Message from the office
This week we have begun to have firsthand experience of the Corona virus as it begins to affect so many of the VP families within our little Grahamstown community. I am finding the world a much quieter place. Yes, this could be due to the masks but I also sense a mood of shock among many of the staff. We are still recovering from the loss of what we once knew and coming to terms with how things are now. Slowly we are also starting to feel that sense of angst as the virus we have dreaded is now knocking, if not on our own door, but on those of our neighbours. We share news on a daily basis and sympathise and empathise with those who are experiencing what we have perhaps only read about or seen on the news. We worry about our elderly parents and if we may expose them unknowingly and we worry about our precious people who work in our homes who may also be vulnerable. We share news and see those, who you presume are coping, with tears gathering in their eyes. This has made us all fearful but it has also bound us together.
We guard our girls and their safety at school like lions in front of Daniel’s den but we also know that our guardianship is not impenetrable and we are very aware of the intense responsibility that we carry when your girls return to school. We can only try our best. We know that you know that too and we can only promise you that we are trying to act in a way that we see best, checking that our protocols and our actions are compatible and daily seeking advice from medical professionals as we are confronted with each new scenario.
We thank the many parents who send messages of thanks and encouragement and we also thank those who have respected and abided by the strict measures we have put in place. We thank you for your understanding and support.
In our Zoom Assembly on Monday we spoke about being powerful and strong women who can achieve anything when we put our minds (and actions) to it, but we noted that being strong does not equate to being mean to others and lacking in empathy. In fact, it means the opposite. We need to teach our girls that it takes strength to be able to show kindness, to think of others’ feelings and to think beyond oneself. Too many TV shows (especially the reality ones) and movies set an example for our girls that being a strong woman means competing with others at all costs and making sure that you win no matter what, including ridiculing and ostracizing others . We must teach our girls that fellowship, love and compassion are the values that they should aspire to and this is more crucial than ever both during this pandemic and considering the plight and staggering statistics of violence against women.
We cannot tolerate behaviour where people who get affected by Covid-19 are to be stigmatised and ridiculed. We need to realise that none of us are immune and we need to breed a greater sense of empathy and understanding in our girls. I really don’t see how our little town can tolerate such insensitivity and unkindness at this time. Our society and country needs to take a stand against people who display such hatred and ridicule towards any group of people, and I appeal to you to speak to your daughters about the huge impact intolerance of any kind can have.
I’d also like to appeal to you to consider what/who your daughter’s role models are. Is it the latest soapie star or the prejudiced uncle next door? Do you engage in conversations with your daughter that will encourage an understanding and non-judgmental attitude towards things that are different, new or which may even instill fear? Don’t presume that your daughter knows that soapies are badly written scripts and that that is not how real life works. Let’s not create a generation of women whose footprint makes others feel ashamed of who they are and robs them of their courage to put their own unique stamp on the world. Lead, guide and engage to develop strong women whose impact will leave others feeling accepted and loved and empowered to be brave and strong.
Message from the Intersen Phase
Standing at the early morning lines this week waiting for the Grade 7s to arrive a group of girls spontaneously started to sing. How wonderful it has been to have our lovely and excited girls back at school. The school feels alive with vitality and buzzes with hope and the promise of happy times to come. Strict protocol has been put in place, which the girls are slowly getting used to. It is remarkable to see how our girls are taking responsibility for their own “bubble” in class. Spraying their desks with surface spray and sanitising their hands on a regular basis. I must admit that the girls are very aware of their masks and the importance thereof.
Letters were shared with the Grade 6 parents. We hope to welcome our Grade 6s on the 6th and 7th of July respectively. Please make sure that your daughter knows which group she is in ie. either the blue or the green group. I am convinced that the extra-small classes will be a blessing, as it will make it easy to reconnect with our pupils, a handful at a time, ensuring individual attention and the strengthening of bonds. As one can imagine, social distancing is a very foreign concept and the Grade 7s, as well as Grade 6s, will need regular reminders that as much as we are protecting ourselves with these precautions, more importantly, we are protecting others around us. Grade 7s had the opportunity to introduce their careers during our LO lessons. They discovered through this experience that due to so many advances made especially on the technological front the career fields are gradually changing.
The “fun day” was postponed to next week Thursday as we hope to have all our Grade 7’s back at school. The Grade 7 teachers are very busy with the marking of various activities completed during the lockdown. These vary from Peer Pressure posters for LO, English short stories based on the Coronavirus, music instruments with instructions in Afrikaans to various Maths activities. This will be a process and we hope to have most of the activities marked in due course. We have also resorted to Zoom Assemblies on Mondays. Mrs Rafferty has inspired our girls with her very special and insightful messages. We look forward to introducing our next value of COMPASSION AND EMPATHY next week.
A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.
Happy birthday to the teachers and girls who celebrated this week!
