Head Of School Newsletter 07 May 2012 by lizzy2008


									                  Head of School Newsletter – 7 May 2012
Dear St Cyprian’s School Community

We are delighted that the Principal and Council of Bishops have decided to extend the eligibility for the Bishops
Rhodes Scholarship to our alumnae - as well as those of St George’s Grammar School, Herschel (the other Anglican
Schools in Cape Town) and Leap School 1 (which was founded in an alliance with Bishops). Our sincere appreciation
goes to them, and we are excited at the prospect of finding suitable candidates to put forward.
From this year, applications for this scholarship will be drawn from Bishops and the four nominated schools.
Applications are invited from St Cyprian’s School alumnae who have achieved a high level of academic excellence in
their undergraduate degrees and who wish to follow a post graduate course of study at Oxford University. The
scholarship is only available to those who are under 25 years of age. The Bishops’ Selection Committee will continue to
administer the Bishops Rhodes Scholarship from Bishops. I appeal to the entire SCS community to spread the news to
our alumnae and ask them to be in touch with Ms Jenn Wallace (wallacej@stcyprians,co,za) for further information. We
wish to be as involved in the process as possible in order to give our girls the best opportunity to be selected.

We will be continuing with the traffic measures introduced to control traffic flow through the school, with a few minor
The morning drop and drive through the front of the school is working well and I am grateful to all parents for their
co-operation, and to the staff who have been on duty to help ensure that the system works. The key factor is for cars to
move as far forward as possible, ie right to the Preparatory School and stop, before the road turns towards the Belmont
gate - and for the cars behind NOT to allow passengers to disembark before they have reached the Cypress tree lawn.
This ensures a good flow of traffic through the school and minimises traffic build up in Gorge Road. While it is not
always possible to have bags ready for the drop, the delays caused by getting bags out of the boot needs to be minimal
and managed efficiently.
There will be fewer teachers on duty from this week but the process will continue to be monitored by management
staff from both the Preparatory and High Schools.
The front courtyard of the school will remain a parking free zone between the hours of 7h00 and 15h15 ie for the
duration of the school day and the pick-up times. From 15h15, limited parking (ie the parking previously designated for
teachers) will be available to parents fetching their daughters from sport. Should there be no parking available in this
space, parents will need to park outside the campus and walk from there to fetch their children.
Stringent Control Measures:
Please be advised that parents/adults who are rude or disrespectful to the guards or other staff controlling traffic inside
the school premises – or who park in non-designated spaces- will have their car wheels clamped and will be liable for a
fine before they are released. Right of entry in their vehicles for such people will be refused going forward, although
they will be allowed onto the campus on foot. It has become clear, from the two meetings held with parents and an
internal investigation into the accident that happened, that the aggressive and rude behaviour of some parents has been
at the core of many problems experienced in our parking lot prior to the accident. Such behaviour will not be tolerated
going forward. In addition, parents and other people collecting their children at home-time are urged to focus on
getting their children into vehicles as quickly as possible and not use the opportunity to socialise – as it is at such times
that children are not being properly supervised.
Rainy Days: With winter coming, rainy days are going to provide a challenge. Our interim plan for heavy rain is to
open the route for traffic past the Voorkamer steps and to drop and pick up children from there. In this way students
will be sheltered until their lifts arrive. Please look out for the traffic cones that will be used to demarcate the routes,
and please follow the instructions of traffic officials. Should your child not be ready on the balcony you will need to
move on as no parking or stopping will be accommodated. We are also looking into how to provide shelter to the left
of Ms Laubscher’s office on the current grass patch and will keep you informed of any development in this regard.
Such shelter would provide a place for the Preparatory School students, especially those in the Foundation Phase, to

