Thursday 15 October 2020: Transcript synopsis of the 2021 New Families Video premiered on YouTube on Wednesday 14 October. While we regret the need to cancel our scheduled meeting with our new families, we encourage any questions via email and look forward to meeting everyone when circumstances permit.
Enquiries: Mrs Shireen van de Rheede, Admissions Secretary
Welcome: Mr Jan de Waal, Headmaster
Greetings to the Families & Grade 8 Class of 2021
I hope that this is the last virtual parent meeting we have to have at Wynberg Boys’ High School! I congratulate you on your choice of High School for 2021. Young men: I know that you are going to fully embrace Wynberg and are going to enjoy your five-year stint tremendously.
I apologise to you all for the change of format [of this meeting]. This has been forced upon us by the new outbreak of Covid19 in the Southern Suburbs. We felt it would be prudent to have this meeting online, rather than placing anyone at risk.
While we will not go through as much as in our annual Families’ meeting, I assure the boys that we will give you the opportunity to come to the school to meet your Buddy for next year, your House Prefect, and to meet your teachers. At the moment we feel it’s inappropriate to bring you all together. We’re near the end of this academic year, and we don’t know what the situation will be in 2021. But I assure parents and boys, that whatever happens next year, we will apply the proper Covid-19 protocols to ensure your health and that of our staff.
I hope you find the information in this virtual meeting of great value, and of use for the year ahead.
The 4 C’s underpin everything we do at Wynberg. We’ll be asking your son to solve problems, this requires that he collaborates. The type of collaboration will determine the type of communication he engages in. The collaboration will be with other learners in the class. This may be in the form of an online group, it may very well be in a traditional group format where that talk to each other face to face. But certainly in these groups, and with the collaboration and communication going on, we’ll be asking them to create, create original content to solve problems. This requires critical thinking as they may very well be using technology that they’ve never used before, or apps they’ve never used before.
This application of the 4 C’s requires a digital environment.
Electronic devices are a big part of what we do at Wynberg. The school is fully set up to satisfy the needs of almost 1000 people with regards to WIFI, every single day of the week, all day long. For that purpose, we require that your son has a good quality electronic device. Ideally, this should be a laptop, however, we also suggest that a Windows tablet will suffice. We have had certain issues with Android tablets, but having said that, we’re not going to prescribe to you that you do not get an Android tablet, as Samsung has some very good products. I wouldn’t suggest that you rush out now and buy a device immediately. Wait for the right opportunity to get a good price and a good deal. Unfortunately, the school does not provide any platform for purchasing these devices in bulk on your behalf.
About 8 years ago we made a move towards paper-light. The first step in the paper-light process was the use of electronic devices. The next step is going to be the universal use of eBooks. We’ve entered into an agreement with Snapplify, and next year you will be able to order all of your textbooks online through the Snapplify platform. You will, in due course, be given a login, username, and password which will call up all of the books you will be required to purchase for next year, and the relationship will be entirely between you and Snapplify in terms of purchasing those eBooks. It is our hope that your son does not walk around with a massive bag of heavy books: a number of subjects do still make use of exercise books for note-taking, but by and large, the device will serve him well, and the eBooks should lighten the load in every way, both literally and figuratively.
The School Day
The school day is pretty symmetrical, every lesson starts either on the hour or the half-hour. Breaks and lunchtime are more or less the same time every day. We don’t have odd times of lessons starting at five-past, ten-past, or quarter-past. We really hope your son uses his breaks to socialise, to play sport in the sun, or to read a book, but we strongly urge you not to send cell phones to school with him. But if you do, we hope that your son has the presence of mind not to use his phone during break times. It really does distract them from socialising, and in many ways we consider excessive cell phone use unhealthy. The laptop or tablet is all we believe they’ll need to communicate with you, should the need arise, during the school day.
Subject choice in Grade 8
Your son’s nine subjects are, by and large, chosen for him. However, there are choices he will need to make. Most, if not all of the boys, will take English Home Language and will need to choose one additional language. If you speak IsiXhosa at home, and he is fully conversant, that could be your first additional language. The alternative first additional language is Afrikaans. Another subject choice you will need to make is in Creative Arts. All the boys do drama, however, they need to choose one other component to make up the Creative Art mark. The choices are either, music, art, or dance.
Our Digital School Environment
We hope your son is looking forward to operating in a fully digitalised school environment. We are extremely lucky to be a Microsoft Certified School. This adds massive value – you don’t need to buy a Microsoft Office package, this is freely available using the login, username, and password that will soon be sent to you. The Microsoft environment gives the full suite of products, plus many, many more apps. The ones used regularly are Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook for email, and Microsoft Teams. Every subject at Wynberg creates a Microsoft Team, all boys are loaded onto that Team, and communication with one another and the teacher regarding theory, and questions about the subject matter are done in that Team. It is very interactive, and it keeps the boys in touch daily.
