Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 25th October 2019

Dear Parents,

You may not be aware that we have an enduring friendship with Artevelde University College in Belgium. Every year during the middle of Michaelmas we host some trainee teachers, as well as their teachers (trainee teacher teachers?), from there. They spend a morning sitting in on some lessons, meeting with me and my colleagues, and comparing what we do with their working lives back home. I am pleased to say that the comparisons are very favourable in our direction and every year we get positive comments about the boys’ inquisitiveness, the open (yet channelled!) nature of discussion in lessons, and the all-round ambition of NCS boys and what they are learning.

The trainee teachers also get to deliver an assembly about themselves and Belgian culture. It is not just Tintin, moules frites and Poirot, we are reminded, and it is especially valuable for the boys to learn about the potential linguistic diversity of one relatively small country. I trust that NCS boys need little reminding about the benefits of learning another language – and, of course, an impressive proportion of our boys are already bilingual – but having visitors like those from Artevelde provide us with another excuse to celebrate non-Anglophone communication.

Making autumn crowns in Wild Learning; Modelling natural selection in Darwin's finches in Science; Charity Week film and popcorn; Football Prizes; Year 6 assisting Pre-Prep on their Question, Explore, Discover day; 18th Century bible in RSP.

I imagine it has not escaped your notice that next week is our half-term break. This half term has already been eight weeks – which, in some institutions, is long enough to constitute a whole term – so I suspect that the boys and my colleagues have earned something of a rest. (I concede that half-term breaks don’t really constitute rests for a lot of you, but I hope you enjoy having your sons around the place for a bit more than usual nonetheless.) I’ll leave you with one of my favourite exchanges from this past half term. As I finished story time with Pre-Prep a few weeks ago, one of the Reception boys was a little unsure of what was happening next. ‘Are we going now?’, he asked me. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘You’re going back to your classroom to do some work’. ‘Are you going to do some work now?’ he asked me. ‘Yes, I’m going to go back to my study to do some work’. ‘No, he’s not’, piped up another boy, ‘Headmaster’s don’t do any work.’ I hope, for maybe a day or two next week, that might be true.

I want to take this opportunity, as we pause for a short breath, to thank you for all of your support during these first few – more than a few – weeks of the year. I look forward to seeing you all after the break for another packed half term and the run-up to Christmas.

Have a restorative week,

Matt Jenkinson

Chosen by the trainee teachers from Artevelde University College:

Person of the Week: Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium

Artwork of the Week: ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ (1432) by the Van Eyck Brothers

Word of the Week: baas

Charity Week. Many thanks to Mrs Showell-Rogers and all those boys and colleagues who have led, or taken part in, a very successful charity week. In addition to the usual cake sales and home clothes day, there have been some excellent innovations, including turning the hall into a popcorn-infused cinema. Thanks to all families for their very generous donations to Tiggywinkles, the wildlife hospital trust located in Haddenham.

QED Day. It was wonderful to see the Pre-Prep boys taking part in our first Question Explore Discovery day exploring ‘Feeling Good! Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’. The older boys loved getting involved to help, too, and many thanks to all my colleagues who made the day such an exciting and worthwhile experience for the boys.

Orders were issued for Years 3-8 this week. If you have not yet received these in paper form from your son, please check his school bag or let the office know!

The 40th anniversary of women matriculating at New College will be celebrated at the College Commemoration Service on Sunday 27 October at 17.45. The service is an annual occasion when we honour the long history of our college with a candlelit procession from the main quadrangle, following in the footsteps of the first fellows. This year to mark the 40th anniversary the choir will be joined by the girl choristers of Frideswide Voices to sing music by Cecilia McDowall and Judith Weir and a new commission by Joanna Marsh. The Rev Professor Jane Shaw, Principal of Harris Manchester College and former Dean of Divinity at New College, will be preaching. Please gather in the quad to collect a candle for the start of the service at 17.45; the service will finish around 18.45. A retiring collection will be taken for Women for Refugee Women (https://www.refugeewomen.co.uk).

All Souls’ Day, Saturday 2 November at 18.15: for the feast of All Souls the choir will sing Duruflé’s Requiem and we will remember loved ones who have died. Please send names of any loved ones you would like to be remembered to the Choir Administrator, Nancy-Jane Rucker (nancy-jane.rucker@new.ox.ac.uk).

Henry IV, Part 1: a reminder that our full play rehearsals kick off on Sunday 3 November at 13.30 for all boys in Years 7 and 8. We will be working on the costuming too, so it is very important that all boys attend and Year 8s know their lines by heart.

Parking on site: we are entering the phase of demolition/construction that requires us to begin to recalibrate the boys’ play space. This has been expedited by the discovery of evidence of Roman habitation under the old Year 4 classroom. For various seasonal-related reasons, the grassy space will also be out of action for certain periods, which will inevitably move the boys back onto the other playground areas. Because we will need to rejig where the majority of the boys’ play will happen, this has an inevitable knock-on effect on the parking we can offer. Of course, we will still provide parking before and during evening services in chapel but, for routine events, from now on no cars will be able to come on site before 17.30 Monday – Friday. This gives us a safe window for activities to finish and for boys to be picked up before cars appear. It also still gives a 45-minute window for parking and getting to chapel, so I hope that’s palatable. On Saturday mornings, I’m afraid that we won’t be able to offer parking on site for Saturday morning school as the boys will be playing on the area formerly known as a carpark, and boys and cars just don’t mix. Please also make sure that there is a school or choir adult supervising the boys before leaving your son in the playground. Thanks for your indulgence and understanding as we start to get used to some new routines, and as we necessarily prioritise the boys’ play and safety. Please forward this message to all friends and family who might use our parking facilities for services to ensure that they are familiar with the new arrangements.

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Start of Half-Term

Saturday, 2 November 2019

18.15 All Souls’ Day - Solemn Requiem, New College Chapel

Sunday, 3 November 2019

13.30 Year 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Sports Hall

Monday, 4 November 2019

Return from Half-Term

UK Parliament Week begins

Abingdon 13+ pre-test interviews start

13.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Chapel

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

10.30 Year 7 Science talk on biofuels, Dr Liz Jenkinson

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

9.00 Chamber Choir rehearsal, Chapel

10.00 Remembrance Day Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Major (Rtd) Helen Merrington Rust, MBE

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee - Charity Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom

15.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Chapel

17.00 ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam

Thursday, 7 November 2019

14.00 U11 Rugby House Matches, Home

Friday, 8 November 2019

14.00 U9 A&B Rugby vs CCCS, Home

14.00 U8 A-C Tag Rugby vs CCCS, Home

Saturday, 9 November 2019

14.00 Pre-Prep fancy dress party

Sunday 10 November 2019

11.15 Years 7 & 8 Play dress rehearsal, New College Chapel

Monday, 11 November 2019

National Anti-Bullying Week begins

13.00 U10A MCS Rugby Festival, Away

20.00 Henry IV pt I: Yrs 7 & 8 Play, New College Chapel

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

14.00 U10/U11 A Rugby vs Windmill, Home

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Mr William Cross, Corpus Christi College, former NCS Head Boy

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 School Council Meeting, French Room

13.00 Oxfordshire Book Awards at OHS, ends 4.00pm

18.00 Henry IV pt I: Yrs 7 & 8 Play, New College Chapel

Friday, 15 November 2019

14.00 U9 A&B Rugby vs Dragon, Away

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