Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 15 MArch 2024

Dear Parents,

I started to count the number of different workshops, assemblies, talks, lessons and other special events that the NCS boys have enjoyed during this week’s SHTEAM Festival on ‘The World of Water’, but I confess that I gave up. There were certainly dozens. As I think you know by now, our SHTEAM Festival – STEM with the Humanities and Arts put back in – follows the NCS vibe of not wanting to compartmentalise or silo anyone or anything. We can learn from all of our subjects across the curriculum, and they all have something to say to one another. Having a background in cultural history – sometimes even called ‘total history’ – it can seem odd to me that the British educational system has a tendency to draw rather clear lines between disciplines, when those lines are pretty artificial. Like a pedagogical magpie, I used to flit between different libraries, one minute pretending that I understood the history of science, the next trying to get up to speed with a poet or preacher, before returning to history history. I get that compartmentalisation of disciplines is one way to get a timetable to work in schools, and we can work happily within that. But there are also occasions when we get to think more broadly and creatively, and our SHTEAM Festival is now happily the highlight of our year when it comes to such interdisciplinarity.

SHTEAM festival

One of the highlights of this highlight was our Holloway Lecture on Wednesday evening – the very first to take place in our beautiful new state-of-the-art auditorium. Dominic Sandbrook was already a rather big name when he agreed to come to speak to us. His podcast, ‘The Rest is History’, must now be the most listened-to history podcast in the world; if it isn’t, it’s pretty close. Since accepting the invitation, Dominic has been awarded the Royal Academy President’s Medal, so we were pleased that he still wanted to come along and speak to us. His topic of ‘seafarers who changed the world’ was a brilliant one, and it is worth noting here that, in our own little way, we have a connection to the great seafarers of the past. Old boy Richard Goodwin Keats was Horatio Nelson’s great friend and mentor, for example. The brother of the Tudor travel editor Richard Hakluyt, whose The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or ouer Land (1589) was one of the first publications to bring people’s attention to seafaring in print, was one of my predecessors as Headmaster of New College School in the 1570s. A little more contorted, perhaps, but still worth a shrug and a ‘huh’.

Our week-long festival has had so many interesting and wonderful sessions: from measuring water quality and monitoring water pollution, to training like a surf life saver, to watersports access for wheelchair users, to the ‘supercool’ properties of water, to marine wildlife reserves, to water in the Abrahamic faiths, to investigating the properties of water in science, to water and film, to Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’ or Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’. I could go on and on. I am very lucky to work with colleagues who think so imaginatively about their subjects – special thanks to Emma Krebs for pulling the whole timetable together and to Caroline Hitchings for overseeing events in pre-prep – with NCS parents who give so generously of their time and expertise, and in a location where we have experts on our doorstep who are happy to come along and talk to us. I am sure that the boys have been raving about these special events at home too.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

We are looking forward to our senior recital, next Monday at 17.30. Parking is available once the playground is clear of boys leaving school after their enrichment activities (c.17.00).

Please note that next Tuesday, 19 March, is the last day of VMT 1:1 music lessons and after-school enrichment activities this term.

Also next Tuesday, Year 6 will be hosting a special French café and entertainment in the dining room from 18.00. My thanks in advance to all those parents who are helping out with the food and drink!

We have our special Spring Service in chapel next Wednesday, 20 March, 9.00-c.10.00. This is a special service of readings and music to celebrate the arrival of Spring, or at least to remind us what Spring might feel like should it ever appear. Parents are very welcome to come along to join us; no need to sign up in advance. The boys will then spend the rest of the morning over in College, taking part in special events to mark our annual College Day.

Our final event of the term will be the choral society and chamber choir’s performance of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in New College Chapel on 23 March at 19.00. We wish all the performers the best of luck! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/purcell-the-fairy-queen-tickets-830353849717

Year 4 DTE; Terrariums in Sustainability Club; Pre-Prep playtime; Spring concert

On Saturday 11 May (19.00-20.00) we will be hosting a special historical event: a talk by Sarah Dixwell Brown titled ‘A King Killer in the Family: Writing the Life of John Dixwell’. Sarah taught English at Stanford, Santa Clara University, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This talk explores her research into the life and career of John Dixwell, one of her ancestors, who signed the death warrant of Charles I in 1649 and then ran away to New England after the Restoration of the monarchy. I will be introducing the talk, with my historian hat on. The event will be in Lecture Room 6 in New College. If you would like to come please sign up (for free) at: https://forms.office.com/e/pkF9bc0N6t.

Next Generation Soccer Schools will be running again this Easter holiday at NCS. Following on from the successful Christmas afternoons, the courses will be extended to run all day, 09:30-16:00, Monday 25 March to Thursday 28 March. The sessions will be led by NCS sports coach Stephen Potts with a team of qualified coaches. Places will again be limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Online booking is via https://campscui.active.com/orgs/NextGenerationSoccerSchool?season=3448531. There will also be sessions in the summer holidays, Monday 8 - Friday 19 July; booking for these will open after Easter.

From Craig Bishop: Just as we were looking toward the skies to see the sun finally shining upon us, the rains came again and washed out Tuesday’s away fixtures against Ashfold. However, on Wednesday afternoon the U11 and U13 teams were able to play and enjoyed some cracking hockey fixtures. The U11s made the short journey across town to MCS. They played four fantastic games of hockey with two wins, a draw and one defeat. The C and D teams were the shining lights as they worked hard to secure their victories. The B team played out a very entertaining draw and the A team lost 2-0. A fine set of results for these teams with all four working extremely hard for each other; they never stopped running and this was key to ensuring such a positive outcome.

At home the U13 A and B teams played Abingdon and Summer Fields with the C and D teams also playing Summer Fields. The NCS teams were caught a little cold and rather depleted through illness and injury. Despite this the teams battled hard, especially in the U13 A and B teams where our goalkeepers were busy but very effective. Arjun S was clearly player of the match for the U13 B team. In the A team game, the boys worked extremely hard. Jacob W continued his good work and Isaac W on his return was in great form. The C and D teams played close games in the initial stages but we were eventually punished by some excellent movement and passing.

Finally, this week the U8 teams also played against Summer Fields and enjoyed a super afternoon of very exciting hockey. The boys enjoyed the afternoon a great deal with both Stephen Potts and Dylan Swanepoel singing their praises upon their return. The results varied throughout the afternoon with both schools enjoying some wins, draws and losses. Each and every boy came off the field of play smiling and they impressed our hosts with their impeccable behaviour and conduct throughout the afternoon.

Upcoming Events

Monday, 18 March 2024

10.30 Year 5 Planetary Interiors workshop

17.30 Senior Recital (Auditorium; parking from 17.00)

Tuesday, 19 March 2024

Last day of VMT 1:1 Music Lessons (pre-prep and prep)

Last day of After-school Enrichment Activities (pre-prep and prep)

14.00 U 8 & 9 Hockey v Beachborough, Iffley Rd

18.00 French Café and Entertainment (Year 6) (Dining Hall; parking from 17.00)

Wednesday, 20 March 2024

College Day

8.15 Eco-Committee meeting, CLC

9.00 Spring Service

14.00 U11 A-D Hockey v Dragon, Away

14.00 U13 A-D v Dragon St Edward's

17.30 Pre-Prep Parents' evening

Thursday, 21 March 2024

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

Friday, 22 March 2024

Easter House Brunch

12.00 End of term (12 noon)

Saturday, 23 March 2024

13.00 Choral Society/Chamber Choir rehearsal (New College Chapel)

19.00 Choral Society/Chamber Choir concert (New College Chapel)