Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 25th june 2021

Dear Parents,

At NCS we don’t just down tools completely once end-of-year assessments are over. Lessons keep going and we vary the timetable and activities sessions to further enrich the boys’ experience at the end of Trinity. This is usually the time of year when prep school memories are made: misty-eyed reminiscences of cricket matches, endless sunshine (ha!), and that liberating feeling when one set of exams is over and the next set is a whole year away. The Year 8 boys, in particular, have been coming off-timetable completely in the afternoons, to allow them to enjoy a series of other improving activities: careers talks (yes, schools start early these days); playreading rehearsals; RSE workshops. And over the past couple of afternoons we have been enjoying the culmination of the Year 8 special subject: our very own TED Talks.

For those of you who don’t yet know, in Years 7 and 8 we devote an hour a fortnight of curriculum time for the boys to research a topic of (within reason) their own choice. The boys can, if they wish, supplement this research at home. The idea is that the topic they have chosen is so fascinating to them, that they indeed do wish to add a bit of extra-curricular time and effort. The topics should be something not already covered on our curriculum, and they need to be analytical, so they very often start with ‘Why?’. Year 7 submit their mini-theses as a written project. Year 8, though, present theirs in the form of 5-10 minute talks, complete with background presentation, and we film them. Hence the TED Talk format – we even own giant ‘TEDxNCS’ letters to make the occasion even more special, in case anyone needs to borrow them.

Year 8 concert recording; 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'; Beekeeper visit in Reception; Year 3 & 4 play rehearsal; capturing carbon dioxide in Science; TED talks

Why do we do all this? For the simple reasons that (a) it is A Good Thing for the boys to be developing their independent research skills, and learning to present them in a logical and analytical fashion; and (b) in-person presentation skills will likely be very useful to the boys in their future lives, and honing those skills in a safe, supportive and benign environment is a fantastic way to lay secure foundations. It is great for us as teachers, too, to see the enormous breadth of the boys’ interests and to celebrate them by giving them a public voice. I imagine some of these boys will be presenting ‘real’ TED Talks (or their equivalent) in the years to come. We got to see them first!

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

We very much enjoyed our Virtual Wykeham Day last Saturday. One of the highlights of the day was an online concert featuring musicians from NCS past and present. We had a wonderful selection of recent alumni, current pupils, and world-famous performers. To watch the concert, simply follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBh8H-nTVM8. I know I’m biased, but it’s a staggering testament to the quality of music at the school over the decades, and NCS’s role in keeping high-quality music making going (from the age of 4!) at a time when there is so much pressure to narrow the curriculum.

Please note a slight tweak to our drop-off and pick-up times from September 2021 in the prep school: Years 6-8 should arrive at 8.00 and go straight to their form rooms. Years 3-5 should arrive at 8.10 and go straight to their form rooms. As ever, if there are boys in Years 3-5 who need to arrive earlier than 8.10, we can supervise them in the playground until they go up to their form rooms. Though please remember, and remind your sons, that no pupil is permitted on site before 8.00 as that is when supervision begins. Then, at the end of the day, if the boys do not have other commitments in school, Years 6-8 will depart at 15.45, with Years 3-5 at 15.50. We hope that this helps to ease congestion on Savile Road at the beginning and end of the school day.

Please also note the following departure times for the last day of Trinity, Friday 9 July: Pre-Prep gate: 11.30 Reception; 11.40 Year 1; 11.50 Year 2. Prep gate: 12.00 Years 3-4; 12.10 Years 5-6; 12.20 Years 7-8

Very well done to our Year 8 leavers who put on a magical playreading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Tuesday. With some inventive use of the gym and its bifold doors, plus a couple of gazebos, we were able to have a socially distanced al fresco audience of leavers’ parents (the first such event in, what, 450 days?) to mark the beginning of our leavers’ events.

We had a wonderful induction morning this morning, again following Covid protocols, to enable our new boys (there are rather a lot of them next year) to meet their new forms and form tutors/assistant form tutors. It was wonderful to see them all smiling, meet new parents in person, and to witness the new prep boys already discovering the footballs and goals. That’s them set for the next six years then!

Next week the boys will be coming completely off timetable for our very special in-house activities week. No Sicilian sun for some of us this year, alas, but my colleagues have put in an enormous amount of work to put together many different activities for the boys, for which I am very grateful. The boys showed their appreciation with a ginormous round of applause during our Zoom assembly this morning. I think word has already got out, but we are happy for the boys to be in home clothes all week, as they would be if we were on our normal activities week. Could boys in Years 3 and 4 please bring in their uniform in a bag on Monday so that they have it all week for the play, and on Friday have clothes suitable for running around in. We look forward to showing you a few photos of the boys’ activities in next week’s newsletter.

From Mr Bishop: This week saw the final round of fixtures played for the year and it was a great final round of games. The U11 and U10 teams travelled away to Beachborough and played two great games. Mr Bradley and Mr Morrison tell me the boys were superb in their efforts both on and off the field. The U11 team chasing 74 runs from 20 overs just fell short at 71 for 8 wickets. A few quiet overs in the middle of the innings and key players on this occasion not scoring were enough for the hosts to sneak the win. The U10s game was equally entertaining and this time NCS managed the win by just over 30 runs. Honours even, then, at the end of the day with both schools going home happy. I had the pleasure of taking the first XI away to Christ Church and the short journey across town in the sun was pleasant if a little busy! Being asked to bowl first we restricted our hosts to 91 all out from their 20 overs with Jack R again bowling consistently well to take two wickets, a run out and a brilliant catch. However it was on this occasion Timon who was the pick of the bowlers; he took 3 wickets for only 8 runs from his 4 overs. These are fine figures and deserved results after the work he has put in this season. When it was our turn to bat, Harry quickly scored 20 and set a solid foundation for Patrick S and Jack to build their innings. Both boys played superbly with Patrick happy to rotate the strike and help Jack onto the match winning score of 39 not out. This selfless batting by Patrick just goes to show what a fine cricket brain he has and it ensured the win. At the end of the day we’d scored the winning runs with 4 overs to spare and Jack was rightfully named man of the match by both coaches. A more appropriate finish we could not have hoped for in the last match Year 8 will play for NCS.

Delighted members of NCS Judo club were rewarded for their enthusiasm and determination throughout Trinity with new graded judo belts. Throughout the term the boys have been learning ‘Gentle Way’ throwing and hold-down skills, alongside understanding the Japanese etiquette and language that accompanies the Olympic sport. An end-of-term ‘most improved player’ trophy was presented to two boys: Josh B (Year 8) and Tom D (Year 3).

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