In addition to Microsoft, we also have Moodle, a very powerful repository for digital content. Every subject has a page, with literally hundreds of thousands of words, and pages of text relating to the theory of every subject. This is also a very powerful app for testing learners using quizzes.
I’m sure there are many questions you will still have regarding your imminent arrival at Wynberg. I am available to all Wynberg Families via email, please drop me a line. I am more than happy to allay any fears, answer any questions, and to ensure that you are excited and in no way anxious about your arrival here in 2021.
Contact Mr Engelbrecht: firstname.lastname@example.org
Music at Wynberg Boys’ High is best categorised into three parts: Ensembles, Subject Music in Grade 8, and Non-Subject Music.
Opportunities to play in a band, an ensemble, or sing in a choir.
The first, and biggest group, is the School Choir with around 75 boys. This is a group spanning Grade 8 to Matric, comprising tenors & basses. Boys’ voices will need to have broken before joining the choir. While we expect our Music Subject boys to participate, it is open to any boys who can sing in tune, and who might have had some singing experience in Junior Schoool – we welcome them all.
The Vocal Ensemble is a select senior group of boys, and as such unavailable to Grade 8s.
Our Concert Band is a wind band involving brass, percussion, and woodwind in number. While this is a more specialised group eligible to the advanced players, Grade 8s with excellent skills may audition.
Our String Ensemble caters to violinists, violists, cellists, and double bassists.
The Flute Ensemble is a group of boys who specialise in various arrangements for flute groups.
We have 2 very special bands at Wynberg:
The Steel Band with a South American / Caribbean feel to it, play steel pans. It’s a wonderful, unique ensemble – certainly in the southern suburbs.
Likewise is our Pipe Band, for boys interested in starting the bagpipes or drumming this is a wonderful group to get involved in, this band is growing by leaps and bounds.
We have a wonderful opportunity in music for a cross-grade combination of boys. Boys in Grade 8 can perform with those in Matric, which applies to all of our ensembles except the Vocal Ensemble. Rehearsals happen before school, after school, during cultural breaks and, sometimes, into the evening, in fact, any time we can steal for rehearsals, this is a very busy place! We expect our boys who’re having lessons at the school to give back to the community and participate in at least one of the ensembles. Coming to High School is about taking the opportunities before you, running with them, and giving things a chance. I encourage you to get involved if you’re a musician.
Subject Music in Grade 8
Ideal for those who choose to study music within a class, as well as to learn an instrument. Creative Arts is an area where you can choose a subject. Everyone does Drama in Grades 8 & 9, and you may select one other from music, art, or dance. This is an important area as in selecting music you will be making a commitment for a two-year period. It also means you have lessons on an instrument of your choice, 30 hours per year of one-on-one tuition. Lessons happen during class time, so a boy might leave English for half an hour then have a break time lesson later – one hour a week – this is important to understand before selecting music as a subject. Half of the mark for subject music is taken from practical performance – pieces, scales, and sight-reading on the instrument.
The other side of Music as a Subject is that boys will come to the class for an hour’s lesson once a week where they will study theory of music, composition, aural, listening with understanding, and history of music from the great composers through jazz, musical theatre to contemporary music.
There is a cost to this as it is one-on-one tuition for the practical side of the subject, but this is heavily subsidised by the school. Cost: R5670 per annum
Instruments taught: Piano, Organ, Voice, Violin, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Guitar, Electric Guitar, and Bass Guitar.
In 2021 drums will not be offered as a subject music choice. Steel Band falls under Ensembles, and is not available as individual lessons. If you don’t have your own instrument, you may hire one from the school at a nominal fee. We cannot guarantee that everyone wanting to do music will get an instrument of choice, it will depend on what is available – we encourage boys to own their own instruments which can be stored securely at the school in a music locker or the music storeroom.
In order for us to assess the musical level and competency of new boys, we hold interviews in the afternoons during November. Once you have made your choices, we will ask you to come in, bringing your instrument and a piece or two of choice to perform. We will do a quick aural test and ask you to write a short theory test to assess your level. At these sessions, boys who’ve never had an opportunity to play an instrument may try one out. Acceptance to do music as a subject is, of course, not guaranteed.
Boys who have chosen art or dance under Creative Arts, but still want to have lessons, may sign up to join the bands, and do all that the subject boys do. However, priority for band or ensemble selection is given to boys studying music as a subject.
Cost: R2835 per annum
Guitar and drum lessons may be done extra-murally by arrangement with the relevant teachers.
