Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 21st september 2018

Dear Parents,

Official figures released this week show that GCSE entries in modern foreign languages have increased for the first time in five years, albeit by a tiny margin of 0.4%. But after several years of manifest decline, this is good news. Apart from the fact that, as the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders put it, “we cannot afford to become a largely monolingual society’, I would strongly advocate the intellectual discipline, brain plasticity, and cultural diversity which studying a language involves. At an early stage of education, it seems to me that it doesn’t particularly matter which language you study because, taught well, it’s the process which is formative and which creates a life-long facility for language learning. Look at the excitement of our Reception class simply enjoying the sound and shape of newly-discovered French words this week. Too often, at school level, modern languages are seen as simply transactional and learned as such, whilst the rich linguistic and cultural derivations and history which underlie them are glossed over. So as the European Day of Languages hoves into view next Wednesday, I’d like to think that for NCS pupils languages are not simply a means to an end, but genuinely sharpen their minds and their cultural outlook. It’s perhaps apropos, too, that the government has announced new funding for overseas teachers to visit UK schools, and will pair up more educators to run “classroom-to-classroom” activities over WhatsApp. The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme aims to “forge a global understanding of what education can achieve”. Mighty ideals indeed, but I don’t need to convince an Oxford audience of the power of education to promote international understanding and shape a wider outlook of the mind.

Year 6 visit to the Music Faculty; Ukulele Club in after-school activities; Practising numbers in Reception; Conkers at break time.

Sport. It’s been a very positive start to the football season: we have seen success from all the age groups from the youngest Year 3s to the 1st IX in Year 8. The way the boys are training and working on their skills, fitness and tactics is a real pleasure to watch with everyone making great progress. This week, there have been matches in abundance. The U9 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams were in action vs Cokethorpe last Friday: these matches were played at home and in the ’B’ team there was some super play from the boys on the way to an impressive 3-1 win with Alexander Cagodan and Alexander Remoundos instrumental in victory throughout the whole match. The ‘A’ team also had an excellent afternoon enjoying a 5-2 win with an outstanding second half including Daniel Campbell scoring a hat trick on his debut for the School. The U13 teams were in action against Summerfields on Wednesday with NCS fielding three very keen and well-drilled teams. All three teams came up against extremely strong opposition and, despite their best efforts, the 1st and 3rd teams succumbed to defeat. Mr Bradley and Mr Rose were both extremely happy with the way the teams played, however, with special mention going to Rafe Simpson in the ‘C’ team and Fraser Mackenzie for the ‘A’ team. Mr Bishop reports that the U13 B team gave some of the best play as a group he’s seen and they really deserved the 2-1 win. Every boy played his part in a truly team performance with Edward Bennett deserving his “Man of the Match” award with his brace of goals.

Following on from their success vs Cokethorpe last week the U11 teams were playing away at MCS on Thursday afternoon. Once again we had four teams playing and this meant that over the last two fixtures every boy from Years 5 & 6 has represented the School. On the ‘C & ‘D’ team pitches Mr Rose reports some superb play from both teams with Leo Herz and Lucas Ord deserving special mention. The ‘C’ team played hard but eventually lost 3-0 as finding the final ball into box proved tricky. In the ‘D’ team, the boys were superb with Henry East scoring the winning goal as he blasted home from close range. On the ‘A’ & ‘B’ team pitches Mr Bradley tells me that the ‘A’ team were simply excellent and thoroughly deserved their 4-2 win, despite being without their captain on this occasion. Ethan McMillan was deadly in front of goal and Timon Bergmann was tireless in midfield. And Mr Bishop reports that the B team encounter did not disappoint! A close first half saw NCS go in 2-1 up, but the boys saved their best for last with a superb second-half performance. Carter Chapman bagged a hat trick with Josh Brown adding a fourth and then Hugh Vine capped a brilliant individual performance with a goal scored directly from a corner! A final result of 5-3 meant that we managed to win three out of the four games against our old rivals. This is an excellent start to the term: well done to all!

Drivers and Cyclists. Since we have a good number of families cycling to school, please would drivers be particularly vigilant for cyclists when manoeuvring in Savile and Mansfield Roads. In particular, please avoid turning in the school gate at drop-off or pick-up times and I’m also told that the cut through the Science Departments in Parks Road needs especial care. I’m sure we all want to keep our children (and adults!) safe when they are cycling.

Tuck Shop. Following a suggestion from the School Council, we are launching a ‘healthy snacks’ tuck shop at morning break in the Prep School form next Wednesday. Dried fruit and fruit drinks will be on sale at prices ranging from 20p – 50p. If your son would like to take advantage of this, please send him with a relevant amount of pocket money.

Upcoming parents’ meetings. Years 5 & 6, Monday, 24th September, Sports Hall, 6.30pm. ‘Future Destinations’ evening. Registrars and senior staff from most of our local independent day and boarding schools will be present and you will be free to wander round their ‘stalls’ and talk with them about their schools. Form tutors, other senior colleagues and I will also be present to give advice and assist with first thoughts. Parents are welcome to bring sons to this evening: their say in future schools is vital! I am always willing to give advice about future schools individually: if there are particular aspects of your son’s applications for senior school you would like to discuss at any point in the process, you are, of course, most welcome to fix an appointment via Mrs McCusker in the School Office.

