PRINCIPAL’S NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER 2016
Firstly, we say a very warm welcome to Mr Jinmiao Li, our new teacher from China. Mr Li is here to teach our grade 8 and 9 Chinese classes. He follows Mr Yujun Qi and is also seconded to us from the Tianjin Foreign Language School (TFLS). As was the case with Mr Qi, Mr Li will be with us for two years. We wish him well and trust that he will have a most fulfilling time at Westerford.
1. THIRD TERM REPORTS:
You will have received your child’s Third Term reports. Please note that, with the exception of the Matrics, the report contains marks compiled from third term tests and assignments only – no full scale exam. To monitor your child’s progress, marks need to be compared with the grade averages.
Should you need to contact a teacher in connection with your child’s progress, please do not hesitate to use the email route.
The Matrics now start preparing for their finals which commence on Monday 24 October. Look out for these names amongst the provincial Merit list at the end of the year; they are our top 25 candidates, all with aggregates of well over 85%.
Jo Ackerman Claire Baissac David Broodryk
Nitesh Dayar Kai Forster Miguel Garcia-Naudé
Summer Geffen Lelie Hannam Jonathan Harrison
Hannah Harrison-Saayman Katherine Hartzenberg-Aeroe Saara Ismail
Farheen Khan Thomas McDougall Shriya Naidoo
Casey Nevin Alexandra Pottinger Sanjiv Ranchod
Jenna Smith Cayley Tarr Darren Thomas
Mu’aath Upadhey Ella Wesselink Hannah Wolpe
2. HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:
There is a fair amount of activity taking place during this short holiday period.
Our Girls’ 1st Water Polo Team participated in a prestigious tournament for girls’ teams hosted by Reddam House last weekend, ending eighth out of twenty teams. They are due to join the Boys’ 1st Team at the annual National Co-Ed Schools’ Tournament, this year being held in East London, during the latter part of the holiday. They will be accompanied by Mrs Mather and Mr Buwalda.
The 1st Cricket Team is at home at the start of the holidays to participate in the annual Cape Schools’ Festival. Their matches are against Alexander Road, Muir College and Grey High School; Mr Hutton-Squire will be with them. During the second weekend of the holiday, they take part in the Bergvliet-hosted 20/20 Festival which was postponed in Term 1. Our Under 15 cricketers, coached and managed by Mr Dicks, take part in the Cancer Awareness 8-a-side Festival, hosted by Western Province Cricket Club.
Our Transkei hikers take on the breathtaking Transkei hills and beaches. This is the annual hike that our senior isiXhosa classes take on to improve their isiXhosa communication skills. As usual they will be accompanied by Mr Dugmore, and once again, included will be a visit to Zithulele where a large group of Old Westerfordians are doing sterling work in the hospital as part of educational organisations there.
We also have a group doing a canoeing trip on the Orange River. They will be accompanied by Mr Daniell and Miss Nichol.
Mr Cupido and Mrs Bosman will be travelling to China to visit and strengthen relationships with our partner school in Tianjin. Their trip will include a few days being hosted by the TFLS and a tourist leg to Xi’an and Beijin.
3. CELEBRATION AND VALEDICTORY:
Our annual Celebration Evening takes place in the first week of next term, on Thursday 13 October in the Noel Taylor Hall at 19h30. The next morning, Friday 14 October, we say farewell to the Matrics at the very moving Valedictory Function. They then start their finals on Monday 24 October.
4. BUDGET 2017:
This is an early notification of the very important Budget 2017 meeting that will take place in the Noel Taylor Hall on Thursday 17 November starting at 19h00. This is where the full budget for 2017 must be approved, but, more importantly, the school fees for 2017 need to be set. Please make every effort to be part of this vital decision-making process.
5. ABSENCE FROM SCHOOL AND PUNCTUALITY:
We have become increasingly concerned - over recent months - about a minority of our pupils and their parents who are not following our policies and practices regarding school attendance. Please assist in ensuring the following:
· Pupils may miss school only if they are ill; we have also asked repeatedly that there is a phone call or an e-mail or note to the School by 08h00 on the day the child is away, explaining the absence from school.
· Please avoid keeping your children at home, or allowing them to be at home, if they are not ill.
· In exceptional circumstances, pupils may be given permission to miss school for reasons other than illness; in these instances a letter or e-mail should be addressed to Mr Cain requesting this permission.
· Please avoid taking your child out of school early on Fridays for week-ends away, or a day or two before the end of a term. Our instructional programme is tight and it really does not help if some families are not committed to using this time constructively. It also does not send the right message to our pupils if they are allowed to miss school for these reasons.
· A few pupils are regularly late for school; in almost all instances greater and more regular punctuality can easily be attained, if parents assist in ensuring their children are at school on time.
We therefore ask that all families make a really concerted effort to ensure that attendance and punctuality are as they should be in the future.
Furthermore, our exams end officially on Friday 25 November, however, the official last day of school is Wednesday 7 December. Please be reminded that it is a Departmental requirement that ALL pupils attend school up to, and including, Wednesday 7 December.
6. UNIFORM SURVEY:
Thank you to all parents who took part in this survey. All staff and pupils have now also completed the survey and the results will be collated during the holiday period. Full details will be communicated to all early in the new term. This is very much the beginning of the process and a follow-up survey might be necessary.
7. STUDENT PROTESTS:
Education in general has been through some turbulent times of late and Westerford has not been immune to what has been happening. I have to say, though, that I have been really proud of the way the Westerford community has responded, particularly our pupils. They have supported the protests, been vocal at school and in the media, arranged opportunities to debate, argue, engage, but always with a great deal of respect and control.
We are in a climate where communication and effective engagement is absolutely essential. This engagement has started and will continue.
Attached is a statement prepared by Mr Graeme Dorrington, our Board Chairman.
In very brief summary, these are some of the things that have taken place so far:
· I have addressed all grades, separately, with an open agenda, to encourage individuals to express their views. Meetings of this nature will continue next term.
· An open meeting was convened by a group of our societies including the Debating Society, the HCA, and the Xhosa Society.
· A topic entitled ‘Westerford Identities’ was offered at our Academic Day.
· Staff have met on a number of occasions to discuss these matters.
· A group of pupils has met on a number of occasions and, after much dialogue and discussion, produced a memorandum of concerns and suggestions for the attention of School Management. This is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as is reasonably possible.
· The Uniform Survey has been completed and follow-up will happen shortly.
· The Board is investigating inviting an independent expert to address and workshop staff and pupils on these important matters.
The present climate is being dealt with very seriously at all levels. I am confident that this will prove to be a most necessary and worthwhile experience that is going to benefit all. Once again my thanks to the greater Westerford community for the manner in which the issues are being handled.
8. MAIN EVENTS:
Mon 10 School Opens
Thur 13 CELEBRATION in the NT Hall at 19h15
Fri 14 VALEDICTORY
Mon 17 Claremont High School Celebration and Prize-Giving in the NT Hall
Tues 18 Matric Art Exhibition Opening
Mon 24 Matric Exams start
Thu 1 4th Quarterly Music Concert
Wed 8 Grade 8 to 11 exams begin
Thur 17 Budget PTA Meeting
Mon 5 Carol Service at 19h30 in the Southern Centre
Wed 7 Last day for Pupils
Fri 9 Last day for Staff
Wishing everyone a very pleasant and well deserved holiday.
Rob le Roux