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Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 16th October 2020

Dear Parents,

Many of you will already know that this time of year is particularly special for NCS boys, especially those who have just joined our community. While New College School may be in Week 6 of Michaelmas, the University is in Week 1, which means that the ritual year begins in earnest. That ritual year has within it a number of ceremonies, the vast majority of which need to be rethought due to Covid-19 restrictions. Ordinarily, then, at this time of year we would have our Admission to the Foundation service in chapel, when all new pupils, colleagues and governors would be admitted by the Warden and myself, shaking hands and wheeling out our very best ceremonial Latin. Alas, we could not all be in chapel to enjoy such an event this year, but we hope that the gravity and importance of the event were still appreciated. You can see the service here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=louvkZC3CS4&feature=youtu.be.

While ceremonies give us certain reassuring frameworks, it is often the message conveyed in those ceremonies that lingers. The message in our Admission to the Foundation is that all our new members are very welcome additions to our community, and that community lasts for a lifetime. The Reception boys can look forward to a stretch of nine years at NCS, and we are thrilled to have some wonderful new additions further up the school too; but even when they depart at the end of Year 8, they never really leave William of Wykeham’s educational vision. I quip at the start of my history of the school that it is possible to spend one’s life under Wykeham’s aegis: NCS from 4 to 13; Winchester from 13 to 18; New College as an undergraduate from 18 to 21, postgraduate to your mid-20s, Junior Research Fellow, Fellow, then Emeritus Fellow. While that may be fairly unlikely – and arguably a little unhealthy – the spirit of a Wykehamist education, begun at NCS, will live on wherever you end up.

Separating mixtures in Year 6 Science; play time cricket; practising ball control in Reception games

A few weeks ago I talked about Natalia Ginzburg’s wonderful summary of what parents should provide for their children: ‘shadows and space’, a judicious balance between protection and freedom. That reminded me of the motto of my old school – sub umbra alarum tuarum; under the shadow of thy wings. This suited me down to the ground (I quite like being left alone to get on with things), and it still summarises to me what schools should provide: we won’t do everything for you, but we will give you the protection and shelter under which you can flourish. Of course, education is a lot more complicated than that, and there are quite a few minutiae we need to cover from literacy to numeracy, critical thinking to online safety, physical fitness to mental wellbeing. But we should stand back and take healthy pride in being part of such a benignly protective institution.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)

Artwork of the Week: ‘The Harp’ by Augusta Savage (1892-1962)

Word of the Week: Sinuous

Attached to this message you will find information from Mrs Showell-Rogers about next week's Charity Week, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK. This morning’s prep assembly introduced the boys to Cancer Research and outlined some of the ways that we will be raising money for this very important charity which is, I know, special to many of our NCS families. Within Covid-19 restrictions we can look forward to some of our usual playground entertainments and some superhero-themed fun runs.

We are aware that Pokemon cards are popular with some of the younger boys at the moment. We are keeping a close eye on this, with a view to keeping a balance between the boys enjoying themselves while not getting into the troubles to which such trends can lead. We are also aware that some Pokemon cards are very valuable – could parents therefore please keep an eye out to ensure their sons do not bring anything of any value onto site, just as they wouldn’t bring on site any other non-Pokemon-based items more obviously of value. Many thanks.

Forthcoming Events

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

Sunday 1 November 2020

13.30 Tempest rehearsal (Year 8/8S - see rehearsal schedule) until 16.00

Monday, 2 November 2020

Return from Half term

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

10.00 School Service. Speaker: Dr Anna Blomley, Esmee Fairburn Junior Research Fellow in Classics, New College

16.00 The Tempest filming (all of Year 7) until 17.15

17.30 Governors' Meeting

Sunday 8 November 2020

11.15 Tempest rehearsal (Year 8/8S - see rehearsal schedule) until 14.15

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