Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 8th March 2019

Dear Parents,

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!

World Book Day: Year 2 reading to Reception; The 'Big Tent' Read; Character costumes; Boys vs staff literary quiz

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.

Testing red cabbage indicator in Science; Strings workshop with SS Mary and John Primary; Robot building in DT; Hatched chicks in Pre-Prep

New College Choir will be giving a sequence of Music and Readings for Lent this Sunday (10th March) at 5.00pm in New College Chapel. NCS families are warmly welcome. No tickets required.

STEM Week starts next week. Some very exciting events are planned for the boys, including a robotics workshop, a mobile planetarium, and a demonstration of Robot Wars after school on Monday; but please note that younger pupils may potentially find this demonstration intimidating. Viewing will take place from inside the school building. And I’m very much looking forward to our annual Holloway Lecture on Monday, this year on Artificial Intelligence. Do join us for after school events if you can.

The Pre-Prep Parents’ Evening is on Tuesday (12th March) from 5.30pm until 8.00pm. As well as appointments with your son’s class teacher, there will be refreshments in the Sports Hall and an opportunity to meet with me and with subject specialist colleagues who teach in the Pre-Prep.

College Day is on Wednesday (13th March). The Warden will speak at our Chapel Service, and there will be activities in College and neighbouring Oxford together with the much- anticipated lunch in the College Hall! At the end of the day (5.30pm) there will a College Day Concert in the Antechapel given by two of our visiting music teachers: Ms Jean Paterson (violin) and Ms Diana Hinds (piano). Do join us if you can for the Chapel Service and/or the Concert.

Tickets for the Year 7 & 8 Ceilidh on Saturday 16th March at 7.00pm in the Sports Hall are now available from the School Office @ £10 to include refreshments.

The Annual Hockey Match vs NCS (Young) Old Boys is on Sunday 17th March at 10.00am at St Edward’s Astro. All welcome to support.

Tickets (free-of-charge) are now available for the Year 5 and 6 French Play, La Folie de Mort, which takes place on Tuesday, 26th March and Wednesday 27th March at 6.00pm in the School Hall, followed by the French Café in the Sports Hall. It is suggested that Year 5 families attend on the Tuesday and Year 6 families on the Wednesday.

Tickets are also now available from We Got Tickets https://www.wegottickets.com/event/464560 for the Chamber Choir and Choral Society’s performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on Saturday 23rd March at 7.30pm in New College Chapel.

Words and Music will be held in New College Chapel to mark our end-of-term on Friday, 29th March at 11.00am. Term ends at 12 noon.

Dates for next term. Sheldonian Concert. There will be a whole school celebratory concert in the Sheldonian Theatre on Thursday 23rd May at 6.00pm, followed by a reception in New College. Every boy from Reception to Year 8 will take part. The centrepiece will be a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals. All NCS families present and past are warmly invited: tickets will be available later this term. Wykeham Day, which will include a morning concert by current and former NCS, a cricket match on Field with a barbecue lunch, and then our Summer Fête, will take place on Saturday 22nd June.

With good wishes to all NCS families,

Robert Gullifer

Forthcoming Events

Saturday, 9 March 2019

End of University Term

No Sat am Music School for choristers

NC Choir rehearsal for Music for Passiontide pm

Sunday, 10 March 2019

17.00 New College Choir: Music for Passiontide, New College Chapel

Monday, 11 March 2019


15.00 U13 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

15.00 U11 A Hockey vs Stowe, Away

14.00 U13 C&D Hockey vs Thorngrove, St Edward's Astro

18.00 Holloway Lecture: Professor David Clifton, Associate Professor in the Oxford Department of Engineering Science,Research Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Visiting Chair in AI for Healthcare at the University of Manchester, Inorganic Chemistry Lecture Theatre, South Parks Road

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

10.00 PSB English Meeting, Red Room, New College

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

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

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

College Day

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Warden

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

10.30 College/Oxford Activities

13.00 U11 A&B Hockey vs Dragon, Away

14.00 U13 House Cross Country, University Parks

17.30 College Day Concert, New College Antechapel

Friday, 15 March 2019

MCS Sports Scholarship

13:45 Falconry Display, Reception and Year 1, Sports Hall

14.00 U9 A&B Hockey vs MCS, Away

14.00 U9 C&D Hockey vs MCS, Iffley Road

Saturday, 16 March 2019

19.00 NCSPA Ceilidh for Yrs 7 & 8, Sports Hall

Sunday, 17 March 2019

10.00 Old Boys' Hockey Match, St Edward's Astro

Monday, 18 March 2019

Associated Board Music Exams this week

14.30 U13 A&B Hockey vs Thorngrove, Away

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

14.00 U11 Hockey House Matches, Iffley Road

14.00 French play technical rehearsal,

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

10.00 School Service, New College Chapel

Speaker: The Revd Gavin Knight, Vicar of the Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown

Coffee afterwards in the Undercroft for parents and visitors

14.00 U13 B-D Hockey vs Abingdon Prep, St Edward's Astro

17.15 Senior Concerts Pt 1 (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall

Drinks in HM Study at 5.00pm

18.15 Senior Concerts Pt 2 (Yrs 6,7,8), School Hall

Drinks in HM Study at 6.00pm

Thursday, 21 March 2019

9.00 Pre-Prep Fire Engine Visit

13.45 French Play dress rehearsal

14.00 Pre-Prep Poetry Recitation and ‘Show and Tell’

Saturday 23 March 2019

19.30 NCS Choral Society: Dido & Aeneas, New College Antechapel

Sunday, 24 March 2019

9.00 U13 A IAPS Rugby, Sherbourne

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