Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 13/2018

18 April, 2018

50/50 Celebrations in Swaziland

The next two days are very special to the Swazi nation and all who cherish the idea that countries should have the right to determine their own future and destiny.

Firstly, we celebrate with the nation the birthday of His Majesty the King – his 50th. In any country with a monarchy, the recognition of the birthday of the king is an important event to celebrate in the life of the nation because the king embodies the cultural and historical identity of the nation. It is important to mark the occasion, so we all say: Sikufisela Lunwele Loludze (we wish you a long life).

BAYETHE, WENA WAPHAKATHI.

Secondly we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Swaziland. It is a special occasion indeed for any nation to mark its birth as an independent state, taking its rightful place in the community of nations, free to determine its own destiny and future in its own way. We wish the Swazi nation well on this momentous occasion and celebrate with all our Swazi students and family members this special day.

 

Congratulations and well done on a very busy and productive term

I would like to congratulate every member of the community: students, staff, parents, alumni, donors and friends of Waterford for a successful end of term. We have seen a number of activities which have been key highlights for term one, including hosting the UWC international board, hosting the GC meeting two weeks ago, hosting teacher visitors: St Marks in the US and the International School of Luxembourg, hosting the Attenborough’s, the Shakespeare Festival, many tours to South Africa and Mozambique, our entrance testing in March and Asia week. Thank you for making term one a memorable term. Academic reports will be sent out by email today.

 

Thank you

This week I received a nice message from Michael and Karen Attenborough who were special guests at the school for the Shakespeare Festival:

“Thank you so much for inviting us to revisit your completely remarkable school. It was something of a pilgrimage for us and thus a real privilege to have been welcomed so open heartedly into your community.

To hear you say at the end of our stay that we had made a real impact and successfully introduced so many students (and the 16 local artists at the Swazi Theatre Club) to the joys of Shakespeare meant a great deal to us.

We have made so many great friends, not least Ben and Sindhu. His achievement was extraordinary; the sheer range of imaginative events, not to mention the huge number of students we managed to reach and, I hope, inspire.

We also owe you heartfelt thanks for our delightful stay at the Foresters. What a truly beautiful place. We were wonderfully looked after. That was very kind of you.

We have spoken often about how unique WK is and Karen and I shall do all we can to spread the word far and wide, now and in future. As I tried to articulate in my speech at UWC Day, I believe it embodies the essence of what education should be about – the realization of the full potential of every child.

Please send our love and thanks to Elinor and all those who made us feel truly at home.”

 

Farewell

Today we bid a sad farewell to Dr. Jones who has been with us for almost three years. As I reported before, his wife got a “not-to-be-missed” opportunity in Canada at the end of last year, and so Dr. Jones returned to Waterford in January to serve out his notice. He now leaves us to re-join the family. We thank him for his contribution to both the Music department and Emhlabeni residence. For many of our students at Emhlabeni his home became a home away from home. We wish him all of the best in his future endeavors.

 

Congratulations

Ms. Retha Cook who has been appointed as deputy head of residence at Emhlabeni, taking over from Dr. Jones from the start of term 2.

 

Some term two highlights

We will start term two on Tuesday the 22nd of May, but with a Wednesday timetable, starting with assembly and tutor group sessions.

The term starts with an external non-school event – Bushfire. I encourage parents to find out about this event when their children are asking permission to attend. At the school we are especially careful about exeats for borders on that weekend and ask parents to please cooperate with us by providing as much communication as possible about the event.

In mid-June we will also have Africa Week which will be graced by Mrs. Graca Machel and other dignitaries.

 

National Arts Festival

Next term we will be making another trip to the National Arts Festival at Grahamstown, South Africa. For Theatre and Music students in the first year of IB, this is a curriculum trip which enriches their experience immeasurably. As we have done for the last few years, we will also be sharing a Waterford Production on the Fringe Festival. This year, it is Pippa Davies’ colorful and funny “Scramble for Africa”. This trip covers the mid-term break of Term 2, leaving campus on Tuesday 26th June, to return on Tuesday 3rd July. All parents of students involved will be contacted by email.

 

Theatre Piece

Theatre students in IB1 have been commissioned to create a short theatre piece for the 'Kidzone' at the Bushfire Festival this year. Their piece celebrates the theme "Off Grid" in a contemporary fairy-tale for little children. They will be involved directly as performers on the Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of Term 2.

 

IBT Feedback

At Waterford our lower phase curriculum has been developed by teachers and co-ordinators over a number of years to best prepare our students for life-long study and future external examinations such as IGCSE and the IBDP. We do review and adjust our lower school curriculum regularly to make sure that the academic rigour of this programme is sound and that our pedagogy ensures that our students are developing intellectually to their full potential.

