Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 20th November 2020

Dear Parents,

We have had a slew of wonderful assemblies already this half-term, with a central unifying message. Mr Morrison, with boys from Year 8, has spoken about the need to be respectful and tolerant of those around us, even if we disagree with them. Miss Krebs has told us about the Kyoto Protocol and developments in tackling climate change. Mr Hanson has talked about positive ways to help those outside our immediate community. Dr Bethany Sollereder talked to the whole school, in our virtual chapel service, about the good Samaritan and the way we treat others. While Mr Neal introduced the boys to the history of the 1863 Gettysburg Address (the anniversary of which was yesterday), and its celebration of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’, and the notion that all ‘are created equal’. The unifying theme of these assemblies has been reaching out beyond ourselves, valuing and working for the good of others, and being aware of how our own actions can negatively or positively help those in both our immediate and wider communities.

As I often mention in these newsletters, much of what we are doing here is getting the boys into good habits for their later lives – essentially to make sure that those lives are full of happy thriving. If the boys get into good habits now, they haven’t got to undo negative or corrosive behaviours – with all the attentive time wasting and irritation that brings – later on in life. These habits are habits of thought as well as action, to do with their mental health as well as their academic learning. Hence why we focus so much attention on these assemblies, revisiting key overarching themes, to drip-feed desirable behaviours into the boys’ ears! Even when we are noting major anniversaries like that of the Kyoto Protocol or the Gettysburg Address, we are looking for a moral message that takes the boys beyond a decent historical knowledge (as helpful as that may be) and towards an understanding that there are lessons to take from key world events. This gets easier as you get older, and obtain more perspective, but that’s no reason not to begin when the boys are at a relatively young age.

Neutralisation in Year 6 Science; Eco committee litter picking; Roman signalling in Year 5 Classics; Gunpowder plot artwork in Year 2; Pre-Prep Chess; Year 1 reading tree

We are witnessing on the international stage (and the domestic one, if we are honest) the rather dramatic fall-out of failing to listen to one another, of not being respectful of those with whom we disagree, of not viewing one another equally, of not considering how individual behaviour can have an extraordinarily toxic impact on the wider world. Many of us will have seen friendships and family relationships fracturing based on differing views of the world that are not being reconciled by dialogue and sympathetic listening to one another. That can be very hard, I concede, but by getting the boys to value empathy and sympathy from the beginning of their lives, we can but hope that it helps to produce generations more capable of dealing with – and solving – the world’s problems, than some other generations are.

Another thing I often mention in these newsletters is my profound belief that the education we provide our boys should be about values alongside excellent learning and teaching – those values include thinking of others beyond our community, while caring for and being loyal to our own, and I am very proud of the ways in which my colleagues and the boys have been articulating such values this term.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

Artwork of the Week: ‘The Dinner Party’ by Judy Chicago

Word of the Week: erudite

I am pleased to say that the Year 7 and 8 production of The Tempest is now available to watch on the video gallery page of our website: https://www.newcollegeschool.org/video-gallery. Enjoy!

Well done to our Year 4 probationers – Alexander, Toby, Monty and Ethan – for singing their first evensong last Sunday and doing very well indeed!

If you have not yet been tuning in to evensong at New College, you can do so by following this link – where you can revisit previous services and watch live feeds of others happening in real time: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcnwduEzSALq6s1L9cY9ww

In her capacity as Chorister Tutor, Miss Rose would like to warmly invite Year 2 parents, and any other interested parents in Pre-Prep, to an online chorister information evening on Wednesday 25 November at 18.00, in advance of the upcoming chorister auditions for the Choir of New College. The choir, as you will already know, is a world-renowned historic ensemble. They have performed across the world, recorded multiple albums, and sung evensong services in Chapel since the College's founding in 1379. This is a unique and exciting co-curricular endeavour for boys in Year 2 to consider if they have been thoroughly enjoying their singing and wider musical experiences at NCS. Miss Rose and the College Organist and conductor of the choir, Mr Robert Quinney, will be presenting some information on the history of the choir; recent highlights; a typical week in the life a chorister; and the pastoral provisions that are in place at NCS to oversee the wellbeing of this particular group of pupils. This will be followed by a Q&A session at the end of the talk. Miss Rose will be sending out a Zoom link separately in advance of the evening.

Our Language Ambassadors scheme features in the latest ISC booklet on school partnerships: https://issuu.com/glenncoombsshelleys/docs/84046_isc_hi_sing?fr=sY2QyMDE2NzYx . Many thanks to Mme Phillips for running the scheme, Mrs Brown for leading our partnership work more generally, and to all those boys who have put in so much energy and enthusiasm so far towards such a worthwhile scheme.

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 23 November 2020

12.00 Deadline for video submissions for virtual junior and senior concerts

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

School Nurse Lessons Year 6 P1 & 2, Year 7 P3 & 4 Year 8 P7

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

10.00 School Service. Speaker: Hannah Barr, ordinand, Wycliffe Hall

Thursday, 26 November 2020

12.00 Deadline for video submissions for pre-prep winter concert

Monday, 30 November 2020

Associated Board Exam Week

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

10.00 School Service. Speaker: The Revd Dr Erica Longfellow, School and College Chaplain

18.00 Year 6 Parents' Evening

Saturday, 5 December 2020

University Term ends

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