Subjects & Subject Statements
The Somerset College English Department believes that learning is a social enterprise in which our role as teachers is to facilitate our students’ making of meaning so that they can become independent life-long learners capable of purposefully and significantly contributing to society.
In doing so we aim to encourage our students to value their own dignity and champion that of others. Moreover we want to develop our students’ creativity so that they can successfully aspire to more, not only for themselves but more importantly, for their communities and country, and for humanity.
Head of Department: Ms Jill Worth
As a Department we feel that South Africa's cultural diversity is a valuable asset and that, amongst other things, multilingualism needs to be promoted and developed. The learning of more than one South African language should therefore be general practice in our society - being multilingual should be a defining characteristic of all South Africans.
It is our wish, therefore, that students appreciate the study of Afrikaans because they realise that it will broaden their horizons, assist them in further studies and their future workplace and improve their communicative skills in general.
We try to foster a love for the subject by exposing the students to a wealth of literature, poetry, music and film. In doing so we hope that our students will recognise that the themes and issues we study and analyse are not particular only to Afrikaans and Afrikaans speaking South Africans, but are, in fact, universal in nature.
By the end of Grade 9 all students should be able to use their first additional language effectively and with confidence for a variety of purposes. The challenge in Grades 10 to 12 is to build on this platform, as students acquire the skills and knowledge to meet the standards required in Grade 12.
The curriculum is organised according to the following skills and content:
Listening and speaking
Reading and viewing
Writing and presenting
Language structures and conventions
"A different language is a different vision of life."
Head of Department: Mrs Elmari Botha
French is taught in a communicative manner. In the junior grades, we work with modules introducing the language to beginners with themes that are relevant to them. A healthy mix of vocabulary and grammar is used to keep the learners spellbound! These are tested in various ways, written tests, dialogues and role plays as well as more prose type of exercises. Grade 10 being the bridge year, much of the grammar relevant to Matric is acquired at this level. In Grades 11 and 12 we prepare the learners for the Matric examination. Students are taught the finer points of expressing opinions, communicating in writing, transforming texts, reading magazine articles and studying literature.
A lot of hard work and dedication is required to learn a language from scratch, but the benefits are very enriching. A good sense of humour will also help!
Besides the value that French has for extending knowledge of languages generally, it is recommended for those intending to go into the hotel, journalism, medical, engineering or travel fields, as well as those wishing to enter the diplomatic service.
Head of Department: Mr Kerwin Baartzes
No matter which additional language you learn, it means enrichment and it means empowerment. It means that you gain insight into the languages you already know and it means "Vorsprung" (lead, to be ahead) - to use the motto used by the German car manufacturer, Audi - which will ensure that those will envy you who did not have the opportunity to learn an additional language such as German.
But what makes German so special? Do you want to be an exchange pupil and receive visitors of your age from abroad in your home? Do you want to improve your chances in the job market? Did you know that Germany is one of South Africa's biggest trading partners? Did you know that German speaking tourists to South Africa account for the second largest contingent of visitors to South Africa? Do you want to excel in science, music, art, architecture, medicine, philosophy, political science, engineering and tourism? Do you want to study or work in a German speaking country? Then learn German!
The 115 Million German speakers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland constitute the powerhouse of Europe. German is not only the language of Bach and Beethoven, of Goethe, Schiller, and Martin Luther; it is also the language of Carl Benz, of Gottlieb Daimler, of Rudolf Diesel, of Adam Opel, of Ferdinand Porsche, of Robert Bosch and of course, Sebastian Vettel and Rammstein! Germany is known for its innovative high technology and for its quality products from the humble Staedtler pencil to being the leading country in the development and use of renewable energy, from wind to solar power and biogas. Germany is leading the way in international efforts to counter the disasters brought along by climate change.
Do you think that German is difficult to learn? Well, a Mercedes Benz does not come cheaply either but the Grade 10 students who obtain 80 per cent and more in the annual German Olympiad as well as the many students who obtain A or B symbols in the matriculation examination are enough proof that learning German is not more difficult than learning English or Afrikaans.
