Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 10th MAY 2019
For the earlier part of this week I have been at a conference in Cambridge for the Heads of schools with choral foundations. It includes Heads from both prep and senior schools, united by our common origins and values. Amongst many items of mutual interest, the theme of the conference centred on how we educate our pupils to manage busy lives with a sense of equilibrium; on how we can be productively busy without resorting to ‘busyness’. (For the record, the delegates managed two Evensongs in one evening, one at King’s and one at St John’s which might seem busy but certainly promoted a productive equilibrium!). There was a good deal of wise discussion about encouraging self-discipline with regard to the more tyrannical aspects of the 24/7 connected technology and of simply encouraging the routine of family conversation around a table at meal times. Even just ensuring that in our pupils’ rush to be busy and fit everything in they never neglect the common civilities of please and thank you. Simple, but effective. I noted this week that Eton has recently introduced lessons in empathy and gratitude. Their Head of Teaching and Learning commented that it was important for pupils to take time to express their gratitude and that often gratitude is about thanking others making time for them. Recovering those civilities is not time-consuming, but highly affirming of personal contact rather than impersonal ‘busyness’.
Sport. Despite the extremely damp conditions this week, the boys have all been extremely busy honing their skills in cricket training sessions. We are hopeful for a return to warmer weather next week so we can complete some matches. The U9 teams have managed to complete two games this week against local rivals MCS. Both teams really impressed with the bowling and fielding: particularly noteworthy was the accuracy of the ‘A’ team’s bowling. Mr Bishop tells me he can’t remember a match so early in the season at this level where so few extras were bowled. With such a strong display with the ball, we were hopeful of chasing down the totals in both the ‘A’ & ‘B’ team games; but alas we fell short of the target. In the ‘’B team game, the MCS winning margin was just three runs and the game went down to the final ball with Alex Remoundos and Jacob Whyte having very good games. In the ‘A’ team game we found it difficult to strike the ball with any power and the lack of boundaries unfortunately cost us the match.
Away from the cricket pitch, NCS pupils have been extremely busy elsewhere. A number of boys competed at the Sibford School Cross Country Races on Tuesday and we had several medallists across the different age groups. Well done to Finley Appleby (Bronze Medal), Timon Bergmann (Bronze Medal), Hugo Branderhorst (Gold Medal) and Ethan McMillan (Silver Medal). Overall the School as a team was first overall. Very well done on these super results! Lewie Harris competed in his first Quad Kids athletics event on Sunday morning. In a very competitive field, he finished 17th overall for his club, Bicester AC. Finley Appleby and Benji Wilson both had a brilliant weekend away in Minehead playing rugby for their club Oxford Harlequins. The festival was organised by Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and included some top club sides from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their team emerged victorious having won five out of their six games. Not only were the boys on the winning side, but they also were awarded the fair play trophy! Very well done to all. On the hockey pitch, boys from NCS have been representing Oxfordshire in the U13 and U14 age groups. Fraser Mackenzie and Dylan Jamieson are both key members of the U13 squad which has recently won the southern championship for the first time ever! Reuben McLusky and Joseph Conway were in the U14 team who finished fourth in a very tough league. Congratulations to all! Joseph Conway has also been selected to represent the South of England in the performance centre play pathway development programme that England Hockey run. This is a hugely significant achievement and a first for an NCS pupil and we wish him well for this exciting opportunity.