As we look forward to The Ridge reopening on Tuesday 10 September and to welcoming your boys back following what we trust has been an engaging but relaxing holiday time for each of them, it is appropriate for me to reconnect with you all again before we start.
As usual, the four weeks of the August holidays have been put to good use by our grounds, support and housekeeping service staff teams. It is important to report that as we celebrate the coming of Spring here on the Westcliff Ridge we are able to celebrate too, a school that has had a thorough spring-clean and that is in great shape to welcome your lads back.
Following a winter term that certainly took its toll on members of staff from time to time, we will be back to full strength as we open next week. Whilst most parents will be aware that we will be losing a few staff members to retirement at year end, I will wait until I have a complete picture regarding replacements in each case before sharing related information with you all.
Theme for the Term… Standing in The G A P:
There have been so many features that our year’s ‘Living the Legacy’ theme has brought to light for our Ridge boys. The one that sadly seems to be well below par, no matter how many reminders the boys, in general, receive, is in the area of good manners, respect for their elders and appropriate etiquette. We will be paying special attention to so much of what brings these failings to light during the months directly ahead this term.
Under the banner of ‘Standing in the GAP’ we will be challenging all Ridge boys to apply themselves consciously and knowingly to a G A P acronym:
- G – Greeting
- A – Awareness and Acknowledgement
- P – Politeness
I ask all parents to please play your part in reinforcing this theme on the home base.
School Security and Pupils’ Well-being:
We are, as always, acutely aware of our responsibilities as they pertain to us ensuring that your lads, once dropped off at school each day, are within a safe and secure environment. The recent kidnapping of a young 6 year old girl (subsequently released) from a school in Vanderbijlpark has sent shockwaves through the country.
I had a lengthy meeting with our security supervisor, Terrance Phakathi, and the owner of Dailtron Security Services, the company responsible for guarding The Ridge, earlier this week. Top of the meeting agenda was the need for absolute vigilance when boys are being dropped off and picked up, and a related keen alertness from our security guards when monitoring the flow of traffic into and exiting the school grounds each day. Needless-to-say, this applies to both the Lawley Road and Woolston Road parking and drop-off areas.
Where a concern was expressed by Mr Phakathi on behalf of himself and his guards, is during those early morning times when boys are dropped off by parents outside the school grounds; i.e. on the Woolston Road pavement, in particular. In this instance we are again reminding parents to please take it upon yourselves to accompany your boys into the safety of the school grounds. Whilst only Grade 6 and 7 boys may be dropped off at the Irish Gate and a person is on duty to monitor this drop-off area, even then parents are requested to make sure that they take responsibility to see their boys entering the gate, thus gaining safe access to the school grounds.
It has been agreed too, that an additional guard and security vehicle will be strategically positioned outside the Woolston Gate each morning in order to observe the comings and goings of vehicles and to better monitor the traffic flow.
Pastoral Care and Discipline Procedures:
Against the backdrop of ‘Standing in the GAP’, but this time focusing attention on an area within the pastoral care programme that our Grade 3 and SP teachers look after and are involved in each school day, we will be introducing, this coming week, a reworked Pastoral and Discipline Protocol.
The purpose of tightening this system is threefold:
- Raising levels of responsibility and accountability amongst the Grade 3 – 7 boys;
- Clarifying for our lads what consequences and related punishments will result from poor behaviour and /or choice making;
- Providing a more transparent and easy to understand protocol that can be referenced and measured against and more consistently followed; both for boys and for teachers.
A copy of this four page Pastoral Care and Discipline document will be posted in each Grade 3 – 7 classroom and I will be speaking to all the boys about the purpose of introducing this tighter system and what we are expecting from each of them in response. A copy of the document is available to parents and will be posted on our Ridge App under the Senior Prep icon.
3rd Term Centenary programme:
Following on from the 1st and 2nd Terms and the all-embracing, memorable and happily successful birthday celebrations that we as a school family has enjoyed together, parents will find that the 3rd Term will be somewhat quieter.
Our Live Calendar on The Ridge App will alert you all to some of what to expect in the form of the Art Exhibition, the Music at The Ridge concert, the Christmas Thanksgiving and Carols by Candlelight Service in late November, and further Right Stuff Passport happenings that your lads will be involved in. Regular reminders and updates will be coming through to you so please don’t miss out on being part of what will prove to be an important last term of celebration, thanksgiving and remembrance.
Reminders and Prompts:
As you begin the process of preparing your boys for their return to school next week, I would appeal to mums and dads to please make sure that the following are taken care of:
- Boys must return to school with their hair appropriately cut and coloured;
- All school clothing, bags, stationery, etc is to be clearly marked;
- Caps and blazers, in particular, seem, all too often, not to be marked as required;
- School blazers are to be checked to make sure that they have their two buttons firmly attached;
- Any additional sports clothing and equipment, or musical instruments that your lad will be bringing to school must, likewise, be clearly marked;
In addition, a special request from me to parents of Grade 3 – 7 boys to please ensure that your boys are at school before the Line-up Bell rings at 07.30 each morning.
I look forward to welcoming your boys back to school on Tuesday morning and to meeting up with and reconnecting with each of you in the days ahead.