Make this your motto: "Vorsprungdurch Deutsch!"
Head of Department: Ms Barbara Adamczyk
isiXhosa as a language has a huge role to play inSouth African culture and citizenship, especially in provinces where the majority of people speak the language.The main reason for teaching isiXhosa is to facilitate meaningful communication with Xhosa speaking citizens, to increase students' prospects in the job market and to enable our students to have knowledge of one of South Africa's official languages at first or second additional language level.
At Senior School level students acquire the following skills:
The ability to make meaning of text. The ability to speak and converse in isiXhosa.
The ability to create meaningful texts across a wide variety of formats and for a range of purposes. Focus is on functional writing such as letters / dialogues / faxes / emails.
Prepared speaking and the ability to understand spoken isiXhosa and to respond appropriately within certain situations and discussions on current topics.
Prepared and unprepared reading. Sources used are folk tale stories,magazines, novels, drama, poetry, etc.
The ability to understand and use grammatical structures within certain relevant situations. This helps students to be able to write Transactional Writing.
Madiba, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart". Our main aim is to add value to the education of our students by allowing them to develop a lifelong skill of speaking another South African official language. This skill will benefit them in many ways.
Head of Department: Mrs Maud Xauka
In our department we:
- follow the Independent Examinations Board curriculum and write the IEB National Senior
certificate examination at the end of Grade 12
- offer Mathematics in Grades 8 – 12, Mathematical Literacy in Grades 10 – 12 and Advanced
Programme Mathematics in Grades 10 – 12
- encourage students to take part in the annual National Mathematics Olympiad as well as the UCT
Mathematics competition, and we have a training programme to equip our students for this type
of problem solving challenges
- run Mathematics extension/consolidation/remedial sessions on a two weekly basis where
students are challenged with unseen problem solving activities or concepts taught over the last
while are consolidated or students who still need additional reinforcement receive that from staff
allocated to that part of the programme
- have extra classes in the afternoons three days a week for students who need that extra bit of
help, and we do it free of charge
- are fostering a positive and successful learning environment for staff and students such that
academic rigour is maintained, learning technologies are incorporated within each subject area
and the individual needs of students and staff can be addressed
- stream students in sets where they can grow and develop at a pace and level that complement
their ability and skills on the one hand, but also push them to achieve at a higher level without
placing unreasonable demands on them
- endeavour to create a pleasant class atmosphere where students can feel free to ask questions
when they do not understand concepts, and where each individual feels safe and secure and
cared for by the teacher
- allow students to make mistakes and learn from them
- work at establishing a good work ethic in each individual across grades
- liaise with each other on a weekly basis with regards to our progress in each grade
- scrutinise assessments to ensure that they are fair and of a high standard
- liaise with teachers from other schools and share teaching materials
- endeavour to stay on the forefront with the latest developments in technology and teaching
techniques without compromising on quality and interpersonal relationships
- are not only Mathematics teachers, but we are also there for students outside the classroom at
their extracurricular activities
The eight energetic and fun-loving members of our Department have more than 100 years of teaching experience and we have learnt over these years that:
Mathematics is the language of Science. It is evident in the world around us and an understanding of Mathematics enables us to better understand and appreciate our universe.
Studying Mathematics teaches us to problem solve. To succeed we need to learn rigour, strategy and follow through – all important skills that are neglected in a packaged, sound byte, instant gratification world.
Mathematics is an emotional subject – it evokes strong emotion in students and parents alike. Sadly, it is still used as a gateway subject by tertiary institutions (to thin down numbers in the application process) and so Mathematics success becomes a goal over and above Mathematics enjoyment.
Mathematics students learn fast that Mathematics is a jealous mistress and unforgiving of neglect – so Mathematics also teaches us the value of a good work ethic (and faithfulness!!)
Mathematics lends itself to teaching students the importance of thinking for themselves rather than to rely on others
Failure is a wonderful opportunity for reflection and growth
Just as one swallow does not make the summer, so can one test not determine failure or success in a year’s work
Staff responsibilities for 2015 are as follows:
Grade 8: Mrs Helen Tucker – coordinates planning, weekly meeting and report back; responsible for the problem solving programme.