When the accident happened in the car park, parents took control of the situation and accusations were made that the
school did not even have a first aid kit or qualified people to administer first aid.
I would like to make it absolutely clear that this is NOT the case. The school has a number of first aid kits available at
every Reception area of the school, as well as other areas such as the Knowledge Hub, the Kitchen and Science
Laboratories. Over 20 members of staff have current first aid qualifications, five with level 3 qualifications. In addition,
there are 2 qualified nursing sisters on the staff who are usually called in an emergency.
In this situation, shock and panic seemed to be at the root of what went wrong. There was clearly a failure in terms of
implementing the school’s emergency protocol and this is something that has been addressed as an immediate
consequence. The Critical Incident Policy and Procedure has been revisited with all staff and an abridged version can
be found on the Parent’s Portal, with the names of all staff who serve on the Health and Safety Committee, and those
with First Aid qualifications. In addition, First Aid safety signs, similar to the fire hydrant signs will be put up and be
clearly visible, so that people will be able to see at a glance where the kits can be sourced
An issue that was raised vociferously by some people who helped out at the scene of the accident was that ice packs
could not be found in the school. There were no ice packs on immediate call as the fridge they were normally kept in at
the Preparatory School Reception had been moved over the holidays to the Preparatory School staff room, and they
had not been replaced in the freezer. By the time an ice pack had been sourced from the Sports Department, the
accident victim had been taken to hospital. We discovered after the event, that in fact it was lucky that no ice packs
were applied as it would have been the wrong thing to do on an open wound – a fact which underlines how important
it is to call upon the right people to attend an accident of any sort. The most important insight that has come out of this
unfortunate series of events is that neither Ms Laubscher nor I were called in IMMEDIATELY. I appeal to all of the
SCS community to help in this regard.

The question of how communication could be improved between parents and school was given consideration by a
number of parents who e-mailed suggestions through to me or brought forward suggestions at the Parent’s Forum held
last week.
Issues raised were that there are too many communication forums, too many people were communicating and the
information wasn’t well-organised or easily accessible. Also, there is a lack of knowledge as to the Policies, Systems and
Procedures that underpin the management of the school.
We have thus implemented the following measures:
       School Communicator will remain the main communication tool. Currently we are the top school in the
        country in terms of people using the Communicator (97% of all parents). All information loaded on the
        Communicator will go through one person at the school and be categorised and organised for easier access.
       Sport information can be found under the Resources Tab and has been simplified and categorised according to
        sporting codes and age groups. Fixture lists are available and the programme for the week and the term.
       Up-coming Events can be seen under the Calendar Tab of the Communicator, obviating the need to call the
        school to find out details.
       Heads’ Newsletters will come out weekly (Woods and Preparatory School) and bi-weekly (High School). A
        whole school letter from the Principal will come out once or twice a term and will address whole-school or
        educational issues.
       Links to the Parent Portal will be on the Communicator for certain types of information eg policies or
        procedures or long communications. PLEASE ensure that you get linked to the Parent Portal to enable you to
        stay in touch.
       Class Representatives will communicate directly with class parents to organise social functions or teams to help
        at school events or PA functions ONLY. They will no longer be reporting on feedback from the Class
        Representative meetings as minutes of these meetings will be available for all on the School
        Communicator/Parent Portal.
       A Hand Book for Parents clarifying the structures and systems of the school, as well as key policies, procedures
        and protocols will be given to all parents by the end of term.
       The SMS system will be used in emergencies only and targeted at the relevant sets of people who need to be
        communicated with urgently.

Mrs Debi Holtmann has been appointed as our new HR Manager. Debi has a great deal of experience in the field and
we are delighted to welcome her to the staff. I have no doubt that she will add enormous value to the school and I look
forward to working with her.
Ms Ros Fish has been appointed as High School Head of History with effect from Term 3. Ros is an experienced and
well regarded teacher of History and joins us from Westerford High School.

SACCEE Spelling Competition
Congratulations to the St Cyprian’s School Grade 8s who participated in this competition. St Cyprian’s School came
first, Westerford second, St Johns CBC third, Herschel fourth and Parel Vallei fifth!
12 schools participated and in the words of the organiser “the test was a difficult one, resulting in lower than average
marks, and St Cyprian’s School deserves warm congratulations in achieving almost 80% as an average Grade 8 mark.”

