Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 5th October 2018

Dear Parents,

I’ve heard of two schools recently where they are building new assembly halls so that the whole school can meet together under one roof in a shared experience. I think more and more schools are coming again to realise the value of a daily (or at least regular) gathering in building up common interests and values. As I watch the boys’ unaffected attentiveness in our assemblies I’m always impressed by their capability and willingness to find out new things, even if that involves a bit of a challenge. And they are very fortunate to have a whole group of teachers who share their breadth of outlook so engagingly. This week, for example, I know a number of Year 5 parents were able to share in a most dramatic presentation, masterminded by Mrs Brown, of life on board the French frigate Hermione which took General Lafayette and naval and military reinforcements to support the American War of Independence. A lesser-known angle on that bit of history and some pretty graphic detail of 18th century ship-life which clearly captured everyone’s imagination. More philosophically, Mr Neal challenged us to think about what constitutes real happiness and it was good to see boys of all ages reflecting so intently upon one of the essences of human existence. The Revd Dr Lamb from the University Church got the wordsmiths going as he showed how the words ‘Share’, ‘Eat’ and ‘Starve’ all, amongst others, can be derived from the word ‘Harvest.’ And Mrs Hess launched National Poetry Day with references to Herbert, Keats, Auden and Karl Nova, the latter with his specially-composed rap on ‘Change’, the theme of this year’s National Poetry Day (see him in action https://clpe.org.uk/files/change-karl-nova). It seems to me a pretty stimulating intellectual feast for the week and I’m grateful for the evident appetite of boys and colleagues for it all. Every morning there’s something we can learn from each other and that can’t be a bad thing.

Poetry Slam in the Library; Making Hobbit houses in Pottery; Settlements in Year 6 Geography; Reasons for enlistment in Year 5 History; Latin translation puzzles in Year 8; Pre-Prep Story Time

Sport. Last week, on Friday afternoon, NCS played host to five schools in the annual U9 football Challenge Cup. As defending champions, we had high hopes and, off the back of three wins in previous weeks, the boys were in good form. However, an opening loss vs Thorngrove was not the best start! But the boys rallied and we overcame Cothill 3-1 and a 0-0 draw vs CCCS secured third place behind eventual winners MCS and second place Thorngrove. Having beaten MCS the previous week, we were left wondering what could have been? On Monday and Wednesday the senior teams were playing Thorngrove and Summerfields respectively and after a “bad day” on Monday, we knew we had to rally on Wednesday vs Summerfields. Mr Bishop had the pleasure of taking the U13 ‘B’ team and they did indeed play extremely well and secured a well-deserved 1-1 draw, with Edward Bennett and Xander Quinney having excellent games in attack and Lyndon Chen in defence. The ‘C’ team (without our play maker Freddie East who was missing due to a training ground injury) were dogged and gave everything, but went down 3-0. Mr Rose tells me that they had a great game and additions to the team played their part very well indeed. Despite scoring a great goal in the first half, the 1st team once again succumbed to second-half pressure: this loss of concentration was all the visitors needed to score 3 unanswered goals to in the second half to win 4-1. The message from the coaches is for the boys to play more as a team to realise the potential we know they have and the results will come. Finally this week, the U11 ‘A’ team played in the ISFA regional tournament at Elstree School. This was a selection of some the best football-playing prep schools from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The boys had a wonderful afternoon and, as the first NCS boys to enter this event we were a little unsure of what was to come. In a very tough opening game against Claremont School, we managed a 1-0 win and secured our first points of the day. The second game vs Ludgrove we lost 3-1 but felt proud of our efforts against a strong team. Our last group game was against the recent Cheam who had previously beaten Ludgrove, so another very tough game. This was a superb game with NCS dominating large areas of the pitch. Benedict Furger had the best game of his day and scored a brilliant goal to win the game 1-0. This was enough to see us joint top of the group on 6 points and facing Brockhurst in the next round. In another tight game with some superb football being played from the boys, Ethan McMillan continued to be outstanding with tireless running as our lone striker. A second half goal was enough for the win and, despite a nerve jangling last 3 minutes, we won and were into the quarter finals. Having made it this far it was clear that Hugh Vine who had worked extremely hard to get a place in the ‘A’ team was becoming invaluable at the back: we have never seen him defend so well! Facing Lambrook School in the quarter finals we went 1-0 down to a great goal, but Jack Rothery scored the goal of the day with a free kick close to the halfway line that rocketed in and forced the game into a penalty shoot-out! Both teams could have won the game in normal time with shots going close to both goals. In the shoot-out the much larger Lambrook keeper played his part and we lost 2-0. This was a superb achievement for the boys at their first attempt in this tournament. To reach the latter stages of such a prestigious event and to lose only on penalties was a moment we should all be very proud of. The team was: Timon Bergmann, Benedict Furger, Ben Harkness, William Kelsey, Ethan McMillan, Leo Magnotta, Jack Rothery, Edmund Visintin and Hugh Vine.