Grade 9: Mr Shaun Hudson-Bennett – coordinates planning, weekly meeting and report back; responsible for the problem solving programme.
Grade 10: Ms Julianne Ward – coordinates planning and weekly meeting; monitors that content is presented according to CAPS; responsible for the problem solving programme for the whole grade.
Grade 11: Mr Gavin Larsen – coordinates planning and weekly meeting; monitors that content is presented according to CAPS; responsible for the problem solving programme for the whole grade.
Grade 12: Mr Gert Esterhuyse – coordinates planning and weekly meeting; monitors that content is presented according to CAPS; responsible for the problem solving programme for the whole grade.
Mathematical Literacy Grades 10 – 12: Mr David Hill, Mr Conrad Bubb and Mr Lamprecht Lötter
Advanced Programme Mathematics Grades 10 – 12: Mr Gert Esterhuyse (Gr 12), Mr Gavin Larsen (Gr 11) and Ms Julianne Ward (Gr 10)
Maths Quiz: Mrs Helen Tucker
Olympiads and Maths Competition: Mrs Helen Tucker
Extra Lessons: Mr Lamprecht Lötter, Mrs Helen Tucker, Mr Conrad Bubb, Ms Julianne Ward and Mr Shaun Hudson-Bennett
Head of Department: Mr Gert Esterhuyse (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Day-to-day running of the Department
Members of the Maths Department meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress and presentation of content for Grades 8 – 12. It also serves as an opportunity to exchange ideas around teaching techniques, the use of technology in the class room and assessment techniques.
Class visits between members of the Department also take place on a regular basis. It serves as an opportunity to enrich staff and to learn from each other.
We offer Maths help on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during lesson 8. This service is run by our own teachers and students are encouraged to attend on a regular basis rather than just before tests. The information about the venues and staff involved appears in all Maths classrooms and on the Maths notice board in the Science block.
The Exam Oracle is aimed at Matrics and the Intelligent Practice at all students.
To download the Exam Oracle document, follow this link - https://www.somersetcollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Exam-Oracle-Flyer1.pdf
To download the Intelligent Practice document, follow this link - https://www.somersetcollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Intelligent-Practice.pdf
The Somerset College Life Sciences department is a dynamic teaching unit that attributes its success to strong co-operative teaching and learning. Life Sciences strives to equip all students with the skills that are not only vital to the Sciences but develop a proactive and self-motivated life-long learners who are able to adapt and cope in an ever-changing world. In order for the students to succeed beyond school and to prepare them well for tertiary study we focus on the following skills:
The development and use of critical thinking skills, scientific methodology and advanced research techniques.
Subject content ranges from plant and animal anatomy and physiology to environmental issues and evolutionary biology.
The ability to manipulate data, interpret information and the skill to adapt and apply knowledge to everyday situations.
With ever-increasing knowledge and developments in this discipline, notably in areas such as microbiology, biotechnology and genetic engineering, we strive to keep abreast of advances in Life Sciences globally by embracing the use of technology in the classroom.
Not only does the study of Life Sciences provide vital life skills, this subject is indispensable for further study in any of the medical sciences, ranging from medicine to nutrition and physiotherapy. The skills acquired in this discipline in terms of thinking in systems and synthesizing data are also applicable to broader disciplines such as engineering.
Head of Department: Mrs Mandy Gibson
The Department of Physical Science strives to provide an education for all pupils which enables them to acquire the understanding, knowledge and skills:
- to be prepared for tertiary studies in scientific and related fields.
- to become confident citizens in a changing technological world.
- to cultivate an appreciation for and a sense of wonder about the universe.
To achieve this, we focus on:
The development and use of process skills, critical thinking, scientific reasoning and strategies to investigate and solve problems.
The ability to explain, interpret and evaluate scientific and technological knowledge and apply this in everyday contexts.
The ability to critically evaluate scientific knowledge and its impact on the quality of socio-economic, environmental and human development.
