From the Headmaster’s Desk

I trust our families are well and that spring is being kind to all of you. The term commenced with great enthusiasm and a strong sense of unity, which has persisted through numerous successful events and cherished memories. We eagerly anticipate the upcoming events with excitement.

Daily observations of boys growing and learning, in joy-filled and depth-filled ways….

……all fill me with such hope about the quality and impact of The Ridge’s current and future trajectories.

They also fill me with gratitude for the Parent body alongside whom we work at our School. Parents’ support is felt in powerful and always appreciated ways, from helping to drive our designing of future, upgraded facilities plans to playing a central role in making our School attractive to prospective families (there is simply no doubt that our Grade 0 2024 classes are full because of parental support). Thank you to our parent body for respecting the Parent Attributes contained in our Attributes document (it makes for a happy and professional School, committed to being high on delivery).

I must also make mention of our Grade 7s who have taken their Headmaster’s Leadership project drives to significant levels. This morning, for example, two boys spoke through their projects involving the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and a non profit that houses orphans. The Grade 7 boys are doing phenomenal work.

I hope you will find the 3 texts below interesting. They are worth having a look at:

  • The Private School sector plays a critical role in our society
  • Quality schools with a compelling message will continue to thrive
  • Private schools need to continue to be pioneers; the Independent and State schools need each other.
  • Heads giving notice during the first year of service; results in disruption that can take up to three years of hard work to repair.
  • The importance of remaining true to areas where your school excels vs being all things to all people/ all families.
  • The relationship between the Board Chairperson and Head of School is critically important for a school. 
  • The importance of establishing strong relationship patterns and trust.
  • Trends in independent education: growth is muted, even though new schools continue to be established.
  • Schools must start to create endowments.
  • Inclusion and duty of care for all children is the new emphasis.
  • 151 of the 247 South African municipalities are dysfunctional.
  • Local Government officials are not being kept accountable.
  • Very little delivery and lots of talking.
  • Gauteng schools should not just be offering Zulu and Afrikaans; Sotho should also be considered as an offering at schools.
  • High fee schools, more than anywhere else, have to work very hard to demonstrate their value, but more South Africans appear to trust in the private sector rather than their Government.
  • Looming teacher shortage:
  • 45% of Government employed teachers will retire in the next decade.
  • Only 49% of South African teachers regard teaching as their first choice career – this will result in attrition.
  • Some UK schools offering GBP20 000 to South African teachers.
  • Only 4% of South Africans finish a degree in six years after matric.
  • Finance, emigration and semi-gration.
  • 60% of ISASA members are seeing high attrition rates.  The Western Cape is lower than Gauteng and Eastern Cape.  The biggest growth is Mpumalanga.
  • High fee schools are dropping the most, low growing, mid fee declining a bit too.
  • All staff must be marketers of their schools.  Everyone is obliged to build a good, happy and professional work environment.
  • Retain and grow client base.
  • 19/30 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa.
  • The way to make a culture conducive for innovation = a warm culture (work hard and play hard).

Sustainability in Independent Schools

  • It’s a long game.
  • People buy into interesting big ideas

Sustainability at a school means:

  • A school still being here in a generation’s time.
  • Still being relevant to society.
  • Being in a better shape than it is now.  Get these three things right:
  • Get into grand strategic thinking.
  • Earn community engagement.
  • Build a fundraising capability (this is a long game)
  • Being great things take time – farmers who plant olive trees in Greece do it for their grandchildren (they only reach peak of production after 30 years). The trees can produce fruit for 100 years. The work you do now will make your successors look like legends.
  • Andover College in Essex County, Massachusetts, was founded in 1778, (Phillips Academy) is an independent, coeducational secondary school with an expansive worldview and a legacy of academic excellence.  50% of pupils get financial aid from huge endowment.
  • Individuals and corporates care most about big thinking and big ideas.
  • You need a series of statements like a 30 year estate plan which then becomes a mandate for an estate plan.  Become mandates for real work to be done.
  • Drive trust. FRIENDraisers and FUNDraisers. Be honest.
  • Latch requirements for money onto an incredible big idea.
  • Everything has to be championed from the top.
  • The colour of unemployment and poverty is black, the gender is female.
  • Massive threat to political stability and sustainable economic growth.
  • UNESCO 2022: The purpose of education is to shape peaceful, just and sustainable societies.
  • It is not humanly possible to be born in South Africa (where it was a crime to be a, b and c) and not to have prejudices that must be owned and dealt with.
  • Check yourself all the time.
  • You can’t inspire or motivate someone you don’t understand (your task as a teacher is to bring out the best in each child).
  • Diversity is not enough, inclusion is not enough, BELONGING is the GOAL.
  • Transformation is not about numbers.
  • Transforming education = accepting the learner for who they are; they want to belong as who they are.
  • The world you want to see, starts with you.
  • Gender based harm/ racist harm is not only in doing, but in doing nothing, (you are an accomplice.)
  • You can only make choices based on what you know.
  • Create RAC people – Respective / Adaptive / Contributive
  • When you are running a school, you are running/ creating an ecosystem.
  • Survival of independent prep schools is a challenge.
  • Plan for attrition.
  • Guard routines, rhythms and predictability more than ever.
  • In South Africa we lost 1.3 years of learning during Covid.
  • This brought devastating developmental impact to all children.
  • Problematic behaviour: what are you trying to tell me and what do you need from me?
  • Regulation  – Reading

Resilience  –  Riting

Relationships   –  Rithmatic

(All six R’s are critically important)

  • ‘Safety is not the absence of threat.  It is the presence of connection’.
  • South Africa has the highest rate of screen time of any country in the world.
  • Brain needs balance, rest, social time, cognitive challenge, play etc.
  • Brain has the capacity to change right throughout your life.
  • Whichever part of your brain you are using, you grow that part of your brain (compassion, flexibility, rigidity, complaining). 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day, 7 days a week, gives the brain more Neurons.
  • Praise for EFFORT rather than ability. (You put in a lot of effort there, you put a lot of thought into that..)
  • Success takes effort. Celebrate effort.
  • Soft skills are what will differentiate us in the future, machines will do the rest.

The below has been linked to the theme of “The Danger of a Single Story” inspired by Chimamanda Adichie

With best wishes to each of our families



Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff and Boys       


I have been pleased with the buzz and excitement around The Ridge School since the start of the new year. In total, we have had approximately 17 500 academic lessons, 5000 extra mural activities and 478 pairs of feet stomping daily on our beautiful fields. And it is only January.

I have enjoyed greeting the boys as they have entered the school and in doing so, it is a daily reminder that they each walk their own journey. Some are anxious, some scared, some uncertain, some excited and hopeful – there is a wide range of emotion. So, my appeal to you is to be kind. We know not of where the other person is – we know only that everyone desires kindness.

I welcome new families who have joined The Ridge School community and families (who left and have returned).

Grade 1

Jake Dummer

Maximillian Ferrar

Tshiamelo Matshwane

Yusuf Thokan

Grade 2

Mikah Leitch

Cayden Roldao

Grade 3

William Bradshaw

Langalethu Damaseb

Jack Ferreira

Sbusiso Mtembu

Andrew Sithole

Grade 4

Ahmad Docrat

Michael Steger

Grade 5

Matthew Herholdt

Tom O’Sullivan

Onalenna Seneke

Jordan Sithole

Grade 6

Kieran Wesley

Grade 7

Sebastian Steffny

Please look out for them and make them feel welcome. Introduce yourself on the side of the sports field, invite them over for a play date, add them to a friendship circle.


