Happy New Year to you all following what I hope has been a relaxing December / January holiday break that will have provided plenty in the way of quality family time, loads of fun-in-the-sun adventures and, for many, the expected merriment associated with the Christmas season celebrations and festivities.
As I welcome The Ridge family at the beginning of this first week of the new academic year, it is wonderful too, to offer a very warm welcome to so many new families whose boys will be joining us from Wednesday, 15th January. In particular, the parents of our 72 Grade 0 boys who join as our newest class of five year olds.
To all of our new parents and your boys, best wishes for what we trust will prove to be a wonderfully happy, all-embracing and life-changing experience for each young lad.
As we look forward to getting underway on Wednesday morning, it is good to be able to report that we are starting the new year with a pupil enrolment of 509.
We were delighted to welcome a number of new teaching staff to a special Welcome Tea on Friday morning last week. The following full-time, part-time and intern teachers have joined the teaching team and will be making their mark in their own unique ways in the weeks and months ahead:
New to The Ridge:
- Leslie Elderkin … Head of Instruments and Performing Arts
- Kim Hansen … Grade 2 class teacher and Junior Primary specialist teacher
- Ashley Keene … Grade 0 class teacher and specialist ECD teacher
- Naadirah Loonat … Grade 6 and 7 specialist English teacher
- Scott Mallen … Grade 5 class teacher and English and Drama specialist teacher
- Christina Mashobane … Grade 5, 6 and 7 specialist Afrikaans teacher/HoD Afrikaans
New portfolios for existing teachers at The Ridge:
- Jacqui Haddow … Remedial specialist teacher
- Agnes Jooste … Head of Learning Support
- Jan Mallen … Learning Support and Mentor
- Kathryn Rossouw … Grade 1 class teacher and Junior Primary specialist teacher
- Sarah Behr … Grade 0 class teacher and HoD Early Childhood Development
- Debra Coetzer … Grade 0 class teacher and specialist ECD teacher
- Nozipho Ndiweni … Grade 0 co-teacher
- Zibula Dladla … isiZulu specialist teacher Grade 5 – 7 and Head of SP isZulu
- Thulisile Zulu … isiZulu specialist teacher and Head of JP isZulu
- Daniel McLachlan … Grade 5, 6 and 7 specialist Maths teacher and Acting HoD Maths
New Interns for 2020:
- Obakeng Maila
- Ayibongwe Dube
- Masana Maringa
- Thinavhuyo Maloba
- Khaya Knight
- Mokgantsho Matsela
- Nadine Mckenzie
Being the summer holiday, we made sure, as always, to give all members of staff time off. Nonetheless, the necessary time was set aside for the expected maintenance and upkeep programmes. As your boys return this week, they can look forward to being welcomed into classrooms that have been thoroughly spring-cleaned, buildings that have been painted, and a learning environment that is in great shape to offer them all the required amenities and comforts that such learning spaces should provide for.
Special holiday projects have included:
Repositioning of the Phezulu Information and Technology Classroom:
This well-utilized SP teaching and learning facility has been moved into the Oppenheimer Science and Innovation Centre where it will be used to support and enhance the many exciting programmes on offer within the Design/Technology, STEAM, and Natural Science teaching environments. The vacated classroom space will be used as a much needed utility classroom to support the greater SP teaching timetable.
Setting up of the fourth Grade 0 classroom:
We are very excited to be able to open an additional Grade 0 classroom that will join the three existing Grade 0 teaching facilities as we welcome the new crop of ECD boys into The Ridge. Each classroom will look after the needs of 18 young lads but the four rooms will each be used as specially purposed and equipped teaching spaces during each week.
Work done on renovations to staff accommodation:
With some resident staff movement having taken place at the end of last year, and given our ongoing commitment to being able to provide suitable accommodation whenever possible to members of staff, outside contractors have been employed to renovate and upgrade some of the existing homes, flats and living quarters.
- School uniform: Parents will be aware of our uniform requirements and related regulations. We urge you all to please make sure that your lads are appropriately turned out for school each day. In addition, that all clothing and personal attire and belongings are clearly marked.
- Haircut requirements: In keeping with our insistence that Ridge boys are smart and look the part apropos their uniforms, we are equally determined to maintain standards when it comes to hair length, style and colouring. Whilst we are cognisant and accommodating of certain hair styles where appropriate and within given cultures, we do insist that these remain within the required regulations. If you are unsure then please will you ask for clarity from your son’s class teacher, the Head of Grade or a senior member of staff.
- Carpark Drop Off and Drive Through regulations: All parents, guardians and au pairs are expected to comply with the following rules, please:
- Keep under the 10km/hr speed limit;
- Be alert to boys crossing the carparks – in front of and behind the motorcars
- Observe and obey the drop off restricted areas
- Make sure to park in designated parking bays only
- Be courteous to each other as drivers and parents;
- When parking on the pavements outside the school gates, make sure to see your lads into the safety of the school precinct. This applies particularly to JP parents and au pairs.
- The Ridge School App: This is available to all parents and, indeed, anyone associated with the School who wishes to have ready access to the information and communication network that underpins and supports our daily school operation. Please look out for daily alerts and related prompts that will serve to update parents on upcoming events, sporting fixtures and occasional changes to pre-arranged schedules. The Afternoon Activities up to 24 January can be located on the app under the Afternoon Activities icon. A reminder, the access code to the app is tr1919. Please visit the My School Profile icon and update your notification preferences to ensure you receive Red Alerts.
- The Live calendar: This can be found on The Ridge App and is kept current, ‘live’ and is actively updated on a daily basis. Some events and happenings to look out for the days immediately ahead this half-term:
- Wednesday 15th Jan … Boys return … Grade 1 – 7 lads to be wearing their Summer Blues
- Friday afternoon, 17th Jan … Grade 7 staff and boys return from Wagon Drift Dam
- Saturday 18th Jan … SP Parent Sport Information Session in Nicolson Hall
- Monday 20th Jan … PA AGM Information Evening and light supper
- Friday 24th Jan … Grade 4 and 7 Capping and Induction Ceremony
- … Individual and Class Photographs … Boys to wear Summer Blues
- Monday 27th Jan … Grade 0 2021 Parent Information Evening
- Thursday 30th Jan … College Information Expo in Nicolson Hall
- Tuesday 4th Feb … Grade 0 Parents’ Cocktail Evening in the School Dining Room
- Saturday 8th and 15th Feb … Grade 0 2021 Assessments and Screening
A Final Word:
It promises to be another memorable and highly engaging year for your boys as they reach out to enjoy and make the most of all that the 2020 Ridge School will be bringing their way.
I invite you all as mums and dads to stay in touch with us in whatever way you feel appropriate. Please don’t hold back if you are needing information on a particular matter or if you are confused about some upcoming arrangement. I would ask though, that you use the appropriate channels through which to direct your queries, that you refrain from using social media to vent your frustrations, and that you give staff members a full 24 hours in which to respond to an email, should you be expecting a response.
Warm regards and God’s richest blessings on you and your families as you look forward to the year ahead.