"The important thing is never to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help being in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
- Albert Einstein
Head of Department: Mrs Louise van Zyl
Accounting is taught as an essential life skill which will be beneficial in terms of managing personal finances, budgeting and planning.
Accounting is beneficial for those interested in pursuing a career in the general field of business by reading for a B.Comm or B.Econ degree at university or any of the business-related diplomas at colleges.
Key skills which will be developed:
Organization and management skills
Analytical evaluation of information
General financial awareness
Accounting is only offered from Grade 10 as a Matric subject and it is recommended that only students who obtain a minimum of between 65% and 70% in Mathematics and English take this subject. Levels of personal organization and analytical skills will also be considered.
Head of Department: Ms Taryn Engledow
"Study the past if you would define the future."
Confucius (551-479 BCE)
The History department is a popular and successful part of the school, delivering a stimulating and relevant curriculum. We are a forward-looking team of teachers who are open to new ideas and we strive to inspire and support students in our subject through active learning. Importantly, we seek to encourage critical thinking and the ability to develop historical arguments that are well supported by evidence.
We believe that the study of History is vital and has a very positive impact on young peoples' lives. The study of the past helps us to develop a grasp of our own position in the sweep of human history and it provides us with the means to develop an understanding of the present.
History is a subject that inspires and fascinates because, in essence, it is concerned with people; it is about us in time and place. The past is also our spotlight on the present. Many of the problems and strengths of our country and of the world today have their roots in the past. Great or mistaken decisions; combinations of developments; conspiracies or complete mess-ups all played their part in shaping the present. Studying the people of the past can give real insight into people alive now. In short, knowledge of people is one of the greatest assets that students derive from the study of History.
As an academic discipline, History challenges students to think critically whilst at the same time it plays a crucial role in the development of cultural literacy. That is, the shared body of knowledge and understanding that every student should acquire in order to function effectively as a citizen of our country, and increasingly, in the wider, globalised world. Historical awareness and insight is especially pertinent in South Africa which has been riven by colonialism and apartheid for much of its modern history. A key departmental objective is to assist students at Somerset College to change the patterns of the past through a deeper knowledge and understanding of our collective history.
To achieve this end we believe that teaching and learning should encompass a wide range of strategies that promote purposeful collaboration, active engagement and challenge within a curriculum that is inclusive and relevant. We also make use of digital technologies to enhance the learning experiences of students. Besides this we also conduct excursions to museums and other places of historical interest.
As a team of History specialists we aspire to the highest standards of professional practice and we believe in the formative value of History. We know that it can empower young people, especially if they have a sense of being 'in' history because they understand its relevance to their own lives. One of the ways that we facilitate such awareness is by drawing links between local, national and international historical topics and themes. We also promote understanding of concepts such as cause and consequence, change and continuity, and historical significance.
History is a challenging academic discipline that demands high levels of intellectual rigour, and the capacity to offer balanced judgements based on careful analysis and evaluation of the available evidence. This in turn requires diligence and a lot of perseverance, which is acknowledged by employers and universities who value History very highly. The knowledge and skills that are taught within the subject are highly rewarding and very useful in work, study and life.
When studying history at Somerset College, students will develop their ability to:
Demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding of South African, African and world history.
Learn lessons from the past.
Develop a sense of belonging and shared identity.
Find and use information effectively.
Weigh conflicting factors carefully before taking critical decisions.
Be analytical and critical when considering presented information.
Learn the arts of debate and expressing a clear point of view.
Understand how and why people behaved as they did - and may behave in similar circumstances again.
Understand that history is a 'contested terrain'. That there are a range of interpretations about the past that require critical analysis.
Please feel free to contact the department should you wish to discuss any issues relating to the study history. We would welcome your contribution.
Head of Department: Mr Stephen Ramsay
A journey of discovery...
"Geography is one of the great civilising subjects in the curriculum. It trains young people in an understanding of the diverse and interconnected world in which they live and for which they will have to take a responsibility though their work and actions. With this emphasis on understanding both environmental and social processes, and their interactions and change, geography encompasses many of the issues facing the world today. It also teaches a wide and unique combination of skills that lead to geographers being amongst the most employable of graduates."
