Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 13th september 2019

Dear Parents,

The second week of term has a peculiar quality to it, as the ‘newness’ of things wears off, introductions are pretty much done, and we all start to settle down to day-to-day school life. It is one of the challenges in any role, especially in education, that the day-to-day does not become mundane, but maintains the right balance between stability and excitement. Luckily for me, my colleagues are experts in striking such a balance and NCS boys are so good at responding positively to it.

Many thanks to all of you who took part in our community survey at the end of last term, suggesting three things you’d like kept the same at NCS, and three areas you’d like to see developed. This process generated around 160 responses, representing all NCS constituencies, which in turn produced almost 500 suggestions for each side of the survey. The only advantage to all the travel delays I experienced over the summer was that I had plenty of time in departure lounges to read through and process the results. (There are only so many times you can walk around the shops at Dallas Love Field airport.) I’m pleased to say that the responses were overwhelmingly positive, while offering valuable feedback in how we can make the boys’ – and your – experience at NCS even better.

My colleagues and I are in the process of working on the suggestions and decanting them into our development plan. We are beginning with the highest-frequency themes, but there were also many valuable ‘one-off’ suggestions, so do bear with us as we work through the list. Overall, though, as I say it was a heartwarming experience to read such positive responses. Two comments especially stood out. The first was from a pupil, asking us to ‘keep the school such an enjoyable and welcoming place’; the second was from a parent, noting that NCS ‘breeds happy little gentlemen with a sense of kindness and camaraderie – what else could a parent wish for?’. If you have visited www.newcollegeschool.org recently you will have noticed that this quotation now has pride of place on the homepage – I can’t think of a better way of encompassing what we do here.

Meeting Hermes the Tortoise in Year 5; Investigating the nutritional content of food types in Year 8 Science; Pre-Prep playtime; searching for living things in Year 4 Science

Also inspired by the survey, we have slightly rejigged our morning assemblies. Every Monday I will now present a ‘start the week’ session, wherein we talk about what is happening in school and the wider world in the coming seven days. I will also introduce the boys to a ‘person of the week’, ‘artwork of the week’ and ‘word of the week’. By doing all this, we hope to hone the boys’ sense of their place in the world, while broadening their cultural horizons and extending their vocabulary. (This week’s were Toni Morrison, Edward Hopper’s ‘Long Leg’ and ‘germane’.) On Tuesdays, we will focus on a particular pastoral theme, working our way through the ‘wellbeing grid’ that you will find in the boys’ form rooms. On other days we will mark anniversaries or explore my colleagues’ personal passions, as we have always done. This week, we have also been taking the opportunity first thing in the morning to work on our personal targets (academic, pastoral, whatever), responding to a series of prompts to help us hone our thoughts and work out discrete and manageable ways in which we can all ‘be ourselves then a little bit better’.

Of course, the boys' characters should be honed and developed outside the classroom as well as inside it, so on Thursday Years 3 and 4 took advantage of the outdoor activities at Wittenham Clumps to get a bit muddy while bonding with their classmates and developing their self-confidence and teamwork skills. Huge thanks to my colleagues who accompanied the boys on this little excursion and helped to make the day such an enjoyable and valuable time for all.

Year 3 & 4 trip to the Wittenham Clumps

I wish you and your families a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes

Matt Jenkinson

Start of Year Drinks. I have very much enjoyed hosting a good number of NCS parents over the past week. The remaining parties are listed below. The door is adjacent to that for the school office (then just go up the stairs) and drinks run from 19.00 to 21.00. Friday 13 September - Year 3 parents; Monday 16 September - Year 4 parents; Thursday 19 September - Year 5 parents; Friday 20 September - Year 6 parents; Monday 23 September - Year 7 parents; Tuesday 24 September - Year 8/8S parents. These are purely social events, so we intend for there to be little overlap with our …

Start of Year Meetings. Pre-Prep parents are very welcome to join us on Wednesday 18 September at 18.00. The evening will begin in the pre-prep classrooms with Mrs Cox, Mrs Ridley, Mrs Hitchings, Miss Bishop, Miss Cannell and Miss Lam, and will proceed to drinks in the Sports Hall and a chance to chat to me, senior colleagues and specialist subject teachers. Parents of boys in Years 3 and 4 are very welcome to join us on Thursday 26 September at 18.00. The evening will begin in the Year 3 and 4 classrooms with Mrs Hayter, Mrs Williams and Mrs Calatayud, who will give a brief introduction to prep school routines etc., proceeding to drinks at 18.30 in the Sports Hall and, again, a chance to meet with me and senior leadership colleagues. Parents and boys from Years 5 and 6 are very welcome on Monday 7 October for our Future Destinations Evening. This will take place in the Sports Hall from 18.30. Form tutors, other NCS colleagues, and representatives from senior schools will be available for discussion. The boys are encouraged to come along, to meet representatives from a variety of senior schools, and to have their voice heard in the senior school selection process. We had our Year 7/8 PSB information evening this Thursday and the PowerPoint presentation covering academic and pastoral issues relevant to those years is available from Mrs McCusker.

