Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 16th december 2016

Dear Parents,

There's nothing quite like the end of a school term just before Christmas. Seeing the anticipation of the festivities through the sheer enjoyment and exuberance of children is something very special: as teachers we’re privileged to be part of it. And so, we have had a most accomplished nativity play from the pre-prep (thank you parents for your help with line-learning), a successful Christmas Fair with boys happily and thoughtfully buying presents for parents and siblings, and a most moving, accomplished, Carol Service, which was not only hugely enjoyable, but I’m sure helped us all reflect on the essential message of the season.

Pre-Prep Nativity Play

I am deeply grateful for the support of colleagues and parents who do so much to make these (and many similar events) very special for the boys. I know that NCSPA Co-Chairs Daisy East and Lucy Kilroy would especially like to join me in thanking all who set up the Hall and ran stalls at the Christmas Fair, or who donated things for us to sell and generally gave of their time and effort. Equally, I’m grateful for your generosity in supporting our Carol Service appeal to support the Oxford Foodbank. The collection raised a total of over £700 which will go straightaway to provide food for more than 80 charities working with the homeless and needy of Oxford. Thank you so much.

Carol Service in New College Chapel

You won’t need me to remind you what a busy term it has been and there is certainly cause for rejoicing at the boys’ many achievements. It’s always a crucial term in the classroom as we establish good work habits for the year and really try to bring out the talents of boys in all they do. And that’s certainly reflected in their reports. It’s a term of pre-tests for some and for taking first steps in writing and number work for others. At all levels of the School, it has been a notably productive term. Outside the classroom, we have had some exciting football and rugby matches with some outstanding individual performances in a range of sporting fixtures. We’ve also had another remarkable Shakesperean performance from Years 7 & 8; senior, junior and pre-prep concerts with a super range of music; innovative ideas and lots of practical action from the Eco-Committee and the School Council; a successful Charity Week, as well as many boys taking up new challenges in our activities programme. There have been trips and visits to enhance the curriculum, all organised with customary care by my colleagues. The choristers have given us much professionalism and delight in their Advent and Christmas services and some notable high-profile concerts, as well as keeping up high standards in their regular Chapel services. Very well done to all!

Christmas lunch; readings in Chapel; end-of-term sports prizes; the Christmas Fair

Reports were issued via boys on Wednesday and I hope have been safely received. Do contact Mrs McCusker if not. If boys have been absent, reports are posted home.

The Chamber Choir and Choral Society’s Christmas Concert is tomorrow at 7.30pm in New College Chapel. Do join us tomorrow for a super celebration of Christmas.

Midnight Mass in New College. NCS families who are in Oxford for Christmas are very welcome to come to Midnight Mass, the eucharist for Christmas Eve, with carols and candlelit blessing of the crib, on 24th December at 11.00pm In New College Chapel.

Please find attached Mrs Hess’s 2016 Christmas Quiz. Completed quiz sheets to her in the Library by the end of the first week of next ter. There will be the usual festive chocolate prizes!

A reminder that pre-season hockey training will take place on Tuesday 10th January at 2.00 – 3.30pm at St Edward’s Astroturf. All boys from Years 5-8 are welcome.

Snow (or other extreme weather). A reminder for next term that, in the event of an overnight snowfall or other extreme winter weather, we usually remain open because we have a number of staff who live very locally. But please do not feel that simply because we are open you have to make dangerous efforts to get here if road conditions are problematic. An update on weather conditions here will be sent by Parentmail and will appear on our website (About Us > News) just before 7.00am on any such mornings.

A newly- commissioned opera by Roxanna Panufnik will be performed on the main stage at the Wormsley Estate as part of Garsington’s 2017 season. They are now looking for around 50 young people to join the show. They would love to hear from singers of all experiences and backgrounds, particularly anyone from Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire, as well as any young people with strong dance experience. There are rehearsals during the Easter and Summer half term holidays, and then more frequently during July. E-Flyers about the audition process can be downloaded from this link: http://www.garsingtonopera.org/news/perform-garsington-join-silver-birch-chorus

Next term, we are delighted to welcome Dr Ian Walker as a governor of the School, in succession to Mr Ken Durham. Dr Walker was educated at Sydney Boys’ High School and was previously Headmaster of The King’s School, Rochester; before that, he taught at Dulwich College. He has been Chair of the South-East division of HMC and is a lay canon emeritus of Rochester Cathedral. His interests include writing, oil painting and Egyptology. He holds two Black Belts in martial arts and was a NSW trialist in Rugby Union.

We say farewell to Mrs Laura Rindler who has done so much here to inspire her pupils with a love of the Classics and has also revolutionised our activities programme in her role as Director of Activities. Amongst other developments, I’m sure all of us will have appreciated the computerised sign-up she intiated! She leaves to become Head of Classics at Bilton Grange School, Warwickshire, a move which will also make family logistics easier for her. In her place, i/c Classics from next term, we will be joined by Dr Laura Arthur. Dr Arthur was educated at Oxford High School, took her undergraduate degree from Bristol University and her D.Phil from Oxford. I’m sure parents will join me in welcoming her to NCS.

Next term begins on Wednesday 11th January 2017 at 8.20am for Years 3-8 and 8.45am for Pre-Prep. The full calendar for next term and fixture list are attached with this newsletter. Please note, in particular, the dates for Parents’ Evenings.

Activities. Please note that after-school activities for next term will re-commence on the first day of term, Wednesday 11th January.

Louise and I would like to thank NCS families for your kind greetings and all your support this term. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a relaxing holiday.

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events


Sat 17

NCS Chamber Choir and Choral Society Concert, New College Chapel, 7.30pm


Mon 9


Tues 10


Pre-season hockey training, Iffley Road Sports Ground, 2.00pm

Wed 11

Start of Term. 8.20 Prep School, 8.45 Pre-Prep

School Service - 10.00 am – New College Chapel

Speaker: The Headmaster

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Thurs 12

U11 A&B Football vs Cokethorpe, Away, 2.00pm

U11 C&D Football vs Cokethorpe, Home, 2.00pm

Fri 13

First Evensong

U9 A Football vs Cokethorpe, Away, 2.00pm

U9 B&C Football vs Cokethorpe, Home, 2.00pm

Sat 14

Music Scholars' Masterclass, School Hall, 10.00 – 12 noon

led by Ralph Allwood, MBE, formerly Precentor of Eton College

Readings and Music for Epiphany, New College Chapel, 6.15pm

Oxford Bach Ensemble Concert, St Margaret’s Church, 7.45pm

Sun 15

Start of University Term

Mon 16

Scholars' Concert, Holywell Music Room, 5.30pm

Tues 17

U11 Hockey House Matches, Iffley Road , 2.00pm

U9 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away, 4.00pm

Wed 18

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor, St Paul’s Cathedral

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

School Council Meeting, 12.30pm

Yr 6 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall, 6.00p.m.

Thurs 19

Years 1 & 2 to Pitt Rivers Museum (Puppets and Stories Workshop)

Sat 21

MCS Pretest for Yr 6 for 2019 entry

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