Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 18th January 2019

Dear Parents,

As I was preparing for our fortnightly News Round-Up in assembly which inevitably led with the latest twists in the Brexit saga, I came across an extract from a speech by Joseph Chamberlain, Leader of the Opposition in 1906, in which he observed: “I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety.” Perhaps it’s comforting to see that every era has its challenges which, as we see with hindsight, the human capacity for creativity and ingenuity eventually resolves. But surely a further crucial factor in grappling with ‘interesting times’ is the ability of human beings to try to understand and respect different points of view. It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of this when views are passionately and sincerely held or cultural or linguistic barriers hold us back. So, reasserting this in every generation is vital. Schools are in a privileged position not only to teach age-old values, but to model and evolve them in our micro-societies. And perhaps we need to do this more than ever when political and social media discourse currently seem ever more combative and tram-lined. No matter what subjects we teach our children, if we do not put a premium on teaching them how to resolve differences, how to work with others whose outlook we do not immediately share, or how to include the outsiders, then we run the risk of not passing on to our children the fundamentals of civilised human living. As the responses to my questions in our News Round-Up show, your sons are quick to pick up on the positives and negatives of the world around them and exercise intelligent and sensitive judgement. This bodes well for their future equilibrium when, no doubt, in their turn they will face their share of ‘interesting times’

The Feudal System in Year 6 History; Testing currents in electrical circuits in Year 8 Science; Cookery and Minecraft in Activities

Tonight at 7.30pm our Music Scholars’ Concert takes place in the Holywell Music Room (one of the oldest music rooms in Europe, where once Haydn performed). I’m sure the concert will be a particularly enjoyable occasion and your support will be much appreciated by the performers. All parents and boys, particularly those thinking of taking a music scholarship in the next couple of years, are most welcome to join us.

A reminder that Saturday Morning Music School starts tomorrow at 10.00am prompt and will finish at 12.15pm. Choristers (from Year 5 upwards) should be ready to start their practice in the interim School Hall at 9.00am and should be collected from NCS at 12.15pm.

Good luck to the Year 6 boys who are taking the 13+ pre-tests for 2021 entry to Magdalen tomorrow. From what I have heard and seen of the preparation, they are in good heart and I’m sure will calmly do their best. No one can ask for more!

Year 3 and 8S Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday (23rd January) 6.00pm – 8.00pm in the Sports Hall. All those who teach these forms will be present, including Mrs Atkinson as Year 3 form tutor and Dr Jenkinson as 8S 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! If it is helpful to parents, I should mention that Mrs Atkinson will be available from 5.30pm, as will Mrs Ryder who and will finish slightly earlier than 8.00pm.

The NCS Parents’ Association Committee Meeting is on Monday, 21st January at 7.30 p.m. in my study. If you have any agenda items, please mention them to your class reps.

Please find attached a copy of the Eco Committee’s latest newsletter The EcoNomist which, as ever, makes for engaging and thought-provoking reading. My thanks to Mrs Brown for her work with the Committee and to Lyndon Chen and Sammy Jarvis for their editorial work.

Snow (or other extreme weather). Because we have a good number of staff living locally, the School will always remain open during poor weather; but please do not feel that simply because we are open you have to make dangerous efforts to get here if road conditions are problematic. An update on weather conditions here will be sent by Parentmail and will appear on our Home page of our website just before 7.00am on any such mornings.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 19 January 2019

9.00 MCS Pretest for Yr 6 for 2021 entry

Monday, 21 January 2019

19.30 NCS Parents’ Association Meeting, HM Study

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

9.00 External Assessments for Prep School Entry for September 2018

15.30 U11 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Susannah Reide, Chaplain of Harris Manchester College. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.30 SRE programme with District Nurse: Year 7 (ends 11.50)

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 classroom

13.00 PSHCEE with District Nurse: Year 6 (ends 14.30)

14.30 U13 A&B Hockey vs Abingdon, St Edward's Astro

18.00 Yr 8S and Yr 3 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Thursday, 24 January 2019

16.00 Chess Fixture NCS v Summerfields U9 & U11, Home

Friday, 25 January 2019

16.00 U13 A Hockey County Cup, Hawks Ground

Monday, 28 January 2019

MCS Music Scholarship

Winchester Music Scholarship

Eton Music Scholarship

16.00 U12 A Hockey County Cup, Hawks Ground

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Winchester Music Scholarship

Eton Music Scholarship

14.15 U11 A&B Hockey vs Sibford, Iffley Road

MCS Pre-test interviews for Year 6 for 2021 entry

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

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

10.00 Year 6 trip to Natural History Museum, return 12.00pm

14.00 U13 C&D Hockey vs St Hugh's, Away

14.00 U13 A&B Hockey vs Lord Williams’s and St Hugh's, St Edward’s Astro

Eton Music Scholarship

18.00 Yr 4 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Eton Music Scholarship

Friday, 1 February 2019

7.00 U13 A IAPS Hockey, St Faith's, Cambridge

Sunday, 3 February 2019

17.45 Candlemas Festal Evensong, New College Chapel

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