Academic Departments

The Academic Square

Department Of African Languages

Waterford offers the opportunity for students of all ages and abilities to learn an African language or continue studying literature in their home language. Among other things, this seeks to maintain the diverse range of cultures which Waterford houses.

Department Of Economics And Business Studies

The Economics and Business Department offers a rigorous and critical study of the economy and the business environment.

Business studies begins at IGCSE level where students are given a good grounding on how business works, covering human resources, finance, marketing and operations management, alongside how the government and international factors affect business.

Economics at both higher and standard level, begins at IB level and covers key issues in micro and macroeconomics, International economics and economic development. A fifth of the course consists of internal assessment where students are required to produce a portfolio of commentaries on current affairs and issues in economics.

IB Business Management higher and standard level is a more intensive study of business management and while covering finance, human resources, operations management, marketing and the influence of government and international factors on business, trains the students in strategic business decision making using various decision-making tools and approaches. A quarter of the course assessment comes from a research project undertaken by the students on making recommendations on a challenge facing real organisation.

Department Of Psychology and Life Skills

The Department of Psychology and Life Skills enables students to have a deeper understanding of the behaviours of those around them, as well as their own, and encourages them to become kind, sociable and capable people. They may not always know it, but students at Waterford are being moulded into exemplary citizens and leaders, through psychological, behavioural and social development, inside and outside the classroom.

Drama and Theatre Department

The Drama and Theatre Department is extremely active both within the curriculum and through extra-curricular activities. There are two school productions each year, often with a large cast of students from across the school. Our annual Evening of Dance is a great highlight in the WK calendar. We host the Alliance Francaise each year when they bring world-class performances to eSwatini. Our annual inter-house “theatre-sports” event is always popular.

English Department

Owing to Waterford’s commitment to Internationalism and diversity, our students are drawn from a wide range of socio-linguistic backgrounds and, as such, for many of our students, English is not their first language. Our challenge, as a department, is to nurture language development and skills as well as a love of literature in all its forms across the academic board so that our students become confident, competent users of English and possess a critical, analytical and insightful understanding of literature.

Geography Department

The Geography department provides our students with the skills that help them fit into the demands of an increasingly globalised economy. This is achieved through enabling the students to ‘discover’ themselves, in a unique and exciting setting.

History Department

Waterford Kamhlaba understands that an awareness of History shapes how people view the world around them. The school's’ curriculum, which teaches both global and African history, reflects WK’s understanding that if we do not understand our history, we are in danger of not knowing who we are.

IT Department

Through the IT centre, our department gives students instant access to answers beyond what’s in their textbooks; through internet research. Waterford Kamhlaba moved its computers fully onto Open Source Linux software. There are a few computers in the centre which still run Microsoft Windows but we are predominantly a Linux environment. Our operating system is Ubuntu and we have chosen to use the Open office (Apache) as our office suite. Students are allowed full access to the IT centre to do assignments, research and use the computers.

Maths Department

a student in a science lab

The importance given to Mathematics at Waterford Kamhlaba is reflected in it being a daily subject. Classrooms have computers and data projectors to support modern approaches, but teaching remains rooted in thinking, active learning and problem solving with a focus on sketches and mental arithmetic. We teach for understanding, as developing a thoughtful and informed approach is far more useful than being given a formula. In essence, the department aims to teach mathematical thinking as much as mathematics, that is to teach generic processes rather than just specific content. Calculators are not used in Forms 1 and 2 so that students develop their mental Maths and strengthen their knowledge of multiplication tables and number bonds.

A scientific calculator is needed in Form 3 as we introduce Trigonometry and the Theorem of Pythagoras. Graphical calculators are used for IGCSE and IB. Calculators are available through the school.

The department also offers students the opportunity to participate each year in the South African Maths Olympiad. One of our students in 2019 reached the top ten, out of an initial entry of ninety nine thousand.

The department is unique in offering after-school Help Sessions and welcoming parents to visit and observe lessons.