We were really pleased with the attendance of parents to the information evenings that were hosted. For those families who unfortunately could not attend, I trust that you were able to catch up by watching the video or podcasts releases that were sent following it. My central message was that of the fundamental principles that we would use as a guide to inform our strategy as we develop it during this term.

  • Deep change or slow death – if schools were an invention of the 22nd century, what would they look like? How would they be structured? What teachings would take place?
  • Using the evidence available in neuroscience. Change the conversation with him. If we keep asking, what is he going to do when he grows up, we are failing him. Rather ask him, what problem is he going to solve.
  • The analogy of the carpenter and gardener – because your son is the most important person, he should not be our focus. The environment should support self-directed learning and student agency.

Five Questions

Instead of the usual how was your day? How was school? What did you learn or do? Rather ask these five questions – Who were you kind to today? Who was kind to you? What positive contribution did you make to your friends today? Tell me about a good deed you did? How did your teacher respond when you said thank you to them for the lesson?

Focus for February and March

Although we are in the process of developing a new strategy, there are some pillars that are critical to the wellbeing and development of every child. The focus for February and March, therefore, will be on setting a culture and structure for positive discipline. There will be fortnightly letters emailed to you and I encourage you to engage with it – it will include links to Google forms. The process will be that of deep change.

Drop off and Pick up

We have enjoyed having parents onsite this term – information evenings, special assemblies, sports fixtures etc. Key to the success of these events has been the planning to allow for all protocols to be adhered to and to remain legally compliant. We have noticed, however, a creep of a deviation from these protocols during the morning drop off and afternoon collection. I implore all parents of boys in the Senior Preparatory to adhere to the following:

  • It is a drop and go – please do not park. (essentially the boys need to tuck and roll 😊)
  • Please do not get out of your vehicle and walk to the classroom. If you have an appointment with a teacher, please report to reception, get screened and wait for the respective teacher to meet you at the reception.
  • Use the space all around the car park. Many parents wish to use the space directly in front of the hall and that creates a back log because of double parking.

The parents in the Junior Preparatory are to use the guidelines that were given by Ms Herold.  I understand the frustration and if we all play our part; the congestion will be minimised. The Exec team are also considering other resolutions to this problem and will communicate when solutions are finalized.


Wayne Naidoo


The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff and Boys       

Time to PLAY

I am hoping that our experiences of lockdown in the last two years will be the catalyst for the development of a mindset and an environment that is critical for a child’s educational success. Science says that the human mind maximizes learning in resting hours. Hence all education should be structured with adequate breaks. The way your brain functions is that you absorb and record information through your learning day. Then, to use that information effectively your brain needs time off to process it, make meaningful connections with other learnings that you have and throw up creative ideas from these connections.

To consolidate your regular learning, get adequate sleep every single night to let your brain recover and build new connections. To get creative and find new solutions, free up your brain’s resources from its daily grind. Like most successful people, you will find that your best insights and most creative ideas emerge from your sub-conscious when you play.

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Play has many benefits for children, families and the wider community, as well as improving health and quality of life.  

Recent research suggests that children’s access to good play provision can:

  • increase their self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-respect
  • improve and maintain their physical and mental health
  • allow them to increase their confidence through developing new skills
  • promote their imagination, independence and creativity
  • offer opportunities for children of all abilities and backgrounds to play together
  • provide opportunities for developing social skills and learning
  • build resilience through risk taking and challenge, problem solving, and dealing with new and novel situations
  • provide opportunities to learn about their environment and the wider community

Evidence is also available that outlines wider benefits of play provision for families and communities, suggesting that:

  • parents can feel more secure knowing that their children are happy, safe and enjoying themselves
  • families benefit from healthier, happier children
  • buildings and facilities used by play services are frequently seen as a focal point for communities
  • it offers opportunities for social interaction for the wider community and supports the development of a greater sense of community spirit, promoting social cohesion

My encouragement to the children therefore, is to HAVE FUN, enjoy the holiday, switch off, regroup, read a book, cook, sleep well, play… play… play…

Thank you

To everyone in The Ridge School community thank you all for the care, commitment, and courage you have shown in what has proved to be a particularly difficult year. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of staff, parents and boys to The Ridge School in 2021. 

Walt Disney once said ‘You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful ideas in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality’. The reality is that the learning experiences and projects that have taken place this year could not have happened without a great deal of commitment and support from the staff, parents and boys. 

One of the critical factors of any successful school is the staff. There has never been a time when being a teacher has been more demanding or challenging. To our teachers and support staff, thank-you for your energy, passion and enthusiasm. What a privilege to be able to witness the joy that comes with the understanding or satisfaction of a problem solved, or the wonder of living new adventures through the world of literature. Our teachers are privileged each day to participate in the boys’ academic journey. They recognise and applaud just how hard their boys try. They celebrate their boys’ achievements whether they be great or small and they share with pride the progress their boys make with their learning. 

One cannot underestimate the effort and commitment of the support staff – they have undertaken to be our safe keepers and protectors. Nothing has ever been too much for them and their willingness to step into any area and any time to ensure that all things work is really appreciated.

We are truly blessed to have wonderful and supportive parents and boys who are committed and loyal. I am particularly appreciative for everything that you have been doing to support learning from home. I know how difficult it is to juggle working from home while supporting your children with their schooling, and this is of course in addition to dealing with all of the normal challenges of family life.  The school has also received a number of messages of thanks and support from so many of you over these past few months, and these are all received very gratefully.

To our departing families and boys – make the most of the time God has given you. Whatever you strive for, whatever you do, whatever your lot in life give it your very best. Make the most of it, be positive, choose to be happy and thank God for each new day. 

To our returning staff, boys, and families we look forward to strengthening our relationship with you and embarking on the journey of the 2022 school year together. There are many exciting things set to take place.

I thank you all for your continued support for the school. I have enjoyed meeting many of you and I thank you for working in partnership with us to ensure that we have been safe and completed the year on a strong note. Without us working together we could not have set such a firm foundation for 2022 and beyond.

Christmas holiday message

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

We have tremendously high expectations of Christmas. We want everything to be perfect. We have pictures in our minds of children playing, church choirs singing, and people smiling and getting along. But often it is not that way. It feels that each year becomes harder to spread Christmas cheer and hope – until we realise what the world would look like without it. Having times of challenge is a wonderful and opportune moment to redirect the priorities in our lives.

Children often wonder what Christ looks like. They will draw pictures of Him. During childhood, visual concepts are extremely important. This would be a good opportunity to impress upon them that the glory of God that was present in Jesus was not observable in His physical appearance, but in the way He reflected His Heavenly Father’s love and patience and kindness. How wonderful it would be to redirect ourselves towards these virtues?

uKkhismusi pomuhle nonyaka omusha onezobusiso. Geseende kersfees en ‘n geseende nuwe jaar.


