Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 25th september 2020

Dear Parents,

One by-product of the prevalence of staycations this summer, for me at least, was the unusual experience of spending a summer only really hearing the English language. Sitting on a beach in St Ives, I did hear the odd international tourist, but the majority of the vista and soundscape was of the British bucket-and-spade holiday, complete with windbreakers, burning skin and sandy sandwiches. As pleasant as this may have been, there is something about escaping somewhere that a different language can be heard. The differing levels of understanding of that language can bring different benefits. A few Easters ago I found it liberating being in Tokyo and not being able to understand a thing – until, that is, I couldn’t buy lunch very easily. Having studied A-Level German long enough ago to have forgotten most of it, but with enough lingering vocabulary to get by, it can be enjoyable being part – but not quite fully – of another linguistic culture if I find myself in Germany or Austria. Regular readers of these newsletters will know that I am attempting Italian Duolingo, initially to pass the time in lockdown, but also to be able to navigate my favourite country a little more easily when I can get back there.

Madame Phillips reminded us of all these benefits this Thursday, celebrating the European Day of Languages in assembly. We are lucky here to have such a multilingual community, bringing us the benefits of different cultures and backgrounds. For such a small school there is an astonishing array of languages spoken, and an enthusiastic willingness to listen and learn from others. This has been demonstrated over the past few years with the success of our Language Ambassadors scheme, again led by Madame Phillips, which sees many of our older boys developing their PSB skills while preparing to teach different languages to younger pupils in local schools. They even get to enjoy a dry-run with our own pre-prep boys!

Pre-Prep play; Year 6 DT; Reception games; Year 8 Science.

The enthusiastic take-up of the scheme, and the excellent feedback we get from our partner schools, is partly to do with the collaborative and leadership opportunities that the Language Ambassador programme provides. But it is also to do with the joy of learning and teaching other languages: forging new neural pathways, keeping our brains lithe and nimble, learning about how different countries and cultures approach communication and their lives more widely, and celebrating similarities and differences. Learning second or third languages is not always seen as a priority in the British educational system, but I am proud to say that it will continue to be so at NCS.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Artwork of the Week: H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

Word of the Week: interminable

If you click on the link below there is a letter that has been sent to all schools from the NHS to help parents identify Covid-19 (or non-Covid-19) symptoms, and to help them decide whether or not their child should get a test. https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/UKDFE/2020/09/23/file_attachments/1553140/23rd%20September%20-%20PHE%20letter%20to%20parents%20and%20guardians.pdf

The second instalment of the choristers’ ‘Together/Apart’ recording sessions is now available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu4VQfa7J0E. It is a recording of the boys, in isolation, performing Mendelssohn’s Laudate Pueri.

Harvest Festival is on Wednesday 30 September. The boys are encouraged to bring in non-perishable produce for distribution to local food banks. Please do ask your son to give some thought as to what he might bring in and how this might support people in Oxford in need. We will ‘quarantine’ any items the boys bring in before distributing them.

Our Virtual Open Morning is on Saturday 3 October at 9.30 onwards. Prospective parents are asked to register at https://www.newcollegeschool.org/open-days -- do please pass on this link if you know of any families who would be interested in joining our wonderful community.

Winchester College will be running a Registrar’s Tour on a weekly basis, starting next week for Year 5. As they are unable to welcome families to Winchester at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions, this event is virtual and will be hosted on Microsoft Teams. It features a welcome from the Registrar and a film that introduces the ethos of the school. This is followed by a Q&A session with a Housemaster, a Matron, a senior teacher and the Registrar. The session will run from 10:45 until 11:40. Year 5 parents can use both the virtual Open Day on Saturday 3 October, or the weekly Registrar’s Tour, as the starting point for finding out about life at Winchester. Further information can be found on the website (www.winchestercollege.org/admissions/book-an-open-day) or by contacting Liz Maher (eam@wincoll.ac.uk).

Parents might be interested in their children participating in this (free) online book festival which starts this weekend: https://www.readingismagicfestival.com/about

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 28 September 2020


Wednesday, 30 September 2020

10.00 Harvest Festival. Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School and College Chaplain

Thursday, 1 October 2020

HPV Immunisations (1) (Year 8) (tbc)

Saturday, 3 October 2020

10.00 Open Morning

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

10.00 School Service. Speaker: Dr Peggy Frith, Deputy Director of Clinical Studies, Oxford University Medical School

11.10 Year 5 Zoom Music Masterclass

18.00 Year 7 Parents' Evening

Sunday, 11 October 2020

University term starts

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