Mrs Ryan, Ms Hanslo, Aventandwa Ponoshe, Lithalelanga Tabensky,
Ella Radovic, Tatiana Radovic, Lithalethu Santi, Nakweziphi Mthetho and Amana Dyira.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Message from the office
On Tuesday 9 June our Grade 7s came back to school. We are most grateful to Bradley Jackson (Mrs Jackson’s son) who made a video to mark this return, you can see the video on our website or follow this link: https://youtu.be/xKdzdX4b-Pk We have now completed two weeks of schooling with minimal mishaps and the procedures that we have put in place for screening and cleaning have worked well.
On the 6 July we will be receiving our Pre Primary, Grade 1-3 and Grade 6 girls back. As you can imagine we have taken great pains to ensure that we are able to do this while keeping all our girls safe. According to the regulations for the phasing-in of the next grades we cannot have more than 50% of our girls at school at once unless under circumstances where we have ample space and rooms to ensure that social distancing can be possible. It has taken a lot of brainstorming and debate. Grade 7s (and matrics) who are exiting their respective phases at the end of the year have to continue to come to school on a daily basis. Please note that the Grade 7s will continue to come to school everyday and follow their timetable as they have been.
Each grade will send a letter to parents today to explain how the respective grades will work and I trust that you will read it carefully. Through this process we have come to realise that we cannot necessarily expect new systems to fit our old way of doing things. We all have to adjust and make new plans to adapt to the new systems. Below I will explain generally how our phasing will work and I request that you read the letter from your grade teachers in conjunction with this, to provide you with a clearer picture of exactly how your daughter will slot into this new system.
Previously in Grade 4-7 we worked on a 10 day cycle. Monday to Friday was Day 1-5 (week 1) and the following week was Day 6-10 (week 2). Once the grades return we will follow the new system as explained below:
Each class will be divided into two groups. Group 1: Blue group and Group 2: Green group. Your daughter will be placed in either the Green or the Blue group. Blue and Green groups will attend school on alternate days. On your daughter’s “home days” she will be given manageable tasks/homework to complete which her teacher would have explained the day before. We will repeat our Week 1 for two weeks and we will then repeat our Week 2 for two weeks. The visual explanation is as follows:
|Mon||Group 1||Group 2|
|Tues||Group 2||Group 1|
|Wed||Group 1||Group 2|
|Thurs||Group 2||Group 1|
|Friday||Group 1||Group 2|
|Mon||Group 1||Group 2|
|Tues||Group 2||Group 1|
|Wed||Group 1||Group 2|
|Thurs||Group 2||Group 1|
|Friday||Group 1||Group 2|
Please also see the grade letter for details on times, entry points and protocols specific to each grade. We know that this is going to also mean some planning and organising from your side but I am sure that you can appreciate that this is a system that will entail us being able to keep your girls safe and at the same time ensure that their schooling continues.
Boarder’s leave out: We will be having a boarders’ Leave Out for the Grade 7s on the weekend of the 3-5 July.
Message from the Intersen Phase: On Tuesday the 16th of June we celebrated Youth Day. In class we took the time to reflect on the struggles of the youth of 1976 and the struggles of our youth today. We focused on how this day marked a turning point in South Africa’s march to democracy. We emphasised the importance of continuing to, not only transform our actions, but also our mindsets. Our Grade 7s utilised this week to catch up on work shared with them during the lockdown. They have received detailed information on the work they had to complete and the way forward. Please encourage them to diarise activities and to meet the necessary deadlines. Some of these activities will be assessed and the marks recorded for promotion purposes.
The Grade 6 teachers are currently preparing for the phasing in of the grade. Please view the two videos uploaded on our website: https://youtu.be/bsX9q2ciZBg The girls need to familiarise themselves with the protocols and procedures in place. These videos depict what the girls can expect when they arrive at school.
We have decided that Friday the 26th of June will be a “fun day” for the Grade 7s. They will come to school dressed up to represent the career they would like to pursue one day. During the day they will then get to introduce themselves to the rest of the grade. We will also use some of our teaching time to engage in a variety of fun activities. The girls will be divided into groups and go to various teachers to either do some craft activities, yoga, songwriting and the list goes on. We hope that this experience will uplift the girls and take their minds off the “unusual” we are encountering every day.
The Grade 4, 5 and 6 teachers will also be handing out workpacks today, to the parents who indicated that they’d prefer this option in the survey. The work coverage from Grade 4-6 will also be available on our school website. The work set will run from Monday 22 June till Friday 3 July.
Happy birthday to all our children who celebrated their birthday this week! Rachel de la Mare, Layola Loliwe, Skyla Davies, Zothando Mzileni, Sibonokuhle Benge, Phoebe Jacobs, Sinesipho Mafani, Zinathi Mabunda and Mairi van Schoor.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Message from the office
We are delighted to finally have our Grade 7s back and to be teaching in a classroom. We have also re-opened our hostel to our Grade 7 girls.
