One of our school aims is to develop boys and young men of excellent character. The other is to challenge and support each boy to achieve the highest levels of academic progress.
Newcastle School for Boys’ character compass points to the six key virtues we promote in our boys’ personal development. Captured in the compass and in the mnemonic ‘CIRCLE’, the first C is for community. As a school, we appreciate the benefits we derive from our relationships in the local community as well as recognising our obligations to serve that community. We seek to develop those same senses of appreciation and duty in our pupils.
The following blog is an adapted version of my opening remarks at Newcastle School for Boys’ eighth annual sports presentation evening sponsored by Oddballs and held at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park on Wednesday 12th October 2016. The evening celebrated our boys’ individual and collective achievements and participation in the preceding year of school sport and PE. We were honoured to welcome our special guest for the evening: Newcastle Falcons and Scotland international rugby player, Ally Hogg.
School sport means everything. Not as an overwhelming priority detrimental to academic progress but in a wider, more inclusive sense. It complements the academic curriculum and provides a wide range of benefits and opportunities: from preparation for a professional playing career to the health and social benefits of recreational sport and exercise.
In considering what school sport means to our boys, I’ve tried to project myself into their minds in two ways. Firstly, by testing my own long term memory to recall my own experience of school sport and secondly and more relevantly by asking some of the boys themselves.
It was real pleasure to attend our school’s tenth anniversary ball recently. Just as we had hoped, all of the sections of the school community that have contributed to the School’s success were there. And as I said on the evening, it’s easy to forget just how far the School has travelled in its first ten years. We also unveiled at the ball plans for the fundraising projects chosen by parents: improved outdoor spaces at North and West Avenue and a refurbished sports hall at The Grove.
Establishing a new independent school in the north east in the recent economic climate is no mean achievement. As a previous blog highlighted, in this region during the past seven years, seven independent schools have gone out of existence: closing, merging and/or reforming with a different status or source of funding. In this time, we have continued to grow and develop our school.
I frequently use the cyclical nature of school life to highlight new beginnings and fresh starts. Of course, by its nature, the academic year also generates endings and conclusions.
As we broke up for summer half term, our Year 13 boys were in school for the very final day of lessons of their school careers. A number of them had been at NSB – or one of its predecessor schools – for their entire school lives; others had joined at various later stages. For all of them, the day marked a significant rite of passage.
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Sport enriches lives and can make dreams come true. Just ask a Leicester City fan if you can find one prepared to interrupt their celebrations.
Sport is also educational. It teaches us about life – its chances and successes; injustices and setbacks. Ed Smith - writer, broadcaster and former professional cricketer - the guest at my first prize day as Headmaster at Newcastle School for Boys in 2012, has written an excellent book about this called What sport teaches us about life.
Many boys at NSB will tell you that sport is an important part of their school lives. It is also - for some families - a key reason why they chose to send their sons to our school. A supportive and nurturing education that emphasises progress and added value enhanced by excellent sporting provision and opportunity.
Certainly, as a school, we’ve enjoyed plenty of individual and team success in our first ten years and continue to punch well above our weight. Just as importantly, every boy who goes through our juniors or seniors will have had the opportunity to represent his school at sport.