Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 24 feb 2017

Dear Parents,

I like to think I’m well-prepared for air travel these days. Carry on just the right number of books for the journey, download work onto the iPad and, if there’s any need for further diversion, there are usually one or two watchable movies. Until of course, you’re sitting on the tarmac with no internet, no movies and you’ve done all the work and read all the books. So it was this half-term, whilst very lengthy safety checks were being carried out, I found myself flicking through the airline magazine and came across a fascinating article about a US government economist turned journalist and parenting guru. Her latest book stresses the importance of not spending money on elaborate toys or gadgets, or even piling on extra-curricular activities, but putting resources into shareable family experiences, such as walks in the park, special meals out, a family football match, travel –whether near or far, going to the cinema. Not only then do children gain a breadth of experiences valuable in themselves, but they also have plenty of things to talk about with their friends, which in turn enables them to be socially more confident.

And you can be sure that in many different ways these will lay foundations (to take up a theme of the Headmaster of Abingdon in his Chapel talk this week) for the future. When one of our daughters took herself off to Budapest for a much-needed break from a busy job last week, she touchingly recalled how much she had enjoyed the times we had visited one or two European cities in her childhood and had felt invigorated by different surroundings. It’s good to have that feedback a decade or so on! So I’ve greatly enjoyed hearing boys’ accounts of all sorts of different experiences at half-term, of how they’ve invented new games, seen new things, met new people and, above all, reflected upon it all with that characteristic NCS insight and good-heartedness.

I’m delighted to congratulate the following on having their work selected for exhibition in the Ashmolean following this year’s Young Art Oxford 2017 competition on the theme of “The world we live in.” From the Pre-Prep: Alexander Cadogan, Rishaan Chari, Tolly Davies, Eugene Fishlock, Edward Lakin, George McKnight, Harry Mason, Edward Millar. From Years 3 & 4: Joshua Brown, Isaac Conway, Henry East, Leo Magnotta, Jack Rothery, Nahum Whyte. From Years 5 & 6: Augustin Chapman, Lyndon Chen, Sammy Jarvis, Fraser Mackenzie, Julien Rohart, Herbie Waters. From Years 7 & 8: Sebastian Asquith, Peter Bradley, Roman Buckland, Theo Cawood, Henry Channon, Ben Fox, Xavier Gardner, George Murray, Thomas Simpson. The exhibition at the Ashmolean will run from 4th – 6th May.

We were very fortunate to enjoy another outstanding Holloway Lecture on Monday and I'm most grateful to Professor Lord Krebs for focusing us all so powerfully on The Future of Food. NCS boys did us proud, as ever, in volunteering to participate in the initial food experiment and the lively quality of the questions afterwards was testimony to a most successful event. It was especially good, too, to welcome pupils from a number of other local schools. My thanks to everyone who supported the occasion and made it possible in so many different ways.

Lord Krebs at the Holloway Lecture; finding colours in nature in Year 1 Wild Learning; the winners of the Harry Potter quiz; Year 5 Maths

Congratulations, too, to Krishan, Shivam and Arjun Sabharwal, Peter Kendall and his sister Cecilia who won the Harry Potter Junior Quiz by a clear margin at the Oxford Story Museum. The team (named The Silver Horcruces) achieved the highest score amongst both the junior and adult quiz teams. The quiz was based on the books and I’m told comprised at least fifty fiendish questions. Well done on this super bibliographic milestone!

Year 2 at the Moulsford Prep Tag Rugby Festival

Sport. After the half term break the NCS hockey teams were straight back into the thick of things this week. The U13 teams set the pace on Monday afternoon with some very impressive, competitive, house matches that saw eight highly-charged games played and some brilliant goals scored. They continued this good work with the 1st XI playing their opening 11-a-side game of the season vs Abingdon School. A tight game meant both teams were always in the game. Despite early NCS dominance, we failed to find the back of the net and then a breakaway attack: a slightly sloppy short corner meant we went in at half time 1-0 down. The larger pitch and extra running began to take its toll on both teams but the NCS boys kept fighting and striving for that elusive goal. A second scrappy short corner saw the ball trickle over the line again to extend Abingdon’s lead just before the full-time whistle. However, this was a great game and one that could have gone either way. Next up for these boys is the IAPS regional tournament on Monday and we wish them well for that.