Chess Club. Enormous thanks to Professor Sir Roy Goode who is helping out with Chess Club at the moment in Dr Varney’s absence. We wish Dr Varney all the very best.

Richmond Runfest Marathon. The day is almost upon us when Mrs Brown is running the Richmond Runfest Marathon (15 September). She has set up a ‘Just Giving’ page to raise funds for the Oxford Food Bank and the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy, which educates young people through horsemanship to prepare them for independent living. She would be delighted if any in the NCS community would like to support her enterprise. Information on both charities is available via the following link and donors can choose the charity they wish to support. https://www.justgiving.com/teams/louisebrown

Harvest Festival is on Wednesday 25 September at 10.00 in New College Chapel. The boys are encouraged to bring in non-perishable produce for distribution to local food banks, whilst perishable home-grown produce will be arranged for sale to NCS families after school on 25 September to raise money to support food banks. Please do ask your son to give some thought as to what he might bring in and how this might support people in Oxford in need.

Open Morning is on Saturday 28 September at 10.00. Materials advertising the morning are being sent home with the boys and we hope you have seen Miss Kilkenny’s fantastic posters around town. Please display them at work, home, or in your neighbourhood as is possible. All boys are welcome to volunteer as guides. Saturday Morning Music pupils attend the morning as usual to act as guides and continue with their music. Parent help with teas/coffees and in talking to visitors will also be most welcome. Please let the NCSPA know if you will be able to help (ncspa@newcollegeschool.org) and/or email office@newcollegeschool.org if your son would like to act as a guide.

NCS Choral Society rehearsals start on Monday evening, 16 September, in the Sports Hall, 19.30-21.00. Concerts this year are on Sunday 15 December and Saturday 28 March. No previous experience needed! Please contact the Director of Music, Mr Tom Neal, for further details thomas.neal@newcollegeschool.org

Reading in Interesting Locations. Final call for your summer entries for our reading competition. Photos to office@newcollegeschool.org please.

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 16 September 2019

All day U13 A ISFA Cup 1st round Finborough School, Away

19.00 Drinks in HM Lodgings for Year 4 Parents

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

8.50 Gamelan Music workshop, Year 6, Faculty of Music (all morning; back for lunch)

16.00 U11 A,C&E, Football vs Cothill, Away

16.00 U11 B&D, Football vs Cothill, Away

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: Andy Showell-Rogers, co-founder of Visible Clothing Company

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 School Council Meeting, French Room

14.30 U13 A Football vs Summerfields, Home

14.30 U13 B&C Football vs Summerfields, Away

18.00 Pre-Prep start-of-year parents’ meeting/drinks

Thursday, 19 September 2019

14.00 U11 House Matches, Home

19.00 Drinks in HM Lodgings for Year 5 Parents

Friday, 20 September 2019

9.00 Portrait Photos, Sports Hall

14.00 U9 A,B,C&D Football vs MCS, Away

19.00 Drinks in HM Lodgings for Year 6 Parents

Monday, 23 September 2019

8.50 Tudor Music workshop, Year 4, Faculty of Music (back for period 3)

14.00 U13 A, B & C Football vs D’Overbroeck’s, Home

19.00 Drinks in HM Lodgings for Year 7 Parents

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

14.00 U9 Football House Matches, Home

14.15 U11 A Football vs Bruern Abbey, Away

14.15 U11 B Football vs Bruern Abbey and Sibford, Home

19.00 Drinks in HM Lodgings for Year 8/8S Parents

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

10.00 Harvest Festival, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School and College Chaplain

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

14.00 Workshop: 'Developing Musical Skill' with Michael Griffin (Yrs 6, 7, 8) (Hall)

19.30 Talk for parents: 'Developing Musical Skill' with Michael Griffin (Hall)

Thursday, 26 September 2019

European Day of Languages

HPV Immunisations (1) (Year 8)

15.30 U11 A-D Football vs MCS, Away

16.00 U8 & U9 Cross Country vs Dragon, Away

17.30 NC Choir: Founder's Obit, Winchester Cathedral and College

18.00 Years 3 & 4 start-of-year parents’ meeting/drinks

Friday, 27 September 2019

13.00 U9 A Football Festival, Home

Saturday, 28 September 2019

10.00 Open Morning

18.00 NC Choir : Gaude Evensong

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