15 January 2015

Letter from the Head

Welcome to the start of the 2015 school year. We also especially welcome new parents, new students, new teachers and the Grade 8s. I hope it is going to be a happy, energetic and positive year for everyone.

The College awoke from the peacefulness of December with the Under 15 Cricket Tournament, which began on Thursday before the start of the term and the First Team and Second Teams leaving on tours. It certainly has been a busy start for the cricketers! Often as a year begins, so it is, and we certainly begin on a high note with the excellent Matric results achieved by the class of 2014. We were mentioned by the IEB as being among the top performing schools. It is very complex to rank schools as there are so many variables, so a mention of this nature is most welcome.

Congratulations to Brandon Franckeiss on achieving 9 distinctions and together with Pierre du Plessis and Sasha Tinelli for being placed in the top 5% of students in the country. A 100% pass rate and a 99% BD (Bachelor Degree) or University Entrance pass rate is an outstanding achievement. By way of comparison, of the 9814 IEB candidates who sat for the exams, 85% achieved a BD pass. Somerset College is therefore well above the national average. Special mention must also be made of the excellent Mathematics results. With the introduction of the new CAPS curriculum for the 2014 Matrics there was a notable drop in Maths and Science results nationally, but Somerset College students achieved superbly in Maths, with more than 45% of students achieving distinctions for core Mathematics. Our Science average was 8% above the IEB’s national average. Other subjects achieving a significant number of distinctions included Life Orientation, Accounting, Geography, Art, Drama and Information Technology. Averages for all subjects were above the national average, so our teachers are commended for their dedication and hard work. Accounting, Afrikaans, Art, isiXhosa, Information Technology and Mathematics were all more than 10% above the national average. Good results, however, are also linked to the care parents invest in their children. It is not always easy to support children when there are many distractions and it requires dedicated and conscientious parenting to do so. Well done to the parents who have sacrificed for their children’s futures and supported the College in its endeavours to get the most from the students.

STAFF:
We are delighted to welcome a number of new staff to the College. Mrs Jill Worth, a well-known, highly esteemed and very experienced teacher joins the English Department. Two very experienced teachers, both from IEB schools, Mr Conrad Bubb and Mr Lamprecht Lötter, join the Maths Department while Mr Rian Stone is appointed a part-time Life Sciences teacher, Cricket coach and Boarding Master.

Mrs Anjulie Nock left at the end of last year and her joie de vivre, lively personality and capacity for hard work will be missed. Nevertheless, I am pleased to announce that Mr Diederick Basson will be heading up the Music Department in both the junior and senior schools. He will start in February and we look forward to his arrival. Mrs Rhonalda van Zyl gave birth to a little boy in December. Her classes will be shared by the Afrikaans Department in order to create as little disruption as possible while she is on maternity leave. We congratulate her and her husband on this very special arrival.

Sr Lezanne Niemand joins the College as the Nursing Sister. She is highly qualified and we look forward to her professional input in the care of the students, especially those in the Boarding House. Mrs Jean Lewin will be in charge of the Alumni and Mrs Judith Varie is the new Admissions Manager. We hope all the staff will be very happy and productive in their various roles and that they will care for the students in their care with a deep commitment.

THE YEAR AHEAD
There is much to be done at the College as we continue to establish it as a leading co-educational school for the country. This task requires huge effort and input from the entire community. Building anything that is worthwhile also requires imagination and determination: imagination to see the possibility in all things and determination and hard work to transpose imagination into reality. Imagination and determination are the hallmarks of the entrepreneurial spirit that is so much part of this College and I look forward to working with all of you who are prepared to harness the creativity and possibility inherent in the fabric of Somerset College.

The PA warmly invites you to a cocktail party on Thursday 22 January at 18h30. The aim of the evening is for all parents to meet the Board and hear about our plans for the future. Together we want to imagine so that we can determine an exciting path forward.

With very best wishes for an exciting and happy 2015.

Meg Fargher
Executive Head: Somerset College

Important dates for your diary:
19 January @ 18h30 – Invitation to Matric Chapel Service and Information Evening
22 January @ 18h30 – Whole School Cocktail Party Invitation
29 January @ 18h30 – Grade 10 Information Evening and Trek Feedback
31 January – Invitation to Western Cape Rowing Championships @ Eikenhof Dam, Grabouw
8 February @ 08h00 – Somerset College / Spur Family Fun Day
18 April – Matric Dance