The U11 ‘A’ team played in their own version of the same tournament on Tuesday this week. The boys travelled over to Haileybury College in Hertfordshire to compete. In a tough group we managed three wins and one draw to win the group round and push into the main competition to try for a place in the nationals. The second round was quite a step up in quality with Kingshott School, Aldwickbury and Felstead standing in our way. We played three impressive games of hockey to take two wins vs Kingshott and Felstead and a 1-1 draw vs Aldwickbury again to win the group and set up a semi-final vs St Faith’s School. In this game we again found the opening minutes tricky but, once settled, the NCS team dominated proceedings and could have scored were it not for three outstanding saves from their goal keeper. With one minute to go we conceded a goal and from there we had little time to equalise. However, as semi-finalists and joint 3rd overall in the tournament, we again qualify for the national finals and can confidently claim to be one the best 20 hockey playing schools in the country! Huge congratulations to the following players for this impressive achievement: Reuben McLusky, Raoul Patel (Captains), Joseph Conway, Ben Harkness Dylan Jamieson, Fraser Mackenzie, Callan McMillan and Narian Madar. And my thanks to the many parents who support our matches. It means so much to the boys and my colleagues. There are plenty more opportunities to see some excellent hockey again this week. See ‘Forthcoming Events’ below!

Introduction to the Celtic harp in Pre-Prep Music

Year 8 Coding and Computing

Pre-Prep playtime

Good luck to candidates taking academic scholarships to Senior Schools next week. They had some testing mock interviews this week when they all showed their intellectual mettle very well, which is most encouraging. They certainly deserve credit for the hard work they have put in so far, whatever the outcome.

Great excitement in the Pre-Prep as they await the arrival of ten hens’ eggs on Monday which we anticipate will hatch over the following three days, and then be looked after by the boys for two weeks, before being returned to local farms. We are once again, setting up a ChickCam to give all the boys the opportunity in school and at home to observe the eggs and chicks. Please go to the home page of the NCS website and, from Monday, click on the small green camera logo on the right of the page.

Do join us for next week’s Junior Concerts on Monday at 5.30pm and 6.30pm in the School Hall. Drinks for parents are served beforehand in my study from 5.15pm and 6.15pm respectively.

All NCS families are most welcome at the Ash Wednesday service this Wednesday, 1st March, at 6.15pm in the Chapel. The Choir’s music will include Allegri’s Miserere, a hauntingly beautiful setting of Psalm 51, reputedly transcribed by Mozart after he heard it in the Sistine Chapel. Good wishes to the choristers for all their preparation for this special service.

A reminder that our Annual Poetry Recitation starts to take place next week. For the Pre-Prep, this will culminate in the Pre-Prep Poetry Festival and ‘Show and Tell’ afternoon at 2.00pm on Thursday 9th March. Winners from the Prep School Competition will recite their poems as part of our Words and Music on the last day of term (29th March) in New College Chapel. Whilst there is a competitive element to it from Year 3 upwards, the emphasis is very much on enjoying the process of choosing a poem and committing it to memory. I’ve seen much evidence of preparation this week and look forward to hearing some lively performances over the coming weeks.

World Book Day is this Thursday, 2nd March, will also include a DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) session at the start of the school day when everyone in the school community will stop whatever else they are doing and read. Please would you encourage your sons to bring in their current reading book and also decide what character from a favourite book the will come dressed as on World Book Day, for the annual parade of literary characters. And I know that Pre-prep are looking forward to their visit to Waterstone’s!.

