Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 28th February 2020

Dear Parents,

Welcome back after what I hope was a restful half-term break. I appreciate that it isn’t always a rest to have the boys back at home, especially when juggling a job that doesn’t break for a week, but hopefully their company was enjoyable nonetheless!

We are finishing up our mid-academic-year reviews at the moment, encouraging the boys to reflect on their performance and the development of their underlying skills as we reach the half-way point of the academic year. It is all very well my colleagues and I pointing out what the boys have done well, and the areas in which they can develop, but unless the boys take ‘ownership’ of that development it is less likely to happen. The introduction a couple of years ago of ‘notes to self’ as part of our marking system has made a big difference in that respect – the boys have to read what my colleagues have written, process it, and respond. We are also working on other ways that we can aid the boys’ self-reflection as part of our overall reporting system, and we will be rolling out slight reforms over the next year or so. As I mentioned, this is partly to do with reflecting on the acquisition of subject knowledge – the boys do need to know stuff. But alongside this it is perfectly simple to encourage the boys to develop their learning skills or habits (categorised, as any NCS boy should be able to tell you, as: thinking and learning, reviewing and improving, communicating, collaboration, independence and leadership). So when we ask the boys to review and set themselves targets, it is not just about saying ‘I want to be better at History’, they need to identify which learning behaviours will help in that process. Otherwise it’s just a random aspiration without the rungs on the ladder to achieve it.

Measuring heat radiation; Playtime snow; Creating rainbow fish; unveiling the angel

This half of term will disappear before we know it, not least because there are so many special events to look forward to within it, including (but not limited to!): World Book Day, our SHTEAM Festival, the French Play, and the poetry competition, culminating in our Words and Music event in chapel at the end of term. So buckle up and enjoy all these events as the boys get to experience so much enrichment beyond their day-to-day curriculum which, I would also like to add, is already quite something. But then I would say that, and I am very thankful to have so many talented and dedicated colleagues who go above and beyond to make sure the boys get so many opportunities.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Person of the Week: Bobby Moore

Artwork of the Week: ‘Killing Me Softly’ by Lauryn Hill (after Roberta Flack)

Word of the Week: expunge

Sport. As we returned from the half term break we were straight into action with the U13 boys all playing in a friendly fixture against D’Overbroeck’s. In four keenly contested games the NCS teams came out on top in three and drew the fourth. It was a very useful exercise in getting back into the groove of match play and testing our skills against tenacious opposition. A special mention has to go to vice-captain Walter who was superb all afternoon, not only on the pitch where he led by example but also off it. He guided the teams through the games brilliantly giving sound advice and encouragement.

On Wednesday we were a little apprehensive when facing The Dragon as all of our teams were down a few players. Those boys who did play gave everything they had and, despite the scores not going our way, we remained competitive throughout. All four of our goalkeepers deserve real credit for their determination and strength of character. Well done, boys.

Just before the half term break the U8 and U9 boys were all in action playing against Brockhurst and MCS. Away at Brockhurst, the Year 3s had a great time with Mr Bradley and played a good number of games in a mini festival. The teams were all very successful but we must mention Xander and Tristan who were our stand-out players; both of them are really starting to show skill on the ball and power in their hitting. At home on the Iffley Road pitches the Year 4 boys played MCS as well as Brockhurst so everybody played in two games. With wins spread out amongst the schools we had a really enjoyable afternoon and goals were flying in. We have to give Emil in the B team a huge pat on the back as he was inspired in goal and in the A team Jacob was voted player of the day by our opposition so well done to him.

Finally this week the U11 A team made their debut at the second annual festival at St Edward’s. With ten of the strongest schools in the area attending we were sure of a tough afternoon of hockey. The NCS team started brightly with a 2-1 win over local rivals MCS 1 and after another good win against Pinewood we built on this with confidence and skill. Another game against MCS 2 was won 2-0 and this was followed up with wins against Winchester House, St Hugh’s and Beachborough. At the end of the afternoon we had amassed six wins, two draws and only the one defeat to finish in second place. It was a fantastic afternoon and all eight boys deserve hearty congratulations. However Daniel from Year 5 deserves a special mention for playing in his first major hockey festival and making such superb progress. CB

More good news from the chess boys: well done to Peter and Isaac who played in Oxfordshire’s U11 chess team in the English Primary Schools Chess Association county tournament in Twickenham, with the team finishing with bronze medals.

On Wednesday we were delighted to officially unveil a wooden angel, thought originally to have been in New College antechapel but removed in 1740, which has been very generously donated to the school by Lady Marcia Astor. It is intended that the angel will soar above the foyer of our new building, but in the meantime it sits very happily overlooking the staircase leading up to the ICT and art rooms. Do come and take a look. Boys from the school council attended to watch the unveiling of this extremely generous donation.

We are looking forward to this evening’s NCSPA Quiz. It is wonderful that so many older boys will be coming along to pit their wits against their parents and teachers. Could I politely remind parents that the boys remain in their care, and under their jurisdiction, for the whole evening. My colleagues will be busy and preoccupied furrowing their brows over the picture round.

The Year 7 and 8 boys will be back in the gym on Saturday 14 March (19.00-21.00) for their joint disco with OHS. Tickets are £10 and available from the school office.

