Newsletter 16 January 2017

Newsletter 16 January 2017

Dear Parents

We extend a very warm welcome to you for the beginning of the academic year of 2017. Compliments of the Season to you all and we hope that everyone has a prosperous and peaceful year filled with success and achievement. I am overwhelmed at the wonderful welcome to the School that I have received from individual families and collectively. I am very excited to have joined Whitestone School and feel honoured at being entrusted to lead the school. The school has some very exciting and positive developments planned for 2017. However, I need to point out that the success of the school is hugely dependent on the tremendous support, assistance and positive input from you as parents.

There have been a few staff changes, which we will address separately. We are very proud and fortunate to have such wonderful dynamic and innovative staff. We will continue to strive for excellence in all areas and will endeavor to improve all matters within the many realms of the school. Change is always difficult to accept and understandably it does create a sense of uncertainty to many. However, the changes that we make are always intended to benefit the majority of the school and are aimed at improving the school so as to keep up with the modern trends in education. Having said this, we also believe that every child matters and we seek to extend each child to their maximum potential. Understandably “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” and so what works for one child may not work for another. I am extremely confident that our team of experienced and dedicated staff is sensitive to this and will strive to meet the individual needs of every child as best as they possibly can.

Parents too, are different and what one parent likes, is an area of concern for another parent. We will strive to make everyone happy although we do know that this is an impossible task. We ask you to look at the school as a whole rather than just from an individual’s point of view.

I am very excited at what 2017 potentially has to offer and am sure that the School will go from strength to strength.

Afternoon Sport and Weather

We are in the middle of the rainy season and that means that the School Sport is often disrupted due to thunder storms or hard rain. In the past this has caused disruptions and confusion at the school and amongst parents. Please be aware that our policy regarding bad weather is for the children to remain at school and be looked after by the sporting coach or teacher. Children will therefore still be required to be collected ONLY at the end of the sporting afternoon.

Many parents may be concerned over this policy but we feel that it is safer for your child. In the past we have had children getting drenched trying to run to a car. Lightening flashing across the skies, poor visibility and cars all vying for a position in the car park is a recipe for disaster. With this in mind it is safer to keep children in the classrooms where teachers will be providing supervision and a variety of activities for them.

Finally we ask that parents to please also consider the fact that teaching and coaching staff work long days and that they still have to go home and mark books and prepare lessons for the following day. With this in mind it is very much appreciated if parents could collect their children from the school on time and avoid making the duty teachers wait for you to collect your children. Punctuality is very important and the School treats it as such.  Please be aware that a record will be kept of all children who either arrive late or are collected late.  These records will be referred to when necessary.

Sport and the Afternoon Sports Program

The staff have designed an Afternoon Sports program that is very innovative and structured. It is not an easy task as many factors have to be considered and incorporated which include: Temperatures, varying age groups, weighting of times or allocations to individual sporting disciplines, homework times, children’s energy levels and the necessary practice times to remain competitive with other schools, as well as teachers time, coaches’ expertise, field space and resources available. This is almost an impossible task and is extremely intricate. Again, the program for 2017 will not suit everyone but we are confident that the majority will be happy with it. It is very similar to last years which worked extremely well. I will be monitoring this programme very carefully with the view to trying to fine tune the balance between competitive games against other schools and practice/training times.

Sport for the older children, namely Grades Three to Seven and including overage Grade Two children, will take place every day from 13:00 to 17:00 hrs. They will therefore effectively have three hours of sport a day.

Finally on the sporting front we need everyone to realize that the official swimming season for schools is the third term and not the first term. While we have strived to keep as much swimming time as possible we do need to even the weighting towards the official first term sports.

Lost Property

Sadly this matter seems to be a common problem in every school. It is only the end of the first week of term and already the lost property is beginning to accumulate!  Please ensure that your child’s belongings are clearly marked: this makes returning the item to its rightful owner so much easier. We urge you to assist the School by encouraging your child to take responsibility for their property and to learn to look after and claim their belongings.

School Term Calendar for First Term 2017

Please find attached the School Term Calendar for First Term 2017.You will note that it is very similar to the calendar that we had in the first term of 2016. This is due to us honouring traditional fixtures with other schools. We are also committed to introducing traditional fixtures of our own. Please be reminded that this is a working document and that we do add fixtures as and when we can. The weather also influences the fixtures.

Circulars and Notices

We as a school try to keep you informed of what is happening in the school.  We do so through notices by email, our website and by hard copy.  Our research shows that a large section of the parent body do not read notices and therefore cannot respond. Please could you assist the school and notify them when you change your E Mail or physical address.