New College Choir will be giving liturgical performance of Bach’s St John Passion on Sunday 12th March at 3.00pm in New College Chapel. Tickets (free-of-charge) are limited, but please contact the Chapel and Choir Administrator nancy-jane.rucker@new.ox.ac.uk if you are interested in attending.

NCS is again participating in Oxfordshire Book Awards, http://oxfordshirebookaward.webs.com whereby pupils read from an annual selection and then review and nominate their favourite books for an award. We have copies in the school library of all the short-listed books and they can also be borrowed from public libraries. Please encourage your son to read at least one of the books on the list and, if possible, write an interesting review. We will then be able to review, discuss and vote for the books we feel should win. The following books have been voted on to the 2017 shortlist:

Secondary Novels: A Library of Lemons, Jo Cotterill. More of Me, Kathryn Evans. Sweet Pizza, G.R. Gemin. Blame, Simon Mayo. Silence is Goldfish, Annabel Pitcher. The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell. Primary Novels: The Person Controller, David Baddiel. The Girl of Ink and Stars, Kiran Millwood Hargrave. An Eagle in the Snow, Michael Morpurgo. The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell. Picture Books: The Dog Detective, Julia Donaldson. A Dog called Bear, Diane Fox and Chrystian Fox. School for Dads, A and C Guillain. Nibbles the Book Monster, Emma Yarlette.

Easyfundraising for NCSPA. A reminder that the Parents’ Association can obtain donations via Easyfundraising. With every online purchase you make from participating retailers, a small percentage will be transferred to NCSPA. And I should reassure you there is no mark-up on normal prices. Just go to www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/newcollegeschoolpa/ and follow the steps to sign up.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Mon 27

MCS Academic Scholarship starts

U13 IAPS Hockey finals, Bishop's Stortford, dep. 6.30am

Junior Concerts (Yrs 3,4,5), School Hall, 5.30 & 6.30 p.m.

Tea/ Drinks in HM Study at 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Sat 25

U8 A Football vs St Hughes, Away, 10.00am

Tues 28

U9 Hockey House Matches, Iffley Road, 10.30am

U11 B&C Hockey vs Cokethorpe, Away, 2.00pm


Wed 1

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: Mr Neil McCleery, Assistant School & College Chaplain

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

School Council 12.30 pm

ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam, Dining Room, 1.45pm

U13 A Hockey vs Dragon, Away, 2.00pm

U13 B&C Hockey vs Dragon, St Edward’s Astro, 2.00pm

Ash Wednesday Service, New College Chapel, 6.15pm

Thurs 2

World Book Day, including DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)

Fri 3

U9 A,B & C Hockey vs Thorngrove, Iffley Road Astro, 2.15 pm

Mon 6

‘Waste Week’ starts

Poetry Competition finals start

Abingdon Academic Scholarship starts

U13 A & B Hockey vs CCCS, St Edward’s Astro, 2.15pm

Senior Concerts (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall, 5.30 & 6.30 p.m.

Tea/ Drinks in HM Study at 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Tues 7

U11 A&B Hockey vs Cokethorpe, Away, 3.30pm

Wed 8

School Service - 10.00 am - New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Wendy Wale, Chaplain, Wadham College

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Eco Committee Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom, 12.30pm

U13 A&B Hockey vs Summerfields, Away, 2.30pm

U13 C Hockey vs Hatherop, St Edward’s Astro, 2.30pm

Year 5 Parents’ Evening, Sports Hall, 6.00pm

Thurs 9

U11 & U13 Cross Country Meeting, Away, The Oratory School, 1.00pm

Pre-Prep Poetry Recitation, School Hall, 2.00pm followed by 'Show & Tell'

Fri 10

U7 A&B Football vs Cranford, Away, 12.00 noon

U9 A&B Hockey vs Cokethorpe, Away, 2.00pm

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

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