Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 6th December 2019

Dear Parents,

It is quite easy to become jaded about politics, especially with the frequency of elections and the deterioration in the quality of public discourse. But that jadedness is dangerous and can too easily lead to us becoming disengaged from the political scene because, many would argue, ‘they’re all the same’ or ‘they’re all lying’. Why bother, they say, if nothing really changes or promises are reneged upon at the first opportunity? That electoral ennui is enough of a spur for us to ensure our boys do get engaged in public debate, that they do take an interest in people beyond themselves, and that they do learn what it is to be civic minded.

Part of that civic mindedness is learning about our political process and what it means to vote. NCS is currently abuzz with our own mock election, with four different political ‘parties’ (bearing no relation to real ones, beyond their colours, I suppose) vying for the votes of the school community. It is great to see some of the older boys think-tanking about potentially attractive policies – those concerning care for animals seem especially popular – and learning how to respectfully canvas for votes. Indeed, we are of course very keen for that word ‘respect’ to underpin our mock election, in the hope that such a respectful approach will seep into more public discourse when the boys are themselves old enough to engage with it directly. Playgrounds have, historically, been fertile grounds for mob-fuelled demagoguery. Not here, I’m delighted to say, and even the slightest populist urges have been quietly curtailed to ensure the boys vote on issues not personalities, on conscience rather than charisma. And, luckily, there are no Twitter feeds for the candidates to vent their spleens about the opposition; very few of those candidates have business interests in the Ukraine. Our election will take place next Monday and the results will be announced later in the week. One of our Year 8s will pick up the keys to No. 10 shortly thereafter.

Building buzz wire games in Year 6; Agility training in Reception; Investigating burning in Year 7; Pre-Prep playtime; Composing and performing rhythms in Year 5

It might seem a little odd to be thinking about all of this when we are normally preparing for Christmas, but the chaplain reminded us in chapel on Wednesday that Advent is in part a season for meditating on leadership and responsibility. I am happy to reassure you that this part of the ritual year is also progressing as normal. The Christmas trees are up, the advent wreath candles are being lit in assembly each morning, carols are being sung, cards written and disseminated. The boys’ shoulders are down as they realise they are just a week away from a well-earned Christmas break. More about which anon.

All best wishes,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Lady Constance Lytton

Artwork of the Week: Mozart’s violin sonata in B flat (as played by Timon in Monday’s assembly)

Word of the Week: suffrage

Savile Road parking. Could I politely ask those dropping off or picking up their sons by car to turn off their engines while they wait? Many thanks.

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. The boys can also avail themselves of all the wonderful Christmas-themed books currently on display as well. We appreciate it is 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 2019 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!

This term some of Year 3 have spent their Monday lunchtime activity discovering what makes a museum. They have explored archaeology and artefacts, conservation and curatorship and created their own story based around two objects. Using their discoveries, they have created their own "Cabinet of Curiosities" of objects that they found interesting. This will be open for the Private View on Monday 9 December, from 15.30-16.00. Their "Virtual Museum" will be accessible online.

Snow (or other extreme weather). 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 on any such mornings.

My very best wishes to the choristers as they continue their Christmas schedule. In addition to their services in College, the boys will be singing at St John’s Smith Square on Monday 16 December at 19.30.

Tuesday 10 December – Chamber Choir sing at the Christmas Market, 5.30-6.00pm. Do come along to support the boys – joining in if you’d like.

There is no School Service next Wednesday, because we shall be practising for the carol service.

Huge thanks to everyone who is helping to organise the NCSPA Christmas Fair on Thursday 12 December 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.

Thursday 12 December – Pre-Prep Nativity Play: 14.00 School Hall. Written and directed by Mrs Cox and performed by members of Pre-Prep. Limited parking on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis will be available in the school grounds from 13.30 onwards. The play will finish at approximately 14.45. Parents should then be able to collect their children from form tutors and take them to the Christmas Fair. There will also be a very polished (!) earlier performance on Wednesday 11 December at 14.00; again, limited parking will be available from 13.30 on a first-come-first-served basis. Tickets should be in the boys’ book bags today.

