Weekly Newsletters

Newsletter 35/2018

16 November, 2018


Form 5 Graduation:

I would like to thank the staff, students and parents who contributed towards making the Form 5 graduation ceremony a success last week Friday. We have a selection of pictures from the event.

IB Graduation:

The IB graduation ceremony takes place tomorrow at 17h30 at Esibayeni Lodge. Esibayeni Lodge is located near the Matsapha International Airport, off the main Mbabane highway. Further information is available here. 115 students from 39 countries are graduating. The ceremony will include the presentation of certificates, speeches, a variety of musical performances and a slideshow. It will be followed by dinner served around 19.30 and further entertainment. Please click here to see the graduation programme.

Please note that we are aware that traditionally graduation events can be an opportunity for some for excess and poor decision-making. In this regard the College has a policy governing Graduation and I invite both students and especially parents and guardians to be aware of its content.


Harvard Impact Study Survey Consent Forms

As I mentioned before, UWC is collaborating with researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education on a study of the impact of a UWC education, through which all UWCs hope to gain a sense of if and how UWC is achieving its mission and how its educational model affects its students and alumni.

We are asking parents of Form 5 students who will be returning to Waterford to do the IBDP in 2019, to sign a parental permission form to allow your child to participate. Because the attached parental permission form includes long and complex language (in English), we are highlighting some of its key information for you below.

  • Survey questionnaires will be given to your child at the beginning and end of the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.
  • 20 randomly selected students per school will be asked to be interviewed for about 60 minutes
  • Questions will ask students about their intellectual, ethical, and civic/global attitudes and behaviours, including questions about school experiences and demographics.
  • All data will be confidential and accessible only to the research team. Nobody within the UWC movement will have access to your child’s responses. Any identifiable information will be made anonymous.
  • The researchers are complying with strict data protection regulations, including that participants have the right to access, correct, or delete their identifiable study data for free.
  • Participation in the study is voluntary, and it is your choice to allow your child to participate or not.

We would however highly appreciate it if your child participated in this study for the following reasons:

  • It is a historical one-time opportunity to enable our college and the UWC movement to improve our educational programmes.
  • Surveys and interviews will help students reflect on their experiences at UWC.
  • Students will be doing something that all UWC IBDP1s are doing around the world - and it is unique to their year group.
  • The researchers want to hear from all students, even if their experiences are mixed or even negative so far.
  • Students will have a unique opportunity to contribute to improving their school and the entire UWC movement, as well as education world-wide, thus making the world a better place.
  • A higher number of participants will enable the researchers to draw conclusions from the largest number of points of view possible. Only if opinions are heard will they be taken into account!

 There are two ways to return this consent form to the school or to the research team at Harvard, listed here in order of preference. Please also return the form if you do not provide consent and please be sure to tick the boxes of the activities you allow your child to participate in.

1. Fill out the form online, using this link.


2. Give a signed copy of the printed form to your child when he/she returns to school.


Updates from the Nyatsela Team

Two weeks ago I wrote about Nyatsela, the outdoor education project which will take the Form 3 group out on a three-week walk around Eswatini in the course of the year 2019. The Nyatsela team has given some updates on the project as follows:

Last week we visited the chiefs of Maphalaleni and Ekuvinjelweni, in Eswatini to discuss Nyatsela with them. They were very interested in the idea, and agreed to give us whatever support we needed, and indeed we are to be hosted at the Maphalaleni Umphakatsi for one of our overnight stops. We will follow the Swazi tradition of kuhlehla (work in exchange for hospitality) and we discussed with the badlancane (community council) what chores we could help out with.

We would also like to reassure you that your child will be fully prepared for Nyatsela, mentally and physically, by July next year. In their Creativity Activity and Service (CAS) lessons we will cover the following areas:

  • First Aid
  •  Map reading
  • SiSwati phrases and culture
  • Tents, equipment (How to use tents, gas cookers, backpacks, etc. so that the item is preserved and the user is safe and comfortable)
  • 'Leave-No-Trace' camping
  • Fitness and swimming - lessons will be offered so that every student has the opportunity to be safe in the water
  • Nature observation
  • Team work
  • Meals: how to budget, plan and cook a balanced and nutritious meal
  • Guest etiquette - how to behave as a guest and how to make conversation (I am sure you as parents continually remind them about these things, but there is no harm in going over it again! I'm also sure that there will be interesting intercultural discussions on this topic.)

We are going to share the equipment list so that you can start to collect the necessary items over the holiday.


The Din of the Dining Hall

At Waterford we have had a continual debate about the use of cell phones and other personal devices on campus. Too often I find students huddled together on their own devices in their own world, sitting next to one another but communing with something or someone else far away. Increasingly they are entertained by a small screen that feeds into the addiction centre of the brain to bring them some transitory pleasure. I was reminded of this once again by an article that one of my colleagues circulated recently, which our parents might find of some interest. It can be found hereIncreasingly research is suggesting that the devices many of our children spend so much time on are not healthy and that they feed into the addiction chemicals of the brain. See this video if you are interested. 


Link Families

On Wednesday evening the staff at Waterford was joined by the school’s link families at an event on campus. The objective was to convey to our link families how much we appreciate the invaluable support they offer our students. The Link Home Programme is very important for our students who come from different parts of the world as it gives them a “home away from home” when they are far from their own families. Please join me as I thank our link parents for this wonderful gesture they offer to our students.


Reminder of important dates

        Saturday 17th November – IB2 Graduation – 17:30 start

        Friday 30th November – School closes: WK bus departs for Johannesburg @ 06:15


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


© Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 2019

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