Wayne Naidoo


The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents/Guardians                              

At the time of writing this newsletter, the Grades 5 – 7 boys have departed for their much-anticipated camps. While for many it is their first for a long time, for some, it is their first. In the buildup and preparation for it, there was some discourse around the pleasure of some things returning to normal. Contrary to this view, however, I wish that we do not return to normal. And while I am not a scientific expert who can offer a view on the origins and impact of the virus, I think that the normal that we were used to is what lead us to not being able to adapt sufficiently enough to limit the residual impact felt by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, I would like to share about what I am hopeful about. And that is being able to move to a new place – a place where we live in touch with our humanity and not visit it at the occasional funeral or wedding. We have learnt that love and compassion are not luxuries, but they are necessities. I am hopeful, therefore, that we will rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Schools play an integral part in the realisation of our humanity. There are two real emotions that boys, staff, and parents regularly feel that are somehow perceived negatively. They are anxiety and fear. While I recognise my limitations in defining what they are, I do understand that anxiety is what puts us in touch with our humanity because it tells us that something is wrong. And if we are not afraid then we have not grasped what is at stake. The absence of anxiety and fear means that we are not in touch with what is wrong in our world but the presence of it means that we are more in touch with our humanity. The purpose of our humanity in this school, therefore, is to help us fix what we previously broke. Our humanity is not about returning to normal, our humanity is about showing the world what schools should look like – all schools and not just the privileged ones.

It can be difficult to explain human nature, but that does not mean we should lose faith or hope in ourselves or others. Bringing humanity into education, into our school, is about not returning to normal but embracing a new world order.  Consider, for a moment, how profound an education is: every human-made object in the world is the result of one. Every car, computer, particle accelerator, thatched hut, hairstyle, soufflé, piano concerto. These are the products not only of the skilled hands and minds of their creators, but the result of whole traditions and systems of education. Change education (change our school), and you change the world.

Spectators at sport events

We are pleased with the recent amendment of the gazette released by the DBE which allows for spectators at school sporting events. We have missed you and I am certain that you missed this aspect of your son’s development as well as the sense of community that it brings. Instead of giving you my personal, philosophical views about the merits of being to watch yours sons play sport, I thought that I would solicit their perspectives, as well as that of the coaches, and present it to you straight from their mouths:

Things that the boys and staff have missed:
  • The encouragement.
  • Talking about highs and lows after the match.
  • Food… bacon and egg rolls.
  • My nana watching.
  • Community
  • The cheers and clapping.
  • The treats.
  • Parents cannot record and have fun with me.
  • Always having someone in my corner.
  • They miss my good performances.
Things that they have not missed:
  • Being shouted at by other parents.
  • Being told I suck.
  • Reffing and the abuse I got – I am a teacher not an IRB ref.
  • The tension on the side of the field.
  • Not getting embarrassed.
  • The shouting.
  • Parents not getting upset.
  • Telling me what to do – I could think more for myself while playing.
  • When parents try to coach while we are on the pitch.
  • The pressure and the intensity.

Protocols as spectators

The following health and safety measures must be adhered to when coming onto the campus. Your understanding and support is appreciated.

  • Face masks must be worn by all persons entering the venues where the activities take place, change rooms or training areas. Boys who are participating in training or matches accompanied by vigorous exercise will not be required to do so while they are playing.
  • Sufficient quantities of hand sanitisers, with at least 70% alcohol content, will be available for use by all officials, coaches, assistants, participants and supporters.
  • There will also be facilities for washing of hands with soap and water.
  • Subject to the requirements of any contact activity, social distancing must be maintained at all times. We appeal to parents to limit, where possible, the number of spectators per boy to three people.
  • The sharing of drinks and drink containers is not allowed.
  • There will be a Covid-19 compliance officer at each venue. Please respect the directives given by him/her.
  • All participants and spectators must undergo health and temperature screening upon entry.
  • For contact tracing purposes only, a register of all officials, participants and spectators from visiting and hosting schools who are attending a school match or event must be kept by the host school for at least 21 days. A Google form declaration will be sent in advance of each event. A hard copy will also be available for completing at the venue.
  • We are legally obliged to do this in conjunction with the other regulations. We need to consider physical distancing at certain facilities. This may impact the number of spectators at our pool as an example but details will follow per event

To conclude this thread – a new world by not returning to normal and the coming together in community once again – I encourage us to reflect on the notion that in community we can do more to help someone than what we are able to do as individuals. And where the boys are concerned – most things can be developed in isolation except character. This is about them. I am excited that the village that raises them is growing and coming together again.


Wayne Naidoo


The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents                                  

Celebrating our Heritage

In my first two months at The Ridge School, I got to reflect on celebrating Women and our Heritage. I am not sure if there was an intention to have those follow each other but women are intricately linked with our heritage. Not only are they the ones responsible for our birth but our morality, sense of attachment and belonging is deep rooted in our relationship with them. While we explore the role of influential women in our lives and examine our Heritage, we will find clues about our past and how society has evolved. It is an opportunity to examine our history, traditions and be enabled to develop an awareness of ourselves. We can, therefore, get closer to understanding why we are the way we are.

This is especially important as schools are our social anchors and the people in it are the agents of change. Schools have experienced significant change in the last few months but on matters important, it is vital that we lead the change. The growth and change that the boys and we as staff experience may cause us to alter our views for a moment or sustain us in the future. When one considers, therefore, what we hold in the context of heritage, it is our duty, as a school, to develop the narrative from inclusion to belonging. In the event that you need belonging, you don’t converse with the people you know. You converse with those you don’t.

We are a country of 59 million people, 26 million eligible voters, over 100 000 species of plant and animal life, 287 municipalities, 11 official languages, 9 different provinces, and you – you have the power to make people belong.

As challenging and beautiful as this sounds, I must also remember that last week I lost a battle with a five-year-old about wearing nail polish and lipstick to school. Nevertheless, we must pick ourselves up and continue to try.


During the first few weeks of the term, I hosted a series of online meet and greet sessions with all parents to begin the partnership that is so essential. I also had the opportunity to have some face-to-face sessions which were tagged onto various information mornings. It was wonderful having the parents on the campus again and to meet many of you. I still have many parents to meet. The main talking points with the parents was to give further insight about my personal life, journey and experience in education and speak in depth about relationship building and authentic conversations.

I look forward to further engagements. Be on the lookout, therefore, for the plan regarding the release of podcasts and written newsletters. To that end, your voice is important and I would like to include it in process.

Engagements with staff

I am pleased with the growing authenticity and openness with the engagements with the staff. At the beginning of the term, we interacted in fun and engaging ways to solicit ideas about the following:

  • Using the medium of short skits, we explored who the ideal Ridge boy is.
  • Reworking the lyrics of our favourite songs to explain the aspects that we appreciate about working with each other.
  • Each person spoke about the song that we would use as the theme song to a movie made about our lives. This developed our understanding about the people in the room.
  • We also considered the idea if school was an invention as of today, what staffing structure we would construct for the effective leading of it.
  • Then we wrote a gratitude chain – of all the people we would thank for us to be at this point in our lives. The realisation that so much of our success depends on the significant contribution of others, lead us to acknowledge the magnitude of the good in the world around us.

In recent weeks, the following topics were the basis for discussion:

  • In considering the need to address forms of prejudice we spoke about the personal journey that we need to undergo, the interpersonal skills that need to be developed, and institutional and structural changes that need to be made.
  • The emotional process of change.
  • The cost of us meeting and the value of the outcomes to equate to that cost.

Management of COVID

COVID is not a new circumstance, and we commit ourselves to being creative and reimagine how things can be done. We are consulting with medical and legal experts to ensure that we are compliant and making good decisions for the well-being of the boys, parents and staff. We are also engaging with the regional rep of ISASA and their legal department for support in affecting policy making at the DBE level.

We are leveraging the change in regulations to have parents attend functions on site but in a safe manner. Most events are held outdoors, and all protocols remain in place. The intention is to reignite the sense of community.

