Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 18th October 2019

Dear Parents,

Tradition can be a tricky thing. In the wrong hands, it can constitute a justification for the unchanging, inflexible ploughing on regardless. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ can be a lazy and convenient mantra to cover up the already broken or the ready to break. In the right hands, tradition gives us a sense of place, a lodestar, some familiar lines to trammel while we look outward to consider judicious changes – to fix the broken bits or to look far enough ahead to see when something might break in the future. It is a statement of the rather obvious that we get to enjoy some rich traditions at NCS – some dating back a long time and some invented in more recent years. But none of them are there to engender complacency or pomposity; they are nods to the achievements and contributions of our predecessors, and they give us all a ritual year around which to plot our lives.

Beginning of Year Service

They are also collegial: welcoming and inclusive. This was writ large, of course, on Wednesday during our Beginning of Year Service in chapel, when the Warden and I had the privilege of welcoming all new boys and colleagues to the New College foundation. It is the word ‘foundation’, in all its senses, that we should consider and value. We are laying the foundations for the boys’ future lives – their success and happiness – from the second they set foot in the school. And we are all privileged (a not unloaded word, I appreciate) to be doing so within a centuries-old foundation that has the endorsement of history and the forward-looking innovation necessary to make sure that it has a future as much as a past. This is in the material, architectural sense, as we are all aware from the stunning building developments ahead of us; but it is as much, arguably more, to do with what we do within those buildings.

Coding with 'Scratch' in Year 3 Computing; designing and building electronic board games in Year 5 DT; the winning U11 football team; investigating liquids in Year 6 Science.

So how enjoyable it was this week to hear Year 3 and Mrs Hayter talking about the importance of speaking to their family and friends about how they feel; Mrs Brown looking into the history of speakers’ corner and free speech; Mariangela Vacatello sharing her phenomenal expertise in her piano masterclass; and Mrs Showell-Rogers and the boys involved in the eco and charity committees giving us a preview of our upcoming charity week. This was all, of course, on top of the boys’ day-to-day lessons and their energetic chatter and play during breaktimes. Just feet away from the boys during those breaks, you may be aware, we have a team of archaeologists digging through our foundations – there’s that word again – currently uncovering evidence of Roman habitation on our site. A humbling reminder of the span of history of our little part of the world, and our time within it.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Hannah Arendt

Artwork of the Week: ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent van Gogh

Word of the Week: Gloaming

Sport. Most groups began the changeover to rugby this week, but the Year 5 and 6 boys spent the week finishing off their football fixtures. On Tuesday all five teams went over to Summer Fields and, although some of the results did not go our way, this meant every boy from those years was out representing the school. This half term every boy from Year 2 all the way through to Year 8 has represented NCS in a competitive fixture. The team of the afternoon without doubt were the U11 B team who scored three brilliant goals on their way to a 3-3 draw, with Rishaan man of the match thanks to his hard work in front of goal. He was rewarded with a wonderful goal thanks to his devastating left foot strike. On the other pitches the coaches mentioned James and George in the D team for their efforts, with Benji and Nahum singled out in the E team, in particular Nahum for his determination and toughness! On the C team pitch I witnessed the team showing great spirit and never giving up despite a tough game. Alexander and Tolly were outstanding but it is Finn who gets our man of the match thanks to his tireless running. He was simply everywhere!

Following this fixture the U11 A team travelled down to Lambrook School on Thursday afternoon where they took part in the IAPS regional football tournament. In a very tough group we drew 0-0 with Oratory Prep, lost 2-0 to Papplewick and won 2-0 against Bishopsgate. This meant a third place finish behind Papplewick and Oratory on a single goal after ending up on the same points as The Oratory. Finding ourselves in the plate competition Mr Bradley rallied the boys and we faced the hosts Lambrook in the quarter finals. The next ten minutes saw some simply wonderful football from the NCS team and at the end of the match we ran out 3-0 winners with Max, Benedict and Timon all scoring great goals. In the semi-final we faced Yately Manor who were a very physical side but again the boys showed great composure and managed a 1-0 win thanks to a late second half goal. In the final we played St George’s, Windsor, and again both sides were playing great football. Harry in goal for NCS saved us on a number of occasions throughout the day but in the final he stepped up to another level as he pulled off save after save to keep us level. The game finished 0-0 and went into a period of five minutes of ‘golden goal’ which meant a single goal would end the game, and with a minute remaining Leo placed a brilliant corner onto Timon’s head and it was guided home to secure the goal that won the plate for NCS. The boys then collected the gold medals with pride and at last Mr Bradley and I could relax!

