Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 19th October 2018

Dear Parents,

The visit by teacher trainee students from the Arteveldehogeschool of the University of Ghent is a firmly-established annual highlight in the NCS calendar. It’s always good to see NCSl through others’ eyes and hear insights into pedagogy from an international perspective. We all learn from each other. Above all, the sense of friendship and shared endeavour across borders and cultures is especially precious: there is so much which unites us rather than divides us. But as with all friendships, it has to be maintained with equal enthusiasm on all sides: certainly the boys’ welcome for our guests and the care the students take in preparing for their visit demonstrates this in spade-loads. And in a week when we hosted the New College ‘There but not There’ statue https://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I (much of it, of course, fought on Belgian territory) and the lessons to be learned from it, it was good to be reminded that personal contact and mutual understanding across the nations is probably one of the most important gifts we should pass on across the generations.

One aspect of NCS life all visitors comment upon is the boys’ evident happiness in the classroom and at playtime. I must say that their happiness has been considerably enhanced by the addition to the playground of two table football games and a basketball net. (From my observations, these installations have also been enjoyed by parents and siblings too, which is excellent!). Huge thanks to the School Council for suggesting these and to the NCSPA for funding them.

Charity Week home clothes and table football tournaments; Separating materials in Year 6 Science; Coding and Computing in Year 7; English activities in Year 1

Sport. Following their success at the recent rugby festival, the U9 rugby teams built on this good work and produced two excellent performances vs Cokethorpe School last Friday. In the TAG game, a mixed Year 3 & 4 team scored 13 times, a record for an NCS TAG team who went on to beat our hosts in convincing fashion. In the U9 contact game, both sides played some great rugby with the ball in hand and scored some exciting tries. However, it was in defence that NCS gradually edged the game forward as the boys really grew into the game and started to tackle with more determination and aggression. Max Brown and Alexander Cadogan, who are two of our smallest players, were both outstanding in scoring and making super tackles. Rishaan Chari and Ashwin Satsangi continue to impress and get better every time we see them play, with Rishaan at the top of the “tackles made” list already. A final score of 11-7 in our favour wrapped up a great afternoon and we look forward to future games with this exciting team! On Tuesday, we a brief return to the football pitches with five U11 teams and two U7 teams in action against Summer Fields School. In the U11 fixture once again we made sure that every boy in Years 5 & 6 had the opportunity to play and a great afternoon of sport was had by all. Unfortunately, on this occasion the results did not go our way and even Mr Bradley’s ‘A’ team had an off-day and lost 6-3. A shining light in a dark afternoon, though, was Ethan McMillan’s hat trick with three well-taken and skilful goals! However not all was doom and gloom as the Year 2 teams were brilliant at home under the expert eye of Mr Rose. Two great games were played out with both schools recording a win. The highlight has to be Xander Smith in the ‘A’ teams as he scored 6 or our 7 goals. A first double hat trick for NCS teams! Of course, the chocolate doughnuts and apple juice at the end was a welcome treat and we look forward to more of the same from these boys as they continue to train hard and improve.

On Wednesday afternoon it was back to the rugby pitch and the turn of the senior boys with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams all playing CCCS. Despite being very early in our own season, we were up against three teams who had been playing together since September so we realised it would be a tough afternoon. In the 2nd team game, the NCS boys conceded two early tries and were a little shell-shocked in the opening few minutes; however, they quickly regained composure and at half-time were 2-2. In the second half it was the turn of the NCS boys to dominate the break down and, in particular, Narian Madar who was brilliant in the ruck and maul. Winning a quick ball meant we could exploit the speed of Lyndon Chen and the agility of Edward Bennett and score some breath-taking tries! At the final whistle the score was 5-5 and although it was slightly disappointing not to get the win, it was a cracking encounter and a performance full of potential. The 1st team game was a game of physicality and power rather than the finesse of running and passing rugby! The lead changed hands a number of times throughout the match with both teams exploiting the space in scoring some spectacular tries, including a “length of the field” effort from Joseph Conway. Callan McMillan was an excellent captain and his knowledge of the game and tactical awareness really helped an inexperienced side to compete at this level. The final score was 5-4 to our visitors and, despite losing this game, Mr Rose certainly feels the boys should be proud of their efforts: with a little more thought when passing the ball, the return game could be very different! On the 3rd team pitch, Mr Bradley was very pleased with the boys’ efforts, particularly their teamwork and togetherness. What was very pleasing to see was NCS boys committing to the contact situations with gusto and determination. In doing so they quickly gained the upper hand in the match. Special congratulation must go to Thomas Kelsey who did his promotion hopes no harm with a brilliant nine-try haul where he scythed his way through the CCCS defenders on more than one occasion. The final score of 13-3 was a well-deserved result and shows what can be done with application and determination.

I am delighted to congratulate four NCS pupils who have been selected to play for the Oxford County Hockey teams. Joseph Conway and Reuben McLusky will join the U14 squad and Dylan Jamieson and Fraser Mackenzie the U13 squad. Well done to them on this very significant achievement. It’s good to see NCS hockey strengths being recognised in this way.