During 2017 we decided (in collaboration with the HODs and the Lower School Phase Co-ordinator) to measure the rigour of our curriculum against international standards. As a result, we conducted the International Benchmark Tests (IBTs) with our Form 3 students. (Parents were informed of this in a letter dated 23 October 2017).  The IBTs were developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), and are designed to assess the generic skills that underpin the teaching of English and Mathematics. Test questions are based on reasoning and thinking skills in each subject area rather than knowledge of particular curriculum content. These tests are used extensively throughout the world to evaluate the merits of curricula.

We have now received the results and we are pleased to inform you that our IBT results are very good indeed. In both English and Mathematics (the only subjects tested) our average scores are higher than both the Southern African and International averages. The feedback indicates that our students are scoring in the higher assessment bands indicating that:

  1. On the whole, our students perform within the same range which speaks to the success of our entrance testing in ensuring that students who are best able to manage the rigour of strong academic programme are being accepted to WK in Forms 1 – 3.
  2. Our junior phase curriculum is rigorous and of a high academic standard.
  3. The delivery of our curriculum is successful and effective

 

Message from the School Nurse

Parents are requested to use the holidays as an opportunity to do general medical check – ups on their children (including in particular dental and eye checks). It has been observed that some students sometimes come back from holidays with ailments that could have been attended to during the holidays.

Parents are also requested to encourage their children to lodge any large quantities of medication / drugs (over the counter and chronic medication) to the School Nurse for safe keeping in the school clinic. There are risks associated with students being in possession of large quantities of medication which we wish to avoid. Please contact the school nurse if you have any queries in this regard.

 

Amended Policies

This week CMG approved the amendment of our SEN policy. The new policy can be found here: https://www.waterford.sz/downloads/policies/2018-04-09%20SEN%20Policy.pdf

 

DPA Extended Leave

The Deputy Principal Academic, Joanne de Koning will be on extended leave for the first three weeks of the new term. During this time her classes will be covered by Mr Tom Churchyard – a former Waterford teacher and friend of the school. Her administrative responsibilities will be covered by the Phase Co-ordinators. Parents and guardians are welcome to refer any concerns or queries to the Phase Coordinators.

 

New Reporting System

Please have a look at our new reporting system at Waterford:

https://www.waterford.sz/downloads/general/New%20Reporting%20System.pdf

 

School report

At the end of every term I publish a report on the school, which is substantially the same as my report to the termly meeting of the Governing Council. This report will be posted on our website early next week (due to the public holidays we will not be able to get it on to the website this week).

 

2018 Phoenix Fund

I thank the parents, staff and students who have generously made donations to the 2018 Phoenix Fund. As I mentioned before, the Phoenix Fund is a campaign where all members of the Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA community – from Governing Council members, staff and students to current and past parents – are invited to contribute towards the improvement of the infrastructure at the school, by realizing smaller, on campus projects, which are not covered by the school’s annual budget. As I reported last week, this year we are focusing on the realization of 4 projects, namely: 4 new drinking fountains, replacing our plastic cafeteria cups with metal ones, buying new cutlery and heaters for the classrooms. We have a new target of E100 000 that we aim to raise for this year’s campaign. Once again, I request that you support the campaign. A gift of E 500 from each and every parent will go a long way towards realizing our goal. Of course, we welcome any donation you can make, depending on what your situation allows. Parents can donate either in cash through giving to their children or by using any of the methods mentioned on our website.

https://www.waterford.sz/contribute/how/index.php

 

University Visits

On May 22, we will be visited by Pomona, Swarthmore and Williams universities. On the 24th we will have Amherst, Bates and Bowdoin. Parents are welcome to participate.

 

Entrance Testing for Admission in 2019

The focus now shifts to regional entrance testing and the dates and venues are listed below. These dates and times are also available on our website. www.waterford.sz Please register siblings and spread the word to families and friends.

The Regional Entrance Testing takes place as follows:

        Saturday May 19th – 9am – Nairobi (Sarova Pan Afric), Dar es Salaam (Protea Courtyard), Harare (Bronte), Gaborone (Avani).

        Saturday June 9th – 9am – Maputo – (VIP)

For any information on entrance testing and/or admissions, please contact the Director of Admissions at careers@waterford.sz

 

Reminder: Important dates:

        Thursday 19th April – WK bus departs for JHB at 06:15

        Saturday 19th May and 9th June – Regional Entrance Testing

        Tuesday 22nd May – School opens for the second term (with a Wednesday timetable)

 

Any Questions?

If you have any questions and feedback, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at principal@waterford.sz  If the question is of broad interest I will publish the question (with the permission of the writer and without the name) and my reply in the newsletter. I will send the next newsletter on the 25th of May.

 

Final message

In today’s assembly I gave students my usual end of term message: rest, read, re-create, and reflect. I also encouraged students to catch up any work and complete any projects they need to.

I wish our students and staff a great holiday.

 

Kind Regards

Stephen Lowry

Principal

© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2018

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