Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 14th december 2018

Dear Parents,

The end of the Michaelmas term with its Christmas festivities never fails to move me. And surely today’s Carol Service must count as one of the highlights. The boys’ engaging rendering of their carols, from Pre-Prep right up to Year 8, the enthusiastic congregational singing, and the wide range of instrumental playing supported some articulate narration of the Christmas story through the traditional bible readings and a thought-provoking William Carlos Williams poem, Burning the Christmas Greens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMEFZ9J8bc4. My thanks to all who supported the service and to my colleagues who prepared the music and musicians and the readers so superbly. In her address, the Chaplain reminded us that whilst we can rather wonderfully enjoy seeing our children’s delight in Christmas and all it brings, this is not always an easy time of year for some. And in this way, I have been impressed by the boys’ evident thoughtfulness towards others which has very much come through in their engagement with various of our Christmas-themed assemblies over the past week. Whilst rightly fizzing with excitement about their own celebrations, they are also most generous-spirited. And equally, in the same way, my thanks to NCS families for your generosity in contributing £850 to the retiring collection for Crisis to support their work with homeless people throughout the year.

The NCSPA Christmas Fair; Christmas Lunch; Pre-Prep Nativity

Another Christmas highlight this week was Pre-Prep’s nativity play The Christmas Robins. With much spirited acting, singing and narration they did Mrs Cox’s witty script proud and it was great to see reception class making their acting debut so joyfully. This allbodes very well for future play productions at NCS. Well done to all and my thanks to Pre-Prep colleagues for their sterling work with the cast.

My thanks to everyone who contributed to the organisation of the NCSPA Christmas Fair and to everyone who helped, brought in gifts for the stalls, and supported the event. Above all, it was hugely appreciated by the boys who always revel in the opportunity to buy gifts for their friends and family independently, but in a benign environment. I think there was also considerable enjoyment of the sideshows: I didn’t try my hand at biting the doughnut, but there was clearly much fun to had there and elsewhere.

Not only have the choristers shown their utter professionalism at a number of Carol Services in Oxford over the last couple of weeks, but they have also sung at St George’s Hanover Square this week and will be on In Tune on Radio 3 this evening, trailing their concert at St John’s Smith Square on Monday. And do enjoy their seasonal offering of ‘Away in a Manger’ by clicking on the link below. Well done on being such excellent ambassadors for school and college. https://twitter.com/NewCollegeChoir/status/1069982901884862472

The Carol Service; Table Football Fun (parents can join in too!)

A heartfelt farewell to Mrs Della Riddell who retires today after just over 14 years’ loyal service to the School. Mrs Riddell joined NCS first as a Pre-Prep teacher and, with Mrs Cox, was very much instrumental in getting the early days of our Pre-Prep off to a good start. An outstandingly caring and conscientious form teacher, she has subsequently been a form teacher to Year 3 and then to Year 4, always putting the welfare of the boys at the centre of all she does with a shrewd mixture of encouragement, kindness, and clear boundaries. Ever practical, she has master-minded costumes for dozens of plays over the years, made sure that ‘match teas’ are up to standard, and has a keen eye for the good order of the School, often being the invaluable colleague who, for example, spots misplaced belongings and reunites them with their owner. She will be much missed by us all and many generations of NCS pupils have cause to be grateful for her dedication and commitment. We wish her a long and happy retirement and thank her most warmly for all she has done for NCS.

Reports were issued via boys on Wednesday and I hope have been safely received. Do contact Mrs McCusker if not. If boys have been absent, reports are posted home.

A reminder that the Chamber Choir and Choral Society Christmas Concert is tomorrow at 7.30pm in New College Chapel. Tickets (£15 full price; £10 concessions including NCS parents; £5 students; Free for u18s) are obtainable from www.wegottickets.com/event/455265

Midnight Mass in New College. NCS families who are in Oxford for Christmas are very welcome to come to Midnight Mass, the eucharist for Christmas Eve, with carols and candlelit blessing of the crib, on 24th December at 11.00pm In New College Chapel.

Snow (or other extreme weather). It’s the time of year when I should remind parents that in the event of an overnight snowfall or other extreme winter weather, we usually remain open because we have a number of staff who live very locally. 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 the Home page of our website just before 7.00am on any such mornings.

A reminder that pre-season hockey training will take place on Tuesday 8th January 2019 at 2.00 – 3.30pm at Iffley Road Astroturf.

Next term begins on Wednesday 9th January 2019 at 8.20 for Years 3-8 and 8.45 for Pre-Prep. The full calendar for next term and fixture list are attached with this newsletter. Please note, in particular, the dates for Parents’ Evenings.

Activities. Please note that after-school activities for next term will re-commence on the first day of term.

Parents and friends are invited to join us on the first day of term for the official opening of the interim building at 10.00am. There will be ribbon-cutting and cake and an opportunity to view the building instead of our usual beginning of term service. There will also be an opportunity to see round the building at pick-up time on the same day.

Louise and I would like to thank NCS families for your kind greetings and all your support this term. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a relaxing holiday.

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 15 December 2018

19.30 NCS Christmas Choral Society Concert, New College Chapel

Monday, 17 December 2018

NC Choir: Christmas Concert, St John's Smith Square


Monday, 7 January 2019


Tuesday, 8 January 2019


14.00 Pre-season hockey training, Iffley Road Sports Ground

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Start of Term. 8.20 Prep School, 8.45 Pre-Prep

After School Activities Start

10.00 Opening of the Interim Building (No School Service)

All parents and friends welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, 11 January 2019

First Evensong

Saturday, 12 January 2019

19.30 Oxford Bach Ensemble Concert, St Margaret’s Church

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Start of University Term

17.45 Epiphany Carol Service, New College Chapel

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