Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 29th MArch 2019
Today’s joyous Words and Music in Chapel caught much of what I regard as the essential spirit of NCS. Every age-group in the School was involved, singing with conviction, style and a desire to give of their best. And then also listening with attentive generosity as their friends gave poetry readings. They all set themselves, and achieve, high standards and I’m sure parents will share my sense of pride in such an accomplished conclusion to the term. The Hilary Term is always a busy one with significant opportunities for the boys in and outside the classroom. As ever, I’m grateful for the imagination and energy of my colleagues in encouraging them to develop their talents and interests in so many different ways. In my book, the overriding objective of education should be constantly to promote a happy intellectual curiosity in as many areas of life as possible. And, certainly, this term has again proved that the whole NCS community is more than willing to run with that objective.
Congratulations to the Chamber Choir and the Choral Society on a fine performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas last Saturday. The quality and spirit of the boys’ singing, which included some dextrous solo work, was widely appreciated and the boys clearly enjoyed the drama of the operatic themes. My warmest thanks Mr Neal and to the all who supported the venture in so many helpful ways.
Equally impressive was the French Play, La Folie de Mort, which delighted us all this week. The quality and panache of the spoken French and the assured acting and singing made for a memorable first production in our interim hall, which had been carefully adapted thanks to the good offices of the Maintenance Department. And the evening was rounded-off in style with the French Café (thank you parents for your input) and examples of further confident French-speaking. Huge thanks to Mrs Brown and Mrs Phillips who brought it all together so skilfully.
Sport. As another hockey season comes to a close, we can certainly reflect on what a fine term this has been for the boys. Throughout the School and right across the teams we have enjoyed great success at every level. It has been an absolute pleasure to witness the development of the U8 and U9 teams in their training sessions and then their games where they have had great wins vs MCS and Brockhurst School. All eight teams at this age group have been outstanding and again we have seen two or three goal keepers push themselves forward to keep the strong tradition of talented NCS keepers going. We have had an unprecedented season in the U11, U12 and U13 age groups with all three teams qualifying for the South of England Regional Championships! To achieve this, the boys have to compete in the Oxfordshire County Cup and, this year, the U13 team were runners-up but both the U11 and U12 teams were county champions. At the finals, the U11 and U13 teams both won silver medals in the plate competition which meant they were ranked 10th in the South, but the U12 team made it to the semi-finals of the cup competition and, as a result, finished in fourth place in the South of England. In all three of these tournaments we have faced some of the biggest and best hockey schools in the country and have not only competed with them but now we can confidently and proudly say that we are one of them! Every boy who played in these matches should be extremely proud of their efforts, but the following deserve special mention for their skill and endeavours: Joseph Conway, Ben Harkness, Dylan Jamieson and Fraser Mackenzie. In the experience of the Sports Department, these are four of the most talented boys to pass through NCS and it has been a pleasure hear of their memorable contributions. As well as the county cups, the boys have competed in the IAPS tournaments. The U13 team played at St Faith’s School, Cambridge where they narrowly missed out on qualification and the U11 team once again were at Haileybury School where for the fourth time in succession they qualified for the National Finals at Rugby School. The finals were a very tough round of matches and on this occasion the boys did not quite make the latter stages; but for a school of our size to yet again be there is a testament to the strength of hockey here. A semi-final appearance at the Stowe School festival and a second place at the annual Dragon School tournament capped off a fantastic season for the NCS and clearly shows that hockey will be in good shape for a few years yet!
Away from the hockey pitches, the Year 2 rugby team have been in impressive form lately having played first Summerfields School and more recently at the Moulsford Festival. In these fixtures the boys have experienced drawn games, defeats and of course the elation that comes with winning! In all of these experiences the boys have conducted themselves with impressive maturity and have learnt to be gracious whatever the outcome.
On the football pitches, the U11 teams competed in the U11 festival at Sibford School where the ‘B’ team managed a creditable ninth place overall and the ‘A’ team made it to semi-finals. Well done to all our sportsmen on the many remarkable achievements of this term