Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 24th May 2019

Dear Parents,

Last night’s Sheldonian Concert was a very special evening for us all. I’m sure you, like me, will have been brimming with pride at the outstanding performances from every boy in the School. The quality and creativity of their music-making, their poetry reading, mask-making, their quiet confidence and stage presence was outstanding and set a standard I doubt that many prep schools or even many senior schools could match. It’s characteristic of your sons that once they are engaged in a task they are really determined to give their best. And I’m sure we can all still recall from our own school days those times when the usual routines were thrown aside to do something special. Yesterday was one such day and I hope an enjoyable and memorable one for the boys. It certainly is day I shall never forget and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the NCS community for the huge warmth and kindness which characterised this tribute to mark my impending retirement as Headmaster. All my colleagues have, as ever, gone the extra mile to ensure everything went so well on the night, ranging from contributing their musical talents to organising and encouraging the boys, to attending to many practical arrangements. And I would like to record my thanks, too, to parents and grandparents, old boys and former parents: your loyal support and gratitude for all that is good about NCS was palpable last night and has been a source of much inspiration and encouragement to me over these last 11 years. Above all in this, I think I should salute your sons for being the most discreet and trustworthy children I’ve ever come across! You will have heard last night that one of the special gifts the boys prepared for me was a CD of the whole of the prep school singing some of my (and their) favourite hymns. I gather this was cooked up between School and College while I was away on an inspection when surreptitiously they went over to the Chapel one morning, made the recording in one take, and were then sworn to absolute secrecy. And I can assure you nothing was leaked. That CD, along with a beautifully-bound collection of tributes from current and former colleagues, current and former parents and pupils, organised and collated by Dr Jenkinson, are testimony to the extraordinarily thoughtful and civilised nature of this place. Thank you all so much!

The Sheldonian Concert

Sport. As the first half of term comes to a close, we can reflect on some very impressive sporting performances. This week has been extremely busy with a great many notable achievements. Firstly, the Year 2 boys had an exciting afternoon last Friday in the first-ever athletics meeting with Summer Fields School. All boys competed in the 50m sprint, 300m run, standing long jump and the vortex throw. There were some outstanding individual performances including Tristan Brown with his Year 2 school record of 22.72 metres and Xander Smith with a Silver Award and 2nd overall in the meeting. At the final count, when all the points were tallied up, I’m delighted to say that NCS were the winners of the meeting. Very well done indeed! On Monday of this week, Mr Bradley and Mr Morrison took the U11 ‘A’ cricket team to Millfield Prep for their first attempt in the IAPS cricket tournament. Amongst some very tough opposition the NCS team did not disappoint and, after the group stages, we ended up in third place and faced a 5th/6th play-off match after a very welcome BBQ lunch. This match. as with all the others we played. was a keenly contested affair and went down to the final two balls of the game. Unfortunately the boys were just short and lost by a single run! The boys learnt a great deal from the afternoon and these experiences will only serve to make them better players for the remainder of the season and indeed over the coming years.

Finally this week, the 1st and 2nd XI teams from Years 7 & 8 played two tough Dragon School teams on Wednesday. Mr Bishop took the 2nd team at home and, after winning the toss, the Dragon elected to bowl first. In our 20 overs we amassed a respectable 71 runs and although we would have liked 20 or 30 more we felt confident we could defend it. Henry Moore was brilliant with the bat and ended up on 22 not out. He not only scored these valuable runs but was instrumental in ensuring the scoreboard kept moving as he guided his partners when running between the wickets. Great leadership Henry: well done! Out in the field, the bowling from Walter Moore and Krishan Sabharwal was accurate and difficult to score from: while these two boys were bowling we looked dangerous! With four wickets between them, including three for Krishan, both boys deserve high praise indeed. However, from there we bowled too short and the Dragon batsmen took full advantage and hit the ball hard to the boundary to eventually win the game by four wickets. A tough lesson to learn about line and length, but a valuable one going into the next half of term! In the 1st team game the result did indeed go our way thanks to a brilliant bowling display from our openers Joseph Conway and Fraser Mackenzie. Both boys bowled with accuracy and hostility to restrict our opponents to only 82. Freddie East then scored a quick fire 20, but it was Edward Bennett and Callan McMillan who saw the game home for a well-deserved win. Both boys batted with great maturity and skill to make sure the game was safe. Well done all round!

Chess. Congratulations to Jack Douglas who defeated all his opponents form the Dragon in one of our recent chess tournaments and has qualified for the Oxfordshire Chess Megafinal which takes place just after half-term, for which we wish him all success. Very well done!

Year 8S Maths Song; Year 5 RSP; Pre-Prep Playtime

Charity Week in aid of Sightsavers www.sightsavers.org, has encouraged some delicious cake-baking this week and we have today enjoyed the relaxation of home clothes in glorious summer weather, which I hope will set the scene for half-term next week. It has been good to recognise how precious our sight is and how relatively simple, cost-effective, operations can transform the lives of those whose sight is impaired. My thanks to boys and parents for your support: overall, we have raised the very pleasing total of £326.40.

