Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 27th April 2018
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.
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.