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Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 3rd May 2019

Dear Parents,

Our assemblies this week have had an overarching theme of the virtues and rewards of perseverance. Many of you may have heard of the Coram Foundation, successor to the Foundling Hospital, founded 280 years ago this year, by an extraordinarily enterprising seaman and philanthropist, Captain Thomas Coram, who saw babies orphaned and abandoned in London and was determined to do something to help them. As I explained to the boys, Coram enlisted the help of the King and of famous artists such as Hogarth and musicians such as Handel (whose Messiah was popularised by regular concerts given in the Hospital Chapel), and established the foundation by royal charter, initially raising over £1m in today’s money. But it took seventeen years of hard work and lobbying to achieve his objective. A lesser person might have given up. Equally tenacious was the Belgian explorer Alexandra David-Néel, about whom Mrs Philips spoke to us yesterday. David-Néel was determined to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet. In 1924, at the age of 55 and defying all the conventions of her time, she was the first European woman to reach Lhasa, disguising herself as a Tibetan, scaling 19,000-foot peaks without supplementary oxygen, and wearing only crude leather boots. During her life, which spanned almost 101 years, she wrote more than 30 books on eastern religions and became one of the most authoritative sources on Tibetan Buddhism. And very movingly, Mrs Hess told us on Tuesday about the perseverance of the refugees she worked with in Greece over the Easter holidays. These were families who had struggled against the privations of war and poverty to attempt to seek a better life for themselves and their children. And, indeed, their courage and perseverance are a supreme example to all.

Year 5 visit to the Synagogue; Designing pop up cards in activities; Playtime table football; Examining plant structures in Year 7 Science

Congratulations to Peter Kendall who was the winner in the U8 IAPS National Chess Finals. I was delighted to present him with a medal recognising this significant achievement. Congratulations too to Ben Harkness who was competing above his age group in the U13 finals. Nevertheless, Ben still produced an outstanding result in finishing 4th overall. Very well done to both!

Year 5 had an informative outing to the local synagogue on Wednesday and, as ever, were great ambassadors for the School. We are very fortunate to have so many excellent resources for learning in central Oxford where a warm welcome is always afforded to NCS pupils.

The bright new red ties seem to have gone down well and I was impressed by the tie-tying skills of the younger boys. I hope that the ties now add a more distinctive edge to our uniform and I’m grateful to all here in School and at our uniform suppliers who have played their part in enabling this development.

Year 8 assisting the younger boys with their new school ties

Pre-Prep Story Time

Please could you ensure boys have a sunhat and sunscreen in school, securely named please. This is particularly important for Field, but equally in the playground at school. Boys should make sure they do not share sunscreen, to avoid any allergy problems. Equally please make sure your son always has some sort of waterproof coat in school for those unexpected downpours. This week we have often set off for Games in sunshine, only to return in showers!

Do encourage your son to visit the NCS Eco Stationery Shop, open each Wednesday at lunchtime. If your son is interested in purchasing any item, please send him along with a small amount of money. There are plenty of useful items, all recycled or sustainably produced.

A reminder that Monday (6th May) is a Bank and School Holiday and that because of the holiday weekend there is no Saturday Morning Music School tomorrow. Mr Neal also reminds me that the Choral Society will meet on Tuesday next week at 7.30pm in the Sports Hall instead of the usual Monday rehearsal.

The NCSPA Committee Meeting is on Wednesday (8th May) at 7.00pm in my study. Do let class reps know of items for the agenda and if you can help out at any of our summer events, many of which are coming up in the next few weeks. Your support and interest are much appreciated.

Sheldonian Concert. Tickets (price £5 for adults, free for under 18s) for the concert in the Sheldonian on Thursday 23rd May at 6.00pm, followed by a reception in New College Antechapel, are now available from the School Office. All NCS pupils will be taking part in the concert. Tickets are unreserved except by block; we shall allocate the Lower Galleries before the Upper Gallery on a first-come-first-served basis. Please let the School Office know if you have mobility-impaired family or friends who require ground floor access. Tickets for the reception are free-of-charge, but we need to know accurate numbers for catering purposes and quite understand that parents of our younger children may wish to take them home immediately after the concert.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 4 May 2019

No Saturday Morning Music School

17.30 NC Choir: Amicabilis Concordia Evensong, King's College, Cambridge

Monday, 6 May 2019

Bank and School Holiday

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

PTM test week

13.00 U7-11 X Country vs Sibford, Away. Ends 17.00

19.30 NCS Choral Society Rehearsal, Sports Hall

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

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

12.30 Eco Committee meeting

14.15 1st/2nd XI Cricket vs Summer Fields, Away

19.00 NCSPA Committee Meeting, HM Study

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

14.00 U11 A & B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

14.00 U11 C & D Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

16.00 U9 VI Chess vs The Dragon, Home

Friday, 10 May 2019

14.00 U9 A&B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

Monday, 13 May 2019

15.00 Whole school photograph

16.00 U11A Tennis vs MCS, Away

17.15 Junior Concert Pt 1 (Yrs 3, 4,5) School Hall. Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Junior Concert Pt 2 (Yrs 3, 4,5) School Hall. Refreshments beforehand in HM Study at 6.00pm

19.30 NCS Choral Society Rehearsal, Sports Hall

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

14.00 U11 Cricket House Matches, Home

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Professor Lucia Nixon, former Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College; Co-director, The Sphakia Survey Project. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

14.15 U12 A Cricket vs Summer Fields, Away

Year 8/8S trip to RSC, Stratford

Thursday, 16 May 2019

14.15 U11A Cricket vs CCCS, Home

14.15 U11B Cricket vs CCCS, Away

Friday, 17 May 2019

14.00 U9 A Cricket vs Sibford, Away

13.00 U7 Athletics vs Summer Fields, Home

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