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Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 17th May 2019

Dear Parents,

One of the things I’ve always admired about NCS pupils is their sense of occasion. In my book, learning when to be on your best behaviour or when you can relax a bit is an important part of education. As teachers and parents, we need to be sensitive to the need to give children time to be themselves if we also expect them to step up to more grown-up standards at certain times. Too often educational fashion has swung too far to one extreme or the other. But, as with many things, balance and rationality is all. If we explain to children why they need to be still or silent for a particular occasion, then they most usually take it onboard; but the corollary is that we must give them genuine down-time too. Expectations are at the heart of it. I was with Year 8 on their outing to see As You Like It at the RSC in Stratford this week and, as ever, they were a credit to the School. But that didn’t stop the initial apprehensiveness of theatre staff and fellow-theatre-goers who clearly expected to be on their guard. Equally, the photographers who came in to take our school photograph earlier this week remarked somewhat quizzically on the good sense of the boys. Over the years, as the boys move about Oxford or travel much further afield, I’ve had many (surprised) compliments about their consideration for others, but that hasn’t meant that they don’t run around in loud and raucous enjoyment when given appropriate time and space to do so. Best behaviour for one environment and relaxed behaviour for another. Children know the deal. On the whole children don’t like to let teachers or parents down, so let’s not be surprised when they meet our clearly-stated expectations. In a rather different scenario, I once caught a young pickpocket stealing a woman’s purse in Venice and expressed great surprise at his crime, whereupon he meekly gave it back to her. Expect good behaviour and express great surprise at any bad – it does work!

Junior concerts; Pre-Prep playtime; Building hydraulic puppets in Year 5 DT; Eco-Committee littler pick

Sport. This week have enjoyed warm sunny conditions with some very exciting games of cricket and tennis being played. Last Friday afternoon, Years 3 & 4 were hosted by Cokethorpe School in two extremely entertaining games of cricket. The ‘A’ team, despite bowling extremely well, were just short of the target set by Cokethorpe. The NCS team just lacked the fire power needed to hit the boundary and keep the scoreboard ticking over. Mr Bishop urged all members of this team to spend a few hours in the park hitting balls this weekend! In the ‘B’ team game, Mr Rose was very pleased with the boys and, thanks to the efforts in the field, they restricted their opposition to 45 runs. And with some good batting, they surpassed this total to win the game to ensure honours were even by the end of the afternoon. On Monday, the U11 tennis team played a cracking fixture Vs MCS. This was truly a lovely relaxed fixture played in super sunny conditions with all boys in good spirits. The tennis on display was fiercely competitive and of a high quality. Our number one pairing (Timon Bergmann and Ben Harkness) and were victorious in their games against the MCS number one and number two pairings and our number three pair (Henry Jones and William Kelsey) drew their match 1-1. Overall, we narrowly lost the fixture 29 games to 21 but the signs are very positive and, with a bit of work on our serves, the re-match in June looks promising!

Back on the cricket pitch, the U12 team played a very strong Summer Fields 3rd XI on Wednesday afternoon. Despite playing a much stronger team than we anticipated, the boys were not worried and were determined to do their best. Batting first we amassed a very impressive 110 for 9 with Fraser Mackenzie clearly the star of the show hitting 85 not out. His swashbuckling innings was a master class in disciplined batting with Fraser not playing a rash shot for the entire stand. Not only did he hit a number of boundaries, including a great 6, but he also took the singles thanks to blocking and driving the ball at the right time. With the ball, the boys battled hard for 25 overs and were doing great work to keep the run rate high and challenge the Summer Fields team. However, a 4 in the final over meant that our hosts just got home with two balls to spare. Finally this week, the U11 ‘A’ & ‘B’ teams have been in action against Christ Church Cathedral School and, as usual, two very enjoyable games were played out. The ‘B’ team were in dominant mood and made short work of the game. Amassing over 100 runs in the NCS innings, they were never in trouble as CCCS managed only 40 in reply. A great team effort and a super win. In the ‘A’ team match things were not a straight forward as our 3 opening batsmen fell to ducks! Jack Rothery steadied the ship well though, and his 24 shored up the innings. And with Benedict Furger’s 6 not out towards the end, we had something to bowl at! With the ball and in the field it was a genuine team effort with every boy playing their part in dismissing our guests for only 25 runs to take a well -deserved win. Despite the victory, it is clear looking at the score card that a more focussed approach to batting would reap further rewards.

Our chess players have been out in force for the U9 semi-final for the English Primary Schools Chess Association’s National Primary Schools Championships and finished as the top bronze team, ranked 22nd =, a superb achievement in this nationwide competition. Well done to Peter Kendall, Finn Lawrence, Vedant Mohan, Ashwin Satsangi, Isaac Wang and Emil Yang,

Well done to all who performed so thoughtfully and confidently in the Junior Concerts this week. It was a real pleasure to listen to some very good music-making!

