Newsletter – 4 December 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians

We have come to the end of the most tumultuous year in recent memory and the promise of festive fellowship beckons. As I write, the corridors here at school have grown silent and our pupils have embarked on a well-earned holiday. Teachers will soon follow, and we will all have the opportunity to recharge and reflect.

Personally, this is the newsletter that I write with the happiest heart this year. We have come through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed, and despite the setbacks and disruptions, we can look forward to the new year with a sense of hope and cautious confidence.

While we will still be following the usual COVID-19 protocols in January, we will also be taking steps to open the school up fully and to re-introduce the co-curricular programme. Our aim remains to make 2021 as much a “business-as-usual” year as possible.

We say farewell to three staff members who retire at year end. Mesdames Grobler, Hearnshaw and Lombard embark on the next chapter of their lives and the school community wishes them well. I wish to thank them for their service and assure them that their dedication is appreciated. Mrs Silva leaves us to join the staff of a neighbouring independent school and Mrs Geral will join the group of moms who have chosen to stay at home and care for their babies. To both these ladies we say thank you and we wish you the best of luck.

Three new members of staff will join the school’s admin team in the new year. Miss Mary Mutambalika will take over as Administrator in the Pre-School, Mrs Jane Buckenham assumes duty as the Prep School’s Administrator and Miss Tamlin Adams will be responsible for Reception.

Mr Martin Coetzee has been appointed to teach History in the Senior School. He will be joined by Miss Amy Midgley and Mr Tim Gordon in the Prep School. We look forward to welcoming these new appointees to the St Catherine’s community.

Mrs Bronwyn du Plessis and Mrs Sonia Pita will be away on maternity leave in the Lent term. We have employed locum teachers to stand in for these ladies and we will be welcoming Mrs du Preez in the Prep School and an old friend, Mr Wysoke, in the Senior School. We also celebrate two weddings during the holidays. Our congratulations and best wishes go to Miss Gouws and Miss de Jesus who are tying the knot in December.

I also extend hearty congratulations to Mr Abri Venter, Mrs Lorraine Kirk and the music pupils for their memorable performance at the Carols by Car light function hosted at the Reef Centre on the first Sunday in Advent. It was a wonderful privilege to see our pupils as they showcased their talent and brought honour to our school. We hope to make this event an annual occasion.

We have been a little relaxed over the past few months with regard to hair and dress regulations. This has been necessitated by the pandemic. However, I must be clear that we will be enforcing all dress and hair regulations with effect from January. Pupils and parents are aware of the regulations as stipulated in the Code of Conduct and you are urged to ensure that you abide by these. The uniform suppliers have assured us that they have adequate stock levels available and they recommend that parents visit early in the year. The stockists remain Ebson’s in Germiston and Simply School in Alberton.

Our matric pupils reported favourably on the recent examinations. The waiting period for results will be longer than usual, as we only expect to receive them in mid-February. However, I am confident that it will be worth the wait.

At the recent (socially distanced) Pre-School graduation I had occasion to thank parents for their continued support throughout the year. I wish to extend my thanks to all members of our school community. Your willingness to engage during lockdown and to become involved in distance learning was most encouraging. I am particularly grateful for the trust displayed in the school when we asked you to send your children back to us at the height of the pandemic and the sacrifices made when you continued to pay fees despite the tough economic environment. As a school we commit to doing all we can to live up to your expectations in 2021.

I remind you that school re-opens for the Lent term on Tuesday 12th January 2021 for all our pupils.

Staff return on Monday 11th January and reception is open from Thursday 7th January. Should you have a question or require information, please call the school number and you will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

In conclusion I extend my best wishes, and those of the school, to all our families at this time of Christmas. May you experience peace and joy and may the time spent with your family and loved ones bring happiness and fulfillment.

Mr D.I. Maritz
Head of School