Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 27th january 2017

Dear Parents,

It’s been one of the extra special weeks in school life (I trust they are all special) when I realise how lucky we all are to live, study and work in such civilised surroundings which present astonishing opportunities for learning. Such opportunities I trust will have a formative influence which is lifelong and which I hope the boys will never take for granted. As parents will know, we have privileged access to New College’s archives and so this week over to School came a first edition of The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or over Land (a catchy title!) by the Elizabethan travel writer Richard Hakluyt. As Dr Jenkinson reminded us in assembly, Hakluyt was not widely travelled, but he was widely read and so compiled this and his earlier book, Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America, from a range of travellers’ accounts. His work was instrumental in encouraging English settlers in North America. And, much to the boys’ surprise, his connection with New College is not simply via this book: his brother, Edmund, was Master of NCS between 1578 and 1587. History comes alive around us.

And history looks down on us in surprising ways in as we walk around the streets of Oxford, not just in the architecture and its associations, but literally from the faces of the gargoyles, hybrids and grotesques which adorn many rooftops. Former NCS teacher Mr Lawrence gave us a fascinating pictorial insight into the many different expressions, creatures and professions represented on Oxford’s buildings. The humour and skill of master masons throughout the ages should certainly make the boys look up!

Richard Hakluyt's Principall Navigations; visiting speaker Piers Torday; discovering new words in Year 2

By contrast, children’s author Piers Torday took Years 5-7 firmly into the future as he explained the inspiration for his trilogy The Last Wild, The Dark Wild and The Wild Beyond. His account of how he developed his intriguing fictional world from thoughts about the ways humans are changing the environment was warmly received by the boys. And there was some excited book signing afterwards. All a memorable change from the usual lessons, enjoyable though I’m sure those are!

Sport. This week not only have we had Abingdon School and MCS to deal with, but also the biting cold and icy winds with which to contend in matches and training sessions. Nonetheless, as always, the boys have not complained and got on stoically preparing and training and have been rewarded with some superb performances. The U13 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams faced Abingdon School on Wednesday and, in the past, these have always been challenging matches. In the ‘B’ team match, despite going 1-0 down in the first ten minutes, we rallied and played some wonderfully expansive hockey, fully exploiting the excellent finishing of Theo Cawood as he added another 2 to his tally to take a 2-1 lead at half time. In the second half some Abingdon changes meant we found it difficult to break them down, but thanks to Man of the Match Xav Gardner and his excellent work in defence, we stayed in the game. A breakaway Abingdon goal meant the score was 2-2 at the final whistle and a well- deserved draw preserved the team’s unbeaten run. In the ‘A’ team game we again started slowly and found ourselves under great pressure early on in the game. Once we got warmed up, the boys played some excellent hockey and started to apply some pressure of their own. Krishen Rao was again excellent and was unlucky not score in the first half with shots saved from close range. A great deal of credit has to go the team as they never gave up and worked right until the final whistle. In doing so Tom Morgan was once again on target getting two goals in the final three minutes to take a brilliant win and make sure the ‘A’ team also remain unbeaten!

Also in action this week were the U11 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams for the first time this season. Much work has been going on with these teams’ fitness and skills and it has really started to show with some superb hockey being played by both teams. In the ‘B’ team game Boaz Rossington and Felix Nolan were brilliant and worked very hard to try and keep MCS out, but Mr Rose’s Man of the Match was Walter Moore who showed great skill and determination throughout the match. A final score of 0-2 was an unlucky result and Freddy East did his best to level the score, but was just denied by the post and the goalkeeper’s toes! A great performance and, if we keep up this effort, final results will soon go our way. In the ‘A’ team match, however, the boot was somewhat on the other foot! A very dominant display from the NCS team meant they out-classed their opponents in every department and played some of the best hockey we have seen from an NCS team. At half-time we were 2-0 up thanks to a Fraser Mackenzie brace and, despite the cold, the boys were raring to keep going. All of the boys were aggressive and determined in getting the ball back and, when we had it, the communication and precision of passing was very telling. We managed to add another four goals to take the game 6-0 at the final whistle. Very well done to the whole team on such a strong opening game.

Testing air resistance and surface area in Year 5 Science

Drumming lessons

Building a night light circuit board in Year 4 DT

The season of scholarships and interviews for senior schools is upon us. My best wishes to all candidates over the coming weeks.

My thanks to the NCSPA Committee for their deliberations this week. As ever, I am grateful for thoughtful suggestions to enhance our provision here and for the willing expertise and energy given to social and fundraising events. It’s an exciting year with several great events ahead and (don’t tell the boys yet) I’m hoping a wooden fort will appear soon in the playground.

NCS families are most welcome to the Candlemas Service this Sunday at 6.00pm in New College Chapel, sung as usual by the choristers and clerks, to mark the Church’s end to the Christmas season.

Year 4 Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday 6.00pm – 8.00pm in the Sports Hall. All those who teach the form will be present, including Mrs Riddell as Year 4 form tutor. I shall also be available to discuss any matters arising with parents. For those newer to the School, it may be helpful to say that (from long experience in other places of well-intentioned timetables which break down!) we do not operate an appointment system, but parents circulate happily between different teaching staff. There is no need to arrive on the dot of 6.00pm, but I would ask you not to arrive no later than 7.00pm to ensure you can get round to all teachers. We ask you to try to limit your conversations to between 5 and 10 minutes. If any matter requires further attention, then you are always welcome to book an appointment with a member of staff at another mutually convenient time. Refreshments are available for any spare moments between discussions! I should mention that Mrs Ryder (Art) will be available from 5.30pm and will finish slightly earlier than 8.00pm.

A reminder that our Safer Internet Information Evening at 7.00pm on Tuesday 7th February in the School Hall. Mr Lenik will give a presentation followed by questions. Unless you feel you’re already really well informed about the internet and social media and the way children are likely use and access the internet, I would urge you to attend if at all possible.

A reminder that the Eco Stationery Shop is open every Wednesday at lunchtime, run by the Eco Committee. If your son is interested in purchasing any items, please send him with a little money on Wednesdays.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Sun 29

Candlemas Service, New College Chapel, 6.00pm

Mon 30

Winchester Music Scholarship

St Edward's Music Scholarship

U13 Hockey House Matches, St Edward’s Astro, 2.00pm

Tues 31

St Edward’s All-Rounder Scholarship

U11 Hockey House Matches, Iffley Road, 2.00pm

MCS Pre-test interviews for Year 6 for 2019 entry


Wed 1

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School & College Chaplain

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

St Edward’s All-Rounder Scholarship

U13 A&B Hockey vs Lord Williams’s, St Edward’s Astro, 2.15pm

Yr 4 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall, 6.00 p.m.

Thurs 2

Abingdon Music Scholarship

Eton Music Scholarship

Fri 3

U13 A County Cup Hockey, Hawks Hockey Ground, 4.00 pm

Mon 6

Charity Week in aid of Mind www.mind.org.uk

Start of PSB/scholarship mocks week

Old Boys’ Committee Meeting, HM Study, 6.15pm

Tues 7

Safer Internet Day

U8-11 X-Country vs Chandlings, Away, 12.30pm

Safer Internet Information Evening, School Hall, 7.00pm

Wed 8

MCS Art Scholarship Interviews

U13 VII IAPS Hockey, Canford, all day

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: Professor Elisabeth Dutton, University of Fribourg

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Orders in Years 3-8 issued

Fri 10

Home Clothes Day

U11 A County Cup Hockey, Hawks Hockey Ground, 4.00pm

Sat 11

Start of Half-Term

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