Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 18th May 2018

Dear Parents,

There’s no doubt it’s good in our busy lives to take time to reflect, to observe and to think about the world around us and how we interact with it. It was a theme taken up by one of our governors, Mrs Rachel Faulkner (formerly Head of Headington Prep), at our Chapel service on Wednesday. She spoke of the importance of finding quiet places ‘to stand and stare’ (as W.H. Davies’s poem puts it). As ever, the boys were right on the button in understanding the concept of mental reflection and full of good suggestions about quiet places in which they might reflect. Mrs Faulkner confided in us that her two favourite places to reflect were New College Chapel and her allotment. We are certainly fortunate to have many such quiet corners, even in a busy city, amongst the buildings and gardens of collegiate Oxford. I hope that much of what we do here encourages the boys to be reflective and that, whilst the school day is inevitably packed, they do take time to think back and make sense for themselves of much of what they learn and experience. It’s all very well taking in the facts, but it’s in reflection that real learning happens. This week, for example, in prep school assemblies, I talked about the discovery and development of vaccinations and Miss Krebs explained the importance of the discovery of penicillin. From my conversations with a number of the boys afterwards, they had certainly thought out for themselves something of the bigger picture: the value of persistent determination to do something which has saved millions of lives; the challenge of a future where antibiotics might have run their course in combatting super-bugs. It’s this kind of lateral thinking which seems to me to lie at the heart of what we try to do here. And especially during revision for upcoming assessments, that sort of independent reflection should be strongly encouraged as part of the process.

Argumentative essay writing in Year 7 English; Junior Concerts; Researching Greek Gods in Year 4; Sikh culture and artefacts in Year 5 RSP

Well done too to all who performed in the Junior Concerts this week. It’s always a privilege to listen to the boys’ music-making and, as ever, there was a real sense of engagement and determination to give of the very best. Senior Concerts (Yrs 6,7,8) are this Wednesday at 5.15pm and 6.15pm in the School Hall. Drinks are served beforehand in my Study at 5.00pm and 6.00pm respectively. Miss Llewellyn-Jones has sent out further details for performers by Parentmail.

Quad Kids Athletics; Year 8 Cricket

Sport. As the cricket season gets into full swing, we have had some promising performances to report on. At the U9 level the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’’ teams all faced local rivals MCS with honours just about even thanks to a draw and a loss for the ‘’B and ‘C’ teams with the ‘’A team managing to win this opening game of the season thanks to the strong hitting of Timon Bergmann and Harry Davies. In the U11s, the ‘B’ team narrowly lost to Cokethorpe by only three runs with the game going down to the final ball! Thomas Kelsey was man of the match thanks to good straight bowling and top fielding. The ‘A’ team also dominated their opening encounter against Cokethorpe, restricting their hosts to 89 runs and then chasing the total down with only the loss of four wickets. Fraser Mackenzie bowled with aggression and pace to remove the top order and Ben Harkness was in complete control with the bat, striking boundaries with ease and at will. The U13s’ season has not got off to quite such a bright start with losses for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams vs Summer Fields. In both games, our bowling was accurate, if a little pedestrian, and we fielded well to restrict them to achievable targets. It is with the bat however that work needs to be done, some ill-advised shot selection and execution meant our totals were quickly surpassed by our opposition. It was not all doom and gloom, though, as Krishen Rao managed 27 for the ‘A’ team and Jamie Kilroy 19 for the ‘B’ team. Both shining lights, I’m sure we can have more of the same from the rest of the team!

Last weekend we had two NCS boys competing in their respective sports, firstly Henry Channon was in action in the Oxfordshire County Athletics Championships where he was racing in the U15 800m and 1500m over two days. In both races, Henry was at his best on the track taking the gold medal in style and in the process again became the double champion! In doing so, he defended his titles from last year and this we think is a unique achievement. Huge congratulations! Secondly, Benedict Furger competed in the English Gymnastics Championships: he won a bronze medal for his U11 tumbling routine. This is a wonderful achievement not only to compete, but also do so well at a national level. We are immensely proud of him! Finally this week, the Year 1 and 2 boys have competed in the annual “quad kids” athletics this afternoon. A delightful occasion to see them all happily participating, followed by a well-earned match tea. All of the boys completed a 50-metre spring, a long jump, a vortex throw and a 400-metre run. The results will be published soonest and certificates will given out next Friday.

