Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 1st October 2021

Dear Parents,

If you look on the NCS website you will see that under the ‘School Life’ menu there is a section titled ‘Thinking of Others’. It is one of the most important things that we can teach the boys here. Education isn’t just about curriculum content, but about the values that will stay with the boys for the rest of their lives. Altruism is not always the most popular of values in a society that too frequently encourages us to turn inwards, to become atomistic, to look after our own interests. Recent research at York University has suggested that this has become compounded during the Covid-19 pandemic: they have identified ‘significant changes’ in people’s daily thought patterns, including a reduction in us thinking about other people, linked to the sudden change we all encountered during lockdown. It’s all the more important, then, that from their very first day here, the boys are immersed in a culture that encourages them to look outwards and to think beyond their own immediate concerns.

This theme has been brought to the fore this week for a number of reasons. Firstly, Miss Rose spoke to us in Tuesday’s pastoral assembly about the statement on our wellbeing grid, ‘I show concern for the wider world but I do not worry unhealthily’. She focused on the issues and difficulties faced by one of our partner schools in Nepal, the Nalang Model Academy. Then, on Wednesday, parents were given the chance online to hear more about our partnership work from Mrs Brown, Mme Phillips and Miss Rose. Also on Wednesday our harvest festival chapel focused on those in need of food (and other resources), as well as those working in the key sector of food production and distribution, and I am very grateful to all those families who donated items so generously to the Oxford Food Bank. Thinking about others extends far into environmental issues too, and this week we were delighted to hoist our new ‘green flag’, having just had our Green Flag School status renewed. I am very grateful to our eco-committee, now under the stewardship of Miss Krebs, for all of their hard work to accomplish this notable achievement.

Year 5 Music; the Harvest Festival collection; modelling the circulatory system in Science; the Eco Committee; Year 7 & 8 Sport;

Of course, we want the boys to be looking beyond themselves, thinking of others, for all the right reasons. In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks talks about a seismic change that has happened in people’s lives over the past few decades. He talks about ‘resume [or CV] virtues’ supplanting ‘eulogy virtues’ – that is, we care more about what people read when we are applying for jobs, than what they are going to say at our funeral. Even seemingly virtuous traits like service have become muddied as young people pursue community work to embellish their college or job applications, not because it is the right humanitarian thing to do. As certain parts of the world have become richer, the desire for an increased slice of that wealth has become more pronounced. The impetus for our behaviour has changed. I am confident, though, that NCS boys are learning the right virtues, the right values, for the right reasons.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Pre-Prep play time

Sunny break times

Many thanks to all those parents who attended the NCS Parents’ Association meeting on Monday. My colleagues and I are always grateful for the financial assistance the NCSPA provides for the ‘little extras’ around the school, which go to benefit current and future generations of NCS pupils. Perhaps the most obvious example of one of these ‘extras’ is the new fort which now sits proudly on the corner of the gym. If you haven’t yet taken a look, please do so. It’s as much fun for adults as for children.

Congratulations to the choristers who have started their Michaelmas performances a little earlier than usual, singing at a number of events that had been postponed due to Covid. And special congratulations to our Year 6 choristers – James, Thomas, Peter, Alexander, George and Jacob – who are now singing in surplices, having more than earned them during the disruption of the past eighteen months, and who donned them just after the end of Trinity.

The first evensong of university term will be on Friday 8 October at 18.15 in New College chapel. All NCS families are very warmly invited to the service, and indeed all subsequent services in College, details of which can be found at https://www.new.ox.ac.uk/chapel

As noted in the calendar and in last week’s newsletter, we are looking forward to seeing our Year 7 parents for parents’ evening at 18.00 on Wednesday 6 October in the sports hall. Some colleagues like to make an early start so do come a little earlier than 18.00 if you are able and would like to get home a little earlier. The bi-fold doors will be open for extra ventilation. Parking will be available in the playground from 17.15, though please be considerate of those boys who are heading home after finishing activities: if you see any boys still in the playground please wait until they are safely out of the way before driving in. You will also notice that the playground surface is designed for knees rather than tyres, so it would be much appreciated if dramatic/crunchy wheel movements could be avoided, to help preserve it. Thanks!

We are very much looking forward to our open morning on Saturday 9 October, 10.00-12.00. Thanks to all those boys and parents who have volunteered to come in, to show prospective parents around the school and to speak to them about what NCS life is like ‘behind the scenes’. If you or your sons (Years 3 and up) would like to join, but you haven’t yet let us know, do just email us at office@newcollegeschool.org. You will be most welcome. Thank you, too, to those parents who have already spread the word by putting up banners and posters, by word of mouth, and by promoting the open morning on social media. Prospective parents are asked to register at https://www.newcollegeschool.org/open-days -- do please pass on this link if you know of any families who would be interested in joining our wonderful community. We would also appreciate if you would consider sharing the school's social media posts publicising the event:




The New College School ‘Admission to the Foundation Service’ will be on Wednesday 13 October in New College Chapel. The service will begin at 9.00 and will take a little longer than our usual Chapel. This is the occasion when all new members of the school, boys and staff, are formally admitted to the New College Foundation by the Headmaster and the Warden of New College, who is the school’s chair of governors. We would like to encourage all families of new boys to attend this important occasion if you can.