In addition, to minimise the disruption to teaching and learning we will ensure effective track and tracing procedures so that only close contacts of a person who tests positive will need to isolate. In order to effectively implement this, we implore parents to allow us to use the identity of their son in the process.

Grades 3 – 7 camps

I am certain that you found great value in the information mornings regarding the logistics and preparation for the boys going on camp. The fact that for many boys this will be their first and for the others it has been a while, the anxiety and apprehension they and parents may feel is not lost on us. I wish to assure you of the following steps we have taken to support the staff and your boys:

  • Every camp site had a pre-visit by a member of the executive team.
  • We contacted the camp directors and got copies of their policies around safety, training of their staff and all protocols they have in place.
  • We briefed them about the expectations we have about their interaction with The Ridge Boys.
  • I will drive out on Thursday and spend the day with the Grades 5 and 6 boys.
  • I will stay with the Grade 7s on Thursday night and spend Friday with them.

In addition, we are in the process of developing a positive mindset about camp culture. The following initiatives are underway:

  • Mr Bezuidenhout, Mr Seakamela and Ms Fletcher are having sessions with the respective classes and Grades about standards of behaviour that we expect.
  • Josh Ramsey will be flying up from Cape Town and facilitating conversations about positive behaviour, anti-bullying and pro-social skills amongst other topics. The boys will contribute to their set of camp rules – they will then have ownership over it. We will also talk about steps that the boys can take if anything untoward happens.
  • Infographics about these will be put together and sent home. You are encouraged to go through it with your son before he departs for camp. The same infographics will be stuck up in their accommodation as a visual reminder of the commitment they made. 

Watching of Sport

The frustration pertaining to the restriction on the watching of sport is massive. Essentially, the two gazettes, which are mandated by separate government departments do not talk to each other. We are working with ISASA in engaging with the DBE to look at ways to get the gazettes aligned and to change the restrictions imposed on schools – particularly those with the capacity to effectively manage the protocols associated with safety around COVID. In the meantime, please understand that we need to be legally complaint but we will continue to push hard in this regard.

Celebrations at National level

Our Grade 7s competed in the final Tour de Maths competition for the year. In total there were 30 020 questions attempted by 767 students – I think you get the sense of gravity of this competition. The boys from The Ridge performed exceptionally well and it is an absolute pleasure to give you the results of the completion:


  1. The Ridge
  2. St Stithians Boys’ Prep
  3. St Stithians Girls’ Prep


  1. Soham-Zhy Ravjee (The Ridge School)
  2. Calvin Wagner (The Ridge School)
  3. Oliver Bouilliart (The Ridge School)

I congratulate the staff and the boys for this amazing accomplishment.

Next steps

While the focus of the term is to finish of the year strong and ensure operational efficacy, plans are well under way to prepare for 2022 and beyond. The staff and the executive team are working on the following:

  • Critically analysing various policies, particularly our anti-racial policy, anti-bullying policy and Code of Conduct.
  • Interviews for the positions of Deputy Head – Innovative Learning Strategist and Head of Senior Primary.
  • A communications strategy.
  • A marketing strategy.

Wayne Naidoo


Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents

It was a real joy, a few days ago, to bring the whole school (Grade 1 – 7, boys and staff) together on the Hersov Field for the first Combined Assembly this year. With masks firmly in place and physical distancing being adhered to, we made the most of a few minutes of assembly togetherness before the boys were divided up into their respective SALT groups.

The Sharing and Learning Together programme was sadly also affected by the impact of the pandemic and so has not been activated since last year. It has been sorely missed by the boys. SALT, as the acronym would suggest, is designed to give the Grade 7 boys a chance to be young leaders as they ‘sprinkle’ friendship and fellowship into the lives of their assigned group of boys. The groups are made up of one lad from each grade (1 – 6), they are led by a Grade 7 boy and are each facilitated by a member of staff.  Three times a term, on a Friday morning, these ‘knowing and growing’ sessions give our senior lads an opportunity to engage with and lead their small groups. Activities are pre-arranged and sent out to the Grade 7s so that they arrive at their special meeting places well prepared. The next SALT session will happen on Friday 4th June when the boys will be enjoying a South African civvies day in support of the SA Men’s Hockey Team and their Olympic Dream. 

Grade 7 boys college entries:

We are delighted to be able to share the news that all Grade 7 boys have been placed in colleges of first or second choice for 2022. As I congratulate the boys themselves on having stepped up and delivered during what can oft-times be a nerve-wracking and intimidating application, interview and admissions experience for them, all credit must go to Nick Diana and his team of teachers. The wonderful work done in preparing and upskilling the boys during their time here at The Ridge and in recent months, in particular, has certainly paved the way for another impressive showing by our Ridge lads; always, it must be said, against stiff opposition from other boys schools. Scholarship awards will be announced in due course.

School starting time:

I am appealing to SP Parents to please make sure that your boys are at school by 07:30am at the latest. We make a quick start each morning with boys assembling and moving down to Hersov Field at around 07:40am in order to start the SP Line-up promptly at 07:45am. The 1st period of the day begins at 08:00 am, so we are running close to the clock from early each morning.

This reminder comes to you all, I know, at a time when we are acutely aware that the chilly winter early morning weather is not too far off and so waking up to get to school might be that much tougher for some. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. 

Strictly… drop off and go in the mornings:

Aligned to the above request is one that reminds you all that in order to keep the traffic moving in the Woolston Road Car Park in particular, we are relying on parents to please drop and go. Any unnecessary tarrying or stopping / parking for long periods has the effect of causing long queues along Woolston Road and into Pallinghurst Road.

In addition, I would remind parents and au pairs to please stay in their motorcars. Current Government regulations remain in place that prohibit parents access to school property unless within their motorcars. This applies during each morning and at pick-up in the afternoons.

Lighthouse Learning Support team news:

Zoe von Klemperer has joined our special needs and remedial unit as from the 1st May. She joins us in a locum capacity and as a replacement for Agnes Jooste who will be leaving us at the end of May. She will stay on when the new Lighthouse HoD, Penny Meyer, takes the reins from the 1st September.  

The Acting Heads of Learning Support will be shared by Jacqui Haddow (JP) and Claire Lord (SP) for the months of June and July. Candice Fletcher will on hand to offer guidance and support on the emotional and psychological fronts, as well as overseeing the readiness assessments of new boys.

Lost property:

Another reminder for parents to please double-check that your son’s clothing and property that he brings to school is marked. There is a veritable mountain of lost property clothing as we close in on the end of each week and, whilst Di Wellard and Bridget Gerber are doing wonders to get the marked clothing back to the boys, it is the number of unmarked items that is of real concern.

Of course, there wouldn’t be any lost property if the lads just took more care of what is theirs to be responsible for. Here too, parents can re-enforce the messages coming through from school by making your son more accountable for what he might have carelessly left lying around at school and that has gone missing.

Action Day:

Please diarize Saturday 5th June as our Ridge Action Day. Bridget Gerber and her PA Committee will be discussing the proposed plan of action at this evening’s virtual PA meeting. Once the plan and details are confirmed, information will be sent through to parents. It promises to be another Action Day with a difference but won that will certainly allow us to make a difference by being the difference in the lives of so many at need at this time. 

Blanket collection: 

A Final Word:

The following podcast link on the subject of  ‘Chasing Life’ by Dr Sanjay Gupta is really worth listening to. Dr Gupta and his wife speak about the value of rest as a way to process the stress in our daily lives. Listen to him having a conversation with Dr Lisa Damour in the first episode of his new podcast, Chasing Life, for some insights on how to live a more balanced life.

