Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 13/2019

18 April, 2019

End of Term One

The first term of the year has come to an end. At the start of the year I challenged our students to be positive as they started the New Year. I told them about the importance of looking at the positive side of things and not to focus on negative experiences and challenges. It has been encouraging to see most of our students exhibiting and infusing the community with positive energy.

A number of events and activities have taken place in the course of this term: we achieved impressive IGCSE and IB results for the classes of 2018, and welcomed new staff members on board. Our students have been involved in exciting CAS projects and sporting activities within and outside of eSwatini. As a community we donated to the Cyclone Idai relief effort in Mozambique, and our students educated our community on the effects of climate change and actions we can take to mitigate the effects. Together with our Form 3s, we continue to prepare for our 21 day walk, Nyatsela. There were a number of student led events such as the SRC social, and on Saturday 6th April we had UWC Day, which was graced by renowned South African National Poet Laureate, novelist and activist, Dr. Mongane Wally Serote.

May I take this opportunity to thank all Waterford students, staff, parents, governors, alumni, donors and our friends who continued to support us in different ways throughout the term. Without these synergistic efforts, we would not have been able to achieve all that we have achieved.

I would also like to implore parents to ensure that our students get rest during the holidays. I have always said that it is important to give them enough time to recharge and refresh through sleeping, reading and eating.  School re-opens on Tuesday 21st May with an assembly and we will follow a Wednesday timetable on that day. See you in then!

 

Safeguarding

This term has been dedicated to the implementation of our Safeguarding Policy which was adopted at the Governing Council Meeting in November last year. After working with the policy in the first few months of the year the GC made a few amendments at its most recent meeting. More information can be found on our website.

The policy requires training of all in the community and this term the focus has been on the staff. All academic staff, administration, maintenance, cleaning, part time sports coaches and part time music teachers have been trained. External contractors including Capitol Caterers, Guard Alert, external on-campus academic tutors and Building Contractors are next to be trained.

We will commence term 2 with training for all our students. The focus of the training is on the policy itself and the new national legislation, the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act (SODV Act of 2018).

The policy requires all staff to have police clearance certificates and we arranged two successful on-campus visits by the Police Services to assist our staff to apply for the certificates. The police clearances were efficiently produced within a two day period.

A number of issues to develop a safer community were highlighted by the training process. It was noted that staff are particularly keen for the development of a Professional Guidelines document which will give clear procedures to be followed to ensure the safety of students and the protection of the adults on campus. This document is in the process of being drafted and will be discussed by staff in the new term. Much of the content for these guidelines are to be found in the early versions of the safeguarding policy (2008).

In the new term we will also ensure the implementation of the policy with our Link Family programme, a vital component to the health and well-being of our students, as they are central partners in the pastoral support system. Link families must be fully supported and involved. The aim is to have safe, caring and supportive homes off- campus for our students.

We are very concerned that we continue to receive reports of inappropriate touching and varying degrees of sexual harassment amongst our students, the most recent being at an off-campus party in Ezulwini organised by some of our students. One of the incidents at the party has resulted in a formal disciplinary process and is in the process of being finalised. We have decided to take action because although these events took place off campus, where the school has no jurisdiction, the consequence of the unacceptable behaviour is that some of our students have felt unsafe on campus, which is under our jurisdiction. The College is unequivocal in its commitment to investigate thoroughly any allegations of misconduct made and will not hesitate to act firmly to protect our students and keep them safe. On Tuesday I had a special assembly with the upper school (forms 4 and 5, IB1 and 2) to communicate this message. I encourage any student to come forward to report any allegations of unwanted touching or other forms of sexual harassment so that these can be followed up.

Education is a key piece in our approach to ensuring a safe campus and next term the staff will be exploring ways to enhance our programme. We need to focus on respectful relationships, the rights of girls and women, patriarchy and misogyny, domestic violence, toxic masculinity, the dangers of pornography, etc. with all in our community in line with our UWC identity and values. It is imperative that our graduates leave with an absolute commitment to keeping girls and women safe in the home, at schools and universities and in the workplace.

The party on 06 April has also alerted us to the excessive behaviours usually associated with private parties organised by students without any adult supervision. The free access to alcohol for all, including many in our younger forms is of real concern. In this particular case we will visit the venue to investigate their involvement in the supply of liquor and report to the authorities if necessary. We do appeal to parents to be vigilant about the whereabouts of their children. When we are aware of such parties we usually do warn parents, but I am afraid we don’t always know.

 

Exeat Weekends

Our residential staff have been concerned at the increasing numbers of illegal exeats of our boarders with the concomitant breakdown in trust between residential staff and students. Our primary responsibility to our boarding parents is to have procedures in place that are trusted to keep students safe. In this regard we have decided that until mid-term break of term two, all residential exeats will require a written request (email) from a parent for every exeat from all of the residences. Please will all parents comply with the requirements of their child’s residence concerning notice and deadlines of such requests. This is particularly important for the first weekend of next term as this is when the Bushfire festival takes place and we are aware that many of our students would have already purchased tickets. PLEASE: they will not be allowed to leave the residence for the festival if the Head of Residence (or deputy) does not receive a written request for the exeat.

This temporary measure will enable us to review our exeat policy to find a more effective mechanism to keep our students safe when signing out.

 

Public Holidays in eSwatini

Next week April 22nd, April 25th and April 26th are public holidays in eSwatini, therefore, management has made a decision to close the school for the whole week.  The school will be closed next week and our administrative and auxiliary staff members will be back on Monday 29th April.

 

Community Service News

Last weekend was a busy one for Commserve. Girl Up ran a very successful Gender Summit on Saturday morning, and they were joined by students from several local schools. They organized workshops followed by a very informative panel discussion, all around the theme of empowering young women. There were 50 students in attendance. 

Mpaka Peers, comprising 14 IB students, spent the day at Mpaka Refugee Camp. They were involved in English support, focused on essay writing skills, with some students helping with French and English translation. Maths support was also part of the programme as well as some sporting and creative activities and a CV writing workshop. It was a special day enjoyed by all who attended. 

 

Swim for Waterford Kamhlaba

I would like to take this opportunity to remind our community about our alumnus Chris Stapley (WK 82-86) who, together with his wife Polly Stapley, who is an English teacher here at WK, are taking an initiative to swim across Lake Malawi, a distance of approximately 25 kilometers, on 20 -26th April 2019 to raise funds for Waterford Kamhlaba’s Community Service Projects. Their goal is to raise E100 000. I ask parents to please support this initiative. Read more about it, including how to make a contribution.

                                                                                                                                                   

Reminder of important dates

        Saturday 18th May – Regional Entrance Testing in Dar es Salaam, Gaborone, Harare & Nairobi

        Sunday 19th May – WK bus departs OR Tambo Airport at 14:00

        Tuesday 21st May – Term 2 starts

        Saturday 8th June Regional Entrance Testing in Maputo

        Friday June 21st to 22nd – 24 Hour Run fundraiser

        Saturday July 6th to 14th – UWC Africa Week

        Friday July 12th – Visual Arts Exhibition   

        Friday July 19th to Thursday August 8th – Nyatsela

        Sunday 27th October – PSA Golf Day

        Saturday 23rd November – IB2 Graduation

 

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.

Parents are also encouraged to be in touch with their child’s tutor or residential head for any matters about which they may be concerned.

 

Kind Regards

Stephen Lowry

Principal

© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2019

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