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Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 6th March 2020

Dear Parents,

Most of our World Book Day celebrations have been postponed due to this week’s disruption – enormous thanks for your patience during a frustrating time – but this is not to say that the events haven’t begun, as Mrs Showell-Rogers’s report below outlines. Nestled happily in a city of books, NCS doesn’t need much encouragement to celebrate reading; even if we are constantly told in the media that boys don’t read, I think the average NCS boy bucks that trend. Nonetheless, it is always fun to engage with World Book Day and all the activities that such a day brings with it to promote reading for enjoyment and edification. So we will do this a little later in the term on Monday 23 March.

Not that our focus at the moment is totally literary, as evidenced by our person of the week: Katherine Johnson. Johnson, you may have seen, died on 24 February. She was a phenomenal individual in so many ways: countering the prejudice she experienced as an African-American woman in early to mid-twentieth century America by demonstrating quietly but surely what she was capable of while working for the US space programme. Her maths skills helped put US astronaut John Glenn into orbit around the earth in 1962. Glenn refused to fly unless Johnson specifically had checked the calculations so Johnson worked on the calculations made by new electronic computers before Glenn’s flight. Johnson had previously worked out the trajectory for the space flight of the first American in space and on the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon. One of the most arresting reflections she made on her life was a simple one: ‘My dad taught us, “You are as good as anybody in this town, but you’re no better”. I don’t have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I’m as good as anybody, but no better’. What a humbling, decent and down-to-earth way to approach life. This was also reflected in our chapel address on Wednesday, when old boy and ordinand Oliver Wright talked about the virtue of humility in the context of the Wykhamist motto, ‘Manners Makyth Man’.

Junior concerts; Investigating chemical content of rice; Pre-Prep playtime; writing about the hatching chicks in Reception; Year 6 building castles

A week of differing disciplines, then, and we will be continuing our interdisciplinarity next week when we have our SHTEAM Festival. All subjects will be engaging with our theme of ‘sound, music and noise’, whether in day-to-day lessons or in standalone workshops or similar sessions. You will have seen the impressive programme sent separately by Miss Krebs. There is a huge amount going on, and I am grateful to all our organisers, speakers, workshop leaders, who will no doubt make the week such an engaging success. I would also like to publicly thank the NCSPA for their financial support of some of the workshops, which has enabled us to host even more memorable events. The week will begin with our annual Holloway lecture, this year given by Professor Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music. We can’t wait!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Katherine Johnson (1918-2020)

Artwork of the Week: ‘Hidden Figures’ (2017)

Word of the Week: pontificate

Sport. It was a very early start to the day for the U11 hockey team as they travelled all the way to Haileybury for the IAPS regional tournament on Friday last week. The boys had prepared well for the day and were feeling confident that they could qualify out of their group despite some tough teams to play against. Mr Morrison and Mr Bradley could not have been more proud as the boys put in three brilliant performances to end the group stages unbeaten with a win and two draws. In the quarter finals of the cup competition we found ourselves up against the defending champions and, despite out best efforts, we unfortunately lost the game 2-0. This was a very productive day where all the boys learnt a great deal about tournament hockey and, more importantly, they realised they are part of a superb team that has a great deal of potential for the future! Very well done to all the players and a special mention to the captain Timon, who led his team brilliantly all day.

This week has also been a busy one for the U13 boys as we have had all five teams in action. Firstly the boys played in a good natured but competitive round robin event with Christ Church and D’overbroeck’s. On both pitches we saw some very entertaining (and in some cases raw) hockey on show from our guests. The NCS teams had a very positive outing on their way to winning the day with four wins out of the five matches played. On Wednesday afternoon the C-E teams were playing on the Radley College pitches for the first time and this time Summer Fields and Hatherop Castle were our opposition. Despite the wet and windy conditions a great afternoon was had by all and Mr Rose and I were thoroughly entertained by some super hockey and, more importantly, excellent effort from every single NCS boy on show. Each school managed some great games and shared the spoils between them. The highlight of the day was for me shared between the 1-1 draw at the end of the afternoon between the NCS C team and the Hatherop Castle A team, and the 2-1 win for the NCS D team over the Summer Fields D team. Charlie and Leo were voted as man of the match in each of those games respectively by the opposition coaches. Finally we have to mention Idris who was playing in goal for the first time, who made a number of brilliant saves and was an excellent keeper.

Away at Summer Fields the NCS A&B teams were playing and, like the previous games, these were two highly entertaining affairs. In the A team game we were once again playing without key players and we knew the opposition would come at us hard to try and exact revenge for their defeat earlier in the season. The game panned out predictably with Summer Fields passing well and moving the ball into space, with the NCS boys working hard to stay in the game. On the smaller, unfamiliar pitch we struggled to find flow and continuity in the first half and we were behind at the break. A better second half saw NCS score but our hosts still held on to take the game 4-3 at the final whistle. The second team game however was a complete reversal of the previous encounter. Having lost 2-1 at St Edward’s we knew this would be a tough day but Mr Bradley informs me this was the best he’d seen this team play all season. Team work, effort and persistence were the buzz words used to describe this performance as the NCS team ran out 5-1 winners. It was a simply brilliant display with William from Year 7 being the best player from both NCS teams and he is extremely deserving of his promotion to the first team for next week.