Music is a vast discipline embracing academic studies and performing – we are always keen to engage with prospective students and their families.
Contact Mr Haigh: email@example.com
Head of Grade 8, Mr Estian van der Merwe
We hope to meet you in person in the near future! As Head of Grade 8 I will be responsible for your son’s orientation programme at the start of next year. As things stand, the Grade 8s will meet at the school on Tuesday 26 January to begin their programme which will run over two days including an orientation of the building and school grounds, showing them their classes, activities with their house prefects, and general information about school life.
Our annual Grade 8 Camp will happen on Wednesday 27 January when the boys sleepover on our main rugby field. This is great fun, involving games, team-building challenges, and getting to know their peers. The evening ends with a braai for the whole Grade, along with their Matric Buddies. The following morning starts early with the hike up Nursery Gorge accompanied by teachers and their matric buddies, after which they return to the school to ring the bell to signifying the beginning of their Wynberg Boys’ High journey. On Monday 1 February we will hold our annual Blazer Ceremony, please diarise this as it’s an important milestone in your son’s high school career. A letter with all detailed information will be sent to you.
A message from our Admissions Secretary, Mrs Shireen van de Rheede: a reminder that you would have received a letter regarding uniforms, stationery, electronic devices, amongst other info. The reply slips must please be returned by 30 October 2020.
Contact Mr van der Merwe: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pillars of Wynberg: Academics, Sport, Culture, & Service –
Mr Peter van Schalkwyk, Deputy Headmaster
At Wynberg we believe in holistic education. We expect all our boys to play sport – it is compulsory, but we also expect our boys to be involved in cultural activities and we encourage our boys to get involved with service projects throughout the year. Saying that, academics is always our top priority and takes the number one position. We do not encourage boys to give up sport to concentrate on academics. We don’t encourage boys to specialise in a single sport from an early age, but that is something that can be considered in senior grades.
We expect you to sign up for sport using the form emailed to you, one of the forms that need to be returned by the end of October 2020. Please bear in mind when signing up that rugby or hockey must be played in winter. Boys may play both, and other sports may be played, but only providing these are in addition to rugby or hockey.
Regarding summer sports, you may choose any from the list bearing in mind that we don’t offer swimming coaching or practices, but we do participate in the inter-schools galas.
We hold two new boys’ sports days annually:
Friday 27 November – Summer Sports. All summer sports options will be available to try from 15h00. I suggest boys join their sport of first choice, then excuse themselves to try out others. The list of sports is included in your information pack.
Saturday 28 November – Rugby & Hockey morning. The day starts with rugby, followed by hockey on our astros. Boys are welcome to try out both.
We have a policy know as All-in-for-Wynberg events. These are events throughout the year where we expect all our boys to attend. Usually, these are our derby fixtures, home and away. We expect our boys to attend either the hockey on the Friday night, or rugby on the Saturday morning. There are other events such as sports day, the quadrangular athletics, major productions, and other events that come up from time to time. We call these All-in-for-Wynberg because we expect our boys to come and support their school. We would like all parents’ support for this policy.
A big excitement for all boys is the Grey Weekend. Next year we will travel to Grey High in Port Elizabeth: 21 & 22 May are dates to diarise. Hopefully, all our Covid problems will be over by then for this highlight on our school calendar. We usually take about 500 boys, about half the school, and the cost is around R1000 per boy to cover transport and other expenses in PE. The following year, 2022, Grey will tour to Wynberg.
Mr Haigh has spoken about our music, but your son will be exposed to a number of other cultural activities. In the first week of next year, during orientation, your son will have the chance to select which of our cultural events he’d like to be involved in. Two highlights next year: our major production will be Annie, the musical – a joint production with Rustenberg Girls’ High, and we will host a concert in the City Hall to celebrate our 180th year.
A regular source of calls and questions: boys may wear summer uniform in winter, and winter uniform in summer. ie they are inter-changeable. Boys are expected to have both uniforms, with winter uniform worn on some formal occasions. School uniforms can be bought at School and Leisure in Rondebosch, with a few exceptions:
The Wynberg ‘speedo’ for boys doing water polo or swimming is available at Gecko Moon. It is costly, and I recommend purchasing only for boys intending to compete in swimming & water polo.
Cricket kit and whites are available from our school cricket sponsor, D&P, located in Ottery.
The new hockey shirt is being sold directly by our Hockey Department. These will be available on 28 November, then again in 2021.
Our school shop stocks the peaked sports cap, athletic and cross country vests, and the official Wynberg book bag. Information on the shop opening hours is included in your information pack.
Contact Mr van Schalkwyk: email@example.com
Grey Weekend in Port Elizabeth, May 2018