The Change We Need Chasing Life

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Warm regards

The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents

I take the opportunity early each morning to get some outdoor exercise that could loosely be described as my ‘campus walk’. Whilst the purpose is for me to enjoy these beautiful surroundings and to get in a good few steps in before the workday begins, such timeout on the estate also allows for some important meditation moments, and a connecting with God and nature.  

Since the boys returned on 1 February, our pool enclosure has come alive to the early sounds of our swimming and water polo boys enjoying their own form of exercise. My walk takes me past this buzzing, whirlpool of excitement each morning of the week. Apart from the fact that the boys (many as young as nine years of age) are getting up well before the sunrise having cajoled their mum or dad to get them to school by 06.10, what has impressed me in recent days is the fact that even the changing seasons and the colder water doesn’t seem to dissuade them too much. This says as much about the power and persuasion of the peer group and boys feeling the instinctive urge to belong, as it does about these dedicated young lads being determined to play their parts as members of the swimming and /or water polo squads.

With the boys having been back at school for a good few weeks now, we as educators, are delighted to see this same ‘fellowship through belonging’ playing out in a number of different areas within their daily lives. Whether it’s taking their place in what is now recognised to be respective home classroom spaces, finding their friendship groups to hang out with at break time, or connecting with each other within the afternoon club and sports activities settings, it has been so good to see boys thriving in each other’s company again. A heartening confirmation that the boys are beginning to awaken once more to that healthy spirit of brotherhood that so defines much that is so natural within an all boys’ school environment like The Ridge and that sadly lay dormant for far too long last year.         

2nd March Board Meeting:

The School governors and members of the Exco team met for formal online session to enjoy an engaging and worthwhile time together last Tuesday. As always there was much to discuss and debate but, needless-to-say, top of the agenda was the appointment of the new headmaster. I am pleased to be able to share with parents that an announcement from the Chairman, Itumeleng Kgaboesele, is imminent. 

In addition, a good deal of time was spent discussing the Action Response Plan that has been drawn up following the Strategic Review that was conducted towards the end of last year. We have identified 8 Key Imperatives that will be the central pillars upon which The Ridge’s revised educational offering and service will rest.

Parents are advised that an overview document is being drafted with the express purpose of bringing all of you up to speed with the process, the findings and the way forward. The Chairman and I are looking forward being able to share this with you all within the next few weeks. In addition, time will be found at which we will be able to host a few Parent Forum Meetings that will allow for a formal introduction of the new headmaster and that, in addition, will help us to elucidate on what is being put in place to bring to life these 8 Key Imperatives.

Covid-19 Update

The recent shift to Level 1 ought to provide for the easing of restrictions that will serve to benefit us here at The Ridge in the days ahead.


  • Larger gatherings are permitted;
  • Indoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity up to a maximum of 100 people;
  • Outdoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity up to a maximum of 250 people;
  • Health protocols must be observed at gatherings, including the wearing of masks and maintaining of a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between people.


  • Our coaches and boys are champing at the bit in anticipation of us being permitted to reconnect with the inter-school sports programme. Unfortunately, we remain bound by the GDE’s Level 1 Gazetted regulations from October 2020 that stipulate that only non-contact inter-school sport fixtures will be allowed, whilst following strict Covid-19 protocols. In the interests of safety and staying within the law, all Gauteng Independent Boys Schools have agreed to wait for the revised Level 1 Gazette which ought to be gazetted within a few weeks.
  • We have, however, implored ISASA to represent us at the GDE level in order to hasten what we believe ought to be a relaxing in some of the regulations that will allow inter-school sport to begin again but without compromising in any way the ‘safety first’ responsibilities that we are compelled to honour.

A Final Word:  

I came across a few fine exemplars of the following two quotes during this past weekend and thought that several qualify for some broader sharing in the light of so much in our social conditioning and rhetoric that, I believe, requires important realignment:

Empathy and Compassion are signs of strength not of weakness …

Jacinda Ardern – Prime Minister of New Zealand

Beautiful People are everywhere:

The link below captures random act of kindness.

This thoughtful delivery man will no doubt have saved the owner of the house both time and possible injury.

There seems to be so much on social media and, indeed, news media at large in our modern-day culture that almost intentionally seeks to disturb, to threaten and to cause disruption or pain. Let’s make it our intention and our purpose to be part of a healing culture that purposefully aims to restore and uplift, and to demonstrate kindness and compassion. As importantly, let’s make every effort as parents to bring to life the strength of this resolve in ways that will empower and inspire our children and so encourage them to follow our example.

God bless and warm regards

The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents

It took a while, what with the delayed in-person return to School for our boys and the two weeks of unexpected but most welcome rain, but I am now pleased to report that the SP clubs and extramural programme is truly up and running. Whilst clearly not back to the unfettered contact and all-action inter-school system yet, just to have the boys out on respective fields, in the nets and making good use of the tennis courts and swimming pools is a welcome reconnection with ‘the old order’. The boys are keen as mustard, the coaches are geared up and fully engaged, cricket on Saturday mornings is again a welcome sight, and there is the promise of lots more to come.

The reality, unfortunately, is that whilst the COVID virus continues to make its unpleasant presence felt and Level 3 restrictions remain the order of the day, we are compelled to be responsibly alert and committed to finding safe ways of bringing sport alive for our boys. A reminder that, with the most recent Government Gazette having been published just ten days ago, no interschool fixtures are allowed at this stage. Directors of Sport will be meeting today to consider the possible options going forward should current regulations remain in place. In addition, a reminder that no spectators/parents are permitted to support their sons at any sport activity within the school grounds at this time.

Please would parents pay close attention to information provided through the Sport and Extramural icons on The Ridge App. These are updated almost daily and give details that include times, venues, drop-off and pick-up arrangements, etc. For safety reasons, if, for example, the Lawley Road gates are only being opened as 07.45 on a Saturday morning, then please drop your son at that time and not at 07.00. He will end up having to wait at the gate for 45 minutes until a coach arrives. As with early morning drop-off on a given school day, each coach is responsible for doing the required temperature checks before the boys are allowed onto the fields for such activities.

On the SP Clubs front, I am delighted to report that the boys are embracing and making the most of their chosen club or activity. With a good few clubs offering something new and invitingly different, we are finding a happy level of excitement amongst many lads and members of staff to see what Debating, Photography, Coding, Drama, Chess, and General Knowledge will be offering up. All-in-all, we have eight clubs for boys in Grades 5 – 7 to tap into between 13.45 and 15.00 each afternoon, Monday through Thursday. With many music boys committing to at least one afternoon of choir or orchestra, they are still able to enjoy club activities on one of the other days.     

My sincere thanks to Bennie du Preez for the fine work done in planning, coordinating and managing all aspects of the SP sport and club activity programmes. In addition, to the many members of our teaching staff who are involved in hosting and coaching boys as they attend a club or join their sports teams during the course of each week.

A Covid-19 Update comment:

We are maintaining a close vigil on the many compliance features that, as a school, we are responsible for keeping tight in the interests of the health and safety of all boys and members of staff. Teachers are aware of and are staying in touch with the health of their boys and are following up on those lads who might leave school early due to not feeling well or who have stayed at home for a similar reason. The same degree of concern is being focused on looking after all members of staff as well.

