Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 26th april 2019

Dear Parents,

Welcome back to the new term! It’s good to see the boys looking refreshed and ready to meet the challenges and excitement the term will bring. I hope that whatever you did and wherever you were over the holiday everyone had a restorative time, invigorated by new experiences or just simply a change of routine. And as the boys look forward to developing their talents still further to bring the year to a happy conclusion, I share with you some wise words I came across in the holidays from The Times columnist Melanie Phillips.

‘People want to know how to make the best of themselves but often find that more of a challenge than it was in the past. This might seem strange, since our “me society” is all about happiness and self-actualisation. So why is it so hard to achieve this? In our culture of individual entitlement, everyone deserves the same outcomes as everyone else. In the classroom we made subjects “relevant” so that a child didn’t have the problem of having to imagine someone else’s experience. We made exams easier, to avoid the problem of hurt feelings through failing to make the grade. We even allowed children to mark their own work. What was overlooked was that obstacles in life aren’t just inevitable but the struggle to overcome them is what gives life its meaning. And a life without meaning produces unhappiness. A culture that used to put others first demanded duty and sacrifice: not being able to have it all, sometimes having to accept life’s failures and trials.’

She then cites a memorable quotation: “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” I hope that’s the sort of approach we shall encourage in the boys this term.

Creative characterisation in Year 3 English; Microscope photography in Year 8S Science; Searching for signs of spring in the playground; Checking the progress of the tomato plants in Year 1 Wild Learning; Designing hydraulic puppets in Year 5 DT

Congratulations to Lyndon Chen who has obtained a Merit in Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad Kangaroo which puts him among the top 25% of young mathematicians in the country, and also to Ethan McMillan who has qualified for the bonus round of Primary Maths Challenge. Well done to both!

Well done to the choristers on a successful tour to the United States over the Easter holidays; they travelled from East Coast to West Coast with several points between, giving eight concerts and singing three services to great approbation. As ever, they were excellent ambassadors for College and School.

Mr Bishop tells me that the pre-term cricket practice revealed some promising talent and, despite the unsettled weather this week, the cricket season has got off to an encouraging start. We look forward to continuing sporting successes this term.

Notwithstanding the greyer skies this week, please could you ensure boys have a sunhat and sunscreen in school, securely named please. This is particularly important for Field, but equally in the playground at school. Boys should make sure they do not share sunscreen, to avoid any allergy problems. Equally please make sure your son always has some sort of waterproof coat in school for those unexpected downpours.

Staff News. A warm welcome to Mrs Victoria Hayter who has joined us as Year 3 form tutor to cover Mrs Jo Atkinson’s maternity leave. Mrs Hayter took her degree and Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Oxford Brookes and has recently been teaching at Headington Prep School. She is also well-known to us as an NCS parent. I’m delighted to report that Mrs Atkinson gave birth to Evelyn (Evie) Rose Atkinson at the beginning of the holidays and both mother and baby are doing well. Mr Tom Neal is on paternity leave for the next two weeks; his wife gave birth to Francis-Xavier Neal at the end of the holidays and mother and baby are now safely at home. I know the NCS community will wish all these new arrivals well and we look forward to meeting Evie and Francis-Xavier over the coming weeks.

As notified earlier today, I’m afraid we have had to cancel Saturday Morning Music School tomorrow because we have just had information that a WDAIL (World Day for Animals in Laboratories) march is taking place tomorrow, ending in Mansfield Road. Roads in the vicinity will be closed for most of the day from mid-morning. Chorister practice will still take place at 9.00am, but chorister parents should collect boys promptly at 10.00am. It is anticipated that roads will be opening by around 4.30pm/5.00pm so that access for Evensong and the preceding practice ought not to be significantly affected.

NCS families have been given a special invitation to a concert next Tuesday, 30th April at 7.30pm in The Cohen Hall, D’Overbroeck’s College (333 Banbury Road) featuring Dan Norman (ex-New College choral scholar) singing Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge and the Brodsky Quartet performing Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major. NCS pupils are invited free if they are with a ticket-buying parent. Tickets are £20, obtainable from boxoffice@doverbroecks.com

May Morning. Please note that on Wednesday 1st May the High Street, Magdalen Bridge up to The Plain, and Longwall Street will be closed to all traffic, including bicycles, until 9.00am. Parents who use Magdalen Bridge to get to School are advised to plan another route that morning.

Parents of choristers and boys who learn musical instruments are invited to meet the Organist, Assistant Organist and Visiting Instrumental Teachers next Wednesday 1st May from 6.00pm in the Sports Hall to discuss your son’s progress. Please sign up on the appointments lists in the School Office or phone or email the Office (01865 285560 office@newcollegeschool.org) to ask for a slot.

Sheldonian Concert. There will be a whole school celebratory concert in the Sheldonian Theatre on Thursday 23rd May at 6.00pm followed by a reception in New College Antechapel. Every boy from Reception to Year 8 will take part. Tickets (price £5 for adults, free for under 18s) are now available from the School Office. Tickets are unreserved except by block; we shall allocate the Lower Galleries before the Upper Gallery on a first-come-first-served basis. Please let the School Office know if you have mobility-impaired family or friends who require ground floor access.

New Ties. I am very pleased to announce that after consultation with our uniform suppliers, we are introducing a new, brighter and more distinctive school tie this term. The tie has been designed in the School’s traditional red, and features the rosette of the School/College coat of arms as a motif. A complimentary tie will be sent home next Wednesday for all pupils in Years 3-6 to replace the current ties you will already have. Year 7 will receive their leadership ties in next Wednesday’s Chapel Service and Year 8 will, of course, continue to wear their leadership ties.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Chorister Parents' Supper, Sports Hall, 7.30pm

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Start of University Term

Eton Academic Scholarship Exams

Monday, 29 April 2019

Eton Academic Scholarship Exams

19.30 NCS Choral Society Rehearsal, Sports Hall

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

14.00 U12/13 Atheletics, Abingdon, Away

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Eton Academic Scholarship Exams

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Professor William Whyte, Tutorial Fellow in History and Vice-President, St John’s College. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.00 School Council Meeting

14.00 Year 5 Synagogue Visit

18.00 Parents’ Evening with Visiting Music Teachers and Organist/Assistant Organist, Sports Hall

Friday, 3 May 2019

14.00 U9 Cricket vs MCS, Away

Saturday, 4 May 2019

No Saturday Morning Music School

17.30 NC Choir: Amicabilis Concordia Evensong, King's College, Cambridge

Monday, 6 May 2019

Bank and School Holiday

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

PTM test week

13.00 U7-11 X Country vs Sibford, Away. Ends 17.00

19.30 NCS Choral Society Rehearsal, Sports Hall

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

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

12.30 Eco Committee meeting

14.15 1st/2nd XI Cricket vs Summer Fields, Away

19.00 NCSPA Committee Meeting, HM Study

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Winchester Entrance Exams

14.00 U11 A & B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

14.00 U11 C & D Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

16.00 U9 VI Chess vs the Dragon, Home

Friday, 10 May 2019

14.00 U9 A&B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

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