Pre-Prep Story Time with Dr Jenkinson

Problem solving in Year 4 Primary Maths Challenge

Handwriting Competition. Mrs Showell-Rogers sent out letters and templates with the boys last week about our annual Handwriting Competition. There are different age-specific categories for all the pupils right from Reception to Year 8. The deadline for entries is Monday 5th November, so this could be a fun half-term activity!

Orders. Parents of boys in Years 3-8 should have received ‘Orders’ sent home with the boys on Wednesday. Please let the School Office know if you have not received them!

Saturday Morning Music School. There will be no Saturday Morning Music School this Saturday nor the following Saturday (27th October) because of half-term.

Choral Society. In the same way, there will be no choral society this coming Monday because of half-term.

Holiday Diaries. I am sure boys and parents know by now how much I enjoy reading holiday diaries. In recent years these have taken a number of imaginative forms: beautifully detailed written accounts, photographic diaries, newspaper articles, scrap books with all sorts of memorabilia. If your son is keen to keep a diary over this holiday, then I’m sure you’ll encourage him. Equally, I know that the library has been busy with boys taking out books they are planning to read.

Thank you to boys and parents for your support for Charity Week, in aid of The Big Cat Sanctuary, www.thebigcatsanctuary.org Cakes have been much enjoyed by all: the baking seems to get more and more sophisticated each term. As ever, the boys have appreciated the excitement of ‘home clothes day’ today. And there was a popular initiative by the boys of a table football tournament today. Well done to all on the super total of £502.07!

I’m looking forward to the Pre-Prep Party on Saturday, 3rd November, 2.00 -4.00pm in the Sports Hall. Always a highlight for us all! Tickets (£3) are now available from the School Office.

Years 7 & 8’s production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in New College Chapel is on Monday 5th November at 8.00pm and Wednesday 7th November at 6.00pm. Please note different times each night. Tickets are now available (free-of-charge) from the School Office.

Our Remembrance Day Service will take place on Wednesday 7th November at 10.00am in New College Chapel. The service will be a little more elaborate than usual and include music sung by the Chamber Choir, as well as the Last Post and the Solemn Commemoration of the Fallen from NCS. The service is a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by others to enable us to live in peace and freedom: we only have to look across the world today to see how fragile that peace and freedom is. Do join us if you can. Poppies, in aid of the Royal British Legion, will be available in School after half-term.

I am delighted to announce the first event in our Educational Partnership Initiative, led by Mrs Brown. On Thursday 14th November, in conjunction with College, we shall be running an inter-schools debating competition. We shall join with Year 7 and 8 pupils from Oxford Spires Academy and Cheney School to take part in a series of debates in College run according to the parliamentary rules of debating. Undergraduates will act as moderators. It will be followed by dinner in College for all participants. The motion for the first debate is “This house believes that Europe is more our friend than our enemy.”

Finally, Louise and I wish all NCS families an enjoyable half-term with plenty of time for a change from the usual term-time activities. But don’t let your sons persuade you they can’t make their own constructive entertainment from time to time: a little bit of initiative on their part often produces creative results!

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Start of Half-Term

Sunday, 28 October 2018

13.00 Year 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Sports Hall

17.45 College Commemoration Service, Chapel

Monday, 29 October 2018

Return from Half-Term

13.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, New College Chapel

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Revd Julia Baldwin, Chaplain of Brasenose College. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

15.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Chapel

17.30 Governors' Meeting, McGregor Matthews Room

Friday, 2 November 2018

14.00 U8 A&B Tag Rugby v MCS, Away

14.00 U9 A&B Rugby v MCS, Away

14.00 Set up for Pre-Prep Party

Saturday, 3 November 2018

9.45 Years 7 & 8 Play Rehearsal New College Chapel (No Sat am Music School)

14.00 Pre-Prep Fancy Dress Party – Sports Hall

18.15 All Souls’ Day - Solemn Requiem, New College Chapel

Monday, 5 November 2018

Abingdon 13+ pre-test interviews start

13.00 U10A Rugby Festival vs MCS, Away

20.00 Julius Caesar: Yrs 7 & 8 Play, New College Chapel

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

10.30 U9 Tag Rugby House Matches, Home

14.00 U11 A&B Rugby vs Cokethorpe, Away

14.00 U10 A&B Rugby vs Cokethorpe, Home

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

10.00 Remembrance Day Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Revd Paddy Cable, formerly Assistant Chaplain General RAChD. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom

13.00 Oxfordshire Book Awards

18.00 Julius Caesar: Yrs 7 & 8 Play New College Chapel

Thursday, 8 November 2018

13.30 U8-11 X-Country vs St Hugh's, Away

Friday, 9 November 2018

14.15 U9 A Rugby vs CCCS, Home

14.15 U9 B,C&D Tag Rugby vs CCCS, Home

Saturday, 10 November 2018

13.00 U9 A Rugby vs Winchester House, Away (TBC)

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