Thank you to most parents who have heard the call and are administering the necessary QR code screening process on your sons before they head off for school each morning. I would ask again, please, that if parents do find that your son is off-colour and so not his normal self on a given morning that you don’t take a chance and send him through to school. We had an unusually high number of SP boys reporting in sick during given mornings last week. All were sent home, contact was made with their parents and most went through for a Covid-19 test and all reporting a negative test result. My sense is that for most of these boys, if the screening had been done more thoroughly on the morning in question, as it applies to each lad, then they wouldn’t have come in to school.

Afternoon Lunches:

The re-introduction of lunches for the Grade 3 – 7 boys and staff has been running for the past two weeks. As most parents will know, this has come in the form of an outsourced packed lunch prepared each day by the company By Word of Mouth. I am pleased to say that a range of nutritious and most appetising lunches have been well received by boys and staff alike. It is good too, to be able to confirm that this pre-packed, take-out lunch system will continue for the rest of the year for the boys whose parents are happy to pay the R3500/term.

Strategic Planning Review and Action Follow-up:

As mentioned in a previous newsletter, an action response to the Strategic Review conducted by the Board of Governors last year is now being drafted. The Exco team has been working on a first draft that will be shared with the Board at the first Board Meeting of the year on the 2nd March. Further work to identify the prioritised key imperatives and related action measures will be done prior to bringing parents up to speed with what the key imperatives identified encompass and what the related developmental and /or improvement action will be in the weeks and months ahead.

It needs to be said that some important measures have been adopted by the School’s Exco team in order to remedy and improve on certain prioritised areas that were in obvious need of attention. These will be spelt out in due course but for now I am able to say that some of this work includes the professional well-being of staff, areas of extracurricular delivery and decisions in the area of academic support.

Live calendar:

Joe Kotwal, our Director of Marketing, has re-introduced our Live Calendar on The Ridge App. It can be found under the School Calendars icon. Whilst much that would normally be in place to provide dates and times of upcoming events are sadly lacking because such events are currently in short supply, we have felt the need to re-activate this live calendar feature. At this time, I would draw your attention to the arrangements on break-up day at the end of this week:

The staggered pick-up times and venues are as follows:

All younger siblings to wait for older brothers at Grade 2 Jungle Gym, and both will need to be collected from Lawley Road. There will also be no Grade 0-3 aftercare on Thursday 25th February

I would also like to draw parents’ attention to a change to break-up day at the end of this 1st Term. We were scheduled to break up on Wednesday 31st March. These dates came through from SAHISA in September last year following enforced changes to accommodate the Easter Weekend and the planned senior schools’ rugby festivals. These festivals have been cancelled or postponed due to health and safety concerns. As such, there is no reason not to close a day later, on Thursday 1st April. This allows us to make good on the promise to endeavour to make up on days missed at the beginning of this term.

We will make the necessary arrangements to accommodate boys whose parents had already booked to go away on holiday on that Thursday. Otherwise, for the rest of us, please make a diary entry that the 1st Term ends on Thursday, 1st April … please note that this is not an April-Fool’s joke 🙂

Lost Property:

Bridget Gerber and Di Wellard have been hard at work sorting out a proverbial mountain of lost property that has been growing since the third term of last year.

In my view this remains an area of real concern for a number of reasons:
  • A lack of respect for the safe-keeping of their own property amongst many of our SP Ridge boys;
  • A carelessness and seeming lack of responsibility to look after what is theirs and then to come to the lost property area to find the item if it has gone missing;
  • In too many cases, it’s becoming too easy for a boy, having lost something to have it replaced at some cost to his parents;
  • There are far too many items of clothing that are not marked with the boy’s name;
  • Parents, in some instances, not holding their sons accountable in ways that he will feel and so that will teach him to take better care of his belongings.    

Bridget and Di, together with a few other PA mums, are determined to sort this out. More information will be forthcoming in the days ahead that will serve to guide boys and parents and that will give the necessary prompts as we try to get on top of this unacceptable state of affairs.

Please would parents work at getting a strong message across to their lads that whatever they bring to school needs to return home. Teachers and coaches will do what they can to remind the boys, but essentially, by the time a boy turns ten, he ought to be seen as being old enough to look after and be accountable for his own belongings.

Final Word:   A Partnership of Hope:

Most parents will remember that The Ridge, in partnership with the Teachers Learning Centre, has been hosting Early Childhood Development teacher training course here at The Ridge since March of 2019. The vision being to provide ECD training to and upskilling young caregivers and teachers who are already involved in some form or another in looking after and giving daily care to little children in some of the more impoverished areas of our community. The courses being run are all officially sanctioned and recognised by the DBE. Once successfully completed, teachers will receive an NQF (National Qualifications Framework) Level 4 certificate qualification. Each eighteen-month course is attended by twenty carefully selected trainee teachers who each pay a certain amount towards their training.

Needless to say, in order to pay for the lecturers and the course-specific resources, money has needed to be found to bring this initiative alive. We have been blessed to have had two of our Ridge mums working tirelessly behind the scenes to find donors from within big corporates who would be prepared to offer financial underpinning to the Partnership of Hope programme. Such has been the very generous donor support, we have had one full eighteen-month course successfully completed, are midway through a second such Level 4 Course, and have enough in the fund to look forward to facilitating a Level 5 Diploma Course later this year.

I invite any parents who believes that they could find the time to offer to this very worthwhile PoH initiative to contact me in the interests, in particular, of becoming part of the fund-raising team. For every one teacher who successfully graduates with a Partnership of Hope qualification, a whole community of children will be given the love, care, tuition and support, and so much more that will offer each of them some hope of better schooling prospects in the future.

In closing, I wish you all and your children a blessed, safe and happy family-focused Half-term weekend.

Warm regards


The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parent

What an absolute joy to be able to welcome our Ridge boys back on campus last week. We’ve said often enough in the past that a school only truly comes alive when the children are back. With so many hoops to jump through in the weeks leading up to Monday 1st February, this time around the delight of reconnecting with them all again was that much sweeter. This sentiment has, of course, and as expected, been expressed by a number of our Ridge teachers.

Now for the term coming into focus; with all that we hope to be able to bring alive for all our Ridge boys. The President’s address on Monday evening promised a relaxing of some of the restrictions that have been threatening to dampen many of our plans for the months ahead. As such we look forward to make the most of all that the broader learning programmes will be offering up, but without compromising in any way our ‘Safety First’ pledge. 

Thank you to the many parents who tuned-in to our Grade Parent Forum meetings during the past two weeks. As mentioned in the meetings, we aim to keep communication channels open, informed and supportive as we navigate the days and weeks that lie ahead. As such, we look forward to further contact opportunities with all parents on a more regular basis.

Covid-19 Update:

It is good to report that our boys have responded very well to our alerts, prompts and reminders apropos adhering to the daily safety protocols built in for their protection each day here at School. It is still early days but as we maintain adripping tap’ strategy and approach, we look forward to being able to maintain their compliance going forward.

Thank you to the many parents who have supported and are administering the screening of their boys prior to leaving for School each morning. The stats from last Friday morning confirm that 374 boys out of 494 who attended school were screened. These numbers beg the question, so what about the other 120 boys? I would make another impassioned plea for those parents who have not adopted this screening practice yet to please do so. 

