Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 11th December 2020

Dear Parents,

Well – what a term it has been! It seems an age ago that we were sitting here working out playground zones, staggering arrival and departure times, installing perspex screens and sanitiser dispensers, setting up Zoom assemblies, and everything else we have been doing to make the school as Covid-secure as possible. And I can’t quite believe that we have had a pretty much disruption-free Michaelmas. (That is tempting fate, I appreciate, but I hope we get to say the same about Hilary and Trinity.) We have, in fact, had record attendance this term, which is a combination of luck and good habits – the boys are washing their hands a lot more!

A visit from Santa; Christmas jumpers

The best thing about this term has been seeing how well the boys have responded to all of these changes. The tweaks have been subtle enough, I hope, to ensure that life has continued to seem pretty much as normal as possible. Granted, we haven’t ventured out very much because fixtures have been cancelled nationwide, and trips just aren’t as easy as they used to be, but pretty much everything else has kept going. Rethinking The Tempest, for example, was an enjoyable exercise in ingenuity – taking our well-versed practices and performances, and amending them for life during Covid. Even without fixtures, the boys’ sport has developed tremendously simply because there has been a lot more time for training – I look forward to the time when we can see these honed skills in action on the competitive pitch again. While some of us feared that Christmas won’t be Christmas without any of our usual festivities, some resourceful fixes have been put in place to keep the boys enjoying the Christmas season: a slightly adapted Christmas dinner; festive activities generously put on by the NCSPA (for which, enormous thanks!); a socially distanced visit by Santa to Pre-Prep; and a virtual carol service with contributions from all sections of the school (https://youtu.be/OMn8UhhTUg0).

Pre-Prep Nativity

And, of course, the core business of learning and teaching has been humming along very well indeed. Michaelmas is a mammoth term, the one in which the bulk of new curriculum content is encountered – so it is certainly the term you want with the least disruption. We are entering the Christmas vacation in very good shape then, with a sizeable part of the academic year under our belts, ready to face down the rest of it. One of the biggest changes has been not having parents on site every day; I have still enjoyed catching up with you at the gate two or three or four times a day (we have a lot of departure times), and I hope that you have still felt ‘in touch’ with NCS life. To get through such a long term virtually unscathed comes as a result of a lot of planning, commitment and general communal pulling together. For all of that, I am deeply grateful to you all, to my colleagues and, especially, to the boys.

There is still a long way to go – don’t get me wrong – but we are facing future challenges in very good shape. In the meantime, have a very happy and restful Christmas break and I look forward to seeing you again in January.

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Louis Prang (1824-1909)

Artwork of the Week: ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St Louis (1943/4)

Word of the Week: Yuletide

Towards the beginning of next term, Mme Phillips will be on medical leave and, for a short overlapping period, Mr Neal will be on paternity leave. During this period Miss Krebs will be the Year 6 form tutor. We will have our usual cover arrangements in place, with the additional support of Mr Gullifer who will be helping with Year 8 and 8S French in the run-up to their exams. Some of you may remember that Mr Gullifer covered Mr Horton’s absence in 8S French during a similar situation a few years ago; he also used to be the Headmaster.

Many of you will already have joined the thousands tuning in to the New College Advent and carol services over the past couple of weeks, featuring the choristers on very fine form. If you have not yet had the chance to enjoy these services, they are still available on the Choir’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcnwduEzSALq6s1L9cY9ww) and I am sure they will make a fine addition to your Christmas celebrations.

Our virtual concerts and the Pre-Prep Nativity are also now available online, so if you tire of Netflix, Prime or BBC repeats over the holidays, you can always revisit these wonderful musical performances from across the school: senior concert: https://youtu.be/xSBtmmNq0aY; junior concert: https://youtu.be/wH_jyj1U4n4; pre-prep concert: https://youtu.be/GqfgoSFqVU4; Nativity: https://youtu.be/X7xdXv23J2g

We now have our final total from our charity fundraising this term, for Cancer Research UK: £2,665 + giftaid. Many thanks to Mrs Showell-Rogers and all colleagues, boys, parents and supporters who worked so hard to reach this fantastic Charity Week total.

You will already have read Miss Krebs’s Parentmail about next term’s SHTEAM Festival, 8-12 March, celebrating interdisciplinarity through the theme of the Natural World. We are very aware that many of our parents have expertise in this area, and if any of you would like to volunteer to take part in a talk or workshop or the like (probably via Zoom, though we will know more in the new year) do please email emma.krebs@newcollegeschool.org.

The end of term NCS judo awards were presented at the end of term to each of the year groups taking part. The awards were given for outstanding attributes which include the judo code requirements for young Judoka and comprise of respect, discipline, courtesy, honour, fair play and good all round sportsmanship. The awards were given as follows:

Gold: George (Year 3), Vedant (Year 5), Alexander (Year 6)

Silver: Alex M (Year 3), James (Year 5), Luca (Year 7)

Bronze: Dominic & Max (Year 3), Roshan (Year 5), Ethan (Year 8)

Many thanks to all those families, and their pets, who took part in the NCSPA Festive Pet Show. There were 45 entries, and the results are as follows:

1st place: Broigus – Nahum (Year 7) and Jacob (Year 5)

2nd place: Hero – Myles (Year 4)

3rd place: Eva & Ava – George (Year 6) and Henry (Year 5); Milo – Joseph (Year 8S); Leo – Kian (Year 7)

Randal and Paul Lindsell (former NCS boy and dad) are fundraising in aid of Shelter, through a song they have put together and are attempting to make viral. Their aim is to raise £5000 by Christmas Day through their JustGiving page. The whole theme of the campaign is its hashtag – #£1forthechristmashomeless – which they are trying to get trending on social media. It represents their aim to get Christmas number 1, but more importantly, to get a lot of people to donate just £1 each.

Fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/christmashomeless

YouTube link to song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AI8yTMwwNc

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 4 January 2021


Tuesday, 5 January 2021


9.30-11.00 Pre-season hockey training (Years 3-4)

11.30-13.00 Pre-season hockey training (Years 5-6)

14.00-15.30 Pre-season hockey training (Years 7-8)

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Start of Term

After School Activities Start

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Headmaster

Monday, 11 January 2021

Internal Chorister Auditions

17.00 Music Scholars' Masterclass

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

External Chorister Auditions

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

8.30 School Council/Charity Meeting

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: the Chaplain

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

18.00 Year 8S and Year 3 Parents' Evening

Saturday, 16 January 2021

9.00 MCS pre-test, current Year 6 boys (Year 9 entry)

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Start of University Term

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