Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 9th October 2019

Dear Parents,

October is Black History Month in the UK. It would be an understatement to say that issues of equality and diversity have featured prominently in the news reels over the past few months, presenting us all with questions about how societies across the world can be made fairer to those from a number of different backgrounds. I should hope that the core values we aim to transmit to NCS boys in our teaching, assemblies and day-to-day lives will help to build a fairer society when those same boys have grown up and are participants in an active democracy. One way that we aim to do this is through making the boys aware of remarkable people from a number of different backgrounds, especially those who have made significant contributions to promoting equity, equality and diversity. Over the past year or so, our ‘people of the week’ have included the likes of Toni Morrison, Jessye Norman, Lady Constance Lytton, Megan Rapinoe, John Lewis, Katherine Johnson, Professor Judith Weir, Helen Keller, Madam C.J. Walker, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Octavia Butler. When we talk about these people in Monday assemblies, alongside looking at their notable achievements and contributions to society, we also look at the qualities and characteristics that made them remarkable people.

Year 5 Zoom music masterclass; Pre-Prep music; Year 8 Cranmer tour; Year 3 fitness and Year 7 Music

This week’s person of the week was Fred Shuttlesworth, the anniversary of whose death was on Monday. Shuttlesworth was a Civil Rights activist who, alongside the likes of Martin Luther King Jr, led the fight against segregation and other forms of racism in the US. He took part in sit-ins at ‘whites-only’ lunch counters, for example, and rode the ‘Freedom Rides’ on buses in the 1960s. He was co-founder of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose motto underlined its commitment to nonviolence: ‘Not one hair of one head of one person shall be harmed’. As you can imagine, he was the target of violence and intimidation himself, but he always stood up to those antagonists, declaring that he was not ‘born to run’. A sometimes complex and by no means flawless character, there are certain of his virtues that I underlined to the boys in Monday’s assembly: his forgiveness of those who wronged him, and a determination to look beyond rhetoric and towards real action. He was critical of those who gave what he called ‘flowery speeches’ but did not act on them.

There are few, if any, figures from the past without some character flaws, but I hope that by introducing the boys to inspirational figures – living or dead – we can focus on their desirable character traits that we can all aim to emulate. Shuttlesworth, noted one admirer, ‘would not back down … He would not sell out, and you could count on that’. If our boys identify and promote laudable characteristics and behaviours, then don’t back down from them in the face of adversity, something is working.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Fred Shuttlesworth (1922-2011)

Artwork of the Week: ‘Radiator Building’ by Georgia O’Keeffe

Work of the Week: emollient

Next Wednesday sees the formal admission to the New College foundation of our new pupils, teachers and governors. While this would normally be done in person, with the requisite ceremonial Latin, due to Covid-19 it will have to be done remotely. We will be doing our best to record this special chapel ceremony so parents can see the Warden and myself admitting the boys to New College.

The boys had a successful first school council meeting via Zoom this Wednesday and I look forward to hearing more about their discussion points.

I was also pleased to hear that our first Zoom parents’ evening (for Year 7) went well this Wednesday, with the new Schoolbase booking system and Zoom slots working effectively. Thanks to Miss Krebs for organising this brave new world, and to all colleagues and parents for being so patient and accommodating as we navigate a necessarily different way of doing things. As ever, if you would like to discuss any issue or subject at greater length, do please get in touch on firstname.lastname@newcollegeschool.org (https://www.newcollegeschool.org/who-we-are) or office@newcollegeschool.org.

Many thanks to all those colleagues, parents and boys who helped out at our virtual open morning last Saturday. It was great to still be able to give prospective families a sense of what is special about an NCS education, despite the limitations placed on us by Covid-19. We had a lot of enthusiastic and positive feedback.

Parents may be interested to read the agenda of the County Council’s Cabinet meeting on 13 October, especially item 8: https://mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=115&MId=5926&Ver=4

For those of you missing our chapel services, the addresses from those services are now available on the following links:

The Headmaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us928jrM8JA&feature=youtu.be

Professor William Whyte: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKCYipdj2k4&feature=youtu.be

The Chaplain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kST-mdSGMU0&feature=youtu.be

Dr Peggy Frith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG_3sfkfobs&feature=youtu.be

Forthcoming Events

Sunday, 11 October 2020

University term starts

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

10.00 Beginning of Year Service. Speaker: The Warden

Saturday, 17 October 2020

9.15 Abingdon pre-test (Year 7 for September 2022 entry)

Monday, 19 October 2020

Start of Charity Week

Pre-Prep Reviews Start

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Orders in Years 3-8 issued

10.00 School Service. Speaker: The Revd Fr Nicholas Edmonds-Smith, The Oratory of St Philip Neri

Friday, 23 October 2020

Home clothes day

Half term begins

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