- Rita Gardner, Director RGS 1999
The Geography Department is run by a husband and wife team of Mark and Claire Engelbrecht who are extremely passionate about their subject and the value it brings to young adults. Geography at Somerset College remains a popular subject choice for learners with a wide range of talents, skills and ability. We have had students move on to become Actuaries, Environmentalists and Coastal Engineers, to name but a few. Our Department aims to produce versatile graduates that acquire a width and depth of knowledge and skills. Examples of skills acquired are data gathering, information retrieval, problem identification, report production and presentation (both written and oral), and the ability to work as part of a team. Additional skills acquired include logical and critical thinking, computing skills, collecting data by sampling and survey methods and practical skills such as problem solving, the ability to meet deadlines and the ability to work under pressure.
Our junior grades enjoy an innovative module approach, where the most current and exciting things that are happening locally and globally are documented. Natural Hazards, Planet Rock, Mapwork, Population issues are taught as well as Heritage sites, Space, Environmental issues, and Climate. Fieldtrips and outings are a core part of our senior teaching philosophy. Fieldtrips include the Geomorphology of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point, Paarl Rock, with numerous visits to our outdoorclassroom and our local river.
Research is central to our teaching, culminating in an IEB research task on a river system in the Helderberg area.
Richness of life can only be gained by exploring its diversity.
Head of Department: Mr Mark Engelbrecht
The Visual Art Department at Somerset College is a place where students are encouraged to be highly innovative and current in their artistic expressions. The incredible results of their hard work have been confirmed, not least by a consistently high standard average in Matric, of which we are very proud, but also by the fact that many of our past students successfully gain acceptance into reputable tertiary Art and Design establishments and follow successful creative careers thereafter.
There are various tertiary options where Visual Art is an asset. These include:
Fine Art - Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Multi-media, Mixed media, Ceramics, Graphic,Industrial, Interior Design. Fashion, Set Design, Jewellery, Textile etc.
Our Art Department is unique in that we offer so many discipline options. The department is staffed by three highly qualified teachers, each of whom steer the various disciplines, while also working in collaboration. Some of the disciplines include: drawing, painting, collage, mixed and multimedia, printmaking, sculpture and installation.
In Grade 8 and Grade 9 the students are introduced to the basics of art-making through various observational and creative projects, with the intention of creating a solid foundation for further development of their skills when they make their final subject choice in Grade 10.We believe in the importance of a classical drawing background, which is extensively developed, especially in Grade 10, and then allow the individual student artist more room to explore artistic conceptualisation through their chosen discipline in Grades 11 and 12. We have also continued with the popular tradition of building sand sculptures on Bikini Beach as a Grade 10 practical examination. Each year seems to improve on the one before, and the students have a wonderful time in the outdoors, expressing their creativity through nature.
It is very interesting to observe the variety of artistic methods and approaches that make up our showcase exhibition - the Matric Art Exhibition. Individuality rules and many of our artists are unafraid to explore powerful subject matter with the intention of drawing attention to international events or subjects.
The Visual Art Department has a good record of participation and achievement in various reputable external Art Competitions where many have achieved high placing or have won their sections. There is also plenty of opportunity for artistic exposure in the College environment where the students Art can be seen in almost every location.
The Visual Arts also has a strong Visual Literacy component, where students engage with historical and contemporary art-making practices and develop critical skills in analysis and Art Historical essay writing. This knowledge often is reflected in their own art-making and recorded in their visual diaries, which gives more value to the concepts underpinning their chosen approaches.
We are constantly seeking new ways of exploring the creativity with our students, and remain astounded at the enthusiasm we draw from our students at each new challenge. If the past is anything to go by, the College's artistic future remains exacting, exciting, experimental and thoroughly rewarding.
Head of Department: Ms Nina Welgemoed
At Somerset College, Dramatic Arts empowers students through experiential learning. Our department creates a safe space for learning through play. Through the platforms of critical, creative thinking and problem solving our students are guided to self-expression and original thought. The syllabus demands critical and imaginative minds and develops empathy and self-discipline. Dramatic Arts enriches the individual allowing him/her to appreciate, affirm and challenge the values and cultures of South Africans and the world.