From Mrs Showell-Rogers: For our forthcoming Charity Week, our charity committee overwhelmingly agreed this term to select Autism Family Support Oxfordshire, whose mission is to raise awareness and give support to children and young people with Autism and their families so that they may be happy, healthy and achieving at their best. Charity Week, which runs from 18 October, will this term offer a 'Bring and Buy' Sale, a cake competition and Basketball Match (Teachers vs Year 8). We are looking for help in a variety of ways: donations of toys, books and small unwanted gift items; donations of cakes (nut-free); several parent volunteers to help with supervising the bring and buy sale (11.50-12.50/12.50-13.50) each lunch hour. Please begin delivering donations to the School Office from next week. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the sale, please email caroline.showell-rogers@newcollegeschool.org. Unsold items will be donated at the end of the week to Refugee Resource and the Helen and Douglas House. Boys will be allowed to spend a daily maximum of £5. More expensive items will be available but only for parents to purchase when the sale reopen at 15.30 for parents on Wednesday-Friday. So, do have a dig through any bulging toy cupboards and get baking with your sons! We look forward to seeing your contributions.

From Mr Bishop: Just like that the first month back in school is over and we’re into a rainy October. The rain does seem to have affected our shooting boots throughout the school though with teams in all age groups scoring freely this week in another round of entertaining matches. It has to be said that, despite the U11 teams coming off second best against Summer Fields, this week, it is clear to the coaches and teachers of these teams that things are heading in the right direction and the boys are making super progress. I am sure we’ll see some victorious performances soon if the boys continue to put in the effort we have seen so far this term. From this week I have been informed that the following boys deserve special mention for their efforts and indeed excellence. James A and Monty L in the U11 B team were both outstanding; Isaac W in the U11 A team ran all day long and was battling hard. Tristan B and Victor A, both had very productive afternoons and impressed their coaches, so keep up the good work boys.

A little further down the school the U8 and U9 boys played host to Christ Church and in three very exciting games we emerged with a win, a draw and a loss. So, honours even, but we did manage to outscore our guests. In the Year 3 U8 game the boys battled hard but with a few Year 4 boys bolstering the numbers of the CCCS team they did eventually get the better of us. However, it was a very promising performance with Oscar and Emil really beginning to shine. In the U9 B team game the final score some how remained at 0-0. I’m not sure how, as I saw some brilliant football being played by both teams with crossbars and posts being struck with ferocious shots. William E deserves a special mention thanks to his tireless tackling and chasing back: a very fit young man and an example to some of the older boys. In the U9 A team it was a different story, with Eli and Olly linking up with a fluidity that is seldom seen at such a young age. The passing skills that this team, George T in particular, have shown in the early part of the season is really encouraging and I am excited to see how they develop. Felix was brilliant in defence as was Tom D, who played the bottom of the diamond with skill and discipline. A final score of 8-1 was brilliant.

At the top of the school the U13 teams have also being playing Summer Fields, but away from home the tables were turned. Out of the 3 games, NCS won 2 and narrowly lost the other. The B team went down 3-1 thanks to a first 10 minutes that were a little sleepy for our defence. After this the NCS boys really put their heads down and ground out the first half to keep the score at 3-0. In the second half we were like a different team and we again struck the woodwork many times in our hunt for goals. We did manage to score and even kept our hosts out to take the second half 1-0 but alas the damage was done and 3-1 was disappointing but also really encouraging to see how the boys fought back so well. In the U13 C team Mr Hanson’s good run continues and his team are now unbeaten in two games; this time a 4-0 win over their Summer Fields counterparts was just reward for such a great team effort. Benji scored his maiden hattrick and Nahum also got in on the act with his first goal of the season: a thunderbolt as I understand it but Nahum’s being modest about the strike. Finally, the U13 A team had a very physical encounter and a game that tested the nerves of the crowd and of myself on the sidelines. A first half penalty gave NCS a narrow lead but after ten minutes of the second half our hosts had levelled thanks to a controversial goal that was bundled over the line from close range. The NCS team rallied and, thanks to an inspiring shout from Patrick S, the boys did not panic and played some sublime football to score two more goals and take the game 3-1. Timon scored two goals in the second half thanks to some brilliant work from Leo and Benedict in the corner to carve open a shooting chance. This was a deserved win and its not achieved by chance: these boys work incredibly hard on both the training pitch and in matches. Very well done, boys!

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