Africa Day
The day started with the building of structures representative of different African countries – out of food items - in the
Knowledge Hub and on the Voorkamer steps. Flags, camels, gheckos and yachts were to be seen, and posters
providing information about each country were displayed in the Library.
A delightful “Africa Day” Chapel Service was held, where we saw how many African countries are represented at our
school. Prayers in a number of African languages illustrated the diversity of our African representation, and the
Katherine House Choir sang hauntingly beautiful African songs – incorporating a dance or two and enthusiastic
ululations from the congregation. The marimbas ended a truly special celebratory service. The cutting and eating of the
large and delicious Africa Cake – made by Ms Debbie Smith – was a highlight of the day. The food collected will be
distributed to various children’s homes, schools and shelters.

Ten girls attended this conference held at Bridge House, Franschhoek, over the long weekend. Hot on the heels of the
international conference in Kenya, this Conference focused on “Breaking Chains/Forging Links.” Outstanding
keynote speakers included Lewis Pugh and Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase, a Rwandan Refugee. A highlight was a visit
to the Drakenstein Prison, previously known as the Victor Verster Prison, from which Nelson Mandela walked to
freedom in 1992. Some of the group visited the prison itself and were educated about prison life. Others visited the
house where Madiba lived while waiting for his release.
The girls who attended this Conference were Lauren Lazo, Kelsey Collins, Chipo Goredama, Nikita Schweizer, Pixie
Iuel, Anya Bruwer, Nicole Carter, Chelsea Pope, Josie Davis and Jacinta Cornelius. Thanks go to Ms Thomas and Mrs
Briggs who accompanied the girls over the long weekend.

GRADE 8 2013
Thank you to the current Grade 7 parents who have already confirmed places for their daughters in Grade 8 next year.
If we haven’t heard from you, we assume that you do not wish to take up the place offered and we will be offering it to
the next external applicant on the waiting list.
Congratulations to the following girls who have accepted our offer of scholarships for Grade 8 2013:

                                     Finn Lewis                        Grove Primary School
                      Academic       Nadya Salie                       St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                                     Angela Yeo (extra)                St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                                     Robyn Snowdon                     Llandudno Primary School
                      Music          Lorena Marais                     St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                                     Catherine Gwynne Evans            Micklefield
                                     Bailey Desmarais                  St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                      Sport          Caroux de Lange (extra)           St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                                     Julia Weinert (extra)             St Cyprian’s Preparatory School
                                     Lauren McBlain (extra)            St Cyprian’s Preparatory School

The scholarship process was a rigorous one and I am delighted that we managed to offer a major scholarship to one
internal and one external candidate per section. However, because of the value of our internal candidates and our
determination to continue to build a school of excellence, we were awarded one extra full scholarship to be divided
amongst the deserving internal candidates – a loud message that we value their on-going contribution to the school
We look forward to a strong Grade 8 year next year!

Parent Representative
There was only one formal nomination for the Parent Representative on Council. It thus gives me great pleasure to
formally ratify the appointment of Kathi Clarke onto the Council with effect from Term 2.
Kathi is the mother of Bryony in Grade 6 and they joined the school last year.
The motivation for Kathi reads as follows:
“In choosing St Cyprian’s School for her daughter, Kathi valued the commitment to a well-balanced education for life,
the Christian values that contribute to making the school special, different and better, than other equally resourced
private schools for girls in the Cape, and the people who make up the school community – staff, girls and parents, who
have all been welcoming and warm.
Kathi is an Industrial Psychologist and has her own successful business as a business growth expert. She has spent 25
years in 5 different African countries working with business owners, corporate and government institutions. She has
also worked with two schools – an International mulit-cultural school in Dar-es-Salaam which today is a flourishing
Christian School of 300+ students, and an independent school in Natal.
Kathi is a vibrant, strong and intelligent woman who adds value and is a blessing wherever she goes.”
Council AGM - 4 June
The next meeting of Council meeting has been postponed to Monday 4 June and will be an AGM. Further notification
will follow on the School Communicator.

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
Japanese Proverb

Sue Redelinghuys

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