In Dramatic Arts we aim to:
Equip pupils with crucial transferable life skills such as: confidence, self-esteem, creativity, communication skills, empathy, self-discipline, critical and creative thinking, leadership and collaborative teamwork.
Give insight into how the arts affirm, challenge and celebrate values, cultures and identities.
Develop body/voice/mind/emotions as a medium of expression, communication and creativity.
Develop dramatic skills, techniques and processes to experiment with and shape dramatic elements meaningfully, both individually and with others.
Create and present dramatic products across a range of modes (lyrical, narrative, dramatic) and styles (realistic, heightened), alone and in collaboration with others.
Understand, analyse and interpret principles and elements of drama in texts and performances in context, in South Africa and the world.
Reflect on and evaluate our own and others' dramatic processes, practices and products.
Engage with contemporary issues through the dramatic arts.
Head of Department: Ms Jhanie van Aswegen
Consumer Studies as a subject from Grades 10 to 12 embraces most aspects of life as every person is a consumer who needs to:
Select foods that are healthy
Live in a home that is both functional and beautiful.
Consumer Studies will help students learn how to use resources optimally in a sustainable manner and promote various skills in the production of marketable products that will meet consumer needs.
The theoretical aspects of the subject embraceconsumerism which deals with everyday business practices such as learning how to establish your own business by learning how to sustain a profitable small-scale production, covering aspects of quality control, public relations and marketing of the product that will meet the consumer's needs and wants.
The subject is divided into different sections each with its own set of outcomes.
The Consumer section deals with:
Consumer rights and responsibilities
The household budget
Decision-making processes when dealing with consumerism
The Food and Nutrition section deals with:
Ability to choose food that is healthy for a good living.
Cover nutritional requirements throughout one's life cycle and includes the prevention of deficiency diseases, caused by unhealthy choices and commercial use of food additives
Food contamination and hygiene.
Clothing also forms part of the theory and covers aspects such as:
Choosing clothing suitable for the working environment and various other occasions, which will flatter your figure type, skin colour and personality.
Fibre types and the uses thereof
Care of clothing based on the type of material used is also included.
Housing and Furnishings consist of:
How to choose a home when in the market to buy a home
Different finance options when buying a home
Furnishings that will create a functional and attractive home that provides harmony all its occupants may enjoy.
Food Production and Entrepreneurship: Consumer studies as a subject also consists of a practical side with each school being able to choose one out of five main fields. Somerset College chooses Food as the practical option with the learners needing to focus their practical skills on cooking throughout the year. The practicals will cover a variety of dishes, each requiring different food processing skills that could one day help them to start their own business. One of the aims of the practicals is to provide learners the opportunity to prepare dishes that will cater for a healthy and entertaining lifestyle.Somerset College caterss for students with a passion for cooking, assisting them to produce creative food using the latest food fashion. The library stocks the latest food magazines,enabling the students to keep up to date.
The subject is suitable for both girls and boys and is also a university entrance subject.
If you have an interest in Nutrition, Cooking and Designing with an interest inEntrepreneurship and one day starting your own business, then you will enjoy Consumer Studies as a subject.
Consumer Studies does not require any special skills, but the following could be an advantage:
Preparation of food
Calculating, planning and organising as practicals need to be planned.
Conducting investigations and drawing up reports
Application of decision making strategies and problem solving skills
Consumer studies as a subject does have the major criteria of enthusiasm, creativity and passion.
Head of Department: Mrs Lysette de Clercq
Who should take Information Technology?
… students with enquiring minds who love challenges because the subject is ever developing and changing.
The curriculum is designed to introduce students to the breadth of the field of Information Technology. The six main topic areas of the Information Technology curriculum support the teaching of digitally informed students.
