As we come to the end of my first term at the helm, I want to ponder on what a busy term it has been. The boys and staff have been busy with numerous activities throughout the term. Our school play, “Into The Woods,” was an outstanding success and my thanks and appreciation go to Mrs Liesl Nel and Mrs Charwin Knoetze for the incredible amount of work they put into this production. The boys really enjoyed the experience and learnt a great deal about theatre and also about themselves. This term saw another Carnival Day and raised much needed funds which we will be using to upgrade our hostel. I would like to thank the many sponsors who came on board and really supported us. Without singling out any particular company or individual, I would like to thank everyone who had anything to do with the carnival. Parents turned out in great numbers and there was much to be enjoyed by all who attended. There were some amazing prizes up for grabs and I was really amazed by the Build It initiative and the raffle which raised a substantial amount. Our sports teams have had mixed successes on the sports fields but, all matches were hard fought and played in a positive spirit. No-one likes losing, but enjoyment of the sport and playing with and meeting new friends is what makes sport such an important tool in the education of our youth. Our Sutherland Hockey Festival was another success this term and I have received compliments from the schools which participated. Hats off to the organizing team and to the sponsors of the various items which the teams received. As I pen this letter, the under 13 cricket team is preparing for the Cape Schools Cricket Festival which is being hosted by Selborne Primary this year. Strong competition is expected from our Southern Cape rivals and I am looking forward to some good results from our boys. Our under 11 cricket team will be hosting our own festival from the 2nd October. There are six teams participating and we hope to give our young up and coming cricketers some much needed practice before the season gets under way. Our Marimba band has been very busy this term under the baton of Mr Rowan Knight. They travelled to Woodridge outside Port Elizabeth for the Knock on Wood Festival. Shortly after that venture, our music department hosted a birthday celebration in our hall and we hosted schools from Port Elizabeth, King William's town and Queenstown. The Marimba band recently returned from a very successful tour to Cape Town where they performed at Rondebosch Boys' Primary School, SACS Preparatory School and also at the V & A Waterfront. I have only received compliments about the behaviour and performances of our band. They have been superb ambassadors for our school.
HOUSEKEEPING MATTERS I have been busy with the SGB in preparing the budget for next year. The economic climate in our country at the moment is very bleak and we, as a school, are trying to tighten our belts and save wherever we can, without compromising on the standard of education which we deliver. It has become quite clear that school fees are set to increase next year, just to keep in line with inflation and to keep our heads above water. At the time of writing this newsletter, we have just under one million rand in unpaid school fees. This places a huge burden on the school, and ultimately those parents who do pay, to ensure that salaries of SGB employed educators are paid. The school is being placed under increasing pressure by the DoE to accept more and more pupils in our classes. It is for this reason that the SGB employ extra staff members to keep the class sizes down to respectable numbers in order to maintain standards and to get the results we do. I am appealing to all parents who have unpaid school fees to get up to date as soon as possible. The increasing numbers of parents with unpaid school fees for 2018 will be adding to the size of the school fee increases for 2019. All parents with school fees in arrears will be handed over to our attorneys for collection. This is not good as those parents will lose their credit rating and will become black listed. The annual Budget Presentation to parents will be held in our school hall on Monday 22nd October at 18:00. A notice in this regard will be included in the report envelopes.
ACADEMIC MATTERS I have signed the academic reports for your children and I have made a few observations. Firstly, I was very happy with the number of pupils who are achieving very good results. The failure rate among the classes is also reasonably low. The exceptions being Grade 7 EMS and Social Sciences, Grade 5 Social Sciences and Grade 2 English. Those boys who struggle academically generally have a number of things in common: · They do not always complete their given tasks. · Homework is often not done. · They are talkative and disruptive in the class environment. · They are constantly in trouble at school. · They do not read. · Orals are not prepared at home. · Projects and tasks are rushed and poorly completed. As parents, you should be monitoring what your child does for homework. Keep a check on him to see that he is doing what is required and that it is done to the best of his ability. Parents should also always be aware of what their child is achieving in class tests. Some children do not have the correct stationery requirements at school.
UNIFORM Please ensure that your child's uniform fits him correctly! Some boy's trousers are too short. Take the hem out, or buy a new pair of trousers if his do not fit him. It is a bad advertisement for our school if our pupils are dressed poorly. It is also an embarrassment for your child. Please ensure that all school clothing is marked with your child's name. All too often parents complain that their child's clothes have been 'stolen' only to have it lying, unclaimed, in lost property. If there is a name in the clothing it will find its way back to its owner.
BULLYING I have noticed a number of instances of bullying recently. My policy on bullying is 'zero tolerance'! Please speak to your child about this. No child should be afraid to come to school because someone else is making his life a misery. If your child experiences any form of bullying, please encourage him to speak to his teacher (or myself) as soon as it happens. I, and the staff, can only respond if we know about instances of bullying. I will act every time I hear of such an incident and parents will be called in and be held accountable.
LATE COLLECTIONS On a number of occasions this term, boys have been collected late from school or aftercare, sometimes after dark. This is unacceptable. I understand that sometimes a problem may occur and that there may be extenuating circumstances, but the least a parent should do is let the school or the teacher know when they will be late in collecting. The school will begin charging a late collection fee for children who are collected late without notification. Often, when the children are collected late, the parents do not even apologize or even acknowledge the teacher who has given up their private time to ensure that their child is safe.
In closing, I want to thank the members of the School Governing Body, the PTA and those many parents who are always so supportive of our school. I also want to thank my wonderful staff for the work that they do. We are blessed to have such a supportive and giving staff. May you all have a wonderful short break with family and friends.
Kind Regards Mr L Pike Headmaster