I draw your attention to the COVID-19 Alert SA app that our President has endorsed and that many people have downloaded in the interests of safety and self-protection. It can provide a way of helping to shield oneself and our loved ones from possible exposure to the coronavirus. In simple terms, the app lets people know when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. For your interest, please find the link here –

PA News:

Whilst a warm welcome was extended to Bridget Gerber, our new PA Chairlady, and her new PA Committee, at each of the Forum meetings these past weeks, it is appropriate to use this newsletter to again welcome Bridget and her team and to wish them well for the year ahead. Bridget’s motto for the year is ‘Let’s not focus on what we can’t do, but rather on what we can do. To this end, she and her committee will be planning to draw attention to and find ways to support so many NPOs and legitimate charities that are struggling at this time and will require some form of assistance and support. For those parents who may not have had the opportunity yet to watch the video sent out recently by Ijeoma Solarin and Bridget Gerber, please click on the link –

This coming Friday, 12th February, offers us one such opportunity as The Ridge focuses the support lens onto the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA.

About Flip Flop Day™:

Now in its 2nd year, CHOC Flip Flop Day is an annual event celebrated on 12 February 2021. It is a day of fun and colour because although childhood cancer is in no way light hearted, South Africans certainly are, and when it comes to our children we need to rally behind them, as CHOC SOLE-diers to truly show that we are a force to be reckoned with.

About CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA:

Childhood cancer is a frightening diagnosis that no parent should ever have to deal with. Unfortunately, it is a reality that many families across South Africa have to come to terms with on a daily basis. These families are facing the toughest battle they will ever have to face – along with their little warriors who are fighting right on the frontline, at the heart of the battle. Luckily, these brave children and teenagers, along with their families never have to stand alone.  

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa is a non-profit organisation made-up of caring, committed and passionate people who stand-up for and support the well-being of children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders, and their families.

A representative from CHOC will be speaking to the boys at Assembly on Friday 12th Feb. please note that if your son does not have a pair of flip flops, he will be able to wear a pair of track shoes.

Early morning Drop-off and Go arrangements:

Parents will know that we have implemented again the morning drop-off and go systems in the Lawley Road and Woolston Road car parks. These have proved to be pedestrian-safe, efficient and user-friendly ways of circulating traffic around these two car parks at the peak drop-off times each morning while also allowing for the important boys’ temperature check controls to be conducted before the boys enter the school concourse. 

Thank you to the large majority of parents who are playing your part in keeping the traffic flowing. It is greatly appreciated. 

Having observed all five days of the 07:00 – 07:30 drop-off in the Woolston Road car park last week I would ask of all parents or drivers to assist us in the following ways, please

  • To look out for boys exiting a vehicle on the car park side;
  • To be considerate of other drivers;
  • To, as much as possible, keep the drive through area, as demarcated by the cones, free for other vehicles to pass by relatively unencumbered;
  • Not to stop and drop in the drive-through lane as it causes a back up of traffic waiting to enter the school grounds; 
  • To try and not drive over the cones.    

Ceremonies, Assemblies and Services:

Grade 7 and 4 parents are to please note that we have set new dates for the hosting of the Grade 7 Induction Assembly (Friday 19th February) and the Grade 4 Capping Ceremony (Monday 22nd February). This years Ash Wednesday Service will take place on Hersov Field on the 17th February as scheduled. Unfortunately, the staff and girls for St Ks and APPS will not be able to join us on this occasion.

In an effort to find a way of accommodating Grade 4 and 7 parents being able to join us on Hersov Field for respective ceremonies that were originally planned for earlier in February, we have decided to wait for a few weeks in the hope that the Level 3 restrictions will be eased. 

If Level 3 remains in place, I would ask that parents respect that, under law, we are compelled to remain compliant to the regulations as imposed by Government. We will make sure, however, to record these ceremonies so that parents will be able view them later on respective days.

Now or Never… Growing Green Children

In an effort to reactivate our School’s response to the call to find ways of being more environmentally aware, we are wanting to commission a special Growing Green Children Committee to champion this cause for us here at The Ridge. 

Holly Ferrar (Head of Grade 2) and Terri-Lee Dix (mum of Zach, Grade 3) and I are planning to lead this campaign but require a new level of support as we look to bring deeper understanding and more sustainable, long-lasting attitudinal and behavioural changes into the lives of our boys. 

If parents are interested to be involved in this vital Now or Never – Our Environment on the Brink initiative, please will you let me know by sending through an email to

Reminders and Updates:

Another Live Calendar meeting was held last week in the interests of making sure that relevant and up-to-date School information that pertains to parents remains ‘live’.

Due to the current Level 3 restrictions and the need to guard the Safety First compliance, much of what we had hoped and planned for during the month of February, in the form of tours, fixtures, functions, and parent in-person engagements have needed to be shelved for the time being. The Live Calendar will keep parents in the loop as to what we are still hoping to offer in the days immediately ahead and until current restrictions are lifted. 

A Final Word … Thank you to our amazing security men:

We have many wonderfully selfless and kind people involved daily in the life of our Ridge School; many of them unsung champions who go about their tasks and duties in ways that demonstrate commitment, humility and a sincere people-centredness. 

The following email that I received from Sue Steyn who runs our School Shop reminded me again of the amazing work that is done by our team of humble security men: 

“I would like to highly commend the security guards on their incredible assistance with our email ordering over the past 10 months, but particularly the past two weeks. We have been inundated with emailed orders and there has been a constant pile of parcels awaiting collection on the floor of the guard house, and only a very few collection issues – most due to the parent quoting the incorrect surname. The guards have been extremely helpful and pleasant; not once did I feel we were inconveniencing them by taking up so much space, although I am sure it was very inconvenient having to step around and over parcels all day and night.”

On behalf of all, my sincere thanks to Moses Machado (Guards’ Supervisor), Tuis Babedi, Dyke Kune, Fhatuwani Mufhadi, Samuel Mulongoni, Thomas Mzizi, Thabang Teba, and Kenneth Thiba for all that each of them does in support of our boys and for people wellness generally here at The Ridge School. 

I wish you all continued good health and God’s favour into the weeks ahead.

Warm regards


The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents                                                                          

The next five days have been set aside as a period of national mourning for the victims of the Pandemic. Here at The Ridge flags will be flown at half-mast and we are asking that all Ridge boys and members of staff wear black armbands as together we observe this important time through which to pay our respects.

The Ridge School pays tribute to and honours the memory of the many who have died in our land as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 Update:

We are extremely grateful that very few of our Ridge families have been badly affected by Covid-19; something to give thanks for. The reality is, of course, that as a nation we are far from being out of the woods and that the call is as strong as it has ever been for us to continue to exercise caution and responsibility.

A quote taken from a national newspaper,Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health, said on radio last Thursday morning that he is concerned about the rising cases, especially in the Eastern Cape. He attributed it to corona virus fatigue and people reverting to normal behaviour. He said that our behaviour needs to be “New Normal”, wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds and confined spaces and exemplary hygiene standards.”

As we bring the curtain down on this 2020 academic year early next week, we do so mindful of our role in continuing to place the health and safety of our boys and staff above all else. As such, the decisions that have been made around the Valedictory Picnic this coming Friday night, the JP and SP (Grades 4 – 6) Final Assemblies on Tuesday, 1st December, and the Grade 7 Awards and Valedictory Assembly on Wednesday 2nd December, have been made in the interests of safety first.

Only Grade 7 parents, many of whom will be saying farewell themselves, have been invited to attend their sons’ functions due to the regulations that limit numbers attending school functions. They will be expected to attend wearing masks and will sign health and safety clearances on entry.

As we look to the School reopening in January, parents are reminded that we are planning around a ‘modified normal’ return for the boys on 13th January. Modified, because of the reality that masks and physical distancing will still be the order of the day. Understandably, some of the details of this return are still to be confirmed depending on what restrictions might need to be placed on schools returning after the December holiday break. This will mean that only by Wednesday 6th January, will parents of all Ridge boys be told of how your boys will return to school the following week.

