Dear Parents,

I begin this letter with sad news. Three of our families have suffered the loss of a loved one in the last few days and I ask that you hold the Osman family, Mathonsi family and the Maringa family in your hearts and prayers as they come to terms with their grief and loss. Our sincere condolences to them all.

It has been a difficult time since we re-opened our school, with many changes and adjustments to timetables and test calendars. I acknowledge that this has been confusing but it has also been unavoidable as we navigated unchartered waters, with COVID crashing against our ship and throwing us off course. We have done our best to charter a way around these troubled waters.

It has been interesting to note how the learners have responded to the return to school. We noticed that it took at least 3 weeks to settle each grade back into a routine. There was an air of resentment from some of the pupils as they were pulled from the comfort of their homes and it quickly became clear that many had let their work slide and had not understood much of what we had taught online. Every effort has been made to make up that lost time but it seems that the harder the staff push them to revise, engage and learn, the more resentment and kickback we are getting. This is not true of every pupil but it is enough of an issue that I need to raise it now. Too many pupils are looking for excuses not to work or to blame the teacher for poor results. Too many do not meet deadlines or hand in work that reflects little effort. This is not the kind of work ethic I want for Ridgeway and it needs to change fast. If there is an issue with a staff member, you are welcome to approach me and I will deal with it – but I also back my staff to be professional people and recognize the extraordinary efforts they have made to ensure that standards are maintained in the last few months.

We have little time left before the end of term examinations and I draw your attention to the following:

  • Pupils need to be at school on the day of an examination and ensure they arrive on time. - They do not need to be here on days when they are not writing.
  • Pens, pencils and other required stationery needs to be brought to school in a clear plastic bag.
  • Scopes (summaries of what to learn for examinations) will be given but will be broad rather than specific.
  • Grade 12 study days: Friday 21st and Monday 24th August as study days. If any of them have work outstanding, however, the staff will use this time to complete that work. Only when all orals, essays and tests have been completed may they have this study time. Examinations begin on Tues 25th. Staff will be available on those study days to assist/answer questions during their “lesson” time.
  • Grade 11 will be given 25th and 26th August as study days.  The same caveats as Grade 12 apply.
  • Grade 10 will be given 26th August as a study day. The same caveats as Grade 12 apply.
  • Grade 8 and 9 will not have a study day as their examinations are not as onerous.

On a lighter note, you will be aware that we have re-launched our school with a new uniform and a new badge. As part of this re-launch, our pupils were all given Ridgeway pens, which were well received. (Please note that the photos were taken in less than a minute and social distancing was applied thereafter!) I am also sharing some lovely images of the new murals in our ECD. Things are changing in our family of schools! Please share to anyone who may be interested our advert on the entrance examinations for Grade 8 2021. 

Finally, a massive thank you to Dylan Pope and his team for burning all our firebreaks at our schools free of charge. We are so grateful to you, especially since we had a fire close by this weekend! This kind of generosity is sincerely appreciated. 

Yours in education
Mrs. Dionne Redfern

19 August 2020