Using our senses outside in Year 1 Wild Learning

Rhythm composition in Year 6 Music

Next week is Charity Week in aid of Sightsavers www.sightsavers.org, an international non-governmental organisation that works with partners in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness, and to promote equality for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. As ever, we are not only raising funds, but also the boys’ awareness of the needs of those with impaired sight. Please do encourage your son to support the daily cake sales during morning breaks, not only by buying cakes, but also baking them! Cakes will be priced from 50p each. Home Clothes Day will be on Friday, 24th May. Boys are asked to donate £2 towards the charity for the privilege of wearing home clothes on that day.

I’m very much looking forward to the Sheldonian Concert next Thursday (23rd May) and delighted that so many parents, former parents and old boys can be with us to enjoy the whole school’s talents. Following my parentmail earlier this week, please make sure you let form tutors know of after school and post-concert collection arrangements as soon as possible. Please particularly note that all boys should be collected from school by 5.00pm at the latest and delivered to form tutors at the Sheldonian between 5.30pm and 5.45pm. A few tickets for the concert are still available from the School Office.

Please find attached a letter from Oxford City Council about Oxford Green Week which is taking place from 8th -16th June. There are many exciting activities for all the family highlighting eco strategies and initiatives. It all looks worth a visit and certainly very much ties in with the work of our Eco Committee here.

Dates for your Diaries. The end of the Trinity Term always brings with it some very happy celebratory events at which we hope to see a good number of parents. Here is some advanced notice for your diaries.

Wednesday 12th June Senior Concerts, School Hall, 5.15pm and 6.15pm

Thursday 13th June Pre-Prep Instrumental Concert, Sports Hall, 2.00pm

Friday 14th June Open Morning and Open Art Studio, 10.00am

Monday 17th June Year 8 Playreading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cloisters, 6.45pm; Summer Drinks Evening, Cloisters, 7.45- 9.00pm

Wednesday 19th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 2.00pm

Thursday 20th June Years 3 & 4’s HMS Pinafore, School Hall, 6.00pm

Saturday 22nd June Wykeham Day (Concert, Cricket Match, BBQ, School Fete), Field, 12 noon onwards; Last Evensong, Chapel, 6.00pm; Old Boys Dinner, 7.30pm

Monday 1st July Choristers’ Concert, Chapel, 5.30pm

Tuesday 2nd July Sports Day. Pre-Prep 10.00am; Prep School, 11.00am, Iffley Road

Wednesday 3rd July Leavers’ Service, Chapel, 10.00am; Pre-Prep Summer Show, School Hall 2.00pm; Leavers vs Fathers Cricket, Field 6.00pm

Thursday 4th July Leavers’ Concert and Reception, University Church, 7.00pm

Friday 5th July Prizegiving for Years 3-8 to which parents of prizewinners will be invited nearer the time.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Monday, 20 May 2019

National Walk to School Week

Charity week in aid of Sightsavers

Pre-Prep Reviews start; Years 3 & 4 form tests start

PSB French Listening and Speaking Tests start

9.00 U11A Cricket, Millfield IAPS, Away

14.00 U13 Cricket House Matches, Home

19.30 NCS Choral Society Rehearsal, Sports Hall

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Orders in Years 3-8 issued

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

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

12.45 Orchestra rehearsal, Gym (finish 13:45)

14.30 1st XI Cricket vs Dragon, Home

14.30 2nd XI Cricket vs Dragon, Home

Thursday, 23 May 2019

9.00 Whole School rehearsal for Sheldonian Theatre Concert

13.00 Orchestra rehearsal for Sheldonian Theatre Concert

18.00 Sheldonian Theatre Concert, followed by a reception in New College Antechapel

Friday, 24 May 2019

Home Clothes Day

14.00 U8 Cricket vs CCCS, Home

14.00 U9 Cricket vs CCCS, Away

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Start of Half Term

Thursday, 30 May 2019

18.15 Ascension Day Service, New College Chapel

Monday, 3 June 2019

Return from Half-Term

Years 5 – 8 Assessment Week

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

U11 A&B Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Away

U11 C&D Cricket vs Cokethorpe, Home

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel (Pre-Prep only) Led by Pre-Prep. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

14.15 1st XI Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, Home

Thursday, 6 June 2019

9.45 "Bach to School" concert trip (Year 4), St Michael at the North Gate (return 11:30)

14.00 U11 Cricket House Matches, Home

Friday, 7 June 2019

12.30 Year 2 trip to Natural History Museum

14.15 U9 A&B Cricket vs Dragon, Away

19.30 Leavers' Dinner, HM’s Lodgings & Dining Hall

Saturday, 8 June 2019

18.05 NC Choir: Three Choirs' Evensong, Christ Church Cathedral

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