Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 27th April 2018

Dear Parents,

I was interested to see that international educationalist and Professor Emeritus of Arts Education at Warwick, Sir Ken Robinson, has just brought out another book on education called You, Your Child and School. He says: “I’ve written this book specifically for parents to offer some information that I hope they find helpful on what’s going on in education these days, on the kind of education our children really need to make the best of their talents and to offer practical advice and strategies to get that kind of education for their children.” As many will know, Robinson is an engaging writer and speaker, and I will certainly be adding this my half-term reading. If you’ve not come across his work before, then do click on the link below to hear the first TED talk he gave in California in 2006, entitled “Do schools kill creativity?” There’s plenty that’s controversial in it, but it’s a witty and thought-provoking analysis of why he feels we should cultivate much more than academic intelligence in 21st century education. Incidentally, it’s the most-viewed TED video in history, watched well over 50 million times: more than double the hits achieved by the presentations of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put together. https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

Year 8 will be doing their own TED talks next half-term after their exams, having prepared talks on a subject of their choice in the ‘Special Subject’ lesson they have each fortnight. I know we can look forward to hearing some sophisticated presentations and I’m pleased that the boys have this opportunity to undertake independent research and develop their public speaking. These sorts of skills do not always come easily to all, but I hope that the TED talks will build their confidence and wider education still further as they depart for their senior schools.

'Springwatch' in Pre-Prep Wild Learning; chess in Activities; source work in Year 5 History; creating models for 3D printing BattleBots in Year 8 Coding;

In a similar vein of preparing our older pupils for life beyond NCS, I have been delighted by the response of Year 7 pupils to the leadership responsibilities they will be taking on from next year. I congratulate them all on engaging so thoughtfully with the leadership evening we held at the beginning of term. From September every boy in Year 8 (as Year 7s will be then) will take responsibility for helping with a younger form during Wednesday’s form time, assist with duties at breaktime and lunchtime and make a significant contribution to running a particular area of school life. We hope that by giving them serious responsibilities, and duties and projects they can really make their own, they will enhance their organisational skills and gain a real sense of taking initiatives and leading others. My colleagues and I look forward to working with them.

I trust, of course, that we encourage a sense of responsibility right from the time that pupils start at NCS. So, it was good to hear that Year 5 on their visit to the local synagogue and Year 3 on their visit to the Natural History Museum were much complimented on their intelligent questions and courteous behaviour. The boys certainly have a sense of occasion and it’s almost invariably a privilege to take them anywhere.

Sport. After a beguilingly sunny start to the season, the wet weather has inevitably curtailed some of our cricket this week. But we have had an opportunity to compete in the annual Sibford School Cross Country event where NCS achieved some stellar results. The U7 team (Hugo Branderhorst, George Fairburn, Arjun Sabharwal, Jacob Whyte) were first with Hugo best-placed in third position, while the U9 team (Finley Appleby, Timon Bergmann, Maurits Branderhorst, Jasper Nolan) were fourth and the U11 team (William Kelsey, Ethan McMillan, Walter Moore, Alex Smith) were also first overall with Ethan best-placed in fourth position. Perhaps the weather today is more appropriate for hockey, so good luck to the U12 hockey team who have been competing in the IAPS finals today at Woking. We’ll have results for next week’s newsletter.

Cricket skills in Year 3; designing and building prototype models in Year 4 DT

The NCSPA Committee Meeting is this coming Monday (30th April) at 7.00pm in my study. Do let class reps know of items for the agenda and if you can help out at any of our summer events, many of which are coming up in the next few weeks. Your support and interest are much appreciated.

Ascension Day on Thursday 10th May will be marked with a Sung Eucharist in New College Chapel at 6.15pm and afterwards ascension of The Mound in the College Garden. All NCS families are very welcome. Year 5 will be ‘Beating the Bounds’ in the morning in an ancient ceremony marking out the boundaries of the University Church. This includes marking out a spot in the Codrington Library in All Souls where we consume cherry cake to recall the cherry orchard which once stood on the site. Other sorts of confectionery are handed out to the boys in dramatic ways in several of the Colleges en route. Parents of boys in Year 5 are welcome to join us for the occasion. We depart from NCS at 8.50am prompt!

Please put the date of Wykeham Day (Saturday 23rd June) in your diaries. In what I hope will be an exciting innovation, we are combining our traditional Summer Fete with the Wykeham Day cricket match and hog roast lunch, all on Field, preceded by a concert in the School Hall. We are very much hoping that as many NCS families, past and present, will be able to join us. My thanks particularly to the NCSPA for their enthusiasm for this new venture. A full programme will be published later.

Congratulations to Miss Vicky Lucas who has been appointed to the post of Key Stage 1 Form Teacher at The Manor Prep School from September. She has been an outstandingly supportive and nurturing form tutor here and pioneered our now well-established Wild Learning programme. We thank her most warmly for all she has done her and wish her well on her new appointment. In her place, I have appointed Mrs Caroline Hitchings to be Year 1 form tutor. Mrs Hitchings took her degree from Bishop Grosseteste/Hull University. She is currently teaching at Swanbourne House School and was previously Year 1 form tutor at King’s College School, Cambridge and at Chafyn Grove School, Salisbury. We look forward to welcoming her to NCS.

Any sisters who are in Year 2 and who love to sing are invited to attend a Frideswide Voices' "Be a Chorister for an Evening" taster session on Monday 30th April at Magdalen College, Oxford. Auditions for membership from September 2018 will take place on Saturday 12th May. Further information about the choir is available at www.frideswidevoices.co.uk

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 30 April 2018

19.00 NCSPA Committee Meeting, HM Study

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

9.30 Year 4 trip to Ashmolean Museum: Roman Britain

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Ms Dinti Batstone, Trustee of the Fawcett Society. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors.

Year 8 talk on Suffragette Movement by Ms Lyndsey Jenkins

Thursday, 3 May 2018

16.15 Under 9 Chess Fixture vs. CCCS @ home

Friday, 4 May 2018

14.15 U9 A Cricket vs MCS, Home

14.15 U9 B&C Cricket vs MCS, Away

Saturday, 5 May 2018

18.00 Three Choirs' Evensong in honour of Prof. Stephen Darlington, Christ Church Cathedral

Monday, 7 May 2018

Bank and School Holiday

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

PTM test week

14.00 U12/U13 Athletics v Abingdon, Away

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School and College Chaplain. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors.

12.00 Eco Committee meeting

14.15 U13 Cricket vs Summer Fields, Home

14.15 U12 A Cricket vs Summer Fields, Home

Year 8/8S trip to RSC, Romeo and Juliet@ Stratford, sign-up only

Thursday, 10 May 2018

9.00 Year 5 ‘Beating the Bounds’, University Church

14.00 Young Art Oxford: Exhibition, Ashmolean Museum

14.15 U11 A Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

14.15 U11 B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

17.30 Young Art Oxford: Private View & Prize Giving, Ashmolean Museum

18.15 Ascension Day Service, New College Chapel

Friday, 11 May 2018

10.00 Young Art Oxford: Exhibition, Ashmolean Museum

14.15 U9 A&B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

Saturday, 12 May 2018

10.00 Young Art Oxford: Exhibition, Ashmolean Museum

17.30 Old Boys’ AGM, Undercroft

18.15 Old Boys’ Evensong, New College Chapel

19.30 Old Boys' Dinner, College Hall

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