Loading

Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 10th september 2021

Dear Parents,

Firstly, of course, I wish you and your families a very warm welcome back to NCS. And an especially warm welcome to those of you who have just joined our wonderful community – I hope that you and your sons have a very happy and fulfilling time with us over the next year and beyond. I hope, too, that you have all had a summer of fun, rest, peace and enjoyment at just the right ratio. It has been great having everyone back on site, and to see the boys engaging so happily with their friends, old and new.

Indeed, it was friends and friendship that I talked to the boys about in chapel on our first day of term. I told them about three pairs of best friends – one 16 years old, another 23, another 41 – each of whose lasting friendships began at New College School: eight years ago, nineteen years ago, and thirty four years ago. Of the many things I am proud of at NCS – and there are many, many things – one of the things I’m most proud of is how well the boys form strong friendships, and how often those friendships end up lasting throughout their lives.

Reciting the 'library oath'; Maginfication in Year 7 Science; Break time play

Friendship has been one of the many things under pressure over the past eighteen months. When the first lockdown began, and it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to see a lot of our friends in person for quite a while, there was a rush to check in with them – on the phone, online, on Zoom, on Facetime. The first few weeks of lockdown were spent with friends meeting virtually to check in, to keep one another entertained, and to keep social contact going in some form. After a few weeks, maybe months, ‘Zoom fatigue’ set in. People started to withdraw from these virtual meetings – their eyes were tired, but they were also running out of things to say. Lockdowns can be quite boring, and once notes had been compared about what people had been watching on Netflix, what case numbers were doing, or what things we weren’t able to do, there wasn’t much else left to say. So there was a time when those friendships that had been so intense at the start of lockdown, started to drift a little. Over this summer we have been at the stage of reenergising some of those friendships: seeing each other in person a bit more, having a few more interesting notes to compare with one another.

The NCS community, like all thriving communities, is a network of friendships. Those friendships may be within a class; sometimes they will be across year groups, and as class bubbles become less of a thing in the future, the boys will have even more opportunities to nurture friendships up and down the school. But what, I asked the boys, is it that makes a friendship so strong, so special? We can list lots of qualities we would like to see in our friends, and that we would like to demonstrate ourselves: patience, understanding, support, reliability, gentleness, cheerfulness, tolerance, interest. We also thought about some of the negative things that we might encounter in people’s behaviour, the kind of actions that would threaten our friendships – our healthy network of support. Actions and behaviours are important. How we behave towards one another is crucial in forming our personalities, our relationships, and fundamentally how we exist and interact with our wider world. That is one of the reasons that our school and college motto is ‘manners makyth man’: you are made of what you do, not of where you come from, or how much money you happen to have. And behaviours and manners include the words that we choose when carrying out those actions.

One of the sayings very common when I was at primary school, and I’m sure it’s familiar to parents, went like this: ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’. This statement was patently absurd. What if those words do hurt me, or you, or someone else? Sometimes those words might not be aimed at someone directly. Sometimes, those words are about that person – behind their back, about what they have said or done. And those words can hurt – do hurt – because most of the time the vast majority of people are trying to do the right thing. So not only do those words hurt, they hurt because they are unfair. It does not matter whether we are four, or eight, or thirteen, or twenty, or forty, or sixty, or a hundred. What we say matters. We have the choice, the power, over whether we are going to prop someone up through what we say. Or whether we bring them down. Schools, like all institutions, are built on the actions, the behaviours, of the people within them: what they do, and what they say. So why are the friendships formed at NCS so strong? Because we build our friendships, and therefore our community as a whole, on loving, joyful, patient, kind, good and faithful behaviours – and on loving, joyful, kind, good and faithful words.

Have a wonderful term and, if I haven’t yet seen you in person, I look forward to catching up at the gate or at one of our forthcoming start-of-year events.

Matt Jenkinson

I am very sad to announce to parents that, over the summer, Jo Da Cruz, our much-loved kitchen porter, passed away. He was a cheerful, kindhearted, wonderful man and colleague. We will miss him, and hold him and his family and friends in our thoughts.

Congratulations to Mrs Williams and her husband, Foster, on the birth of Poppy over the summer. We are looking forward to meeting Poppy in person very soon!

