Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 1oth maRch 2017

Dear Parents,

The Headmaster of my old stamping ground, King’s Wimbledon, was in the news this week fearing that young people are increasingly starved of empathy, and is introducing 'empathy lessons' to the curriculum at King’s. He commented on "the 21st century fixation with... virtual reality" and "the constant emphasis on self-empowerment", urging us all to help young people “to look beyond the bubble of their own little world, to believe in the importance and dignity of every life, however different from their own it might be."

Pre-Prep poetry competition; argumentative essay structures in 8S English; probabilities in Year 5 Maths

I’m glad to report there has been plenty of evidence of empathy here this week, but it’s something we always need to work at and reassert as a core value of the School at every turn. I’m not sure I agree with ‘empathy lessons’ on the curriculum: it ought to suffuse all we do in lessons, in the playground. As teachers we should model it, create opportunities for it and praise it when we see it in action, whenever we can. So here comes my praise! It was good to see Year 6 boys showing their castles so thoughtfully to the Pre-Prep (the castle project in Year 6 is legendary for boys – and I daresay parents -alike). It was equally reassuring to see the Pre-Prep boys performing so confidently in the Poetry Recitation yesterday and showing their work afterwards with such well-deserved pride afterwards, but crucially showing support for each others’ efforts. Their enthusiasm and imagination and the sheer volume of work they have done, frequently as collective, empathetic efforts, over the last few months deserves much commendation.

Year 6 and Pre-Prep castles project

Pre-Prep playtime in the garden

And similarly for the older boys: there was plenty of unaffected support for each other in this week’s outstanding Senior Concerts and in their more competitive version the Poetry Recitation. It’s quite possible to be healthily competitive but equally to rejoice in the talents of those who might have done better on this particular occasion. We all have talents: they’re just to be found in different places and in different ways. That’s again what empathy essentially is about. So let’s share in the reflected glory of the winners and highly commended finalists in this year’s Poetry Recitation Competition. As ever, the standard was very high and it was a pleasure to hear boys making these poems their own in so many imaginative ways.

Year 8: George Murray: Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden

Theo Cawood: I thank you God by e.e. cummings

Edward Beswick: Vertue by George Herbert

Peter Leeson: Life is Like a Shooting Star by Chuck Keller

Sukrit Kaul: A Late Walk by Robert Frost

Year 7: Theo Stavrik: Mort au Chats by Peter Porter

Navid Mowat: Oh I wish I’d like after me Teeth by Pam Ayres

Tom Barry: Snow by Louise Macneice

Thomas Simpson: from A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

Arlie Macpherson: from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Year 6: Edward Bennett: The Pig by Roald Dahl

Dylan Jamieson: Dreaming of Disgrace by himself

Herbie Waters: The Hawk in the Rain by Ted Hughes

Arnaud Girardin-Potts: Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe

Ioan Glyn-Jones: The Calling by anon

Year 5: Idris Scrase: Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling

Walter Moore and Charlie Hayter: In the land of the Bumbly Boo by Spike Milligan

Iskandar Mukhtar and Alex Smith: Song of the Witches by William Shakespeare

Boaz Rossington: Look at all those Monkeys by Spike Milligan

Year 4: Paddy Cryan: Sick by Shel Silverstein

Joseph Lasserson: Parents' Evening by Alan Ahlberg

Angus Eliot: Macavity by T.S. Eliot

Edmund Visintin: Waiting at the Window by A.A. Milne

Tommy Parkinson: Poemsicle by Shel Silverstein

Year 3: Patrick Smith: Journey’s End by J.R.R. Tolkien

Benedict Furger: Gymnastics Poem by W.A. Clennan

Timon Bergmann: Friends by Elizabeth Jennings

Henry East: The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Jeremy Newman: The Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash

