Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 7th June 2019

Dear Parents,

This week’s news has been dominated by the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and we have had some reflections on that event in our assemblies this week. Among the many wise words spoken at the various commemorations, a significant strand came through, summed up in Mrs May’s words as she helped dedicate a new memorial and spoke of those who had gone to France in June 1944: “They didn't boast. They didn't fuss. They served. They did their duty." In an age which seems to be increasingly self-obsessed and seduced by those who can shout loudest, make the grandest gesture or embrace the latest gimmick, these are values to be cherished. I underlined that to the boys this week. It’s often those in our communities who listen most intently or speak with quiet understanding who will command the most lasting respect. But as one commentator today has observed, such sentiments should not be confined to a few days around each significant anniversary or fade with the passing of the generation who were there. We need each successive generation to understand, objectively, what happened and how peaceful co-existence always needs to worked at and, fundamentally, requires altruism. And much of that job should rightly fall to schools and probably predominantly in what we teach in the humanities. In this context, it was concerning to see a member of the Cambridge University Education Faculty writing this week about the way in which History and RSP have been so squeezed in the curriculum that English teachers are ‘wasting time’ trying to fill in cultural hinterlands. Perhaps a shared understanding of the past – not vainglorious, but rational and analytical - is never more needed than now. Appropriately for this week, Churchill has the last word: “A nation that forgets its past has no future”.

Year 4 'Bach to School' at St Michael at the Northgate; Year 2 drawing mini-beasts after their trip to the Natural History Museum; Learning about the recycling process in Year 1; Table football; Cricket skills

Chess. Huge congratulations to Jack Douglas (who obtained a bronze medal), Ben Harkness (who obtained a silver medal), Peter Kendall, Kian O’Farrell, Ashwin Satsangi and Isaac Wang who competed in the Oxfordshire Chess Megafinal at half-term and have qualified for the UK-wide Gigafinal. This is a most impressive achievement and is a record number of gigafinalists from NCS. Well done, too, to Dominic Barber, Alexander McKean and Rishi Mohan who also competed in the Oxfordshire Megafinal – a great achievement to reach this level!

Well done to Charlie Hayter who completed the Three Peaks challenge at half-term and, together with two friends, has raised £1,650 so far for the Chron’s and Colitis charity. He climbed Ben Nevis last Friday in atrocious weather and then both Scafell Pike and Snowdon the following day. The weather forecast was so bad that he had to attempt both Scafell and Snowdon on one day! Many congratulations.

The Pre-Prep delighted us all with their confident and thoughtful leading of the Chapel Service on Wednesday. The recitation of their poems and the beautifully-made bees, sunflowers and butterflies really brought their message about our care for the natural world alive. Very well done to all!

Louise and I are looking forward to the Leavers’ Dinner for Year 8/8S this evening, which is always a most civilised occasion when we can celebrate all their hard work over the years, culminating in their PSB assessments this week. Would parents please note that the dinner will finish at 9.00pm.

School Photograph. Thank you to parents for ensuring your sons looked just the part for the school photograph we took before half-term. Order forms went home with the boys this week, but need to be returned by 24th June. That bit of small print on the forms is very small!

The Senior Concerts (Yrs 6,7,8) are this Wednesday at 5.15pm and 6.15pm in the School Hall. Drinks are served beforehand in my Study at 5.00pm and 6.00pm respectively. Mr Neal has sent out further details for performers by Parentmail. And on Thursday at 2.00pm we have the Pre-Prep Summer Concert in the Sports Hall. I’m very much looking forward to hearing the wonderful array of musical talent I’m sure these concerts will represent.

A reminder that the ABRSM Music Exams are the week after next (w/b Monday 17th June). Time now to put the polish on those scales and pieces!

As part of our school commitment to reduce waste, the Eco Committee have suggested PFFF (Package Free Fruit Fridays). So, from next Friday, we shall be selling small items of fruit (with no packaging) in the Prep School morning break tuck shop and we hope that if boys are sent with snacks from home they may be especially package-free (except of course the usual re-usable containers) on Fridays. It would really be a marvellous achievement if we could collectively cut down our packaging in this way.

As already the next academic year is very much in prospect (how rapidly it seems to have come round!), we look forward to welcoming parents who will be new to the School in September to drinks this week. I am sure current parents will give your own welcome too in September: I know that many of you often take the trouble to arrange play dates with new pupils, via the class lists we publish later on this term, for which I am most grateful.

With our Open Morning coming up on Friday 14th June and Induction Morning on Friday 21st June, the NCSPA would be grateful for a few parents to help serve coffee/tea and meet prospective/new parents on one or both of those occasions. If you are able to help out, please be in touch with your form reps. Many thanks!

Chorister Open Day. Saturday 15th June, 4.30pm. Parents of boys in Years 1 and 2 will have received a letter about the Chorister Open Day, which is an excellent time to meet Mr Quinney and find out more about life in New College Choir. Please do speak to me or to Miss Llewellyn-Jones or to Mrs Cox if you would like to any further information about the afternoon.