Staffing

We have a very professional, enthusiastic, vibrant and highly motivated staff who care very much for children. This is exciting and I am very positive that the school will go from strength to strength. Teachers have been allocated classes and grades to suit their individual skills in the best possible way. This strengthens the effectiveness of the education offered to the children and ensures greater success. Teachers are as follows;

Grade 1 – Mrs H. Tink, Mrs M. Lacey, Mrs L. King, Mrs S. Duckworth
Grade 2 – Mrs T. Trollope, Mrs A. Duffin, Mrs G. Ward
Grade 3A1 –     Mrs M. Titterton
3A2 –    Mrs K. Kew
3B1 –    Mrs A. Skea
Grade  4A1 –    Miss M. van Wyk
4A2 –    Ms. R. Gidi
4B1 – Mrs M. Fairbairn
Grade  5A1 –    Mrs M. de Beer
5A2 –    Mrs L. De Jong
5B1  – Miss S. Karim / Mrs M. Manhanga (2nd Term 2017)
Grade  6A1 –    Mrs K. Du Chemin
6A2 –    Mr M. Ncube
6B1  –   Mrs F. James
Grade  7A1 –    Mrs E. Nel
7M –    Mr K. Mafa
7N   –   Mr J. Nel

Learning Support – Mrs M. Thompson
Ndebele – Mrs M. Mafa and Mr D. Mpofu
Music – Mrs L. Waugh and Mrs S. Erasmus
Computers – Mr Z. Ndlovu
Adventure into Learning – Mr M. Sanderson

Whitestone Pre-School

Mrs M. Hilton-Barber t.i.c – (Sunny Class)
Mrs T. King – (Star Class)
Mrs N. Nkiwane – (Moonbeam Class)

Uniforms

We are extremely proud of our School and the image that we portray to the general public. We have a wonderful reputation of looking smart, having impeccable manners and being great citizens. We strive to maintain this standard at all times. Please assist us in doing this by ensuring that you child is always well dressed and neat, wearing the correct uniform with pride.

This includes Haircuts: Please ensure that children have neat hairstyles that conform with school regulations.  Girls are reminded that long hair must be tied back from the face and any clip or elastic holder should be in school colours.  Styles must also be hygienic (i.e. no plaits, which remain in place for months, and no extra hair pieces or adornments may be worked into the hair).

Nails and Make Up: False nails and nail varnish of any form is not permitted and neither is make up.

Earrings: These should be either silver or gold studs or sleepers.  Earrings with gemstones are not permitted.

Thrift Shop:

Last term there was an appeal for anyone to assist Paula Sparrow.  If you can help please could you contact her on 284159 and 0777 751622.

Thrift Shop Opening times are: – Fridays from 12.00 – 1.00pm.

School Fees

Please note that NO SCHOOL FEES WILL BE ACCEPTED AT THE SCHOOL OFFICE. Please could all school fees be deposited directly into the school bank account.  It is a US$ account and the details are:

  1. Whitestone School
    Barclays Bank
    US$ Account
    Account No. 6796900
    Branch: Main Street, Bulawayo
    Branch Code: 2157
  1. Whitestone School
    M.B.C.A.
    US$ Account
    Account No. 141026000117
    Branch: Belmont, Bulawayo
    Branch Code: 18302

It is extremely important that a copy of your deposit slip is faxed, emailed or taken to the Administration Office.  Without this, we are unable to receipt your fee payment or issue you with a pass card for the start of term next year.

Correct Channels of Communication

The School realizes the huge importance of parental interaction and involvement in the School. We also embrace the fact that EVERY child matters. Of course there will be times when parents are concerned and wish to express their views. This is natural and we welcome this. We strive to always improve and your opinions are valued and assist the school in getting better.

However, we humbly request that you follow the correct Channels of Communication which very basically is as follows:

  • Firstly contact the teacher/sports coach or person directly involved and discuss the matter. Please give this person a reasonable amount of time to action (approximately seven days). If you are still not satisfied then:
  • Contact the senior staff or deputy head and discuss the matter. Please give this person a reasonable amount of time to action (approximately seven days). If you are still not satisfied then:
  • Contact the Headmaster and discuss the matter. Please give him a reasonable amount of time to action (approximately seven days). If you are still not satisfied then:
  • Contact the Board of Governors.
  • Please do not skip a stage as it is important to give the person a fair opportunity to resolve the matter.

Please also remember that I do have an “Open Door Policy” and I am happy to see any one at any time that I possibly can. I am totally committed to trying to help all parents as much as I possibly can.

We are all looking forward to building and developing what is already a wonderful and successful School.

T. Harding.
Headmaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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