Friday 14 December – New College School Carol Service: 11.00 New College Chapel. Doors open at 10.15. Pupils will be reading and the music will be provided by the Pre-Prep, junior and chamber choirs and the choristers. There will be plenty of opportunities for 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 because we want boys to have their morning break unimpeded by cars. As advised by Mrs McCusker a few weeks ago, due to recently implemented College fire regulations we have been forced to limit numbers at the service and therefore entry is strictly by ticket only. We are already at the capacity allowed us by the fire regs and we do not want people to be disappointed on the day, so please do not come unless you have a ticket in your possession (and please let friends and relatives know this too). If you have received tickets and know you will be unable to use them, please return them to the school office so they can be redistributed.

School ends at 12.00 on Friday 14 December. 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. Years 3-4 can be picked up from their form rooms to avoid them crossing the playground while cars are in motion. Boys in Years 5-8 will be brought to the sports hall where they will meet up with parents. Please be sure to meet them there and not in the car park: the former is much safer!

The Oxford & Cambridge Singing School Christmas Course will be on Friday 20 December 2019, for children aged 7-13, at St Barnabus' Church, Jericho. The repertoire will centre on sumptuous festive music by Peter Warlock, Thomas Ravenscroft, John Joubert and John Rutter plus some traditional favourites. These courses are for children and young adults who love to sing and are devised to include choral singing, singing lessons in small groups to focus on developing vocal technique, music appreciation, music history, music theory in the form of games and exercises - all to improve their general musicianship, technical ability and confidence. The children will perform an informal concert at the end of the day, to which family are warmly invited to attend. For those who aren't familiar with the courses, please follow this link: https://vimeo.com/288600178/9108897ee8 Bursaries are available on the course courses and booking is via www.oxbridgesingingschool.com

Charities. https://www.schoolreaders.org are looking for volunteers to help listen to pupils in primary schools, thereby helping to improve their literacy. If you would like more information, do visit their website or contact Mrs Brown. On Thursday we heard in assembly from Mrs Showell-Rogers about the Community Emergency Foodbank and her family’s three-day challenge to eat very limited provisions. If you would like to learn more, or support the charity, please visit http://www.cefoxford.co.uk/

Please note that there will be no Saturday morning school tomorrow.

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 7 December 2019

University Term ends

Sunday, 8 December 2019

16.00 Christmas Carol Service, New College Chapel (TICKET ONLY)

Monday, 9 December 2019

No after school activities in the last week of term

14.15 U13A Rugby vs D'Overbroeck's, Home

16.00 Choristers’ Christmas Party, Red Room

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

14.15 U11A Rugby v Bruern Abbey, Home

14.15 U11B Rugby v Bruern Abbey, Away

17.30 Chamber Choir carol-singing (Oxford Christmas Market)

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Form Period: reports discussed and issued

No School Service

9.00 Carol Service practice

Christmas Lunch

14.00 Pre-Prep Nativity Play

14.30 U13 A-C Rugby vs CCCS, Home/Away

16.30 College Staff Family Carol Service

Thursday, 12 December 2019

9.00 Readers to Chapel

14.00 Pre-Prep Nativity Play

14.00 NCSPA Christmas Fair, Sports Hall

19.30 NC Choir: Sheldonian John Rutter Concert

Friday, 13 December 2019

9.00 End of Term Assembly

11.00 Carol Service in Chapel

End of Term 12.00 noon

Saturday, 14 December 2019

16.00 NC Choir: Old Members’ Carol Service

19.30 St Thomas’s Feast

Sunday, 15 December 2019

14.00 Rehearsal (Chamber Choir, Choral Society), New College Chapel

19.00 Concert: Wassail! (Chamber Choir, Choral Society), New College Chapel

Monday, 16 December 2019

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

Monday, 6 January 2020


Tuesday, 7 January 2020


10.30 Pre-season hockey training (Years 7-8), St Edward's astro

14.00 Pre-season hockey training (Years 3-6), Iffley Road Sports Ground

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Start of Term

After School Activities Start

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Headmaster. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

Thursday, 9 January 2020

10.30 Year 6 Science talk

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Memorial service for Peter Dickens (choristers only)

9.30 U11 A WHS PS Hockey Festival, Away

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