Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 15th November 2019

Dear Parents,

The irony has not been lost on me that over the course of this week – Anti-Bullying Week – some of the boys have repeatedly been shouting insults at each other: ‘wool-sack’, ‘sanguine coward’, ‘vile standing-tuck’, and ‘bolting-hutch of beastliness’ have been some of the more stand-out ones. I’m pleased to be able to say, though, that it was all in a strictly controlled environment, during rehearsals and performances of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, with Sir John Falstaff coming in for some of what he calls the more ‘unsavoury similes’. (I did make it clear to the boys at the start of the rehearsal process months ago that acting out such behaviour did not licence it off the stage.)

Henry IV, Part 1; colour and line formation in Year 3 Art; Ancient Greek pots in Year 4 Greats; The School Council meeting in the Headmaster's study

As most of you will already know, one of the joys of drama at NCS is that it is totally inclusive, with all boys taking part in our productions and thereby developing their self-confidence and oratorical skills, sometimes without them really realising they are doing it. Taking such an approach bonds our year groups even more and reinforces the sense I mentioned at the beginning of the year, that we are all in this together. Indeed, this goes for my colleagues too and I would like to thank all those who helped contribute to the rehearsals and performances in so many ways – many of those ways won’t necessarily have been seen, but an enormous amount goes on (literally) behind the scenes to enable the boys to declaim iambic pentameter while wearing fabulous medieval costumes. And how high is the quality of that declamation?! I know I’m biased, but there can’t be that many pupils around who can deliver Shakespeare’s lines with the fluency and ease of NCS boys. I am very proud of them. There is already excited chatter about which play the current Year 6s and 7s will be acting out next year – I was going to keep them in suspense for just a little bit longer, but word has already slipped out that we will be working on The Tempest. Grab your umbrellas.

Breaktime 'Robot Wars'; Painting fireworks in Year 2 Computing; Metal and acid reactions in Year 8S Science; Charity shoebox collections

Speaking of bonding year groups, it was especially moving to hear one of our former head boys, William Cross, speak in chapel this week about his time at NCS and how the friends he made here have remained some of his closest friends in adult life. Or maybe I should call it young adult life, as William is still an undergraduate at Corpus Christi. William was in Year 5 when I started at NCS, which makes me feel just a little bit older, and it was wonderful to be able to welcome him back to the place. His talk on the importance of kindness has been commented upon extremely favourably by many parents, boys and colleagues. I am hoping to increase the frequency of alumni coming back to see us, and talking to the boys about what the school meant – and still means – to them.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Nellie Bly

Artwork of the Week: Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s bust of Pope Urban VIII (1670s)

Word of the Week: apocryphal

Sport. Despite the weather, the NCS rugby teams have enjoyed a very good week. The U8 and U9 teams kicked things off on Friday last week with five matches against Christ Church. A massive number of tries were scored by both schools with results going both ways in some very entertaining matches. This included two draws in both the U9 contact games where physical tackling and super individual running was the order of the day. Isaac and Vedant deserve special mention for their exploits in their respective games. The TAG games for Year 3 were equally brilliant and the boys worked extremely hard to hone their skills when passing the rugby ball and running into space. The afternoon was finished off with a well-deserved match tea where it was a real pleasure to see boys from both teams chatting and showing great spirit.

On Saturday morning the U9 A team boys were in action in the Winchester House School rugby festival. This is always a very tough tournament with some of the region’s best schools in attendance. I am pleased to report that the boys played some of the best rugby this season and were competitive in every match they played. Despite some very cold and wet conditions they played good quality free flowing rugby in attack and were tough in defence with each boy playing his part with excellent tackling. We recorded good wins over local rivals MCS and Swanbourne House School with one of the best games being a very narrow one try loss to finalists Bedford School. Henry was voted player of the tournament by the hosts and I can agree it was a well-deserved award; he was superb all morning!

