Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 8th March 2019
I have been away for a couple of days this week inspecting another school. It’s an instructive process in all sorts of ways, not least because it’s an opportunity to see another school in action and to discuss best practice with fellow inspectors and Heads, much of which is always valuable in informing how we continue to enhance our provision at NCS. Above all, though, it’s always a privilege to talk to pupils about what makes their school special: they are thoughtful and discerning commentators who usually get it spot-on. Of course, this week I was talking not only to some discerning school children, but also to a number of characters who had stepped straight from the pages of children’s literature. Yes, World Book Day is as ubiquitous as its title suggests. I know there has been some discussion in the press questioning the real value of World Book Day. Does it really encourage children to read more or is it just an excuse for children to dress up (often, I know, adding unhelpfully to the ‘to-do’ list for parents)? For my part, I’d firmly defend the day: it does serve as an annual reminder of the fun and enjoyment which can come from reading. But I’m particularly grateful to Mrs Showell-Rogers, Mrs Hess and Mrs Magnotta for extending the reach of World Book Day a little further this year so that we have been able to focus even more intently on developing the scope of the boys’ reading. Do have a look, for instance, at the informative book reviews which line the stairs to our interim assembly hall. I think we can genuinely say that at NCS it has World Book Week and I very much hope our sons have enjoyed it all as much as we have!
In another excellent initiative this week, our musicians in Years 3 and 4 teamed up with their counterparts from SS Mary and John Primary School to perform what was, by all accounts, a super concert in our Sports Hall, thoroughly enjoyed by all. I’m most grateful to Miss Llewellyn-Jones for all the work she put into getting the musicians so happily together and to Mrs Brown for her help in developing this further educational partnership. We look forward to further joint ventures.
Sport. Another extremely productive week of sport comes to a close with a great many boys having represented the School. The U9 hockey teams travelled to the Dragon School and narrowly lost their encounter 2-1 despite being without a key member of the team owing to injury. Being a man down did not disturb the boys and, if anything, they rallied and played some great hockey to score and draw the second half 1-1. On Monday the older boys played Christ Church Cathedral School and all four of the NCS teams were in action. The 1st VII recorded a comfortable victory with the score line well into double figures at the final whistle. The 2nd team, playing with many key figures missing, drew 0-0 with both sides going close to scoring in a very exciting game. In the next round of games our 3rd team played the CCCS 1st team and our 4th team were doing battle with the CCCS 2nd team. This was potentially a stiff test for the NCS boys but just proved what quality and strength in depth the NCS teams have. A fantastic performance saw the 3rd team lose just 1-0 thanks to a last-minute goal and the 4th team managed 2-1 win over their rivals to cap another brilliant afternoon for the U13 teams. On Tuesday afternoon Mr Bishop and Mr Bradley took the U11 ‘A’ & ‘B’ football teams over to the Sibford School tournament. Despite not playing football since October, the boys quickly found the groove and were playing some scintillating football. The ‘B’ team managed to reach the eighth place play-offs and, in that game, drew 1-1 with the hosts to share the honours. The ‘A’ team won their group without conceding a goal and as a result earned a semi-final place. Our opposition was Cokethorpe School and, having had two very close matches last term, we knew it was going to be a tough match. Cokethorpe just edged it and went on to the final, but a great day was had by all with the Year 5 boys showing themselves to be a promising prospect for next season. Players of the tournament for NCS were Leon Tarrin in the ‘B’ team and Leo Magnotta in the ‘A’ team. On Wednesday afternoon the U13 teams were once again all in action and this time we faced Summer Fields School and Hatherop Castle. Mr Bishop took a team away to Summer Fields which consisted of a mixture of our 1st and 2nd teams to face the Summer Fields’s 1sts. A controlled display saw NCS dominate the game to lead 3-0 at half-time. A concerted effort to pass the ball around our opposition resulted in seven second half goals and a 10-0 final scored was just reward for their efforts. Up at the St Edward’s School astro, the NCS 2nd team played a very tough Hatherop 1st team and deserved their 2-2 draw having twice come from behind to level the match. In the 3rd and 4th team games we narrowly lost to Summer Fields and Hatherop 2nd teams, but in both games we played some cracking hockey and, for the want of little luck, the result could have gone either way.
Great excitement has continued in the Pre-Prep as nine little chicks have hatched from their eggs. They are being very well looked after by attentive pre-prep pupils, who are learning a great deal about how best to care for their new charges. If, at the end of next week, any NCS families like to be the proud long-term owners of one, two, or all of our chicks, please talk to Mrs Cox in Pre-Prep.
Well done to everyone who played in the Junior Concerts earlier this week. As ever, it was wonderful to see our younger pupils sharing their talents with us and I was impressed by some promising musicianship and by the quiet confidence they showed in front of us all.