In other sporting news, congratulations to Peter Kendall who has won the Under 8 section of the Shenley Chess Congress with a perfect score of six games out of six, and was named the champion. It was a great pleasure to present him with a magnificent trophy in Chapel this week.

Many thanks to boys and parents who helped at last Saturday’s Open Morning. I have had many expressions of appreciation from prospective parents about the warm, informative welcome they received from all sections of the NCS community. Please can I remind all current parents that early registration of siblings is recommended as our places do fill up quickly for several years ahead.

I’m looking forward to the NCSPA Quiz Night this evening, 7.00 for 7.30pm in the Sports Hall. My thanks to all who have put in a great deal to planning and preparing the event, especially our quizmasters Professors Chris Timmel & Stuart Mackenzie. I’m sure it will all be great fun.

The first Evensong of University Term is also this evening in New College Chapel at 6.15pm. We wish the choristers well for the start of their singing term and especially those who will be surpliced on Sunday evening and those to whom we say farewell, their voices having changed as they make the momentous transition to adolescence. NCS families are always welcome to College services which are at 6.15pm Monday – Saturday (but no service on Wednesdays) and 5.45pm on Sundays.

All boys and teachers new to NCS this term will be formally admitted to the School (in Latin!) by the Warden of New College, Mr Miles Young, at our Beginning of Year Service in New College Chapel on Wednesday, 10th October at 10.00am. Choristers will lead the service. Parents, relatives and friends are warmly welcome: please put this very special occasion in your calendars. There will be coffee/tea after the service for visitors in the Undercroft.

Pre-Prep Reviews will be held throughout the week beginning Monday 15th October. Please fix a mutually convenient time to discuss your son’s progress with his class teacher. Orders for the prep school will be sent home with pupils on Wednesday 17th October.

Charity Week, in aid of The Big Cat Sanctuary, www.thebigcatsanctuary.org also begins on Monday 15th October. As is customary, there will be a daily cake sale during morning breaks. Please encourage your sons to get baking and to bring in some money to buy cakes, which will be 50p each. The week will culminate in a Home Clothes Day on Friday, 19th October. Boys are asked to donate £2 on that Friday morning towards the charity for this privilege. The Big Cat Sanctuary operates a centre of excellence in Kent dedicated to the captive breeding of endangered big cats within the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP), with the eventual aim of providing animals for scientifically based re-introduction projects. The sanctuary also aims to become involved in field work in areas of the world which still have endangered wild cat populations.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Friday, 5 October 2018

18.15 First Evensong

19.00 for 19.30 Quiz Night

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Start of University Term

17.45 Chorister Surplicing. Tea beforehand at 3.30pm

Monday, 8 October 2018

13.45 U13 Football Housematches, Home

16.00 U12&13 X Country vs Dragon, Away

18.15 Old Boys’ Committee Meeting, HM Study

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

14.00 U11 A&B football vs Cokethorpe, Away

14.00 U11 C&D football vs Cokethorpe, Home

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

10.00 Beginning of Year Service, New College Chapel. Speaker: The Warden. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

13.00 U9 A&B Rugby vs St Hugh's, Away

14.00 U13A Football vs Cothill & Lambrook, Away

14.00 U13B Football vs Cothill & Lambrook, Away

Thursday, 11 October 2018

15.30 U11 A&B Rugby vs MCS, Away

15.30 U10 A&B Rugby vs MCS, Away

Friday, 12 October 2018

14.00 U9 A&B Football vs Cokethorpe, Away

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Abingdon pre-test (Year 7 for September 2020 entry)

14.30 NC Choir: Memorial Service for Professor Sir Roger Elliott

Sunday, 14 October

17.45 Lutheran Vespers, New College Chapel

Monday, 15 October 2018

Charity Week in aid of The Big Cat Sanctuary

Visit of students from Artevelde University College, Ghent

Pre-prep reviews start

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

‘Orders’ issued

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel Speaker: The Revd Susan Bridge, Assistant College Chaplain. Coffee in the Undercroft afterwards for parents and visitors

13.00 U9 & U11 Swim vs Sibford, Away

14.15 U13 A Rugby vs CCCS, Home

14.15 U13 B&C Rugby vs CCCS, Away

Friday, 19 October 2018

Home Clothes Day

14.00 U9 Football Housematches, Home

19.30 NC Choir: Concert for Oxford Lieder Festival : No Evensong

Saturday, 20 October 2018

NA Start of Half-Term

Sunday, 28 October 2018

13.00 Year 7 & 8 Play rehearsal, Sports Hall

17.45 College Commemoration Service, Chapel

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