Headmaster's Newsletter Friday 22nd September 2023

Dear Parents,

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that, as part of our summer development works, five new planters have been installed in the playground. Actually, you don’t need to be especially eagle-eyed; they are pretty substantial! As I type, twenty-something shrubs (and the like) have just been planted as part of our further ‘greenification’ of NCS. One of our old cypress trees has also been transplanted, in an effort to rescue it from its previous wind-tunnel location, and to bring a little glimpse of Italy as OX1 begins its descent into chillier Michaelmas weather. Even I have begun to get a little bit more excited about the planting process; historically I’ve been a literal fair-weather gardener, able to point a hose at something that looks like it needs watering, but otherwise a believer in ‘survival of the fittest’ when it comes to plants competing with footballs in a prep school. Middle-age’s wingèd chariot sounds suspiciously like a wheelbarrow.

Speaking of ‘greenification’, I’m very pleased to announce that NCS’s ‘Eco-Schools’ green flag status was renewed over the summer. There is now a tasteful (!) and appropriately green plaque on display outside my study – a plaque which, I should add, has been made from recycled materials. The report that we received alongside the plaque made for very pleasing reading. It noted the eco-committee’s (and school’s) ‘collaborative and community ethos’ with ‘passionate and impressive’ young people engaging with issues of sustainability and the environment. The report also celebrated the committee’s ‘self-reflective practice, research-led planning and critical thinking’, as well as the school’s efforts to make ‘environmental education accessible and engaging’. It was clear, the report said, that NCS has ‘embedded environmental issues into the curriculum, whilst engaging young people in important issues’. I know that Nick Hanson and the eco-committee – and new sustainability club – have a lot more ideas for the future, so watch this (green) space. I would like to thank them publicly here for all of their hard work.

Puppets in Year 3 DT; Reception story time; Breaktime play; Mr Swanepoel's cricket win; Investigating the motivational effects of music in Year 7; Demonstration in chapel

In the meantime, we are always keen to share the school’s enthusiasm for all things green. Indeed, some of the nicer plants you can spy growing outside the 1903 building have been donated by NCS families – thank you! If you have anything in your gardens surplus to requirements, which might work in our setting, do please be in touch. There will also be planters made available to the aforementioned sustainability club, and to pre-prep’s Wild Learning lessons, so we are looking forward to some pupil-led planting and nurturing over the coming months. It will remain to be seen whether my own ‘plonk it, water it, and see’ approach to gardening bears any literal fruit!

Have a great weekend,

Matt Jenkinson

Many congratulations to Dylan Swanepoel who led Oxford Cricket Club to victory in the T20 Hartwell Cup tournament (their first win in eleven years) and, along the way, was awarded the ‘Game Changer’ award from the Cricket Collective. This award was for someone ‘making a difference in the game’ and came as a result of Dylan’s many contributions to the sport: creating and running a school cricket programme at OCC; running development training sessions for volunteer coaches; coaching various youth teams and the women’s section at OCC; developing and running mental health awareness campaigns; and working with ‘Opening Up Cricket’, a charity promoting positive mental wellbeing through cricket. We are very proud of him!

The NCS Parents’ Association will be meeting for its AGM in the Creative Learning Centre (the old dining room) on Monday 25 September at 19.00. We are pleased to welcome any parents to join the meeting. We hope that this year will bring plenty of opportunities to come together and fundraise. We will be discussing potential events and also electing officers at the AGM. Please email ncspa@newcollegeschool.org for more information. As in previous years, if parents have any specific queries or concerns, by far the best first port of call is the teacher, head of department, or SLT member concerned. Our email addresses are all available at https://www.newcollegeschool.org/who-we-are

Our next Open Morning is on Saturday 7 October at 10.00-12.00. If any boys from Years 3-8 would like to be guides on that morning, please could their parents email office@newcollegeschool.org. Please note that all pupils attending school that morning (including OCCO pupils) should wear full school uniform. Prospective parents are asked to register at https://www.newcollegeschool.org/open-day-booking -- do please pass on this link if you know of any families who would be interested in joining our wonderful community. You should also have received, via your son's schoolbag, a poster and a leaflet advertising the event. Although the morning is primarily for prospective parents, current parents, especially those from the Pre-Prep, are most welcome to get a further insight into the upper part of the school. We would really appreciate it if you could display the poster in a prominent place such as on notice boards at: nurseries and girls' schools (so as not to offend other local boys’ schools); Oxford colleges, Brookes University and other educational institutions; hospitals and health centres; churches, local shops and community centres; your car or house window. Please pass the smaller leaflet onto any friends who may be interested. Please also feel free to share/retweet the schools social media posts about the open morning:




