Following a brief ‘Welcome Back’ letter to you all last week it is appropriate to be able to bring you up to speed with some important additional news and information as we look forward into the weeks and months that lie ahead for your boys during what promises to be a full and busy term.
Before doing so, however, I am happy to report that, with the first week of term now comfortably under the belt, all our boys seem to be very well settled in their respective spaces of learning. The SP academic programme, in particular, has started at some pace given that the Grade 6 and 7 boys will be going into the end of first semester exam mode within the next few weeks.
- Whilst covered in the end of term Horizons publication, it is appropriate to reintroduce and welcome again Patricia Mbele as she only joined us during the last two weeks of term. Having bid farewell to our Assistant SP Librarian, Sihle Blose, at the end of February last term we were delighted to welcome Patricia to our staff team. Patricia joins us from St Peter’s Boys’ Prep School where she has been Assistant Librarian for the past nineteen years. She was also in charge of running their chess extramural programme.
- I am very sad to have to share the news that Jan Boland, who taught at The Ridge during the 80s and 90s, passed away on Sunday 5th. Jan had been Head of Maths and Science during her time here and was recognised as having been an inspirational and dynamic teacher; a much loved and respected mentor and colleague. Two of her grandsons, William and Anthony, are currently pupils at The Ridge.
Staff Professional Development:
In addition to all that our teachers take on during the normal course of their teaching, coaching and caregiving commitments and duties here at The Ridge each day, professional development opportunities that offer broader educational exposure and experiences, are very much on the agenda from time to time as well.
As an ISASA school, we are very fortunate that, together with the many other independent schools that fall under the ISASA umbrella, we have a generous exposure to a wealth of PD opportunities available to us through this organization and associated networks. Money is budgeted each year in order to make sure that our teachers are given ample opportunity to attend cluster meetings, workshops and conferences, both locally and nationally.
In addition, though, our Ridge Exco leadership team works hard to set up and facilitate important internally arranged professional development sessions that are specific to our particular needs here at The Ridge. Many of these are offered to all teachers to participate in, others will be specific to certain year or phase groups, whilst some are appropriate only to particular learning areas.
In order to keep parents in the picture, please find below a list of some of what was on offer to our teaching team during the 1st Term.
Focus for the 2nd Term:
Under the Centenary’s Celebrating with a Purpose mantra and the school’s Living the Legacy theme, we are looking forward to building on the Right Stuff initiatives of the 1st Term as we focus attention on sharing with the boys the importance of translating Care-to-Learn messages into meaningful acts of community outreach and engagement.
With the boys having each received their own Right Stuff Passports in early February, most have been actively accumulating ‘acts of service’ minutes by offering chosen deeds of kindness or support from time to time in recent months. The challenge, as issued when the passports were first handed out, was to accumulate 100 minutes of service during the year. It is heartening to be able to report that some boys are well past the 100-minute mark and are in fact closing in on 1000 minutes.
In support of what is proving to be a really meaningful initiative for many of the boys to actively commit to, Ijeoma Solarin and Smeeta Devchand have been working tirelessly in order to prepare for the eagerly anticipated #RIGHTSTUFF Action Day which takes place on Saturday 1st June. This ‘reaching out to the community’ day will serve to galvanize the whole Ridge School family in ways that will provide some meaningful engaging and caregiving to service and NGO organisations in need of support.
There has been an overwhelming response from parents to participate in the day, for which we thank you. For more information please have a look at the attached overview or contact Ijeoma or Smeeta directly. You can also book your slot via the following link – https://qkt.io/rightstuff
The use of Uber to transport children:
A communique regarding warnings about the use of Uber to transport Ridge boys, as arranged by parents, was sent through last year. We have recently received an update from ISASA that is important to pass on to you all.
“The use of Uber by minors has raised concerns amongst member schools. This entails learners being collected by Uber without any notification from parents, which poses a potential security risk. There is an apprehension that the school may be liable should something go wrong.
What is new?
This memorandum serves to inform member schools of the measures that Uber claims it has instituted to ensure the safety of its users. We also provide advice to member schools with regard to the use of the Uber service by learners.
This information was released by Uber following a string of violent incidents in South Africa. Uber has provided an undertaking that before a driver can be allowed to be an Uber driver, the following must be confirmed:
- Potential drivers must each have a valid Professional Drivers Permit which is checked by Uber against the Traffic Licensing Department’s database.
- Potential Uber drivers are checked against a criminal fingerprint identification system.
- Vehicle inspections are done to ensure the vehicles are roadworthy.
- Driving skills are evaluated through a third-party driving evaluation test to examine the driver’s ability to drive safely and according to road regulations.
Furthermore, Uber advises passengers to check the following aspects before getting into the car:
- Whether the registration plate, vehicle colour and model match the information provided on the Uber App.
ISASA has always referred schools to Uber’s own Terms and Conditions which stipulate that the service is not available to persons under the age of 18 years unless they are accompanied by an adult.
What does it mean for The Ridge School?
We take this opportunity to alert parents about the use of Uber transport for their boys and warn parents against the use of Uber by boys, owing to its age restrictions, as set out in its Terms and Conditions: 18 years.
- Parents are again advised that The Ridge will not be held liable for any incidents resulting from the use of Ubers by Ridge boys.
- With immediate effect, parents are not permitted to use Ubers to collect their boys from The Ridge premises without first informing and receiving permission from me as Headmaster.
A Final Word:
On behalf of your sons I wish all our Ridge mums a belated but very happy Mothers’ Day.
Oliver Wendell Holmes puts it well when he said, “Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”
On a personal note, I have been hugely privileged during my life to have witnessed and enjoyed the unconditional love, the selfless support and undiluted friendship of two exceptional mothers: my own mum who, although no longer with us, is still a beautiful supernatural influence in my life; and Lucinda, my wife, who has been the most constant, caring and compassionate mother to our three children, and, more recently, a devoted grandmother to our two grandsons – albeit at a distance.
We look forward to celebrating with you all at the special Centenary Mothers’ Celebration on Saturday 8th June.
Warm regards to you all and God’s blessings and covering into the term ahead