher.”

Teddy Bears' Hospital in Reception; New College Inter-Schools Debate; Year 5 Science

Plenty of interest and amusement in Reception’s Teddy Bears’ hospital this week as illustrated above. It was good to see the NCS bears back in school, though apparently suffering from all sorts of ailments which Dr Hess helped their owners to learn how to cure.

Sport. This week I think it’s only correct that we start with an update on the seven NCS boys who went for trials for the English Lions football team. 697 boys from Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surry were all hoping to get selected for the teams that would become the region’s teams at the Gothia Cup. This is an international tournament with over 80 nations taking part and is one of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the world. It’s a superb achievement that all seven (Timon Bergmann, Benedict Furger, Fraser Mackenzie, Ethan McMillan, Leo Magnotta, Jack Rothery, Edmund Visintin) have been selected and will have the opportunity to run out in front of 50,000 people and play football in some of Sweden’s best stadia. This is the very first time NCS has had representation in this event. I sure we can be collectively very proud of them and wish them all the very best of luck in this exciting endeavour.

Back on the rugby pitches, we have had some very exciting fixtures during the past seven days and all the NCS teams have made amazing progress. Last Friday, we had all of Years 3 & 4 playing against CCCS with two Year 3 TAG rugby games and two Year 4 rugby matches. It was great to see the NCS sports ground wonderfully alive with nearly 80 boys enjoying an afternoon of competitive sport and also, of course, the famous NCS chocolate doughnuts! In four very keenly contested games, there were a great number of tries scored and honours were even at the end with both schools winning two games each. On Monday afternoon, the U10 ‘A’ team played in the Abingdon School rugby festival under the lights at Tilsley Park. There were six schools in attendance and the standard of rugby was extremely high. From our five games we managed 1 draw, 1 win and 3 losses. However, throughout the festival the underlying theme from opposition coaches and parents was admiration for the competitiveness of a small school like NCS as we ran in tries against every team we faced and pushed our opposition to the very end in all of games. The boys learnt a great deal from the evening and made great strides as they progressed throughout the tournament; this culminated in a fantastic 7-1 win over St Andrew’s Pangbourne. Following this success the boys were back in action on Monday evening when they faced the U10 team from Windmill Primary School. On this occasion a slightly different team stepped up and gave a great performance. Harry Davies, Benedict Furger, Albie Kilkenny and Ishan Patel all proved this year group has strength in depth and is full of potential. The final score of 14-6 to NCS capped off a great couple of days for this team. On Wednesday afternoon St Hugh’s School visited us for an U13 rugby fixture which also provided us with an opportunity to field players who have not played so often for the NCS rugby teams. In an exciting fixture, the NCS boys were rotated in and out of the line up to give as many as possible a chance to shine and it’s good to hear that every boy who took to the field on Wednesday afternoon did a fantastic job. Notable performances came from a number of Year 7 boys including Felix Nolan, Xander Quinney, Boaz Rossington and Barnaby Turner; but one of the standout performers was James Clarke who controlled the game well from the mid-field. A final score of 6-3 to NCS was just reward for all of their hard work and again goes to prove what good progress is being made throughout all the squads this year!

The navy and war at sea in History

Pre-Prep break time

Switch-Off Fortnight has begun very well with members of the eco-committee monitoring our energy usage. There have been lots of emoji smiley faces around the School, so I’m sure boys and teachers are doing their bit to use energy responsibly. I hope this zeal extends to lights at home!

I’m delighted to congratulate the following on their success in the recent Handwriting Competition organised by Mrs Showell-Rogers. All the entries set a very high standard and it was pleasing to see that the art of beautiful handwriting is not yet dead! Well done to all.

Yrs 6-8 : 1. James Clarke, 2. Sammy Jarvis, 3. Lyndon Chen, HC: Dennis Pym. Yrs 3-5 1. Edward Millar, 2. James Woolley, 3. Finley Appleby, HC: Arjun Sabharwal, HC: Zachary Williams, HC: Luca Prag. Yr 2 1. Toby Conway, 2. Jack Douglas, 3. Tristan Brown, HC: Laurence Phythian-Adams. Yr 1 1: Henry Clifton, 2: Fox Davies, 3: Samuel Jacoby, HC: Radin Nekouzad, Reception 1. Tassilo Huber, 2. Harrison Williams, 3. Nicolas Mestre, HC: Francis Phythian - Adams.