Development Plan Questionnaire. If you haven’t already responded to Dr Jenkinson’s questionnaire which will feed in to the next 5-year development plan, please do participate. The link is below. We would like to get as many views as possible from across the NCS community. Many thanks in advance! https://forms.gle/3PwXFux9MtbAqJLU9

The library is having a total recall of library books from all pupils & staff. All books should be returned by Friday 21st June and then those boys who are returning to NCS after the summer can borrow books from Monday 1st July. Mrs Hess will be really grateful if boys, parents & staff could seek out books that have been inadvertently removed from the library and are in bedrooms, desks, classrooms, lying forgotten! It is frustrating when a boy is looking for a specific book that should be on the shelf but cannot be located. And a drain on library finances if they have to be replaced. If a boy is desperately keen to take a book out for activities week, and they have returned all their books, then it will be possible to do so with Mrs Hess’s special permission.

Dates for your Diaries. The end of the Trinity Term always brings with it some very happy celebratory events at which we hope to see a good number of parents. Here is some advanced notice for your diaries. I trust you will all have received your particular invitations to the Summer Drinks (Monday 17th June).

Wednesday 12th June Senior Concerts, School Hall, 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Thursday 13th June Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert, Sports Hall, 2.00pm

Friday 14th June Open Morning, 10.00am

Monday 17th June Year 8 Playreading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cloisters, 6.45pm; Summer Drinks Evening, Cloisters, 7.45 - 9.00pm

Wednesday 19th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 2.00pm

Thursday 20th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 6.00pm

Saturday 22nd June Wykeham Day (Concert, Cricket Match, BBQ, School Fete), Field, 12 noon onwards; Last Evensong, Chapel, 6.00pm; Old Boys’ Dinner, 7.30pm

Thursday, 27th June Pre-Prep Summer Picnic, University Parks, 2.15pm

Monday 1st July Choristers’ Concert, Chapel, 5.30pm

Tuesday 2nd July Sports Day. Pre-Prep 10.00am; Prep School, 11.00am, Iffley Road

Wednesday 3rd July Leavers’ Service, Chapel, 10.00am; Pre-Prep Summer Show, School Hall 2.00pm; Leavers vs Fathers Cricket, Field 6.00pm

Thursday 4th July Leavers’ Concert, University Church, 7.00pm, followed by a reception at School

Friday 5th July Prizegiving for Years 3-8 to which parents of prizewinners will be invited nearer the time. Term ends 12 noon.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 8 June 2019

18.05 NC Choir: Three Choirs' Evensong, Christ Church Cathedral

Monday, 10 June 2019

14.00 1st XI Cricket vs d’Overbroeck’s, Home

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

10.30 U9 House Cricket Matches, Home

15.30 U11 A Cricket vs MCS, Away

19.30 HM Reception for New Parents, Sports Hall

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Professor Jane Shaw, Principal of Harris Manchester College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.00 School Council Meeting

14.30 1st XI Cricket vs Dragon, Away

14.30 2nd XI Cricket vs Dragon, Home

14.30 'All Stars' Cricket vs St Hugh's, Away

17.15 Senior Concert, Part 1 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Senior Concert, Part 2 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 6.00pm

Thursday, 13 June 2019

14.00 Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert, Sports Hall

Friday, 14 June 2019

Open Morning 10.00-12 noon

13.00 U11A Cricket County Cup vs MCS, Away

13.00 U9 Cricket vs Mums, Home

Saturday, 15 June 2019

No Music School, except for theory exam candidates

10.00 Associated Board Theory Exams

16.30 Chorister Open Day

Monday, 17 June 2019

Associated Board Exam Week

14.00 U13 Cricket House Matches, Home

18.45 Year 8 Play Reading: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, New College Cloisters

19.45 Summer Drinks Evening, New College Cloisters

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

14.00 Years 3 & 4 Musical: Dress Rehearsal

14.15 U11A & B Cricket vs Sibford, Home

10.30 U9 Cricket House Matches, Home

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Dr Melanie Marshall, Chaplain of Lincoln College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting

14.15 1st XI Cricket vs CCCS, Away

14.15 2nd XI Cricket vs CCCS, Home

14.00 Year 3 and 4 Musical: HMS Pinafore, School Hall

Thursday, 20 June 2019

14.15 U11 A Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Away

14.15 U11 B Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Away

16:00 U13 VI Chess vs the Dragon, Home

18.00 Years 3 and 4 Musical: HMS Pinafore, School Hall

Friday, 21 June 2019

9.00 Induction Morning

14.00 U9 Cricket vs MCS, Away

14.00 U8 Cricket vs MCS, Home

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Wykeham Day

12.00 OBs and Pupils' Concert, School Hall

13.00 Cricket Matches, Field

13.00 BBQ Lunch, Field

14.00 School Fête, Field (ends 16.00)

17.00 OBs AGM, Undercroft

18.15 Last Evensong, New College Chapel

19.00 Old Boys' Drinks and Canapes, College Gardens

19.30 Old Boys' Dinner, College Hall

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