Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 3rd march 2017

Dear Parents,

I’m sure parents sometimes have mixed feelings about the exigencies of World Book Day (now in its 20th year), but I’m most grateful for the imaginative efforts of everyone in helping to bring alive a super range of fictional and non-fictional characters in yesterday’s parade of outfits. It does focus us all on the enjoyment of reading and perhaps makes us more attentive to the detail of what we are reading. You would have been impressed, too, to see how pupils and teachers did indeed DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) for a good 10 minutes at the start of yesterday’s assembly. It was a great moment of shared experience! When I ran an English Department in a previous existence, some of the best teaching moments were to be had in reading books together in class and, crucially, the excitement of discussing together pupils’ first impressions of books dear to me but new to them. And the same will be true of Maths or Science, Languages, History, Geography or cricket or judo or star-gazing or music or... (there are so many headings I could fill in) if we share cherished interests and enthusiasms. It’s hard for genuine enthusiasm not to be infectious. So, I recommend the delight of shared enthusiasms for home just as much as for school. And if you want reinforcements in sharing interests with your children, the school library has books on all of the above and more. World Book Day is not just for the English Department!

World Book Day

There has been great excitement in the Pre-Prep as the chicks have begun to hatch. The boys have been learning a great deal about what is needed to help them thrive and have proved thoughtful and empathetic. As ever, they ask pertinent questions which reveal much of that fabled NCS intellectual curiosity! You can follow the chicks’ progress on our ChickCam, by clicking on the green camera icon at the top of home page of our website.

Sport. This week has seen some super sporting performances across all the age groups. The Year 2 rugby teams played in their first competitive fixture on Friday in the Moulsford Prep TAG rugby festival. All 16 boys really enjoyed themselves during their four matches. The New College Vipers managed 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss and the New College Dragons had a even better afternoon suffering only 1 loss and recording 3 brilliant wins to finish a wonderful 2nd place overall in the festival. On Saturday morning Mr Bishop took a combined Year 2 and 3 football team over to St Hugh’s School for a football festival and again the boys played with great spirit. From their three matches, we recorded 1 loss, 1 draw and 1 win. A very balanced morning’s play, with the high-light being Jeremy Newman’s goal of the day that he smashed in from half-way to earn us a point vs Pinewood School. Oh yes and we should not forget the post-match hot-dogs! On Monday afternoon the U13 boys represented the school in the IAPS regional hockey at Bishop Stortford College on a very wet and miserable day. A tough group start saw us play four very intense games where we managed to record a draw, a win and two losses. These four points meant we had achieved our goal in qualifying for the plate stage of the competition. However, this joy was short-lived as the rest of the competition was cancelled owing to such poor weather and a flooded hockey pitch. Nonetheless, a very impressive first outing for these boys in a highly competitive arena. As usual, they did NCS proud. On the regular hockey circuit we have had U11 ‘B’ & ‘C’ team matches vs Cokethorpe U11 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams. Despite playing up a level, the NCS boys played some outstanding hockey to win both games 2-1 and show the strength in depth of the current U11 group. We also faced three Dragon School teams in the U13 fixture and, despite very encouraging starts from all three teams, we unfortunately lost all three games. It was clear to see in all three games the level of skill was comparable and we fought well in all areas of the pitch. But the deciding factor as the simple fact that we did not hit the ball hard enough, when trying to find that telling pass, or get the ball into threatening positions. An aspect of our game we continue to work on but one we should surely improve! Over the next few weeks we have the added bonus of cross country fixtures which includes the National Championships at Malvern College. I’d like to wish Freddie Jones, Fraser Mackenzie, Walter Moore and Henry Moore the very best of luck as they represent the School in the U11 race.

Testing foods for gluten in Year 8 Science; Shrove Tuesday and Divali in Year 2 RSP; Discovering fragrances in nature by making perfumes in Reception Wild Learning

Next week is Waste Week. Some of the Oxfordshire Recycling Team talked about their work in assembly today (including a guest appearance from Phil Bin – ask your sons) and were impressed by the boys’ commitment to and understanding of recycling. They came up with some good ideas for initiatives they could develop during the week. In a further celebration of the cause, the Eco Shop will be offering 50% discount next week, so please encourage your sons to bring a little money on Wednesday to buy some of those wonderful recycled stationery items.

Do join us for next week’s Senior Concerts on Monday at 5.30pm and 6.30pm in the School Hall. Drinks for parents are served beforehand in my study from 5.15pm and 6.15pm respectively. Details for performers have been sent out by separate Parentmail.

Year 5 Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday, 6.00pm – 8.00pm in the Sports Hall. All those who teach these forms will be present, including Mrs Brown as Year 5 form tutor. I shall also be available to discuss any matters arising with parents. There is no need to arrive on the dot of 6.00pm, but I would ask you not to arrive not later than 6.45pm to ensure you can get round to all teachers.

