Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 14th May 2021

Dear Parents,

Our theme this week has been showing concern for the wider world, but without worrying unhealthily. This is a difficult balance to strike, as we do believe in introducing the boys to issues facing the world (it is hard to hide many of them, to be honest) in an age-appropriate way. But, at the same time, it requires skilful handling of how that news is presented, to ensure that the boys do not become overwhelmed. They have quite enough on their plates before worrying about everything else; yet at the same time they can’t be so cosseted that the wider world becomes too much of a shock once they are a bit older.

It was a theme that was especially pronounced in our assemblies this week, especially during Mr Neal’s Wellbeing assembly, which led with the wisdom of Harold Stephens: ‘There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem'. On Monday the boys learnt about Jane Addams and her work as an activist, social worker, reformer, teacher and author (among many other things). Her belief in teaching by example, cooperating across social boundaries, and sharing ideas for social improvement was particularly inspirational, as was her observation that ‘What after all has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not faith in new possibilities and courage to advocate them?’. Speaking of new opportunities, our artwork of the week was Stefano Boeri’s ‘Vertical Forest’ in Milan: prototype buildings (80m and 112m high) for a new format of architectural biodiversity. These two towers have planted in/on them 800 trees, 15,000 perennials and 5,000 shrubs, providing the equivalent of 30,000 square metres of woodland and undergrowth, and supporting approximately 1,600 species. If you have not yet read about this ‘Vertical Forest’, it is well worth looking up as an unusual and innovative way to bring green spaces, and all their benefits, to urban areas. It is also providing some inspiration for us on Savile Road as we think of ways to further enhance the NCS environment.

Hunting for bugs in Year 6 Science; Year 5 Royal Observatory webinar; photography and editing in ICT; examining fossils in Activities; the Year 5 'kindness crown' in Wellbeing

As I say, the boys cannot take the weight of the world on their young shoulders, but they can learn about – and be inspired by – individuals who are thinking creatively about the issues facing the world around them, and working to solve many of its problems. I am constantly proud of the boys for their own ideas about how they can make their own world a better place, whether it be their school on Savile Road, their locality, or wider afield. Just last week the School Council met virtually and collated a number of sensible ideas about tweaking things in school to make it an even better place for them and their peers. While it is not always practical to tick off everything on their wish list, we do listen carefully and implement as much as we can. I hope, and have no doubt, that the boys will take this sense of custodianship and making their world a better place for others, into their teenage and adult lives.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Following the government’s recent Covid-19 update, from 17 May face coverings will not need to be worn by pupils in either communal areas or in the classroom. It is still recommended that staff and visitors wear a face covering in areas where social distancing is not possible, but not in the classroom.

From Mr Bishop: Despite some for the worst May weather for some years we have been lucky enough to dodge the showers and we have been able to play some very entertaining games of cricket throughout the lower school this week. To begin the week Years 3 and 4 played were host to local rivals Christ Church and we were lucky enough to watch some excellent games. The Year 3 team managed to win their game with William and Tom showing good potential with the bat. George was excellent when bowling and took a number of crucial wickets. In the U9 B team game we just fell short of the target set by CCCS thanks to the number of extras we bowled! A lesson learnt in the importance of accurate bowling. The overall performance was however very encouraging and it was a pleasure to see Miles hitting the ball over the boundary for a maximum 6. In the U9 A team our captain Xander once again led from the front in scoring 33 not out from his 2 overs in a devastating display of power hitting. A number of 4s and a huge 6 were very pleasing to watch and the crowd of NCS parents really appreciated it. With the ball and in the field the NCS team were once again disciplined and hard working. Alexander and Jack were both brilliant when bowling taking crucial wickets to slow the CCCS scoring rate. A healthy winning margin of over 30 runs means that this team are unbeaten in the opening two games.

On Wednesday the U11 and U10 teams faced Bruern Abbey with both teams playing at home. It once again provided the NCS parents an opportunity to come and watch some good games of cricket. In the U11 game the NCS team fell short of the BA total by just 13 runs. We worked hard with the bat to try and reach the total set but on this occasion as with the previous day’s U9s the damage was done when we were bowling. Too many extras were gifted to our opposition in an uncharacteristic display of slightly wayward bowling. I feel first game nerves may have impacted our players and I am also confident that, with a little more work with Mr Bradley, we’ll be back on track and hitting the stumps with the regularity needed to win these close games. With the bat a couple of unfortunate run outs meant our scoring rate was not as fast as it needed to be and we simply ran out of balls in trying to chase down the target set. In the U10 A team we amassed a very healthy 85 runs in our innings with Jake top scoring with 19 and Herbie close behind on 17 not out. In the field Jake captained the side with maturity and knowledge to rotate his bowlers and ensure his fielders were in position for every ball. George W was the pick of the fast bowlers with his impressive pace and accuracy taking a good number of Bruern wickets and restrict our visitors’ run scoring. A winning margin of over 60 runs was testament to the overall team performance and a good sign of things to come. On balance we have had a very good second week of competitive cricket with the boys enjoying the experience and all leaving the field smiling.

Well done to Ben in Year 7, who features in an extra in the forthcoming film about C.S. Lewis, The Most Reluctant Convert. Ben filmed his scenes in the autumn of 2020 and the film has just had its premiere at The Ritz (Arizona). We look forward to seeing it! https://1aproductions.co.uk/portfolio/the-most-reluctant-convert-c-s-lewis-in-production/

From Mrs Hess and Mrs Showell-Rogers: The boys benefit from access to comics, graphic novels and cartoon books when in the classroom on wet days. Should any NCS families have any such publications they could donate to the school it would be much appreciated. In particular, we are looking for Phoenix comics, Marvel comics and cartoon books such as Calvin & Hobbes. Care would be taken that they were placed with the appropriate year groups. Many thanks!

Upcoming Events

Monday, 17 May 2021

This week: Abingdon Music Scholarship auditions

National Walk to School Week

Incredible Eggs (delivery for Science lab)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

9.00 Chapel. Speaker: Mr Robert Quinney, Organist, New College

13.00 Charity Committee Meeting (Assembly Rehearsal)

Monday, 24 May 2021

Charity Week

Pre-Prep Reviews start; Years 3 & 4 in-class assessments start

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Orders in Years 3-8 issued

9.00 Chapel (no Years 3-4). Speaker: The Chaplain

Thursday, 27 May 2021

9.45 Year 5 to Natural History museum for Science workshop (return 11.45)

Friday, 28 May 2021

Home Clothes Day

9.45 Year 6 to Natural History museum for Science workshop (return 11.45)

Pre-Prep QED Day

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Start of Half Term

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