Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 7th December 2018

Dear Parents,

Much of my time this week has been spent reading and commenting on end-of-term reports. It’s fair to say that the most striking feature on virtually every report is the sense that pupils are contributing something special, something unique, to the life of the School. And, of course, it’s the combination of all those talents which makes for such a vibrant community of which I’m sure we can all be proud. I must also pay tribute to the perceptive insights of my colleagues, as they offer constructive advice for continuing development on these reports, which I’m sure provide a good basis for ongoing teacher-parental dialogue and partnership. Aside from reports, I’m glad to say our Christmas excitement is getting underway: decorations are up; Christmas post is being delivered; carols are being rehearsed. One of the joys of working in a prep school is that we can still make time and space to ensure this is a magical time of the year for pupils, as we join together in our Christmas celebrations. I’m most grateful to my colleagues who, with outwardly unflagging energy at any rate, are continuing to arrange many special events for the boys: this week a visit to the theatre, a trip to the JR, attendance at the Varsity Match. And, certainly, I share the sentiments of a writer in The Times Educational Supplement who said: I’d like to dedicate my column this week to teachers of infants up and down the land who are in the throes of nativity rehearsals.

Testing insulation properties in Year 5 Science; Chess tournament with Phil and Jim School; Problem-solving in Year 8S Maths; Festive treats in Cookery Club

Sport. Following last week’s success, the U8 and U9 teams played Cokethorpe School on Friday afternoon and, after two very close but competitive games away in November, we were looking forward to the games here at NCS. Both teams pleasantly surprised us as, from the first whistle to the last, the intensity was brilliant from NCS. In both games we dominated our opposition and ran in some really entertaining tries. George Walker was again outstanding for the U8 ‘A’ team as he approached and danced his way past defenders with superb skill and extremely fast running. In the U9 game George Watkins deserves a special mention for his tackling: it was hard hitting and very effective. I’m sure he put in at least three try-saving hits during the game! Two great wins to start this week on the rugby pitch. On Monday we hosted the U12 and U13 teams from D’Overbroeck’s and after last year’s loss the boys were a little wary. Once again, however, the NCS boys rallied and their exceptional teamwork shone through. In the 2nd team game the score was an impressive 8-2 to NCS and this included hat tricks for both Ayo Sofoluwe and our captain Herbie Waters. On his debut for the side, Charlie Hayter gave the tackle of the day as he hit his man straight out of the ruck. In the ‘A’ team game, the one-way traffic was even more evident and the final score was 10-2 in our favour with Joseph Conway and Callan McMillan again leading the way from the centre. The overall performance was polished and showed a real intent to get the basics right to enable the more complex play to be successful. Fraser Mackenzie at fly half was excellent and is really growing into the leadership role within the team.

On Wednesday, we had an early start of at 6.45am to ensure the U11 ‘A’ team made it on time to the IAPS rugby festival at Stroud School near Southampton. On a windy, rainy, day the rugby was excellent and the boys really stepped up their game to try and match the high standards on show. In a really tough group following some extremely exciting games, we found ourselves playing off against Boundary Park School. This was another unknown and after one or two narrow defeats the boys were keen to end the afternoon on a positive note. Everything we had been working on throughout the day finally clicked and, despite playing a tough school, we managed a 5-0 win and ran in some breathtaking tries in the process. This was a fantastic learning opportunity and it is with pride we can say that every player improved as a result of playing in such a tournament. Well done and thank you all! On Thursday, a group of Year 5 & 6 boys made the journey to London to watch Oxford do battle with Cambridge in the annual Varsity Rugby Match. This was a very exciting opportunity for the boys and amongst the 20,000 people it’s no exaggeration to say that the NCS boys were among the most well-behaved and polite: pleasure to be with. The match was very entertaining with both teams fighting hard, but in the second half the fitness and class of the Oxford team was plain to see as they put the pressure on Cambridge to run in some super tries and take the game by 38 points to 16. An emphatic win for the Dark Blues! Next week sees the last round of rugby before we turn our attention to hockey. We have Bruern Abbey for the U11 teams and the return of Christ Church for the U13s on Wednesday.