It has been very good to see the first heats of the Annual Poetry Recitation take place this week and I gather high standards have been set. A reminder that the Pre-Prep Poetry Festival and ‘Show and Tell’ afternoon at 2.00pm on Thursday 9th March. Winners from the Prep School Competition will recite their poems as part of our Words and Music on the last day of term (29th March) in New College Chapel.

A concert of music featuring two violas (including Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6) given by former NCS pupil Peter Mallinson and one of his BBC Symphony Orchestra colleagues, takes place next Saturday, 11th March 7.30pm in the Holywell Music Room. Tickets (cash only on the door) are £10/£7. The viola is a much underrated instrument! Worth a listen.

New College Choir will be giving liturgical performance of Bach’s St John Passion on Sunday 12th March at 3.00pm in New College Chapel. Tickets (free-of-charge) are limited, but please contact the Chapel and Choir Administrator nancy-jane.rucker@new.ox.ac.uk if you are interested in attending.

College Day is on Wednesday 15th March. The Warden will speak at the school service at 10.00am and, as ever, parents are warmly invited to join us for the service and for coffee/tea in the Undercroft afterwards. For much of the rest of the day, the boys will be taking part in a variety of special activities in College and in neighbouring Oxford. A highlight (always!) is lunch in Hall.

Tickets for the Year 7 & 8 Ceilidh Dance with OHS, organised by the NCSPA on Saturday 18th March 7-9pm in the Sports Hall, are now available via the School Office, price £10. I understand it’s a much anticipated social event in the locality! Do remind your son to buy his ticket without delay.

Tickets for the Years 5 & 6 French Play, Gogglebox (Vu à la télé), are now available from the School Office. Year 5 families are encouraged to attend on Tuesday 21st March at 6.00pm and Year 6 families on Wednesday 22nd March at 6.00pm. As an innovation this year, the play will take place in the Sports Hall, set out as a French café. I’m sure we can all look forward to a splendid evening of theatre.

As parents will know, the Oxford Literary Festival is on the horizon (25th March – 2nd April). There are many events specially for children and young adults, which look tempting. http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2017/children-young-adults

Oxford Active will again be running their holiday club at Oxford High School in the Easter Holidays 3rd – 21st April (excluding Bank Holidays) and in Trinity half-term (30th May – 2nd June) with minibus pick-up from NCS at 8.30 – 9.00am and drop off at 5.00- 5.30pm. Childcare Vouchers may be used for Oxford Active. For bookings, please go to their website www.active-camps.com

I’m sure parents will be pleased to know that Childcare Vouchers can now be used to offset the costs of aftercare and chargeable after school activities. Please see the attached letter from our Finance Officer Mrs Kilkenny, which gives further details, and do be in touch with her if you have any questions about the scheme.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Mon 6

‘Waste Week’ starts

Poetry Competition starts

Abingdon Academic Scholarship starts

U13 A & B Hockey vs CCCS, St Edward’s Astro, 2.15pm

Senior Concerts (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall, 5.30 & 6.30 p.m.

Tea/ Drinks in HM Study at 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Tues 7

U11 A&B Hockey vs Cokethorpe, Away, 3.30pm

Wed 8

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Wendy Wale, Chaplain, Wadham College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom, 12.30pm

U13 A,B & C Hockey vs Summerfields, Away, 2.30pm

Year 5 Parents’ Evening, Sports Hall, 6.00pm

Thurs 9

Pre-Prep Poetry Recitation, School Hall, 2.30pm

U11 & U13 Cross Country Meeting, Away, The Oratory School, 1.00pm

Fri 10

U7 A&B Football vs Cranford, Away, 12.00 noon

U9 A&B Hockey vs Cokethorpe, Away, 2.00pm

Sat 11

End of University Term

No Sat am Music School for choristers; NC Choir rehearsal for St John Passion pm

Sun 12

New College Choir: St John Passion, New College Chapel, 3.00pm

Mon 13

Science Week​

UK Maths Challenge, Andrew Wiles Building, Mathematical Institute, 10.00am-3.00pm

U11 Cross Country Relay, St Edward’s, 2.00pm

Tues 14

Marlborough Academic Scholarship Option Papers

French play technical rehearsal, pm

Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening, Classrooms & Sports Hall, 5.30pm

Wed 15

College Day

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Warden of New College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

U11 A&B Hockey vs Dragon, Away, 12.30pm

U13 A&B Hockey vs Brockhurst, St Edward’s Astro, 2.30pm

Thurs 16

U9 & U11 X-Country vs Thorngrove, Away, 2.00pm

Fri 17

French Play dress rehearsal pm

U9 A-D Hockey vs Dragon, Away, 2.00pm

Chorister Parents’ Supper, Choir Room, 1 Savile Road, 7.30pm

Sat 18

SMT/Governors’ Strategy Day

NCSPA Ceilidh for Yrs 7 & 8 - Set up Sports Hall pm

NCSPA Ceilidh for Yrs 7 & 8, Sports Hall, 7.00-9.00 pm

Sun 19

1st XI Hockey vs Old Boys, Iffley Road Astro, 10.00-11.30am

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