Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 14 June 2024

Dear Parents,

There’s a section of the BBC website, aimed at young people, which is devoted to careers education. Browsing the site, I was curious about the link which said ‘Jobs that use Geography, History and Religious Studies’. As I read History at university, alongside friends who studied the same, I wondered what the BBC algorithm would have to say, and how accurate it would be (based on the totally unscientific sample of what my friends and I now do for a living). We’ll come back to History in a moment. The Geography section was fairly predictable, with the odd moment of ‘I didn’t know that was a career!’ built in: teacher, volcano vlogger and guide, globemaker, travel company founder, conservation apprentice, catchment officer, countryside officer, conservation trainee, ecologist, zookeeper, farmer, farming union policy manager, gardener, landscape assistant, helicopter pilot, science officer. As I say, some rather unsurprising, and some curve-balls which go to show that one’s future career need not be tied to one’s undergraduate degree. (Helicopter pilot?! I suppose map-reading might be useful.)

For Religious Studies, it was a similar situation: counsellor, youth and/or social worker, patient support administrator, healthcare worker, coroner, pastor, community cohesion officer, solicitor, paralegal. A nice mix of the faith- and/or values-informed roles, alongside the obligatory legal career which doesn’t require an undergraduate legal degree. We’ll come back to that too. So what did the BBC website have to say about life after a History degree? One of the things that I might be moderately well qualified to talk about? The case studies available were: art historian, assistant learning officer, costume designer, hair and makeup junior, research manager. I know lots of people who read History at university. I don’t think any of them would consider themselves to be full-time art historians, while there are no costume designers or hair/makeup juniors among them. I guess, if we contorted our minds a little, some might refer to themselves as ‘learning officers’ or ‘research managers’. We might call them ‘teachers’ or ‘academics’. Indeed, many of my History peers are now teachers, headteachers, and lecturers, but there are also lots of lawyers among them, some journalists, that kind of thing. Incidentally, outside the relative narrow sample of ‘people I know’, there’s also an odd overlap between historians and comedians: Ali G, Al Murray, our own David Mitchell. I won’t speculate why that might be the case.

White blood cell stop-motion animations in Science; Swords and shields in DTE; Cookery club; Volcano workshop at Earth Science; Prep-Prep games

‘Why’s he banging on about History careers?’ you may be asking. Well, we have been thinking about careers a lot with our older boys this week. It is, apparently, never too young to start thinking about which career one might be interested in doing. The government mandates it and we happily abide by that. Thankfully, careers education has developed a lot over the past couple of decades. I have written previously about the ‘careers education’ I had at school, which amounted to a short questionnaire, which hinged on one question: ‘do you want to work outside?’. If you put ‘yes’, then it was suggested you work in construction. If you put ‘no’ (which I did; can’t stand the cold), then it was suggested you become a librarian. These days, there is an understanding that there are lots of different careers out there (see above), many of which the boys won’t yet have heard about, and many of which don’t yet exist if you believe the speculation about finding work in an age of AI. There is a greater focus instead on personal qualities, and the kinds of ‘areas’ that might be attractive to different people. We can introduce our pupils to different kinds of jobs, and our parents are very kind and generous when giving their time and expertise to talk to the boys about those jobs. But – with some obvious vocational exceptions – the days have gone, if they ever really existed, of doing subject X to definitely end up in career X-ish. Rather, it is much healthier to keep our pupils’ options open, to keep them flexible in their thinking, to pursue what gets them out of bed in the morning, rather than being fixated on salaries or supposed eminence. You never know, they might even end up becoming helicopter pilots after a Geography degree.

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

In advance of our reception for new parents this evening and our ‘move-up morning’ next Thursday, I’m pleased to confirm the following prep school form tutoring arrangements for the next academic year. Year 8/8S form tutor: Chris Gausden, assistant form tutor: Peter Cui. Year 7 form tutor: Izzy Rose, assistant form tutor: Nick Hanson. Year 6 form tutor: Tom Neal, assistant form tutor: Catherine Phillips. Year 5 form tutor: Stephen Young, assistant form tutors: Craig Bishop, Louise Brown. Year 4 form tutor: Zoe Parsons, assistant form tutor: Abigail Sutton, TA: Emma Barnes. Year 3 form tutor: Victoria Hayter, assistant form tutor: Jan Alden, TA: Sarah Hainsworth.

We are looking forward to our annual Wykeham Day tomorrow, Saturday 15 June. The day begins with an old boys’ concert in the auditorium at 12.00, to which all families past and present are warmly invited. The school fete formally begins at 14.00 (ending 16.00) – please note that this will now take place on the main school site rather than field due to likelihood of inclement weather. A special evensong follows in chapel at 17.45, followed by a BBQ back at NCS for those who have signed up in advance. This is always a very special day, and we very much enjoy bringing together the NCS community past, present and future.

Years 3, 4 and 5 are looking forward to their production of Pinocchio on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. After school on those days, boys will be supervised between 16.00 and 17.00. Could we ask that you kindly provide your son with a packed tea which they will eat before getting changed for the performance? Boys will be ready to be collected after the performance at around 18.45.

Our chapel service on Wednesday 3 July will begin at the same time as usual (9.00), but will now be our ‘Year’s End’ service. It will last around 45 minutes and will follow the same structure as our Spring Service (and, indeed, the carol services on which that service’s structure was based). There will be appropriate readings from Years 3 to 8, some communal hymn singing, and some performances from choirs throughout the school. All parents are very warmly encouraged to attend, especially those Year 8 parents for whom this will be their sons’ last NCS chapel service. Handkerchiefs at the ready.

