19 August 2015

Letter from the Head – 19 August 2015

Dear Parents

Thank you to all of you for your fabulous support at the Parel Vallei Derby Day. In spite of the cold weather, it was heart-warming to see parents and students shouting for their school. Generally there was a wonderful spirit that pervaded the two days of very good sport. Students from both schools fought hard to win on the day but the sense of camaraderie afterwards was the mark of good character present in all teams. The First Team Netball match was probably the match most emblematic of the aim of a Derby Day. The girls played with great determination and the improvement in the standard of Netball remains particularly noteworthy. We did not win the match but our girls held their own, led the score occasionally and forced a strong team to have to fight hard for their victory. Somerset College has less than half the pupil numbers of PV and most schools against which it competes; therefore the scores on the day are remarkably good. Many of our younger students find themselves playing in more senior teams and this obviously depletes the junior teams. Our First Hockey and Rugby Teams did us proud and yet again we held our own against a much bigger school to win those first team matches. Thanks must go to the coaches and sports staff for the effort that has gone into sport this season and we look forward to continued improvement as the College progresses. We also thank our Rugby and Hockey sponsors for their interest in our teams.

This week there are cultural aspects of College life to support and enjoy. The termly Music concert is on Thursday which I trust will be well attended. The students are extremely talented musically and listening to them play is always a treat.

Please remember that Saturday is a compulsory school day and counts as one of our official school days to make up the number of days we are obliged to have students attending school. By having Founders Day on a Saturday, more of our alumni can attend Founders Day and reconnect with the College. Parents of Old Oaks are also considered Alumni and although our alumni organization is very young, it is an important element of the College. Teenagers often struggle with formal events such as Founders Day but they are important events on the calendar of good schools because they pay tribute to the past and set a tone for the future. Founders’ Day, followed by the Werf Challenge, is a brief reminder of our beginnings and a tradition that is important for a young school to embrace.

We welcome to the College Mrs Megan van der Poll who is the Fundraising Manager and she will also work towards establishing a foundation to ensure a sustainable future for the College. The Acorn Bursary Trust (ABT) has recently received a significant donation from a large corporate to provide three scholarships for students to attend the College. As soon as the process is completed, information will be distributed to the community. The ABT is a very special arm of the College and supports a few academically talented students in the school. It has also become a vehicle for a donor to support students for their tertiary studies. Since the ABT and the College are NPOs, donations to them entitle donors to receive tax certificates. In addition, the ABT serves to fulfil certain CSI responsibilities of big companies.

The Somerset College Drug and Substance Abuse Policy is in the process of being reviewed and ratified. Once this process is complete the new policy will replace the current policy. The two significant changes are that reference to the use of steroids and drug testing at the discretion of the College will be formally incorporated into the policy. To date we have been fully supported by parents in our attempts to safeguard our children around the drug scourge that plagues society and I am sure, because we all want the best and brightest futures for our children, that all attempts to safeguard them will be welcomed and supported.

The previous newsletter was criticised for being too long. I trust that this one is brief enough to have sustained your interest.

Meg Fargher