As I write this, the boys are outside chatting happily. The secondary glazing in the study windows prevents me from hearing precisely what it’s about – which is probably a good thing – but the cheerfulness of their interactions is palpable. I am not naïve enough to think that this is always the case, and it is part of the human condition to experience anxieties and unhappiness at different times. The key thing is to make sure that we keep the boys talking – whether it be in wellbeing lessons, form time, or just more generally (I’m sure my colleagues would like me to say that there might be times in lessons, say, when it’s perhaps a little less appropriate to be quite so talkative) – to make sure that those things aren’t bottled up.
Have a great weekend, full of happy positive conversations,
Person of the Week: James Baldwin (1924-87)
Artwork of the Week: ‘Self-Portrait in a Red Dress’ by Frida Kahlo
Word of the Week: impeccable
Well done to Isaac in Year 3 for being runner up in this year’s National Literacy Trust Christmas Card Competition. There were over 540 entries, so Isaac did especially well, and he has won a set of books for the school. His design is available to order online at: https://makingadifference.cards/supporting/national-literacy-trust/with/christmas-cards-and-ecards-1#charity
Well done, too, to Hugo in Year 4 for winning first prize in the 7-11 age group in the Oxfordshire Poetry Library Competition, based on The Lost Words, a collection of nature-inspired poems by Robert MacFarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris. The competition was judged by MacFarlane himself and he was impressed by Hugo’s beautifully written and illustrated poem about the Red Kite. Hugo has won signed copies of The Lost Words and its sequel, The Lost Spells. And, if that weren’t enough, well done to Jack in Year 4 as well, who was a runner up in the same competition!
The choristers did a fantastic job singing in last weekend’s Advent services – which have, in the space of a week, had 7k views on YouTube. They will be back in their cassocks on Saturday and Sunday evenings this weekend, for what promise to be two very special carol services. Do tune in at 17.45 each day: Saturday https://youtu.be/XFxkhEmRFps and Sunday https://youtu.be/XFxkhEmRFps
From the library: please could all library books be returned or renewed before the end of term? There are still a large number of books (especially in the science and senior fiction areas) that need to be returned. It would be much appreciated – especially by those frustrated by the absence of these books – if boys could search around at home, in changing rooms and form-rooms. There is a book amnesty for all!
Please also find attached to this Parentmail Mrs Hess’s annual Christmas library quiz. Chocolate Santas are waiting in the wings for winning entries! Please return completed quizzes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to her directly in the library, by the end of the first week back in Hilary.
Oxfordshire Book Awards: NCS has been closely involved with the OBA for the past few years and this year was no exception. Pre-Prep in particular read all the picture books and voted on their favourite. Sadly this year it was not possibly to have a “normal” awards ceremony so the committee created a virtual ceremony. Boys and staff were engaged with reading through a long-list to create the short list for the primary novels. It might be an interesting project for some families to embark on over the holidays and it has the advantage of expanding the boys’ reading repertoire! https://www.oxfordshirebookawards.com
From the chaplain: Christmas will not be a the same for most of us this year, but it will be especially challenging for families that are struggling to make ends meet. The chapel is organising a gift collection for the Salvation Army for local children and teenagers. See below for advice on items to donate. If you can’t purchase something, many local charities welcome donations toward their Christmas appeals or through Amazon wishlists such as Crisis and the Gatehouse, both local homelessness charities. The Salvation Army recommends buying dolls and action figures, Lego, science kits, art supplies and craft kits, puzzles and games for children, and for teenagers, make-up, books, accessory, gloves, scarves, hats. Here is a more detailed list https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/christmas-present-appeal and their Amazon wish list if you don’t have any ideas: https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/2PEPHON8EQ8CZ/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex Tiger is a great place for small, affordable gifts. Please don’t wrap gifts. Donations can be dropped off, via your sons, at the school office by Wednesday 9 December. Many thanks.
Snow (or other extreme weather): 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 on any such mornings.
The following plans are in place for the final week of Michaelmas. There will be ‘quarantine’ boxes for Christmas cards in pre-prep and in the entrance lobby of the prep school; cards will be distributed after the appropriate ‘quarantine’ period!
Wednesday 9 December
Crackers to be available in form rooms for form time
Christmas sweater day! £2 each to go to Save the Children
9.50-10.30: Form Time with NCSPA-provided fun
Friday 11 December
8.30-9.00 End of Term Assembly
9.00-10.10 Christmas entertainments provided by NCSPA/tidying form rooms
10.30 Continuation of Christmas entertainments
11.00 Watch Virtual Carol Service in form rooms
Pre-Prep gate: 11.30 Reception; 11.40 Year 1; 11.50 Year 2
Prep gate: 12.00 Years 7-8; 12.10 Years 5-6; 12.20 Years 3-4
Monday, 7 December 2020
No after school activities in the last week of term
9.00 Flu Immunisations: Rec - Year 7
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
Form Period: reports discussed and issued
Friday, 11 December 2020
End of Term 12.00 noon
Monday, 4 January 2021
Tuesday, 5 January 2021
9.30-11.00 Pre-season hockey training (Years 3-4)
11.30-13.00 Pre-season hockey training (Years 5-6)
14.00-15.30 Pre-season hockey training (Years 7-8)
Wednesday, 6 January 2021
Start of Term
After School Activities Start
10.00 School Service, New College Chapel
Speaker: The Headmaster