The theme for our annual SHTEAM Festival next Hilary will be ‘Space’. We will be exploring this theme from many different angles across all our subjects, running talks and workshops, as well as incorporating the theme in our day-to-day lessons. If there are any parents, taking into account their specialist knowledge, who would like to offer a talk or workshop to the boys on any aspect of ‘Space’ – planets, telescopes, and the like – do please contact emma.krebs@newcollegeschool.org.

Please could all parents help their sons look around at home for any NCS library books that need returning? We are having a big push as we come to the end of the academic year, to ensure that as many of our books return to the library as possible. Many thanks.

From Craig Bishop: This week the U11 tennis team kicked things off with a fine performance away at MCS. In some very tight games, the NCS boys not only held their nerve but managed to win some crucial matches. Our lead pair of Michael L and team captain Peter K won two out of their three matches and drew the final. Another outstanding player was Hugh L who was drafted in from the cricket ranks at the last minute. Playing on his birthday, he seemed in unstoppable mood as he swept aside his opposition, winning four out of his six singles games, with one draw and only one loss. A deserving player of the match award goes to Hugh!

On Wednesday afternoon the U11 and U13 tennis teams were in action against St Hugh’s. Max A-B and Ethan Z were in fine form in the U13 games and manged to win some crucial games. Vedant M was mightily impressive and never stopped working throughout the afternoon, determined to secure as many points as possible for the NCS team. The U11 team played away from home in a fantastic fixture, with Yoav G particularly impressive, especially in his singles matches. Catherine Phillips would also like to mention Misha A and Frankie P-A who were hardworking and determined on their way to securing some great points for the team.

Also away at St Hugh’s the U11 and U13 B cricket teams were in action. In the U13 B team the result somewhat slipped away from the boys in the early stages; defending 45 runs was to prove too difficult. Stephen Potts was in charge of the U11 B team and, despite a loss, the match could have gone either way. The late few wickets turned the game in our hosts’ direction but this was a very encouraging performance. At home the U11 A and U13 A cricket teams played two fantastic games. Mr Morrison took the U13 A team and on this occasion the boys did not quite manage the win. Our guests were ruthless in the run chase and they got their runs inside eight overs.

I had the pleasure of taking the U11 A team and, after a fine win last week, the boys were full of confidence and playing some excellent cricket. George T and William E both chipped in with good scores yet again, as did Olly L from Year 5, but the performance of the day was by Maani A who batted superbly with control and discipline for his 32 runs from 19.2 overs. Our captain, William, expertly shared the bowling around, with wickets going to five different bowlers. Ollie B is now trying his luck as a leg spinner and he is really beginning to perfect his action. Aloysius W, again with his sublime left arm deliveries, was brilliant; he only gave away six runs for yet another wicket. However, it was George T who bowled four overs, took one wicket and only gave away one run. The player of the match award was rightly shared between George and Maani but the team played brilliantly as they won again, this time by six wickets.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, 15 June 2024

Wykeham Day

12.00 Old boys' concert, auditorium

14.00 School Fête, NCS (ends 16.00)

17.45 Wykeham Day Evensong, New College Chapel

18.30 Wykeham Day BBQ, NCS (sign-up only)

Sunday, 16 June 2024

University term ends

17.45 Last Evensong, New College Chapel

Monday, 17 June 2024

14.00 Years 3-5 dress/tech rehearsal of Pinocchio (auditorium)

14.00 U13 A & B Cricket vs d'Overbroeck's, home

Tuesday, 18 June 2024

14.00 Year 8 sessions on transition to senior school (auditorium)

14.00 U8 All Cricket vs Summer Fields, away

17.30 Years 3-5 performance of Pinocchio (auditorium)

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

9.00 Chapel. Speaker: Professor William Whyte, St John's College

13.00 Year 3 Shang Gallery Ashmolean

14.15 U11 A & B Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, away

14.15 U13 A & B Cricket vs Bruern Abbey, home

14.15 U13 A Tennis vs Abingdon Prep, home

17.30 Years 3-5 performance of Pinocchio (auditorium)

Thursday, 20 June 2024

9.00 Induction for new pupils and 'move-up morning'

14.00 Year 8 TED Talks, session 1 (auditorium)

Friday, 21 June 2024

Last day of VMT music lessons

10.00 Pre-Prep Sports Day

14.00 Year 8 TED Talks, session 2 (auditorium)

17.30 Year 8 Play Reading: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, New College Cloisters

18.30 Summer Drinks Evening, New College Cloisters

Saturday, 22 June 2024

11.00 OCCO Concert: Beethoven's Symphony no.5 (sports hall)

Monday, 24 June 2024

Activities Week begins

12.00 Year 4 trip to the Pitt Rivers

Year 5-8 trips depart

Wednesday, 26 June 2024

No chapel service

Year 4 trip departs

Thursday, 27 June 2024

Pre-Prep activities week outing

Friday, 28 June 2024

Years 4-8 trips return

Saturday, 29 June 2024

16.00 Chamber Choir and Choral Society rehearsal, Merton College Chapel

18.00 Choral concert: Mahler's Symphony no.3, Merton College Chapel