Sport. The week started in bright fashion with the U11 cross country team attending the St Edward’s School relays challenge. This year there were 26 teams racing with well over 100 athletes competing. Our team of Freddie Jones, Walter Moore, Edward Bennett and Fraser Mackenzie were a credit to the school both on and off the track with a brilliant 6th place achieved in the team event and Freddie Jones taking the gold medal for the fastest lap of the day. He ran the near 2KM course in 7m28s beating all the other 100+athletes by at least 12 seconds! Also on Monday the U13 hockey teams were playing local rivals Christ Church Cathedral School. In the 2nd VII game it was a tight and competitive game with both sides playing some impressive hockey to ensure a 2-2 draw. A fair result considering we were without a few key players owing to scholarship exams. In the 1st VII game the NCS boys quickly got into their stride and started to play some excellent passing hockey and dominate the game. At the final whistle the NCS team had amassed 11 goals and only conceded 1. A great result and testament to their recent hard work. Tuesday afternoon was the turn of the NCS U11/12 teams to face Cokethorpe U13 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams. This is a new fixture on the calendar and a good chance to see what next year’s U13 team will look like. Things started well for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams with goals going in on both pitches within the first two minutes. From then on, the NCS team dominated the games and the host teams struggled to penetrate our resolute defences. Fraser Mackenzie had scored his hat trick within seven minutes and even added a 4th before being sent for a rest at right back. In the 2nd VII game Henry Channon also bagged a hat trick thanks to his usual tireless running and determined tackling. The final scores were 5-1 to the 2nd VII and 12-0 to the 1st team. These were two of the finest performances we have seen and, considering it was from teams playing together for the first time in a year, it was even more impressive! On Wednesday afternoon we had another large contingent of NCS boys off to play hockey and this time it was the U13 A, B, C and D teams playing Summerfields School and Hatherop Castle. The 3rd and 4th teams were playing a Summerfields ‘C’ team and the 1st team from Hatherop Castle in a four-team-round-robin festival with each team playing each other. At the end of the afternoon and 6 games later, Hatherop Castle emerged as the winners with the NCS 3rd team in 2nd place, the NCS 4th team in 3rd place with Summerfields 3rd team in 4th place. I understand a great afternoon was had by all the boys and we hope to build on this and invite one or two more schools for next year. The NCS 1st and 2nd team were playing away at Summerfields and the 2nds got us off to a very bright start in winning the opening game 10-2 and in doing so breaking their own scoring record by going into double figures for the first time. Sukrit Kaul was clearly man of the match having scored 6 of our 10 goals. In the 1st team game we started in a very positive mood and quickly took the lead thanks to an excellent goal where all the NCS players touched the ball on its way into the net. A brilliant team effort. From then on in the game went back and forth as both teams were desperate to attack and, in doing so, left goals exposed to the break-away goal! As expected in such a game a high score was always on the cards and a final score of 6-5 to the hosts was hard to swallow, but all the NCS boys should be proud of their efforts.

To cap such a good week, the cross country teams were once again in action and this time it was the U11 and U12 teams racing in the Oratory School annual greyhound run. In the U11 fixture Fraser Mackenzie, Henry Moore, Walter Moore and Alex Smith, all running a year above their chronological year, had a very impressive day managing to finish in 5th place overall. The U12 team of Henry Channon, Krishen Rao, George Herbert and Matthew Rolfe ran a brilliant race to take the bronze medal with all four athletes inside the top 20 and 3 inside the top 10. Henry ran with great style to take 2nd place in the individual event.

All parents should have received a Parentmail today from Mr Morrison giving details of next term’s lunchtime and after school activities and how to sign up for them. Sign up opens online on Monday 13th March at 8.00pm and closes on Friday 17th March at 8.00pm. Please encourage your son to discuss options with you over this weekend before booking opens on Monday.

I’m sure parents will be pleased to know that Childcare Vouchers can now be used to offset the costs of aftercare and chargeable after school activities. Please see the attached letter from our Finance Officer Mrs Kilkenny, which gives further details, and do be in touch with her if you have any questions about the scheme.

A reminder for choristers that they are excused Saturday Morning Music School tomorrow owing to rehearsals for the St John Passion, but otherwise Music School is as usual at 9.45am.

Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening is this Tuesday, 14th March from 5.30pm until 8.00pm. In addition to the appointment with your son’s teacher in the classroom, there will be refreshments and an opportunity to meet me and specialist staff who teach in the Pre-Prep in the Sports Hall throughout the evening either before or after your appointment with the class teacher.

College Day is this Wednesday 15th March. The Warden will speak at the school service at 10.00am and, as ever, parents are warmly invited to join us for the service and for coffee/tea in the Undercroft afterwards. For much of the rest of the day, the boys will be taking part in a variety of special activities in College and in neighbouring Oxford. A highlight (always!) is lunch in Hall.