Congratulations to Lyndon Chen, Freddie East, Arnaud Girardin-Potts, Ioan Glyn-Jones, Dylan Jamieson, Sammy Jarvis, Jamie Kilroy, Callan McMillan and Nathan Sparkes who represented the School so ably and personably in the New College Inter-Schools Debate this week. In an initiative led by Mrs Brown as part of our Educational Partnerships programme, the boys debated with their counterparts at Cheney School and Oxford Spires Academy and all participants enjoyed a most sociable dinner in College to conclude the event. Well done to all on being excellent ambassadors for the School.

The Junior Concerts last Wednesday gave us some most enjoyable music-making with many making their first appearance in a prep school concert. There was a wonderful atmosphere of enthusiasm and mutual support, which is a real hallmark of these concerts. Many thanks to Miss Llewellyn-Jones for organising it all. I look forward to hearing the seniors in action this coming Wednesday. Mr Neal has promulgated arrangements to the boys involved.

I’m sure many of you will have noticed that the landscaping of the garden to the interim building is now moving on apace and we shall shortly see the new play equipment installed. Over the Christmas holidays the move from the current pre-prep and Years 3 & 4 classrooms will take place, ready for a grand opening on the first day of next term. Parents and friends are invited to join us for ribbon-cutting and cake and an opportunity to view the building at 10.00am on Wednesday 9th January instead of our usual beginning of term service.

Book Launch. All NCS parents, colleagues and older pupils are warmly invited to the launch of Dr Jenkinson’s and my poetry anthology, How Poems Work, featuring meanings, techniques and effects in 100 poems from Beowulf to the Iraq War. The launch will take place in the Founder’s Library in College at 6.30pm on Friday, 30th November. Drinks and nibbles will be served. Please let the School Office know soonest if you think you are likely to join us so we have a sense of numbers for catering purposes.

Please find attached a poster for the Chamber Choir and Choral Society Christmas Concert on Saturday 15th December at 7.30pm in New College Chapel. Tickets (£15 full price; £10 concessions including NCS parents; £5 students; Free for u18s) are obtainable from the school office and from www.wegottickets.com/event/455265

If you’re in London before Christmas, why not join in A New College Christmas, a journey in music through Advent and Christmas in a concert given by the choristers and clerks at St John’s Smith Square on Monday 17th December at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 - £25 from www.sjss.org.uk/events/new-college-christmas

Road Safety. As the mornings and afternoons get darker, please can I ask all parents to take particular care in driving and manoeuvring in Savile and Mansfield Roads. In particular, please observe the 20 mph speed limits, avoid turning in our gateway as children are entering and exiting the School at drop-off and pick-up time, and be especially vigilant for cyclists at all times. Many thanks for your help with this!

And finally, do click on the link below to see the video of the Year 7 & 8's production of Julius Caesar, which they performed in Chapel earlier this month.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 19 November 2018

‘Switch-Off’ Fortnight continues

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

10.30 U9 Tag House Matches, Home

13.30 U8 A,B&C Tag Festival vs MCS, Away

14.30 U11A Rugby vs Sibford, Home

14.30 U11B Tag vs Sibford, Home

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Revd Canon Bruce Kinsey, Chaplain of Balliol College. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting, Year 5 classroom

14.15 U13 A Rugby vs Bruern Abbey, Home

14.15 U13 B Rugby vs Bruern Abbey, Away

17.15 Senior Concerts (Years 6,7 & 8), School Hall. Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Senior Concerts (Years 6,7 & 8), School Hall. Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 6.00pm

Thursday, 22 November 2018

13.00 U11 A Rugby vs Cokethorpe, Away

14.15 U11 B&C Rugby vs CCCS, Home

Saturday, 24 November 2018

No choristers at Saturday Morning Music School

Sunday, 25 November 2018

17.30 Advent Carol Service New College Chapel

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: Professor Richard Whittington, Millman Tutorial Fellow in Business Studies, Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions, Professor of Strategic Management, New College. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

14.00 U13 A Rugby vs Dragon, Home

14.00 U13 B Rugby vs Dragon, Away

Thursday, 29 November 2018

14.15 U11 A Rugby vs Kitebrook, Away

14.30 Pre Prep Winter Concert, Hall

Friday, 30 November 2018

14.00 U9 A & U8 A Rugby vs Cokethorpe, Away

Saturday, 1 December 2018

End of University Term

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