From Brett Morrison: This Harvest Festival NCS will again be supporting the Community Emergency Fund (CEF). The CEF is an independent charity that aims to help people in Oxford or the surrounding area who are suffering from financial hardship and finding it difficult to provide food for themselves, their family or dependants. If pupils and families would like to support this worthy cause, they can do so by donating at our Harvest Festival. The service will be held in Chapel on Wednesday 27 September at 9.00. Pupils can bring in non-perishable food items (canned or dried) along with toiletries, which will be collected and donated to the CEF. We thank the NCS community for their support of this worthy cause.

The New College School ‘Welcome to the Foundation Service’ will be on Wednesday 11 October in New College Chapel. The service will begin at 9.00 and will take a little longer than our usual Chapel. This is the occasion when all new members of the school, boys and staff, are formally welcomed to the New College Foundation by the Headmaster and the Warden of New College, the school’s chair of governors. We would like to encourage all families of new boys to attend this important occasion if you can.

From Craig Bishop: The football season continued this week with fixtures across the school against Cothill. The U9 boys kicked off proceedings with a triangular event between the two NCS teams and Cothill’s U9s. A very entertaining afternoon of football was had by all with lots of goals scored by all three teams including a brilliant penalty taken by Jacob S-H. Another boy who deserves a special mention is Sam P, who was rightly awarded the player of the match award as he ran tirelessly all afternoon and dominated the midfield play. On Wednesday afternoon the U11 and U13 teams also played Cothill, with the U11s at home. In these games we enjoyed some very exciting football with the spoils shared evenly. In the A and B team fixtures we enjoyed two good wins with the B team scoring eight goals. A brace from Tassilo H was just reward for his efforts and this victory was a result of strong team work and much-improved passing. The A team were also in good form and ran out 2-1 winners in a tight and very competitive match.

Away from home the U13 teams played three brilliant games and, despite adverse weather conditions, the boys did an amazing job. On the third team pitch a 5-4 defeat was a little tough to take considering how well the boys played. Another brace for Thomas H and one for Eugene means those two boys lead the goalscoring charts for NCS this season. I was fortunate enough to be looking after the second team and what pleased me most about this performance was that the boys were trying to use the skills we’d covered in training in the match. The style of football was free-flowing and the passing was crisp. I was really pleased to see the midfield creating space to run onto passes from the full-backs. They adapted their play well using a combination of tactics to launch attacks. Stephen Potts was again coaching the first XI and after the game he simply said that they were simply brilliant: “Following on from last week’s match we had spent Monday working on developing possession through the thirds with a focus of exploiting space in wide areas. The boys started the game really well, implementing the style of play we had worked on from the off. Keeping possession well in the middle third as well as looking to break quickly when the chance arose in wide areas. A fantastic phase of play on the left side saw us combine well in triangles, before setting up Noah for a calm finish. Cothill equalised with a well-worked goal of their own, before another sharp break on our left side saw George put us back ahead shortly before half time. The second half was a more open affair as players became tired. Both teams created chances to score and the game could have gone either way. Another very calm finish from Noah, one on one with the goalkeeper, put us into a 3-1 lead before Cothill scored late on to ensure a nervous last 5 mins”.

Upcoming Events

Monday, 25 September 2023


Wednesday, 27 September 2023

8.15 Charity Committee meeting, Creative Learning Centre

9.00 Chapel (Harvest Festival). Speaker: Mr Stephen Anderson, Rodewald Lector, New College

14.30 U13 A-C Football vs Summer Fields, Away

14.00 U11 A-E Football vs Summer Fields, Home

Saturday, 30 September 2023

9.00-11.45 OCCO/Oxford Opera Workshop: Verdi's La Traviata

13.00 U13 A Football vs Summer Fields IAPS, Away

Tuesday, 3 October 2023

14.15 U9 A-C Football vs Summer Fields, Away

Wednesday, 4 October 2023

8.15 Eco-Committee meeting, Creative Learning Centre

9.00 Chapel. Speaker: Professor Christiane Timmel, Fellow and Tutor in Chemistry, New College

18.00 Year 7 Parents' Evening, Sports Hall

Saturday, 7 October 2023

10.00 Open Morning

U11 A Football vs Danes Hill IAPS, Away (time TBC)

Sunday, 8 October 2023

Start of University Term