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Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 26th February 2021

This second half of term begins towards the start of Lent: a season of waiting, repentance and sacrifice. I can already hear the plaintive cries, that we have already been waiting and sacrificing for over 330 days and nights, not 40. To the question, ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’, several times I have heard the reply, ‘Haven’t I given up enough already?’. These are odd times, then, to be contemplating the virtues of waiting and sacrifice – or, perhaps, these are the perfect times to be considering such things. While so much of our lives, of the world, is on hold, might now be the exact time to be meditating on the realities of patience and loss, standing back to apply the perspective that our society is now not designed to provide?

We ordinarily live at a frenetic pace, with rarely-satisfied attention spans leading us to look for the next stimulus, then the next, then the next. The advent of 24-hour news kept us hungry for more and more news, even at times when there wasn’t that much ‘news’ to talk about. So the networks had to ‘make’ news, to promote non-newsworthy topics to a level that would catch our attention. Social media – especially Twitter and similar platforms – gives its users a steady flow of dopamine hits, ‘likes’, and something new to be shocked about. The irony was not lost on me that America’s leading ‘shock jock’ passed away on Ash Wednesday, after decades of promoting eye- and ear-catching insults, fear, anger and division – the antitheses, one might argue, of the lessons we are meant to take from the Lenten season. And, again, the irony is not lost on me that several ‘news’ anchors who wear their faith as a badge of honour have spent the first days of Lent breathlessly politicising the acute human suffering occurring, say, in the Texas power outages – rather than focusing on constructive solutions.

Lego Challenge and Word Walls in Year 3 & 4 Wellbeing; Zooms in Year 2; painting with nature in remote Wild Learning; building a magnet in Year 5 Science

While this cacophony goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to make sense of the world around us, of how we are meant to relate to one another, of how society’s problems might be solved. So we return to the dopamine-solace of our glowing devices, in a vicious circle of digital outrage, searching for solutions, then outrage again. I will concede that I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to doing this: seeking out headlines that will prop up my view of the world, while also subconsciously finding things contrary to that worldview that will exercise my outrage muscles for a few seconds. But, like many others, I also see the need to short-circuit this cycle. The Covid-19 pandemic has, to an extent, helped us do this, but alongside huge loss. We should not need cataclysmic global events to engender in us a sense of perspective, of patience, indeed of sacrifice. So as we start this second half of term, at a time when all of our reserves of patience may indeed be running low, now is a good time to reiterate the virtues of patience, of waiting, of careful vigilance. The alternative risks a toxic maelstrom of stress, tension, fractured relationships and misery. It is not just the sowers of division and hate who can be proud of standing by – those of us who want a harmonious and healthy society are watching and waiting to make that positive contribution too.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

From the Chaplain

Congratulations to the following boys:

Year 3

Andrès- Merit for a fantastic composition about a Crocodile, a Bird and a Baboon!

Andrès- Gold certificate for achieving 300 house points

Isaac- Merit for a super presentation during Wellbeing about stop motion animation

George- Platinum certificate for achieving 400 house points

Samuel- Merit for an imaginative nature sculpture inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.

Year 4

Jack- Merit for tremendous effort in designing an imaginative Goldsworthy nature sculpture

Year 6

Benji- Merit for excellent effort and progress in piano studies

Zachary- Merit for impressive artwork and effort this term

Year 7

Nahum- Merit for outstanding progress in piano studies

Ben- Merit for phenomenal effort in Geography looking at demographics

Ben- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Benedict- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Luca- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Luca- Merit for an excellent piece of research in French on La Fontaine's Fable ''La Cigale et La Fourmi''

Luca- Merit for great enthusiasm and quality of artwork this term

Carter- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Jasper- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Albie- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

James- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Paddy- Merit for performance presenting research on renewable energy

Shivi- Merit for committed independent work on Memrise in French

Year 8/8S

Adam- Merit for a detailed and scholarly approach to musical analysis

Adam- Merit for an excellent improvisation on the Pentatonic scale

Jack- Merit for an excellent improvisation on the Pentatonic scale

Lucas- An excellent improvisation on the Pentatonic scale

Will- Merit for an excellent improvisation in the Aeolian mode

Tommy- Merit for an excellent improvisation in the Aeolian mode

Nat- Merit for an excellent improvisation in the Aeolian mode

Josh- Merit for an excellent improvisation in the Aeolian mode

Hugh- Merit for an excellent improvisation in the Aeolian mode

Street Tag ranking; Presentation on stop-motion animation by Isaac in Year 3; Knex carousel by Dan in Year 6; Andy Goldsworthy sculpture by William in Year 8, Zoom singing lessons

All parents should have received our PDF guide to NCS’s return to on-site schooling for everyone from 8 March. Please note that the DfE states that from this date “pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies.”

Next Thursday is World Book Day (https://www.worldbookday.com/2020/09/world-book-day-2021-announcements/). Next Monday’s start-the-week assembly will be devoted to books, and we will be celebrating WBD as a school throughout the week, even if much of this will need to be done remotely. Do make sure that you take some time to curl up with a really good book and really engage and relax. Mrs Hess is working on our annual WBD quizzes, about which more next week. Here are some more World Book Day ideas from Dr Gallagher (lucy.gallagher@newcollegeschool.org): Share a story - the only thing better than reading a good book is reading it to someone else! Send us your pictures of you reading to someone else - a sibling, parent, your favourite stuffed animal or even the cat! Book covers revisited - Do you think you could design a new cover for your favourite book? Send us your literary artwork and new book cover design and we will display them in school on our return. Write a review - the best reading recommendations that the boys at school receive are the ones that come from each other! Have you read a brilliant book over lockdown? Do you think other boys would enjoy it? Write us a review and we will share your recommendations! Do visit https://toppsta.com/ for inspiration. If you like to review your book in video format (maybe iMovie) then that’s great too. Dress up as your favourite character - liven up our penultimate day of Zoom lessons by dressing up as your favourite literary character. A firm favourite of WBD! [Pre-Prep will be doing this at a later date]

Just weeks after the success of Glass Animals, I’m delighted to say that another NCS-related band is doing very well. Low Island contains three NCS alumni – Felix Higginbottom, Carlos Posada and Jacob Lively – and their debut album is released on 16 April on Emotional Interference Recordings. The album is called ‘If You Could Have it All Again’ and is available via https://store.lowislandmusic.com/. Low Island’s music has also just featured on FIFA 21 – enjoy some of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZS3BLoNeUk

My thanks to our Year 7 parents who, over half term, got the ball rolling with our year-group-based fundraising events. Many families attended their Virtual Race Night, raising a total of £250 for the NCSPA thanks to their generosity.

Next Wednesday is our Year 5 Zoom parents’ evening. Miss Krebs has already sent details about signing up for appointments, and you will have your appointment list and Zoom links ready for 3 March.

StreetTag update: Well the excitement hasn't stopped yet – we passed 1,000,000 points over half term. Third position continues to remain secure. Points: Today: 1,072,000. Thursday before Half-Term: 531k. Team Members: Today: 62. Last Thursday: 53

Parents may be interested in a new online exhibition at the Thackray Museum, of Zoom portraits of Mothers in Lockdown, which Fran Monks (one of our Year 5 parents) put together last April. It was part of a research project with the University of Huddersfield and another one of our Year 5 parents, Simmi, kindly volunteered to be one of the subjects. https://www.thackrayhealthheroes.co.uk/mothers-in-lockdown

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