Year 7 Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday 3rd October 6.00pm – 8.00pm in the Sports Hall. All those who teach Year 7 will be present, including Mr Hardy-Lenik as 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 7.00pm to ensure you can get round to all teachers.

NCS Choral Society rehearsals continue on Monday evenings. Please note this coming week’s rehearsal is in the School Hall, not the Sports Hall.

A reminder that Harvest Festival is on Wednesday 26th September at 10.00am in New College Chapel. The boys will be encouraged to bring in non-perishable produce for distribution to local food banks, whilst perishable home-grown produce will be arranged for sale to NCS families after school on 26th September to raise money to support 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.

The Pre- Prep Parents ‘Bring and Share’ Supper is 7.30pm for 8.00pm on Friday 28th September in the Sports Hall. All pre-prep parents warmly welcome. If you would like to participate, please RSVP to ncspa@newcollegeschool.org

Open Morning for prospective parents is on Saturday 29th September 10.00am – 12.00 noon, followed by a chance for prospective chorister parents to hear the choristers rehearsing in College. Do encourage friends and colleagues who may be interested to visit us. There’s no need to book and families may join us for all or any part of the morning. All boys in the School are welcome to volunteer as guides, if they so wish. Saturday Morning Music pupils attend the morning as usual to act as guides and continue with their music. Parent help with teas/coffees and in talking to visitors will also be most welcome. Please let the NCSPA and/or the School Office know if you would be able to help. It’s worth mentioning that if you intend to register a younger brother for the School, it’s helpful for our lists if you do this sooner than later.

The NCS Parents’ Association AGM is on Monday, 1st October at 8.00pm in the School Hall. Please do come along to hear about events planned for the year and do speak to your class reps if you have any issues you would like to raise. The current Chair, Daisy East, has signalled her intention to step down by the AGM. So, I do hope there is a parent who would be willing to take on this role. It really isn’t impossibly onerous! Do contact Daisy on ncspa@newcollegeschool.org if you’d like to find out a little bit more about what it might involve.

The NCSPA Quiz Night is on Friday 5th October, 7.00 for 7.30pm. Professors Chris Timmel & Stuart Mackenzie have kindly agreed to be our inimitable quizmasters again and there will be a delicious curry supper. Tickets (£10) will be on sale in the School Office next week. So, do put the date in your diary and be in touch with form reps to arrange year group tables. It’s all enormous fun. The teachers’ table is already shaping up to be a formidable force!

All boys and teachers new to NCS this term will be formally admitted to the School (in Latin!) by the Warden of New College, Mr Miles Young, at our Beginning of Year Service in New College Chapel on Wednesday, 10th October at 10.00am. New College Choristers will lead the service. Parents, relatives and friends are warmly welcome: please put this very special occasion in your calendars. There will be coffee/tea after the service for visitors in the Undercroft.

Coats. As the colder, wetter weather comes upon us, please can I remind parents that boys should have a waterproof coat in school so that they can enjoy breaktimes outside even if the weather is threatening. Many thanks.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 22 September 2018

No choristers at Saturday Morning Music School

18.00 NC Choir : Gaude Evensong

Monday, 24 September 2018

14.00 U13 A&B Football vs D’Overbroeck’s, Home

8.50 Tudor Music Workshop, Year 4, Faculty of Music

18.30 Year 5 & 6 Future Destinations meeting, Sports Hall

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

14.15 U11 A Football vs Bruern Abbey, Home

14.15 U11 B Football vs Bruern Abbey, Away

16.00 NC Choir: Rehearsal and Concert for 'The Divine Office' Festival

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

10.00 Harvest Festival, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School and College Chaplain. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

European Day of Languages

Thursday, 27 September 2018

14.00 U11 Football House Matches, Field

14.30 Choristers to Winchester College Founder's Obit

Friday, 28 September 2018

13.00 U9 A Football Festival, Home

19.30 Pre-Prep ‘Bring and Share’ Supper

Saturday, 29 September 2018

10.00 Open Morning

Monday, 1 October 2018

14.15 U13 A,B,C&D Football vs Thorngrove, Away

16.00 U8-U11 X Country vs Dragon, Away

19.30 NCS Parents’ Association AGM, School Hall

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

12.05 Meeting for probationer choristers, Chapel

14.15 U11 A&B Football vs Sibford, Home

15.45 U9A Rugby vs Kitebrook, Home

15.45 U9B Tag vs Kitebrook, Home

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Revd Dr William Lamb, Vicar of the University Church. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

14.30 Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom

14.30 U13 A Football vs Summer Fields, Home

14.30 U13 B & C Football vs Summer Fields, Away

18.00 Yr 7 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Friday, 5 October 2018

14.00 U9 A-C Football vs Summerfields, Away

14.00 U8 A-C Football vs Summerfields, Home

18.15 First Evensong , New College Chapel

19.30 Curry & Quiz Night, Sports Hall

Saturday, 6 October 2018

9.00 U13A IAPS 6-aside Football Tournament at Summerfields

10.00 NCS Governing Committee & SLT Strategy Day

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Start of University Term

17.45 Chorister Surplicing. Tea beforehand at 3.30pm

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