Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 24th January 2020

Dear Parents,

You may have seen last week that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has called on social media companies to share data on how children and young people are using their platforms. This data would include how they were being used, not just for how long they were being used – the usual statistic that is wheeled out. The reality is that the nature of the content being seen and consumed can be as harmful, perhaps even more harmful, than the length of time someone is staring at a screen. At NCS, like most schools, we believe in a blended approach when it comes to screens. We want to utilise the positives: keeping in touch, finding out information quickly, and so on. But we also guard against the negatives: disrupting sleep patterns, alienating young people from their families, reducing opportunities for exercise, generally negatively affecting mental health.

To that end, we introduce screens gradually during the boys’ nine years with us, such that by the time 1:1 devices come along, there is less chance of addiction or other forms of misuse. It is also part of their PSHCEE and computing education that they learn how to use computers and the internet responsibly. It is a sad reality that such an education needs to be implemented younger and younger as the tech-savvy parts of the boys’ brains outstrip those to do with judgment. That is what we are here for: to assure them that certain platforms and apps might be superficially attractive, but instant and frequent communication is not necessarily always a good thing, and we need to be judicious about how we use sites and programmes that might, say, exploit our data, encourage unhealthy relationships with devices, or expose us to unsavoury characters. You can see more about our approach to digital learning and safety, including some guidelines for staying safe at home, here: https://www.newcollegeschool.org/digital-learning

Investigating acid rain; multi-sports fitness; Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue visit the Pre-Prep; melodic dictation

One of the key words here is trust. We want the boys to trust one another, their family and friends – the topic of Year 7 and Mr Hanson’s assembly on Tuesday – but we need to safeguard that their good and naturally trusting natures are not taken advantage of. One of the characteristics of a happy life that we have identified in our wellbeing grid is the ability to ‘trust my family and friends’. By doing so, we can hand over some of our concerns and burdens, safe in the knowledge that our family and friends will help to carry them. As internet horror stories teach us, though, the boys should not be taught automatically to trust everyone, as a healthy degree of scepticism helps to keep them safe. But when that trust has been earned among family and friends, it can be exhausting and demoralising if it is not honoured – if they are sceptical of anyone and everyone, especially those to whom they may need to turn for support. There is an inversely proportional relationship, I suspect, between trust and loneliness. As ever, then, we need to keep working to strike the right balance.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Buzz Aldrin

Artwork of the Week: “Che si puo fare” (1664) by Barbara Strozzi (1619-77)

Word of the Week: surfeit

Sport. We have enjoyed another highly successful week on the hockey pitches with the boys from Years 5 to 8 in action this week. Firstly the U11 A and B teams played MCS on Tuesday evening and, despite being early in the season, both teams played some excellent hockey and most importantly worked extremely hard for one another showing superb team spirit. The B team, under the expert eye of Mr Rose, managed to win 1-0 thanks to a great strike late on from Finley. But special mention must go to the defence and in particular Max in goal; lots of MCS pressure was repelled and the win was hard fought but well deserved. I had the pleasure on this occasion of taking the U11 A team and this team coming off the back of a successful pre-season festival are playing very well. Carter was again on the score sheet thanks to his superb predatory instincts. Jasper deserves a special mention thanks to his efforts in midfield and defence. At the end of the match NCS were deserved 2-1 winners and were it not for the post and cross bar we could have scored even more.

Also this week the U13 teams played against Abingdon School. This is always a keenly awaited and tough fixture and this year did not disappoint. In the A team game we were facing four Oxon county players in the Abingdon side but this did not dampen the spirits of the NCS team. They played some great hockey and moved the ball around the pitch well. Fraser controlled the game well from the midfield and Jack scored an excellent goal. However our guests proved a little too strong on the day and we ended up losing the game. There are some things to work on in training but we wish the team well in the County Cup event on Friday evening.

In the B team game the boys got off to a shaky start after conceding an early goal. After this rude awakening the NCS team were fired into action and they then scored four unanswered goals and eventually won the game 5-2. William and Thomas were both superb in attack and Hugh marshalled the midfield with excellence and authority. Very well done all. CB

As the scholarship season begins, my very best wishes to all those boys heading out for auditions, exams, try-outs or interviews.

Well done to James and family for their success in the Christmas Quiz, and to Benji and Shivi and their families for being runners up. Chocolate Santa trophies have been safely delivered.

The Oxford Bach Ensemble annual concert will take place on 25 January at 19.30 at St Margaret’s Church. The concert will be in memory of former NCS pupil William Petter, by playing and singing the music that he loved. The proceeds from the concert will be divided between Sarcoma UK and Help Musicians, both causes close to William’s heart and that of his family.

Ms Amherst and Ms Paterson are playing in a concert on 8 February at 20.00 in the Holywell Music Room. The music is by Tom Vignieri, Richard Gwilt, Britten and Barber. The soloist is former NCS pupil Humphrey Thompson and poems will be read by Patch Harvey.

On 21 and 22 February, Miss Rose will be producing a new opera, The Gentlewoman, about the life and works of the 'concerto delle donne,' the three extraordinary virtuoso singers at the court of the d'Este at Ferrara in the late sixteenth century. Performances will take place at St. Mary Magdalen's Church at 20.00.

Parents’ evenings. Please find below a few dates for your diary. Unless otherwise stated, parents’ evenings begin at 18.00, though a few colleagues are usually available a little earlier if you would like to make a head start. Please arrive as early as practicable, and no later than 19.00, so we can finish the evenings by 20.00. If you have any issues that you think would require longer discussion than possible in a five-ish minute meeting, especially with form tutors, please do book a separate appointment.

29 January – Year 4

26 February – Year 8

4 March – Year 5

11 March (17.30) – Pre-Prep

29 April – Music Teachers

Forthcoming Events

WEEK 4 (university week 2)

Monday, 27 January 2020

Harrow Music Scholarship (until 29 Jan)

MCS Music Scholarship

16.00 U12 A Hockey County Cup, Hawks Ground

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

14.00 U11 B&C Hockey vs Sibford, Iffley Road

MCS Pre-test interviews for current Year 6 (Year 9 entry)

Debate Workshop/with 6th Form Mentors

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Mr Daniel Harkin, Salvesen Fellow, New College. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.30 School Council-Charity Meeting

14.00 U13 C-E Hockey vs St Hugh's, Away

14.00 U13 A&B Hockey vs Lord Williams’s and St Hugh's, St Edward’s Astro

18.00 Year 4 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Abingdon Sports Scholarship

16.00 U9 Chess vs The Dragon, (Home)

Friday, 31 January 2020

14.00 U9 A-C Hockey vs Manor Prep, Iffley

WEEK 5 (university week 3)

Monday, 3 February 2020

18.15 Old Boys’ Committee Meeting, HM Study

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

13.00 U11 A&B Hockey vs Sibford, Away

14.00 U8 ALL Hockey vs MCS, Away

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Very Revd Nicholas Edmonds-Smith, The Provost, The Oratory of St Philip Neri. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

17.30 Governors’ Meeting, McGregor Matthews Room

19.15 Charity Concert, St. Michael's Church, Summertown

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Abingdon Music Scholarship

16.00 U9 Chess vs MCS B, (Home)

Friday, 7 February 2020

9.00 U13 A IAPS Hockey, Cheltenham, Away

16.00 U11 A County Cup Hockey, Hawks Hockey Ground

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