Solution Development (60% of the course) covers Algorithms, Web Development (XHTML), Introduction to Solution Development, Application Development and Software Engineering Principles
The specific aims of Information Technology are…
In Information Technology a student will:
- use appropriate techniques and procedures to plan solutions and devise algorithms to solve
problems using suitable techniques and tools‟
- understand and use appropriate communication technologies for information dissemination;
- appreciate and comprehend the various systems technologies used in the developing of a
- understand that all ICT systems are built upon software engineering principles;
- understand and use Internet technologies for various tasks;
- comprehend and apply the concepts of data and information management to understand how a
knowledge-driven society functions; and
- understand the social implications of ICTs and how to use ICT technologies responsibly.
The long and the short of IT…..
Information technology teaches a student to program.
Do you have or want to learn the character traits of a programmer: attention to detail, tenacity, the ability to work under pressure and good time management?
Then this subject is for you!
Our main objective at the College is to encourage participation in music within a department which promotes excellence, and is open-minded to all genres of music. We provide students the opportunity to take music as a subject or as an extracurricular activity.
Grades 8 and 9
In Grade 8 and 9 our aim is to give students a basic understanding of music history across all genres and to encourage students to broaden their practical and theoretical knowledge of music. Students follow the Creative Arts CAPS syllabus that consists of three components: Music Literacy (music theory), Music Listening and Music Performance. Receiving instrumental lessons is not a prerequisite, but it is recommended.
Grades 10, 11 & 12
The main purpose of music is to provide students with the knowledge and ability to become practising musicians. The old style of music education left the student with good playing skills but with little or no knowledge of ensemble work, the arranging and composition of music, popular music and the music industry. The syllabus addresses all of the above in a way that will empower musicians to become performers, as well as composers and arrangers. It will be studied in five designated areas: Practical (playing an instrument), Composition and Arrangement, Improvisation, Theory and Harmony, and Music Culture and History.
A student wishing to take Music as a subject in Grade 10 must have reached a minimum practical and theoretic level equal to Grade 2 of any of the external examination bodies (eg. Trinity College of London, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, UNISA) by the end of Grade 9.
Director of Music: Dr Diederick Basson
At Somerset College the Life Orientation Department follows the curriculum and assessment methods as stipulated in the National Curriculum Statement policy documents of the school sector.
The following information was taken from the National Senior Certificate (NSC) policy document of May 2007:
"Life Orientation is the study of the self in relation to others and to society. It addresses skills, knowledge, and values about the self, the environment, responsible citizenship, a healthy and productive life, social engagement, recreation and physical activity, careers and career choices. These include opportunities to engage in the development and practice of a variety of life skills to solve problems, to make informed decisions and choices and to take appropriate actions to live meaningfully and successfully in a rapidly changing society. It not only focuses on knowledge, but also emphasises the importance of the application of skills and values in real-life situations, participation in physical activity, community organisations and initiatives. Life Orientation is one of the four fundamental subjects required for the National Senior Certificate, which means that it is compulsory for all learners in Grades 10, 11 and 12. It is a unique subject in that it applies a holistic approach to the personal, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, motor and physical growth and development of learners. This encourages the development of a balanced and confident learner who can contribute to a just and democratic society, a productive economy and an improved quality of life for all."
At Somerset College the following broadtopics as stipulated in the CAPS 2014 document are covered in the assessment tasks:
Development of the self in society
Social and environmental responsibility
Democracy and human rights
Careers and career choices
Our tasks are designed in such a way to cover not only more than one topic but also to keep up to date with developments and changes in society today. We do not use a prescribed textbook but develop our own material for each topic.
We work closely with other members of staff and external consultants to equip our learners with the transferable skills necessary to achieve success:
The Research Skills Programme teaches students the necessary skills to use research tools effectively, to apply the necessary strategies to avoid plagiarism, to acknowledge sources and to compile an accurate list of references.
The Student Development Unit assists with the Learning Styles identification, Study Skills and Exam Techniques and the Careers Programme.
Workshops are run with our Grade 11 class on CV writing and interview skills, and our Grade 11s participate in a Driver's Education Programme
A Physical Education Programme is implemented in Life Orientation across all the grades.
Head of Department: Mrs Anthea Oliver