Many parents will have seen the excellent skills of the Judo Club at their recent demonstration in assembly. I’m very pleased to congratulate Jack Showell-Rogers and Patrick Smith on receiving their Judo Trophies in the Judo Club end-of-term awards for demonstrating discipline, good sportsmanship, enthusiasm and determination. Well done to them from us all and especially from their fellow Judoka and Sensei Mr Tony Wilkins.

Making Christingles in Year 2

Reception Story Time

Hilary Term Activities Sign-Up. A reminder that sign-up for next term’s activities closes tonight at 8.00 pm. A link to the Hilary Term activities brochures are below.

Prep School Brochure: http://online.anyflip.com/duvb/jtec

Pre Prep Brochure: http://online.anyflip.com/duvb/phdj/

Please find attached a poster for the Chamber Choir and Choral Society Christmas Concert on Saturday 15th December at 7.30pm in New College Chapel. Tickets (£15 full price; £10 concessions including NCS parents; £5 students; Free for u18s) are obtainable from the school office and from www.wegottickets.com/event/455265

If you’re in London before Christmas, why not join in A New College Christmas, a journey in music through Advent and Christmas in a concert given by the choristers and clerks at St John’s Smith Square on Monday 17th December at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 - £25 from www.sjss.org.uk/events/new-college-christmas

I’m delighted to announce that, following interviews this week, Mrs Victoria Hayter will join us as Year 3 form tutor in April to cover Mrs Jo Atkinson’s maternity leave. Mrs Hayter took her degree and Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Oxford Brookes and has recently been teaching at Headington Prep School. She is also well-known to us as an NCS parent. I’m sure parents will join me in welcoming her in her new NCS role.

Library Books. Please could all books be returned to the Library by Monday for return or renewal and then from Tuesday onwards borrowing for the Christmas holidays can take place. I know it’s a busy time of the year, but please encourage the boys to search out any library books lurking in hidden corners of their bedrooms or at the bottom of school bags and bring them in on Monday. And please remind them to sign books out properly! Many thanks.

Please find attached Mrs Hess’s 2018 Christmas Quiz. Completed quiz sheets to her in the Library by the end of the first week of next term. There will be the usual festive chocolate prizes!

Snow (or other extreme weather). Although the weather has been unusually mild over the last few days, it’s the time of year when I should remind parents that in the event of an overnight snowfall or other extreme winter weather, we usually remain open because we have a number of staff who live very locally. But please do not feel that simply because we are open you have to make dangerous efforts to get here if road conditions are problematic. An update on weather conditions here will be sent by Parentmail and will appear on the Home page of our website just before 7.00am on any such mornings.

The events at the end of term and associated arrangements are listed again below for your convenience. Please do join us if you can. Please note that there are no after school activities except for Chamber Choir in the last week of term.

And there is no School Service on Wednesday, because we shall be practising for the Carol Service.

My thanks to everyone who is beavering away to organize the NCSPA Christmas Fair and to everyone who has brought in gifts for the stalls. It should be a very enjoyable occasion. Do remember to let your sons have a small amount of pocket money if they wish to buy gifts for family and friends.

Tuesday 11th December – Chamber Choir sing at the Christmas Market, 5.30-6.00pm. All NCS families welcome to support!

Thursday 13th DecemberPre-Prep Nativity Play: 2.00 pm School Hall. Written and directed by Mrs Cox and performed by members of Pre-Prep. Tickets are limited to two per family and are available from Pre-Prep teachers. Limited parking on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis will be available in the school grounds from 1.30pm onwards. The play will finish at approximately 2.45 pm. Parents should then be able to collect their children from form tutors and take them to the Christmas Fair.