Progression: Students will generally have a change of teacher as they progress but will keep the same teacher for the two years of the IGCSE programme and again for the two years of the IB Diploma Programme.

The Accelerated Class: Between Form 3 and 5, the top Mathematics students are placed in the accelerated class. They prepare for the IGCSE exams, which they take in Form 4, then take Additional Maths in Form 5. Students who join Waterford in Form 4 still have an opportunity to join this class.

Grade requirements: One of our key goals is to empower our students to progress as far as possible in their Mathematics studies, both within the school and perhaps in further education. To this end, our first target is a minimum of a grade C at IGCSE, as this is the requirement for access to tertiary education worldwide. Entry to Higher Mathematics in the IB Diploma Programme requires an A at IGCSE.

IB Diploma Mathematics from 2020: The approach to teaching IBDP Mathematics at Waterford is designed to give “students opportunities in the classroom for undertaking an inquiry-based approach and focusing on conceptual understanding of the content, developing their awareness of mathematics in local and global contexts, gives them opportunities for teamwork and collaboration as well as time to reflect upon their own learning of mathematics” (IBO, 2019, Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation guide, first assessment 2021).

Two IBDP strands are offered. For the keen Mathematician or Scientist the Analysis and Approaches strand contains material which formerly would have been described as Pure Mathematics. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of the subject at an advanced level with an introduction to formal proof, while graphical calculators are used in Mathematical Modelling. The Applications and Interpretation strand is more suited to students who wish to apply Mathematics in other disciplines, with the graphical calculator being a central tool in developing Mathematical explorations and problem solving skills. This strand includes new topics such as Voroni diagrams. Both strands are available at Higher and Standard levels. An IGCSE Grade A is required for Higher Level.

Modern/ European Languages Department

Recent economic and diplomatic development on the African continent has highlighted the importance of French in dealings with francophone Africa, the EU and the Lomé Convention, and Canada. Many Anglophone African government officials currently find themselves needing to understand and speak French in their dealings with their francophone counterparts in Africa. Dialogue, role-play, short presentations and sketches in a francophone setting are the means used to enable pupils to understand and use the language to good effect, all the way from Form 1 to IB at Waterford. These activities are laid out on a solid base of structure and grammar at beginner’s level. The audio-lingual course Tricolore Total is used with extensive resources generated within the department.

Music Department

Students learn music in curriculum classes. We offer our own courses that explore performing, composing, listening, researching and theory  in Form 1 - 3. In Form 4 and 5 we offer CIE IGCSE Music and in the final years we offer IBDP Music at Standard and Higher Level.

We run a number of ensembles. Currently these are choir, various marimba ensembles, Jazz Band, Orchestral Ensemble and Mbira. We also run music-inspired community service projects.

Students can also learn a specialist instrument or voice from our instrumental staff. Currently we offer piano, voice, guitar, bass, upper and lower brass, mbira, saxophone and flute. We are a centre for ABRSM exams.

The Music department is very well resourced. We have a range of instruments including acoustic guitars, basses, electric guitars, electric pianos, keyboards, several acoustic pianos, a double bass, saxophones, trumpets and a trombone, and a range of drum kits, African drums and percussion. We also have good amplification, PA and listening resources. We run Sibelius 7 and LOGIC X in our dedicated computer suite.

The Tony Hatton Library

The Tony Hatton library exists to provide a range of learning opportunities for our students; serves as a quiet space for students to do independent work and use and research materials. The library functions as a central location for all of the information available, and a school librarian is always there to help students and functions as “the literary map” to the resources and materials found within the school library.

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge is a core part of the IB Diploma programme, and is therefore undertaken by the senior students at Waterford Kamhlaba. Theory of Knowledge, often referred to as “ToK”, encourages the students to question the very nature of knowledge and embrace the different arguments for and against many issues. It is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1 600-word essay. It asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. TOK is mandatory for all IB students.

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