Next week is Charity Week in aid of The Alexandra House of Joy www.alexandrahouseofjoy.co.uk a charity which is building and setting up a specialist support centre in Oxfordshire for adults with learning disabilities. We had an inspirational talk from the founder of the project in yesterday’s prep school assembly who wrote us as follows: “I am so very grateful to you for arranging today with the boys at your lovely school. I absolutely loved sharing about The Alexandra House of Joy with them all. It was an enormous privilege and honour. Please pass on my very appreciative thanks for their outstanding interest as I spoke and I am deeply humbled at their willingness to now raise money for our lovely adults. It is generous, kind and a most loving gesture.” The charity is aiming to raise £2.5m to build its centre and has already had a donation of land near Bicester. As ever, we are not only raising funds, but also the boys’ awareness of the needs of adults with learning difficulties. Please do encourage your son to support the daily cake sales during morning breaks, not only by buying cakes, but also baking them! Cakes will be priced from 50p each. Home Clothes Day will be on Friday, 25th May. Boys are asked to donate £2 towards the charity for this privilege. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a ping pong ball chute challenge, a table tennis tournament and a dodgeball tournament.

The Eco Committee is launching a campaign to reduce our use of plastic across the NCS community. When we begin to scrutinise how and when we use plastic (often unwittingly), the amount is alarming, as David Attenborough’s TV series Blue Planet highlighted. I do encourage you to discuss plastic use with your sons and let’s see what we can all do, in all practicality, to reduce our plastic footprint. The Eco Committee have produced an informative poster, attached to this mailing, which makes salutary reading.

Mrs Brown is promoting reading for pleasure in an upcoming assembly and would like to receive photographs of NCS pupils happily reading to include in her presentation. Please email her with photographs (strictly for our internal use only) on louise.brown@newcollegeschool.org

Dates for your Diaries. The end of the Trinity Term always brings with it some very happy celebratory events at which we hope to see a good number of parents. Here is advanced notice for your diaries. I trust you will all have received your particular invitations to the Summer Drinks (20th June) and to Wykeham Day (23rd June).

Thursday 14th June Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert, Sports Hall, 2.00pm

Friday 15th June Open Morning and Open Art Studio, 10.00am

Sunday 17th June Last Evensong, Chapel, 5.45pm

Monday 18th June Choristers’ Concert, Chapel, 5.30pm

Wednesday 20th June Year 8 Playreading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cloisters, 6.00pm; Summer Drinks Evening, Cloisters, 8.00- 9.30pm

Thursday 21st June Years 3 & 4’s The Pirates of Penzance, School Hall, 6.00pm

Friday 22nd June Years 3 & 4’s The Pirates of Penzance, School Hall, 2.00pm

Saturday 23rd June Wykeham Day (Concert, Cricket Match, BBQ, School Fete), Field, 11.30am onwards

Tuesday 3rd July Sports Day. Pre-Prep 10.00am; Prep School, 11.00am, Iffley Road

Wednesday 4th July Leavers’ Service, Chapel, 10.00am; Pre-Prep Summer Show, School Hall 2.00pm; Leavers vs. Fathers Cricket, Field 6.00pm

Thursday 5th July Leavers’ Concert and Reception, University Church, 7.00pm

Friday 6th July Prizegiving for Years 3-8 to which parents of prizewinners will be invited nearer the time.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 21 May 2018

National Walk to School Week

Charity week

Pre-Prep Reviews start; Years 3 & 4 form tests start

French Orals this week

14.15 U13A Cricket vs d’Overbroeck’s Leckford Place, Home

17.15 Senior Concert, Part 1 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

18.15 Senior Concert, Part 2 (Yrs 6, 7, 8) School Hall

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

14.00 U11 Cricket House Matches

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Orders in Years 3-8 issued

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Fr Jonathan Beswick, Vicar of the Church of St Barnabas, Oxford

14.15 2nd XI Cricket vs Dragon, home

Thursday, 24 May 2018

PSB French Listening and French orals

14.15 U11 A Cricket vs Christ Church Cathedral School, Away

14.15 U11 B Cricket vs Christ Church Cathedral School, Home

Friday, 25 May 2018

Home Clothes Day

14.00 U9 Cricket House Matches

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Start of Half Term

Monday, 4 June 2018

Return from Half-Term

Years 5 – 8 Assessment Week

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel (Pre-Prep only)

14.00 U12 A Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Home

Thursday, 7 June 2018

14.00 U11 Cricket House Matches, Home

Friday, 8 June 2018

14.15 U9 A&B Cricket vs Dragon, Away

10.30 Yrs 1&2 Cricket House Matches, Home

19.30 Leavers' Dinner, HM’s Lodgings & Dining Hall

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Chorister Open Day

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