27 March 2015

Letter from the Head – 27 March

Dear Parents

This first term of 2015 has been the best of terms and the worst of terms.

There have been numerous successes in the classroom, on the sports fields, on the stage and in the art and music rooms. Buildings are being built, students have been learning and learning enthusiastically and many students and teachers alike have given of their best. We have all learnt many different lessons and all in all it has been a busy and productive term.

The week of Arts Daze was a creative and very special week in the life of the school and it was a privilege to see students engaging in various creative processes. The Grade 8s must be commended on their involvement in Arts Daze and I hope they will continue to see the week as a special part of their high school career. The evening on the stage was great fun and a good antidote for the stress of the term. The acts ranged from Craig Totten and Daniel Bland’s delightful brand of comedy to creative and alluring dance routines. The art too was interesting and it is exciting to see how different groups interpreted the theme given them and the collective art produced by each of the Houses was very good. The termly Music Concert concluded the Arts Week and it was a very special music concert indeed. I am sure we will continue to see music go from strength to strength at the school.

As usual you will be emailed the brief Term One report for your child. It will reflect some marks, Effort Symbols and a Tutor comment. However, the term has been so much more than a report can even begin to suggest. Your children have changed and grown and developed their thinking and I ask you to honour their growth and their effort and I hope you can revel in the new gains in their development of self-identity. These are the more important things and they are rarely captured in a report. Nevertheless we will continue to review the reporting process and will change the format when subject comments are issued in the future and this will be communicated to you. Anyone wishing to comment on reports is welcome to contact Mrs Tessendorf, Mr Tucker, Mr Sayer or me and we will take your comments into consideration as we amend the reporting process.


Typically at the end of a term we say farewell to some staff. I am grateful to Mrs Heather Scott for filling in this term and for assisting with the school play and Arts Daze. Her warm and wonderful personality will be missed but we hope she will pop in from time to time and help out again when necessary.

Mr Jan de Waal leaves at the end of the term. Many high school students will have been taught by Mr de Waal and will have enjoyed him as the Head of the Prep School. We wish him success as he prepares to take up the headship of Wynberg Boys’ High. Mr Warren Bevan will be Acting Head of the Prep School until Mr Verdal-Austin takes up the position in the third term.

Mr Grant Caldwell has served the school well for the past ten years and will be leaving at the end of the second term to take up an exciting teaching post in Doha. Arrangements for his replacement will be made next term.


In spite of the successes and the highlights, as a community we have been through some difficult times; some individuals have had to carry a great deal on their young shoulders. No one, however, is unscathed by the tragedy that unfolded in January and which left Marli van Breda seriously injured. The vicarious trauma of this awful event has been exacerbated by the delay in many of her close friends and teachers being allowed to visit her. The sense of not knowing and not hearing cohesive and coherent facts has heightened anxiety about Marli’s well-being and it has only been this week that we have been hearing more comprehensive reports about her healing. Marli, like all our students, is a special member of our community and her well-being is of paramount concern. I have no doubt that the positive energy sent from this community helped and will continue to help in her ongoing healing. She is remarkably resilient and her medical team must certainly have worked miracles. I have no doubt that you join me in wishing her continued strength and courage to heal.

And so Arts Daze was indeed a meaningful and creative way to conclude a term that has been an inordinately sad one. No words adequately describe how very proud I am of the Somerset College students. They have carried the burdens of the term with resilience, dignity, discipline and resolve. They, like many of us, have not always understood the machinations of the world and yet they have collectively at least sought to understand rather than to be understood. All of us lost a little innocence this past term and yet our students have, on the whole, taught us that there is hope; there is goodness in the darkest of moments.

There is no doubt that the entire community needs a holiday. The community needs a time away to reflect on the good and the bad and to be in the company of family and goodness. We need the restorative power of Easter so that we can all return to school refreshed and filled with renewed energy and our capacity for hope restored.

Yours sincerely
Meg Fargher