Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 11th January 2019

Dear Parents,

A very Happy New Year to all and welcome back to the new term. I hope you’ve all had a good break and, above all, plenty of opportunity for re-charging the batteries and catching up with friends and family.

A highlight of this week has obviously been the opening of the interim building which has generated much excitement for us all. It was good to have a number of parents join us for the opening ceremony in which the Chaplain blessed the building using a prayer by the 17th century Fellow of New College, Bishop Thomas Ken. And I had the fun of cutting the ribbon and the sumptuous cake, made by Mrs Showell-Rogers as a model of the building, complete in every detail including entrance canopy and fire escape! The Senior Choir sang Gaudeamus Igitur and a tour of the building followed, with further musical entertainment in the School Hall from a number of talented ensembles. And then, of course, we ate the cake!

Opening of the interim building

The boys seem very much at home in their new environment, the pre-prep rushing around in the new play equipment, the older boys enjoying their spacious classrooms with views over the skyline to the College. I’d like to record my thanks to the College and the Governing Committee for investing in such an excellent start to the overall building programme and to the many colleagues who have worked so hard, especially over the last few weeks, to ensure everything was ready for the start of term. If you’ve not yet had a chance to look over the building, do feel free to do so over the coming days.

Persuasive discussion on opening 'Pandora's Box' in Year 3 Greek Mythology; Singing songs in Year 2 French; Reception Maths; Digging animal burrows in Year 1 Wild Learning; Measuring water resistance in Year 8 Science.

Mr Bishop and Mr Bradley tell me that our pre-season hockey training has got the season off to an encouraging start and I look forward to what is usually a stellar term on the sports field. There are fixtures this week for the U9s away against MCS on Tuesday at 3.45pm and for the U13s against Summer Fields on Wednesday at 2.00pm at St Edward’s Astroturf. Next Friday there will be U9 hockey matches at IffleyRoad at 2.00pm. Do come and support if you can.

A reminder that the change to the timings of Saturday Morning Music School starts tomorrow. Music School will begin at 10.00am prompt and will finish at 12.15pm. Any pupil who would like to (or whose parents would like him to!) undertake supervised instrumental practice may arrive at 9.30am and report to Mr Neal in the Music Office. Choristers (from Year 5 upwards) should be ready to start their practice with Mr Quinney in the interim School Hall at 9.00am and should be collected from NCS at 12.15pm. There will be an opportunity for supervised instrumental practice between 9.00 and 9.30am on a rotational basis.

As our music scholars prepare for their auditions this term, we have two imminent opportunities to hear them. On Monday (14th January) at 6.00pm, Mr Charles Stewart, Head of Strings at the Purcell School, will take a Music Scholars’ Masterclass in the School Hall. Drinks will be served in my study beforehand from 5.30pm. Next Friday (18th January) at 7.30pm our Music Scholars’ Concert takes place in the Holywell Music Room (one of the oldest music rooms in Europe, where once Haydn performed). I’m sure the concert will be a particularly enjoyable occasion and your support will be much appreciated by the performers. All parents and boys, particularly those thinking of taking a music scholarship in the next couple of years, are most welcome to join us on one or both of these occasions.

The Oxford Bach Ensemble (which includes former NCS pupils, current and former NCS parents and teachers) is giving a concert of Bach’s music to include Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen BWV 65; Der Geist hilft BWV 226; Bach-Busoni Chaconne; and the Easter Oratorio BWV 249 tomorrow (12th January) at St Margaret’s Church North Oxford, at 7.30pm. Tickets on the door £15/£12 (Students £5; under 16s free). Proceeds to the charities Sarcoma UK and Help Musicians. All NCS families warmly welcome.

Readings and Music for Epiphany. A special Epiphany Carol Service will be given by the choristers and clerks in New College Chapel this Sunday (13th January) at 5.45pm. All welcome: no tickets required.

Year 6 Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday (16th January) 6.00pm – 8.00pm in the Sports Hall. All those who teach Year 6 will be present, including Miss Cawood as form tutor. I shall also be available to discuss any matters arising with parents. For those newer to the School, it may be helpful to say that (from long experience in other places of well-intentioned timetables which break down!) we do not operate an appointment system, but parents circulate happily between different teaching staff. There is no need to arrive on the dot of 6.00pm, but I would ask you not to arrive not later than 7.00pm to ensure you can get round to all teachers. We ask you to try to limit your conversations to between 5 and 10 minutes. If any matter requires further attention, then you are always welcome to book an appointment with a member of staff at another mutually convenient time. Refreshments are available for those moments between discussions!

The NCS Parents’ Association Committee Meeting is on Monday, 21st January at 7.30 p.m. in my study. If you have any agenda items, please mention them to your class reps.

A reminder that completed sheets for Mrs Hess’s 2018 Christmas Quiz should be with her by Monday at the latest. There are the usual festive chocolate prizes!

Snow (or other extreme weather). Because we have a good number of staff living locally, the School will always remain open during poor weather; 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 our Home page of our website just before 7.00am on any such mornings.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Internal Chorister Auditions

18.00 Music Scholars' Masterclass, School Hall

led by Charles Sewart, Head of Strings, Purcell School

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

External Chorister Auditions

15.45 U9 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Headmaster. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.30 School Council Meeting

14.00 U13 A&B Hockey vs Summer Fields, St Edward's Astro

18.00 Yr 6 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Friday, 18 January 2019

14.00 U9 Hockey House Matches, Iffley Rd

19.30 Music Scholars’ Concert, Holywell Music Room (rehearsal 2.00pm)

Saturday, 19 January 2019

9.00 MCS Pretest for Yr 6 for 2021 entry

Monday, 21 January 2019

19.30 NCS Parents’ Association Meeting, HM Study

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

15.30 U11 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Susannah Reide, Chaplain of Harris Manchester College. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.30 SRE programme with District Nurse: Year 7 (ends 11.50)

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 classroom

13.00 PSHCEE with District Nurse: Year 6 (ends 14.30)

14.30 U13 A&B Hockey vs Abingdon, St Edward's Astro

18.00 Yr 8S and Yr 3 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Thursday, 24 January 2019

16.00 Chess Fixture NCS v Summerfields U9 & U11, Home

Friday, 25 January 2019

16.00 U13 A Hockey County Cup, Hawks Ground

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