Parents may be interested to hear that NCS featured in the national press this week, listed as one of the ‘very best’ prep schools in the UK (one of the top 13! … rather arbitrarily): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9962001/Tatler-reveals-annual-pick-UKs-best-prep-public-schools.html

We are setting up a mini ‘pond’ in a tank in the Science lab to aid our study of habitats, classification and adaptations. If any families have a pond in their garden and might be able to spare a small amount of pondweed, we would be very grateful! Please contact Emma Krebs, Head of Science if you can help (emma.krebs@newcollegeschool.org).

Many thanks for sending in your pictures of the boys reading in interesting locations, for our annual competition. If you have any more to send in, please do email them to office@newcollegeschool.org. We will then be able to announce our winner and add to our photo wall outside the library. Holiday diaries are also very much enjoyed, so do please drop them into the office for us to read.

Please can I reiterate my usual plea about allergies? We are a nut-free school, due to a number of children with allergies, so we request that nuts are not put into school snack boxes, cakes, and the like. Many thanks.

Do join us for our start-of-year information evenings next week, as advertised in the calendar and via Parentmail last week. A quick reminder of the arrangements are below. Parents of Years 4-6 please note that we are combining this event with our annual 13+ schools meeting, when you will be able to chat to representatives from our main destination schools. Please take a lateral flow test before arriving at the events if at all possible.

Monday 13 September

18.00 Reception and Year 1 form tutor information evening

Limited parking on-site available from 17.30: first come, first served

18.00 Meetings with form tutors in Reception/Year 1 form rooms

18.30 Drinks in sports hall

Tuesday 14 September

18.00 Years 4-6 form tutor information evening, internet safety and 13+ destinations briefing

Very limited parking on-site available from 17.30: first come, first served

18.00 13+ destinations and internet safety briefing in the hall

18.30 Meetings with form tutors in Year 4-6 form rooms

19.00 Meeting registrars of 13+ future schools + drinks in sports hall

Wednesday 15 September

18.00 Years 2-3 form tutor information evening and introduction to the prep school

Limited parking on-site available from 17.30: first come, first served

18.00 Introduction to the prep school in hall/sports hall (to be advised at the time)

18.30 Meetings with form tutors in Years 2 and 3 form rooms

19.00 Drinks in sports hall

Thursday 16 September

18.00 Years 7-8 form tutor information evening and PSB briefing

Limited parking on-site available from 17.30: first come, first served

18.00 Academic and pastoral briefing in hall/sports hall (to be advised at the time)

18.30 Meetings with form tutors in Years 7 and 8 form rooms

19.00 Drinks in sports hall

Upcoming Events

Monday, 13 September 2021

18.00 Reception and Year 1 form tutor information evening

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

14.00 U8 Football vs Sibford, Home

14.00 U9 Football vs Sibford, Home

18.00 Years 4-6 form tutor information evening, internet safety and 13+ destinations briefing

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

VMT Music lessons begin

8.15 Charity and School Council Meeting

9.00 Chapel. Speaker: The Chaplain

14.00 U10 & U11 A&B Football vs Elstree, Home

14.00 U13 A 11 Football vs Elstree, Away

14.00 U13 B&C 9 Football vs Elstree, Away

14.00 U10 & U11 C Football vs Elstree, Away

18.00 Years 2-3 form tutor information evening and introduction to the prep school

Thursday, 16 September 2021

9.00 Years 3 and 4 to Wittenham Clumps

18.00 Years 7-8 form tutor information evening and PSB briefing

Monday, 20 September 2021

15.00 U13A ISFA Rd 1 Football vs Crossfields, Away

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

9.00 Reception assessments for September 2022 start

16.30 Virtual Debate with OSA and Cheney Y7 & 8 tbc

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

9.00 Chapel. Speaker: Tom Barry, former NCS Head Boy

8.15 Eco Committee meeting, Science lab

14.00 U11 A,C&E Football vs Cothill, Home

14.00 U10 A&B Football vs Cothill, Home

14.00 U13 A-D Football vs Cothill, Away

18.00 Music Practice Workshop for Parents (Online)

Friday, 24 September 2021

9.00 Portrait Photos, Sports Hall

Created By
NCS News
Appreciate