Away from the football pitch the senior boys played their first rugby matches of the season against Christ Church. With our guests having played rugby since the beginning of term we were a little apprehensive but we needn’t have worried as the NCS boys came out of the blocks firing and ensured three excellent games were played out. On the A team pitch the game ended level at three tries apiece with Fraser and James playing very well but the man of the match went to Jack who was outstanding in the centre. The B and C team games were equally entertaining with Krishan getting the award for best player in the C team thanks to both his attacking play but more importantly his tackling. This game ended up in defeat for NCS but with a little more training the re-match in December looks promising. On the B team pitch the boys were a pleasure to referee and some excellent rugby was played. Julien was simply superb and really deserves his promotion to the first team after this performance. However it was at the start of the second half where we saw the try of the day scored. Xander caught the ball from the re-start and ran into the heart of the CCCS defenders, he then grubber kicked the ball along the ground and sprinted through the entire line to pick up his own kick and score a simply brilliant try. It just goes to show what watching the World Cup professionals can do! At the end of the game the final score was 50-25 to NCS and the score reflected the effort our boys put into defence, their tackling was magnificent. CB

Gates. Please could I ask your assistance in making sure that the front gate and gate to the pre-prep playground are kept closed? It would be much appreciated if you could ensure they are closed again once you have been through them, and politely encourage those around you to do the same. Please also pass on this message to others who may be picking up or dropping off the boys.

Old Boys. It is one of the great joys of the NCS community that once you are in it, you never leave (not in a sinister sense). So it was a real pleasure to meet up with the Old Boys’ Committee last Monday and to hear their ideas for further community involvement. Our youngest OBs are thirteen; our oldest are in their nineties – what a great span of experiences and stories. And, of course, parents are always welcome back as members of our extended community. For example, do come to chapel on 25 October at 10.00 to hear Mrs Ruth Ward, Director of Knowledge at the Government Legal Department and mother of two NCS alumni!

Charity week. This year, the Charity Committee will begin to collaborate with a different school committee each term, who together will run Charity Week among other projects. This term Charity members joined up with the Eco-Committee and chose an environmentally themed organization to support. The joint group voted on supporting Tiggywinkles, the wildlife hospital trust located in Haddenham, a specialist hospital dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating all species of British wildlife. All British wild animal casualties brought to the hospital are treated completely free of charge and are released through a controlled programme, back to the wild, when they are fully fit. They do not receive any government or lottery funding. Cake sales (50p per cake), sports tournaments (50p entry) and Home Clothes Day (£2) will continue as normal. This term we are introducing a Film Festival on Wednesday after lunch where boys can bring an empty container to purchase popcorn (50p). This term Years 3-8 will be viewing the IMAX documentary film Pandas. Tiggywinkles is also looking for donations of goods. They are most in need of newspapers, rubber gloves, old towels and pet food. More information on wanted items is available here. Items can be left under the gazebo in the playground next week.

Handwriting Competition. Please find attached information and resources from Mrs Showell-Rogers.

All Souls’ Day, Saturday 2 November at 18.15: for the feast of All Souls the choir will sing Duruflé’s Requiem and we will remember loved ones who have died. Please send names of any loved ones you would like to be remembered to the Choir Administrator, Nancy-Jane Rucker (nancy-jane.rucker@new.ox.ac.uk).

Henry IV, Part 1: a reminder that our full play rehearsals kick off on Sunday 3 November at 13.30 for all boys in Years 7 and 8. We will be working on the costuming too, so it is very important that all those boys attend and Year 8s know their lines by heart.

Forthcoming Events

Monday 21 October 2019

Charity Week

Flu Immunisations Rec - Year 6

Pre-prep reviews start

Wednesday 23 October 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Mrs Ruth Ward, Director of Knowledge, Government Legal Department

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

‘Orders’ issued

Thursday 24th October 2019

14.00 U11A Rugby vs Windmill, Home

13.00 Debate Team Preparation

Friday 27 October 2019

Home Clothes Day

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Start of Half-Term

Saturday, 2 November 2019

18.15 All Souls’ Day - Solemn Requiem, New College Chapel

Sunday, 3 November 2019

13.30 Year 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Sports Hall

Monday, 4 November 2019

Return from Half-Term

UK Parliament Week begins

Abingdon 13+ pre-test interviews start

13.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Chapel

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

10.30 Year 7 Talk from Green Biologics in Science

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

9.00 Chamber Choir rehearsal, Chapel

10.00 Remembrance Day Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Ms Helen Merrignton Rust, MBE

Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee - Charity Meeting, Yr 5 Classroom

15.45 Years 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Chapel

17.00 ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam

Thursday, 7 November 2019

13.00 Debate Team Preparation

14.00 U11 Rugby House Matches, Home

Friday, 8 November 2019

14.00 U9 A&B Rugby vs CCCS, Home

14.00 U8 A-C Tag Rugby vs CCCS, Home

Saturday, 9 November 2019

14.00 Pre-Prep fancy dress party

Sunday 10 November 2019

11.15 Years 7 & 8 Play dress rehearsal, New College Chapel

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