The U11 football teams, although out of season, played in the annual Sibford School tournament on Tuesday afternoon. Both the A&B teams were playing and both teams gave a very positive account of themselves. In the B team we played some strong positive football and focused on passing the ball and keeping possession. Mr Rose was particularly pleased with Albie and Luca who were standout players for the team all afternoon. The A team managed to win their way to the final and in doing so secured good victories over strong opposition. In the final, as in the semi-final, the result was determined on penalties with the final going the way of Blockley School. Second place in another ten-school event inside eight days was a great result and testament to the hard work and determination of this group of players. Very well done, boys! CB

Many thanks to Professors Mackenzie and Timmel for hosting last Friday’s quiz, and all of those NCSPA members who worked so hard to make it such an enjoyable success. Congratulations to the Year 8 parents who just pipped the teachers’ team to first place. Nonetheless, I hope that our creditable quiz performance was evidence that your sons are in safe hands.

Thankfully there were still some World Book Day activities this week with Years 3-5 enjoying a lengthy session on Wednesday afternoon with Danny Rurlander, author of the recently published Oxfordshire Book Award shortlisted novel Spylark. The video conference call connected us with Danny from his Lake District home near Lake Windermere, used as the setting for his first children's crime novel. Danny shared his inspirations (Tintin, Swallows and Amazons and Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe were amongst his childhood favourites) and adventure stories from his youth, sailing up and down Lake Windermere exploring the lake and its islands. The boys were sad to end their time with Danny but hopefully we will meet him in person next Autumn at the Oxfordshire Book Awards! CSR

Tickets are still available from the school office for the Year 7 and 8 disco with OHS on Saturday 14 March (19.00-21.00).

Parents’ evenings. Please find below a few dates for your diary. Unless otherwise stated, parents’ evenings begin at 18.00, though a few colleagues are usually available a little earlier if you would like to make a head start. Please arrive as early as practicable, and no later than 19.00, so we can finish the evenings by 20.00. If you have any issues that you think would require longer discussion than possible in a five-ish minute meeting, especially with form tutors, please do book a separate appointment. Please note that the rearranged Year 5 parents' evening date will be confirmed next week.

11 March (17.30) – Pre-Prep

29 April – Music Teachers

Coronavirus. We continue to monitor the university’s website which advises on risks and precautions concerning coronavirus (and we request parents to follow the travel advice therein): http://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-advice and the government advice for educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19. New College is taking advice, when appropriate, from Public Health England. We continue to remind the boys of the basic precautions to take to avoid spreading infections, including washing hands regularly and thoroughly, especially before eating. We will update parents via Parentmail as soon as we have any further information regarding the current situation.

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 9 March 2020

NCS SHTEAM Festival begins

9.00 Science Oxford show, Years 3-8/8S (1 hour)

am Science Oxford workshops for Reception and Year 1

All day Science Oxford workshops, Years 3, 4 and 5 in Science lessons

15.00 U13 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

15.00 U11 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

18.00 Holloway Lecture: Professor Judith Weir, CBE, Master of the Queen's Music. Inorganic Chemistry Lecture Theatre, South Parks Road

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

12.45 Yr 8 Boys ICT Suite NCS (Analysis- Rice to the Challenge Project) Finish 15.30

14.15 U11 C&D Hockey vs St John's, Iffley Road

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Oliver Petter, Vicar of St Bartholomew's Church, Yarnton. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.00 Year 6 to Natural History Museum, return 12.00

13.00 Year 5/6 Hip Hop SHTEAM Dance Workshop in Gym (ends 14.35)

13.00 Year 8 Music Production Workshop

14.35 Year 7 Steve Reich's Pendulum Music

13.00 U11 A&B Hockey vs Dragon, Away

14.00 U13 House Cross Country, University Parks

17.30 Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening, Classrooms & Sports Hall

Thursday, 12 March 2020

All day School of Noise workshops, Years 2, 6, 7 and 8/8S

Friday, 13 March 2020

MCS Sports Scholarship

MCS Art Scholarship interviews

14.00 Professor Tommaso Pizzari masterclass on animal communication, Years 8/8S

14.00 U9 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

14.00 U9 C&D Hockey vs MCS, Iffley Road

Saturday, 14 March 2020

End of University Term

SLT/Governors’ Strategy Day

19.00 Yr 7 & 8 Social, Sports Hall, ends 21.00

Monday, 16 March 2020

Associated Board Music Exams this week

14.30 U13 C&D Hockey vs Thorngrove, Away

17.15 Senior Concerts Pt 1 (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall. Drinks in HM Study at 17.00

18.15 Senior Concerts Pt 2 (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall. Drinks in HM Study at 18.00

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

8.00 U13 A Hockey South Regionals, Woking (depending on qualifying)

13.45 French Play tech rehearsal

16.15 Yr 8 Boys OSA (Conference, Rice to the Challenge Project -Parents Invited) End 18.15

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

College Day

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Warden. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.30 College/Oxford Activities

14.00 U13 C-E Hockey vs Abingdon Prep, St Edward's Astro

14.00 U13 C-E Hockey vs Summer Fields, St Edward's Astro

14.00 U13 A&B Hockey vs Summer Fields, Away

Thursday, 19 March 2020

13.45 French Play dress rehearsal

14.00 Pre-Prep Poetry Recitation and ‘Show and Tell’

14.00 U11 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Iffley

14.00 U11 C&D Hockey vs MCS, Away

Friday, 20 March 2020

8.00 U12 A Hockey South Regionals, Woking (depending on qualifying)

14.00 U9 A&B Hockey vs Cothill, Iffley Rd

16.00 Years 3,4,5 Pizza and Dance

19.30 Bursary Presentation Evening for Alumni and Friends of NCS

Saturday, 21 March 2020

New College Gaude

Sunday, 22 March 2020

10.00 Old Boys' Hockey Match, St Edward's Astro

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