World Book Day. We are looking forward to seeing the boys’ costumes next Thursday (5 March). A number of special events have been organised, some old and some new, as we continue to promote the boys’ reading. If they have sport on Thursday, boys are welcome to arrive in their costumes then change into their games kit later in the day (as per our old system) if they would like. My thanks to all parents and colleagues for all the effort that I know goes into such a special day – please don’t feel the need to go to great expense for costumes!

Well done to all the pupils from NCS and Oxford Spires Academy who contributed so intelligently and creatively in the first part of their schools partnership science research journey at the Oxford University Chemistry Faculty. It was a true partnership of educational expertise and enthusiastic scientists. The pupils were required to design their own investigations to ascertain the factors that might affect the content of arsenic in cooked rice, an under-researched area of a serious global concern which will complement research already carried out on uncooked rice. What a privilege it was to watch such eager minds at work with mutually beneficial co-operation at all levels. A particular thank you must go to the two ‘Dans’, the sixth-form mentors from OSA, for their inspirational input, and the undergraduate ambassadors. Many thanks to Saskia, and Holly who made this possible for our Year 8s as part of her Master’s in Chemistry Education. Analysis of prepared samples will take place next week in the state-of-the-art laboratories. LBr

Words and Music. I trust that you have safely received a separate Parentmail from Mrs McCusker about ticketing for Words and Music at the end of term. I am sure you will understand that this new system needs to be in place because of recently implemented fire regulations, and that we are trying very hard to make sure that the system is as equitable as possible in the circumstances. We are anticipating less demand than for carol service tickets.

Parents’ evenings. Please find below a few dates for your diary. Unless otherwise stated, parents’ evenings begin at 18.00, though a few colleagues are usually available a little earlier if you would like to make a head start. Please arrive as early as practicable, and no later than 19.00, so we can finish the evenings by 20.00. If you have any issues that you think would require longer discussion than possible in a five-ish minute meeting, especially with form tutors, please do book a separate appointment.

4 March – Year 5

11 March (17.30) – Pre-Prep

29 April – Music Teachers

Coronavirus. We continue to monitor the university’s website which advises on risks and precautions concerning coronavirus: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-advice. Please read and follow the advice on this website, especially with a view to travel over the coming weeks as we approach the Easter vacation. We are also following the frequently updated advice for educational settings issued here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19. We continue to remind the boys of the basic precautions to take to avoid spreading infections, including washing hands regularly and thoroughly, especially before eating.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Abingdon Academic Scholarship starts

14.00 U13 B-D Hockey vs CCCS, St Edward’s Astro

17.15 Junior Concerts Pt 1 (Yrs 3,4,5), School Hall

Drinks in HM Study at 17.00

18.15 Junior Concerts Pt 2 (Yrs 3,4,5), School Hall

Drinks in HM Study at 18.00

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Marlborough Academic Scholarship (optional papers at NCS)

13.00 U11 A&B Football vs Sibford, Away

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

9.00 Year 8 Boys to CTL - return 12.10 (Practical Work -Rice to the Challenge)

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: Oliver Wright, ordinand and former NCS pupil. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

12.30 Eco Committee Meeting

14.00 U13 A&B Hockey vs Summer Fields, Away

14.00 U13 C&D Hockey vs Hatherop & Summer Fields, St Edward's Astro

14.30 ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam, Dining Room

18.00 Year 5 Parents’ Evening, Sports Hall

Thursday, 5 March 2020

World Book Day

14.00 U11 House Matches XC, University Parks

Friday, 6 March 2020

Marlborough Academic Scholarship

14.00 U8 & U9 Hockey House Matches, Iffley

14.00 U7 A-C Tag Rugby vs Windmill, Home

Monday, 9 March 2020

NCS SHTEAM Festival begins

9.00 Science Oxford show, Years 3-8/8S (1 hour)

am Science Oxford workshops for Reception and Year 1

All day Science Oxford workshops, Years 3, 4 and 5 in Science lessons

15.00 U13 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

15.00 U11 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

18.00 Holloway Lecture: Professor Judith Weir, CBE, Master of the Queen's Music

Inorganic Chemistry Lecture Theatre, South Parks Road

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

12.45 Yr 8 Boys ICT Suite NCS (Analysis- Rice to the Challenge Project) Finish 15.30

14.15 U11 C&D Hockey vs St John's, Iffley Road

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Oliver Petter, Vicar of St Bartholomew's Church, Yarnton. Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.00 Year 6 to Natural History Museum, return 12.00

13.00 Year 5/6 Hip Hop SHTEAM Dance Workshop in Gym (ends 14.35)

13.00 Year 8 Music Production Workshop

14.35 Year 7 Steve Reich's Pendulum Music

13.00 U11 A&B Hockey vs Dragon, Away

14.00 U13 House Cross Country, University Parks

17.30 Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening, Classrooms & Sports Hall

Thursday, 12 March 2020

All day School of Noise workshops, Years 2, 6, 7 and 8/8S

Friday, 13 March 2020

MCS Sports Scholarship

MCS Art Scholarship interviews

14.00 Professor Tommaso Pizzari masterclass on animal communication, Years 8/8S

14.00 U9 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

14.00 U9 C&D Hockey vs MCS, Iffley Road

Saturday, 14 March 2020

End of University Term

SLT/Governors’ Strategy Day

19.00 Yr 7 & 8 Social, Sports Hall, ends 21.00

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