Green Flag & Eco-Shop Prices. I am delighted to announce that, following the visit of the Eco-Schools assessor, our green flag has been unequivocally renewed. The assessor had no recommendations, but wrote fulsomely of the Eco-Committee’s work. A copy of the assessor’s letter is attached. Huge thanks to Mrs Brown and all the members of the Committee on this achievement. I also attach a list of the Eco-Shop’s latest prices. A number of new lines have been added, so do encourage your sons to purchase ‘green’ stationery at very competitive prices.

A reminder there is no Saturday Morning Music School tomorrow or on the last Saturday of half-term.

My best wishes to Year 8 as they prepare for their final PSB exams after half-term. Louise and I look forward to welcoming the class of 2019 to the Leavers’ Dinner for Year 8/8S, which is always a most congenial occasion when I'm sure we can all be proud of some really first-rate young people.

I trust parents will have safely received Orders for Years 3-8. If your son has been absent, these will be posted. Please let Mrs McCusker know if you have not received them.

You will also have received earlier this week a poster and leaflet about our Open Morning on Friday 14th June. I would greatly appreciate it if you could display them in a prominent place in your locality or place of work. Many thanks for your help. It is worth mentioning to friends who may be interested that our registration lists for entry in September 2021 are getting very full and registration for September 2022 and beyond is certainly now advised.

Chorister Open Day. Saturday 15th June, 4.30pm. Parents of boys in Years 1 and 2 will have received a letter about the Chorister Open Day, which is an excellent time to meet Mr Quinney and find out more about life in New College Choir. Please do speak to me or to Miss Llewellyn-Jones or to Mrs Cox if you would like to any further information about the afternoon.

Dates for your Diaries. The end of the Trinity Term always brings with it some very happy celebratory events at which we hope to see a good number of parents. Here is some advanced notice for your diaries. I trust you will all have received your particular invitations to the Summer Drinks (17th June).

Wednesday 5th June School Service led by Pre-Prep, Chapel, 10.00am

Wednesday 12th June Senior Concerts, School Hall, 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Thursday 13th June Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert, Sports Hall, 2.00pm

Friday 14th June Open Morning and Open Art Studio, 10.00am

Monday 17th June Year 8 Playreading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cloisters, 6.45pm; Summer Drinks Evening, Cloisters, 7.45 - 9.00pm

Wednesday 19th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 2.00pm

Thursday 20th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 6.00pm

Saturday 22nd June Wykeham Day (Concert, Cricket Match, BBQ, School Fete), Field, 12 noon onwards; Last Evensong, Chapel, 6.00pm; Old Boys' Dinner, 7.30pm

Thursday, 27th June Pre-Prep Summer Picnic 2.15pm, University Parks

Monday 1st July Choristers’ Concert, Chapel, 5.30pm

Tuesday 2nd July Sports Day. Pre-Prep 10.00am; Prep School, 11.00am, Iffley Road

Wednesday 3rd July Leavers’ Service, Chapel, 10.00am; Pre-Prep Summer Show, School Hall 2.00pm; Leavers vs Fathers Cricket, Field 6.00pm

Thursday 4th July Leavers’ Concert and Reception, University Church, 7.00pm

Friday 5th July Prizegiving for Years 3-8 to which parents of prizewinners will be invited nearer the time.

With good wishes to all NCS families for half-term

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Start of Half Term

Thursday, 30 May 2019

18.15 Ascension Day Service, New College Chapel

Monday, 3 June 2019

Return from Half-Term

Years 5 – 8 Assessment Week

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

U11 A&B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

U11 C&D Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel (Pre-Prep only)

Led by Pre-Prep. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

14.15 1st XI Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Home

Thursday, 6 June 2019

9.45 "Bach to School" concert trip (Year 4), St Michael at the North Gate

14.00 U11 Cricket House Matches, Home

Friday, 7 June 2019

12.30 Year 2 trip to Natural History Museum

14.15 U9 A&B Cricket vs Dragon, Away

19.30 Leavers' Dinner, HM’s Lodgings & Dining Hall

Saturday, 8 June 2019

18.05 NC Choir: Three Choirs' Evensong, Christ Church Cathedral

Monday, 10 June 2019

14.00 1st XI Cricket vs d’Overbroeck’s, Home

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

10.30 U9 House Cricket Matches, Home

15.30 U11 A Cricket vs MCS, Away

19.30 HM Reception for new parents, Sports Hall

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Professor Jane Shaw, Principal of Harris Manchester College. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.00 School Council Meeting

14.30 1st XI Cricket vs Dragon, Away

14.30 2nd XI Cricket vs Dragon, Home

14.30 All Stars Cricket vs St Hugh's, Away

17.15 Senior Concert, Part 1 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Senior Concert, Part 2 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 6.00pm

Thursday, 13 June 2019

13.00 Years 1 & 2 Quad Kids Athletics, home

14.00 Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert

Friday, 14 June 2019

Open Morning 10.00-12 noon

Open Art Studio, 10.00 – 5.00 pm, Art Room

13.00 U11A Cricket County Cup vs MCS, Away

13.00 U9 Cricket vs Mums, Home

Saturday, 15 June 2019

No Music School, except for theory exam candidates

10.00 Associated Board Theory Exams

16.30 Chorister Open Day

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