To follow this up the U10 rugby team played on Monday afternoon in the MCS rugby festival and this year the boys were in a determined and focused frame of mind. In three very tough group games we recorded two draws against Windmill & Warwick A team and in both of these games we were very close to scoring that elusive winning try. The final game was again against the hosts MCS and in this game we ran out 5-3 winners and this meant we managed to make the final – a feat that no other NCS team has managed over the past few years. In the final a very physical Akeley Wood team got off to a great start and scored two very quick tries but after a team talk from the captain, George, the team rallied and scored a great try of their own. However we left our resurgence a little too late and just ran out of time with the final score 4-2 to Akeley Wood. A runners-up finish was extremely pleasing, however, and I could not have been more proud of the whole team. Very well done, boys! CB

Many thanks to all those who helped make last Saturday’s Pre-Prep ‘Monster Mash’ party such a huge success. Thanks, too, to all those boys and colleagues who represented NCS at the Oxfordshire Book Awards on Wednesday, and all families who so generously donated to our charity shoebox collection.

Congratulations to Dan in Year 5 for winning the drawing competition at the Yorkshire Air Museum for his pieced titled ‘Spitfire’. It was described by the judges as ‘totally inspired and an absolute triumph’, a ‘fantastic piece’, and ‘one that any illustrator would be proud to add to their collection’.

We are in the middle of Switch-off Fortnight and next week we will be continuing our focus on saving energy. Eco-monitors will be checking empty rooms once a day to see if the lights are off and they will also be reading the school’s electricity meters to see If we can reduce our energy use over the fortnight and beyond. All classes will be turning their radiators down three notches and boys will be encouraged to ‘layer up’ rather than turning the heating up. On Wednesdays, during PSHCEE sessions, lights will be turned off and no ICT will be used in order to save even more energy. We will have another fun jumper Friday next week too!

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 18 November 2019

‘Switch-Off’ Fortnight begins

12.00 Pupil Librarian meeting, Media Room

14.00 Visit of Onatti Productions: French Play : Les Garçons (Y7 & Y8/8S)

17.15 Junior Concerts Pt 1 (Years 3, 4 & 5), School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 17.00

18.15 Junior Concerts Pt 2 (Years 3, 4 & 5), School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 18.00

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

10.30 U9 Tag Rugby House Matches, Home

14.15 U11 A&B Rugby vs Sibford, Away

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Professor Christiane Timmel, Fellow and Tutor in Chemistry, New College. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee - Charity Meeting, Year 5 classroom

14.15 U13 A Rugby vs Bruern Abbey, Away

14.15 U13 B Rugby vs Bruern Abbey, Home

16.30 Governors' Meeting, McGregor Matthews Room

16.00 Inter-Schools Debate, New College - Ends 19.30

Thursday, 21 November 2019

14.15 U11 A, B, C & D Rugby vs CCCS, Home

Friday, 22 November 2019

14.15 U9 A&B Rugby vs Sibford, Away

Saturday, 23 November 2019

New College Choir concert, Broughton Church

Monday, 25 November 2019

14.00 Workshop with Alexander L'Estrange (Chamber Choir), Sports Hall

19.00 Workshop with Alexander L'Estrange (Choral Society), Sports Hall

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

13.00 U8 MCS Rugby Festival, Away

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

9.00 Year 5 to The Prince and The Pauper, Watermill Theatre (return 14.00)

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Susan Bridge, Associate College Chaplain. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

14.30 U13 A&B Rugby vs Dragon, Home

17.15 Senior Concerts (Years 6,7 & 8), School Hall, 5.15pm

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Senior Concerts (Years 6,7 & 8), School Hall 6.30pm

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 6.00pm

Thursday, 28 November 2019

14.00 Pre Prep Winter Concert, School Hall

Friday, 29 November 2019

14.00 U9 Rugby vs MCS, Away

14.00 U8 Tag Rugby vs MCS, Home

Sunday, 1 December 2019

16.00 Advent Carol Service New College Chapel (TICKETS ONLY)

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