Giving Thanks:

It was mentioned earlier in this newsletter that it is important for us to give thanks at this time when, being able to look back, the interventions, work, support and wisdom of so many have brought us, relatively unscathed by the coronavirus, to this stage of the year. As headmaster, it is my sincere pleasure to thank all who have played a part in helping to bring this about. In particular:

  • To all our wonderful teachers and therapists who have gone beyond the call, and certainly what most signed up for, to reach meaningfully and with professional know how into new areas of teaching delivery, care-giving, flexibility and adaptability, emotional support, and teamwork on behalf of boys, parents and each other;
  • To our incredible Ridge boys who have shown again just how resilient and adaptable children can be. Little lads, young men and the many boys in-between who have ‘manfully’ taken on the challenges that this unsettled and uncertain year has brought their way. Done so with oodles of spirit, loads of maturity and plenty of ‘Right Stuff’ respect – for their School, their teachers and each other;
  • To my Exco and Manco management teams for the incredible work done in helping to lead into the unknown, for stepping up to assist when tough decisions needed to be made, and for standing in the gap on some unexpected occasions;
  • To our amazing IT admin team who have done many months of tireless work behind the scenes to make sure that our Internet and WiFi connectivity have been all that they have needed to be in order for remote teaching and learning to happen;
  • To all admin, support, service and security staff members who have weathered their own storms on individual levels but who have nonetheless stoically played vital parts in keeping stability and order within the schooling operation as a whole;
  • To all student masters and interns who have been called to step into substitution and support roles, sometimes at a moment’s notice, and who have answered that call with willing hearts and a real boy-centred awareness;
  • To you, our parents, for your understanding at those times when we were all ‘reaching into the mist’, not sure of which direction to follow, for the incredible job done in support of the online teaching and learning, and for trusting your boys back into our care as we came back into a schooling system this term that was far from normal;
  • To Ijeoma Solarin and her PA committee for so much work done as representatives of respective grades, for taking on important liaison roles and for staying in touch;
  • To the Chairman of our Ridge Board, Itumeleng Kgaboesele and his governors who were prepared to offer new levels of support, wisdom and advice; and who made a point of staying in touch as we journeyed through uncharted waters;
  • To our Heavenly Father who has again held us, as The Ridge School, in the palm of His hand during the year like no other in recent time.

A Few End-of-Term Reminders:

  • The Grade 7 Valedictory Picnic to be held on Friday evening, 27th November will go ahead, rain or shine. Parents, boys and staff will need to remain flexible apropos late arrangement and venue changes that might have to be made as a result of the weather;
  • Break-up morning, Tuesday 1st Decemberboys and members of staff only for both of these assemblies. All Grade 1 – 6 boys are expected to be dressed in khakis, long grey socks and closed shoes.
  • the Junior Primary boys and members of staff will attend their Final Assembly at 08.30. They will be free to leave at the times as indicated below.
  • the Senior Primary boys (grades 4 – 6) and members of staff will attend their Final Assembly starting at 10.00.
  • the Grade 7 boys will be involved in special activities on that morning. They will be free to go home at 10.00.

Staggered pick-up times for break-up day, 1st December:

  • Grade 0 – 10:30
  • Grade 1 – 10:45
  • Grade 2 – 11:00
  • Grade 3 – 11:15

The JP boys will be picked up from Lawley Road carpark.

  • Grade 4 – 11.00
  • Grade 5 – 11.15 
  • Grade 6 – 11.30

The SP boys will be picked up from the Woolston Road car park.

All younger siblings to wait for older brothers and both will be collected in Lawley Road

  • Break-up morning, Wednesday 2nd December …
  • The Grade 7 boys, their parents and members of staff will attend an Awards Ceremony starting at 08.30. Boys to be at school by 08.00.
  • This will be followed immediately by the Valedictory Farewell Assembly which will be finished by around 11.00.
  • The Grade 7 boys will be expected to come dressed in their summer blues. No blazers will be needed. The boys may bring an extra school shirt for ‘signing’ purposes.

A Final Word:

In searching for some homily that would prove fitting in offering some deeper insight and meaning to all that the past year has brought our way, and, in particular, what it might have taught us all, I came across the following story as told by a retiring Australian headmaster in his retirement speech to the school a few years ago. I have taken the liberty of borrowing the bulk of the story and adapting some of what he shared in the interests of finding some parallels to our 2020 context. Otherwise the story is largely told word-for-word and as taken from his closing address.

The Story of Pebbles

There is an old legend about a group of shepherds who were preparing to go to sleep one night when suddenly the sky lit up with a heavenly light that shone down on them. Being shepherds, they knew that something wonderful was going to happen and they waited with eager anticipation.

At last a voice spoke from the heavens. It said to them, “Gather up as many pebbles as you can find. Put them in your saddle bags. Travel a day’s journey and tomorrow night will find you glad and will also find you sad.”

The shepherds were disappointed and angry. They had expected the revelation of something great for them and the world. perhaps some heavenly choirs of angels singing and promises of a new dawn for humanity. It has happened before for other shepherds. But instead they had been told to do something that made no sense at all.

Grudgingly, the shepherds bent down and picked up a few pebbles, as many as they each thought would not be too big a burden and put them in their saddle bags.

The next day, they travelled their day’s journey and that night made camp. They decided to empty the pebbles from their saddlebags as nothing exciting had happened during the day and they decided that they had been tricked.

To their astonishment, the pebbles had disappeared and, in their place, sparkling diamonds, one for each pebble they had collected. The leading shepherd turned to his companions and said, “The voice spoke truth. Tonight, we are glad and we are sad. We are glad because we have these precious diamonds. But we are also sad because we did not pick up more pebbles and thus have more diamonds.”

We never know in life which pebbles are going to turn out to be diamonds. Everything you learn without knowing why you are learning it is a pebble. At the end of year or a school career, students will find that their mental and emotional saddlebags contain diamonds.

Here we are, approaching the end of a year like no other, and as students, teachers and parents start the process of reflection on a year gone by, it is worth asking some hard questions of ourselves:

Did we collect enough pebbles in the early months of this year, that would have been somewhat of a burden to carry, but which by now would have become precious for us? Some of these pebbles may have been adapting to lockdown, adjusting to working from home, loss of income, becoming accustom to Zoom and Google Meets, living with the wearing of masks and coming to terms with unnatural physical distancing requirements, or perhaps an old habit discarded or a new one commenced …

Are there diamonds that we have collected that we are still unaware of because we haven’t inspected our luggage? Is there someone we ought to be thanking? Is there a part of our life we are taking for granted which has grown and developed this past 2020 year but we haven’t thought about it yet?

Whilst this oft times dark and threatening year has certainly tested the staying power of the human spirit, looking back, and on behalf of our school community, one is able to reflect on the fact that the collective spirit that is the School family, has been remarkably resilient. Each in its own way providing, perspective, promise, hope and opportunity. Here at The Ridge, as we gather up the diamonds that have come with each silver lining, we are able to give thanks that through the trials and tribulations, the sadness and pain, the anxieties and fear, there is, too, a rainbow of hope that we will be able look to as the December holidays come into view.

In closing, I wish all members of The Ridge family every happiness, many magical memory-making moments, safe travels, and God’s covering and favour as you and yours enjoy some much needed rest and recuperation in the weeks ahead.

Go well and God bless you all