Tickets for the Year 7 & 8 Ceilidh Dance with OHS, organised by the NCSPA on Saturday 18th March 7-9pm in the Sports Hall, are now available via the School Office, price £10. Please obtain them as soon as possible, so we can confirm numbers attending.

Tickets for the Years 5 & 6 French Play, Gogglebox (Vu à la télé), are now available from the School Office. Year 5 families are encouraged to attend on Tuesday 21st March at 6.00pm and Year 6 families on Wednesday 22nd March at 6.00pm. As an innovation this year, the play will take place in the Sports Hall, set out as a French café. I’m sure we can all look forward to a splendid evening of theatre.

Oxford Active will again be running their holiday club at Oxford High School in the Easter Holidays 3rd – 21st April (excluding Bank Holidays) and in Trinity half-term (30th May – 2nd June) with minibus pick-up from NCS at 8.30 – 9.00am and drop off at 5.00- 5.30pm. Childcare Vouchers may be used for Oxford Active. For bookings, please go to their website www.active-camps.com

A concert of music featuring two violas (including Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6) given by former NCS pupil Peter Mallinson and one of his BBC Symphony Orchestra colleagues, takes place tomorrow, 11th March 7.30pm in the Holywell Music Room. Tickets (cash only on the door) are £10/£7. The viola is a much underrated instrument! Worth a listen.

As parents will know, the Oxford Literary Festival is on the horizon (25th March – 2nd April). There are many events specially for children and young adults, which look tempting. http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2017/children-young-adults

Frideswide Voices will be holding two "Be a Chorister for an Evening" taster sessions: Monday 20th March (at Worcester College Chapel) and Monday 24th April (at Christ Church). Year 2 girls who love singing and are interested in knowing more about being a chorister are encouraged to attend for the chance to sing part of the Evensong service and to try on robes! The sessions are relaxed and fun. Girls are strongly advised to attend a taster session ahead of the auditions which will be held on Saturday 6th May. For further information please see the flyer attached or visit the website www.frideswidevoices.co.uk (a short film about Frideswide Voices can be seen there). Frideswide Voices will sing the last Evensong of its New College Residency this coming Monday, 13th March - 6.15pm in New College Chapel - all welcome. The choir will be "in residence" at Magdalen for Trinity Term, and will sing Evensong there on most Mondays at 6.00pm.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Sat 11

End of University Term

No Sat am Music School for choristers; NC Choir rehearsal for St John Passion pm

Sun 12

New College Choir: St John Passion, New College Chapel, 3.00pm

Mon 13

Science Week​

U11 Hockey IAPS National Finals, Repton School

Tues 14

Marlborough Academic Scholarship Option Papers

French play technical rehearsal, pm

Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening, Classrooms & Sports Hall, 5.30pm

Wed 15

College Day

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Warden of New College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

U11 Hockey Rehional Finals, Woking Hockey Club

U11 C&D Hockey vs Dragon, Away, 1.00pm

U13 A&B Hockey vs Brockhurst, St Edward’s Astro, 2.30pm

Thurs 16

U9 & U11 X-Country vs Thorngrove, Away, 2.00pm

Fri 17

French Play dress rehearsal pm

U9 A-D Hockey vs Dragon, Away, 2.00pm

Chorister Parents’ Supper, Choir Room, 1 Savile Road, 7.30pm

Sat 18

NCSPA Ceilidh for Yrs 7 & 8 - Set up Sports Hall pm

NCSPA Ceilidh for Yrs 7 & 8, Sports Hall, 7.00-9.00 pm

Sun 19

1st XI Hockey vs Old Boys, Iffley Road Astro, 10.00-11.30am

Mon 20

Year 4 to Chedworth Roman Villa 8.30 to 3.45

Marlborough Academic Scholarship

U13 A&B Hockey vs Thorngrove, Away, 3.00pm

Tues 21

Associated Board Music Exams

U13 A&B Hockey vs Cokethorpe, 4.00pm, Away

Years 5 & 6 French Play and Café, Sports Hall, 6.00pm

Wed 22

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School & College Chaplain

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Years 5 & 6 French Play and Café, Sports Hall, 6.00pm

Fri 24

NC Choir: Concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Rehearsal pm

Sat 25

No Sat am Music School for Choristers

Chamber Choir Concert, St Michael’s Church, Cumnor, 7.00pm

Sun 26

NC Choir departs for US Tour

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