Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 16th October 2020
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.