Thursday 13th December –NCSPA Christmas Fair for boys and parents 2.00-4.30 pm Sports Hall. As in previous years, there will be a number of vendors offering an interesting mix of items for sale as well as special stalls for the boys. Refreshments will be available in the dining room and there will be a selection of delicious homemade cakes and biscuits on sale. Year 3 upwards will be able to visit the Fair during school time, and should bring any shopping money in a named purse to be handed to form teachers during the day for safe-keeping as appropriate. Pre-prep boys can visit with their parents after the end of the Nativity play. Visitors to the Fair may park in the school grounds if space permits, but no earlier than 1.30pm

Friday 14th December – New College School Carol Service: 11.00 am New College Chapel. Parents and friends are warmly invited to join us for our traditional carol service in the College Chapel, attended by all the boys. Pupils will be reading and the music will be provided by our instrumentalists, the pre-prep, junior and chamber choirs and the Choristers. There will be plenty of opportunities for the congregational singing too! Limited parking is available again on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis in the school grounds but please do not arrive to park before 10.35 am because we want boys to have their morning break unimpeded by cars.

The carol service finishes at approximately 11.50 am. School ends at 12 noon. Parents should collect boys from School not from the Chapel. On their return from the Chapel, boys will collect belongings from their classrooms. Boys in Pre-Prep should be collected from Pre-Prep classrooms. Boys in Years 3 – 8 will be brought to the Sports Hall where they will meet up with parents. Please be sure to meet them in the Sports Hall and not in the car park: the former is much safer!

Next term begins on Wednesday 9th January at 8.20am for the prep school and 8.45am for the pre-prep, by which time we shall have moved the Pre-Prep and Years 3 & 4 into the interim building, which is looking very smart indeed. Parents and friends are invited to join us for ribbon-cutting and cake and an opportunity to view the building at 10.00am instead of our usual beginning of term service. There will also be an opportunity to see round the building at pick-up time on the same day.

A reminder of the dates for Parents’ Evenings next term.

16th January, 6pm Year 6 parents’ evening

23rd January, 6pm Year 3 & Year 8S parents’ evening

30th January, 6pm Year 4 parents’ evening

13th February, 6pm Year 5 parents’ evening (not 6th March, as previously advertised)

27th February, 6pm Year 8 parents’ evening

12th March, 5.30pm Pre-Prep parents’ evening

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 8 December 2018

16.30 NC Choir: Old Members’ Carol Service

19.30 NC Choir: St Thomas’s Feast

Monday, 10 December 2018

No after school activities in the last week of term

14.00 U13 Rugby Housematches, Home

16.00 Choristers’ Christmas Party, Red Room

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

14.15 U11A Rugby v Bruern Abbey, Away

14.15 U11B Rugby v Bruern Abbey, Home

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Form Period: reports discussed and issued

No School Service

9.00 Carol Service practice

Christmas Lunch

Pre-Prep Dress Rehearsal

12.30 Choristers depart for Concert at St George's Hanover Square

Thursday, 13 December 2018

9.00 Readers to Chapel

14.00 Pre-Prep Nativity Play, School Hall

14.00 NCSPA Christmas Fair, Sports Hall

Friday, 14 December 2018

9.00 End of Term Assembly

11.00 Carol Service in Chapel

End of Term 12.00 noon

Saturday, 15 December 2018

19.30 NCS Choral Society ChristmasConcert, New College Chapel

Monday, 17 December 2018

NC Choir: Christmas Concert, St John's Smith Square


Monday, 7 January 2019


Tuesday, 8 January 2019


14.00 Pre-season hockey training, Iffley Road Sports Ground

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Start of Term. 8.20 Prep School, 8.45 Pre-Prep

10.00 Opening of the Interim Building (No Chapel Service)

All parents and friends welcome. Refreshments will be served.

After School Activities Start

Friday, 11 January 2019

First Evensong

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Start of University Term

17.45 Epiphany Carol Service, New College Chapel

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