At the risk of sounding melancholic, I do know that some of our girls are feeling a sense of grief. I know that many were excited to come back to what they remembered, only to discover that some things are the same but so much more is different; the masks, the routine, even the mood seems to have changed. Unlike where usually the teachers have “got this” and can lead the way based on their own life experiences, this is new to all of us and many teachers and staff are also having to find their own way to deal with their fears and trepidations. Just like when grieving a loss, we need to give our girls space to express their fears and to give them time to come to terms with the many changes they have to face. I know that they want their old normal back and it is going to take time to adjust to the new way of life, and that is true for all of us. We need to show each other grace and patience, as we all find our own way of coping and adjusting to so many new things. I would like to thank our parents for their patience and also for their faith in entrusting us with their daughters.
We have received our new school calendar for this year which you may view above. Tuesday is a public holiday and school won’t be open but our hostel will remain open for our hostel girls. Monday is a normal school day for our Grade 7s.
I am sure that many of you are anxious about the return of the next few grades and how and when this will happen. We have made a plan that will work for our school and we will share this with you during the course of next week. As mentioned on numerous occasions, your daughters’ safety is our number one priority right now and our plan for our next grades’ return will reflect this.
I would also like to stress once again that if, for whatever reason, you do not wish to send your daughter back to school when her grade returns, you have to apply for exemption from school attendance from the education department and each case will be viewed individually. The application forms can be found on our website.
Once grades return, our teachers will be teaching in the classrooms and we will no longer be posting work on the website.
Office times: Our office hours are from 08h00 till 14h00. Please ring the bell at the office door and you will be assisted.
Message from Intersen phase:
We are delighted to have our Grade 7s back in class. They adapted well to their new routine and procedures. We can’t emphasise enough that the girls must maintain social distancing at all times, especially when waiting for their transport. This week we focused mainly on work they had to complete in April and May. Some of these activities will be assessed and the marks will be recorded.
This coming week girls in Grade 4-6 have the opportunity to do some catch up work and to mark some of their activities. We have decided that the girls need a break from online teaching. Please allow your daughter the time just to relax and to spend time outdoors. Limit their time on digital devices and encourage them to rather do exercises like practising their hockey and netball skills.
The Grade 4- 6 teachers conducted a survey to determine whether we should resort to online work coverage or the collection of work packs at a designated collection point. We await the results and will notify the outcomes in due course. The Grade 6 teachers are eagerly awaiting the return of the Grade 6’s and are well-prepared for their arrival. They have also received the trimmed curriculum in all the subjects. The Intersen phase teachers request that the girls must please try their best to complete all activities and they wish that you all stay safe.
Foundation Phase: A reminder to parents to please collect your daughter’s work pack at the Huntley Street Gate from 11h00 until 13h00 today and next Friday again.
Happy birthday to all our children who celebrated their birthday this week! Aphiwe Bota, Ada Gontshi, Saskia van Wyk, Ashante Sinyanya, Tamsyn Hutchinson, Limise Mlonzi, Rachel Wilhelmi, Michaela Kretzmann, Catherine Roberts, Bridget Akpeng, Grace Chikafa and Amy Kelly.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
Message from the office
This has been an incredibly hard newsletter to write as I was really hoping that by this point we would have received the PPEs for our children. Although some schools around us have received their masks, our delivery has still not arrived. After many attempts to get hold of the courier company we were told that the truck is still on its way from KZN. Due to this uncertainty and as we are still unsure what exactly they will deliver we have made the decision to NOT open on Monday. We cannot open the school until these non-negotiable items have been received, counted and prepared for your daughter’s arrival. The earliest we will open will be Tuesday the 9 June. We will notify you on Monday of the latest developments. We once again apologise profusely for these constant change of plans and we share in your frustrations.
I am most distressed to hear reports that some pupils have not done any of the work that we have sent home. Please moms and dads, you do not need wifi to do this, you just need to have data on your phones and we deliberately chose this method so that we did not exclude anyone. Educating your child has always been a partnership between the teachers and parents and this partnership is more important now than ever before. We understand that many of you are juggling your own jobs, housework and the demands of making sure that your daughter is working, which is extremely challenging and we will help your daughter on her return if there are a few gaps, but if you have done no work, this will be extremely challenging for us and your daughter. The Unions are all calling to ‘leave no schools behind’, I am calling you to ‘leave no child behind’. Please enable your daughter to do her work. She needs your support now more than ever. All work for home can be accessed on our website – www.victoriaprimary.co.za. So far the website has been zero rated for data by Cell C, IS, Mweb, Rain Telkom and Voxall networks but we are still waiting to hear about Vodacom and MTN. The following are the direct links to specific grades work:
Grade R – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1513
Grade 00 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1499
Grade 1 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1526
Grade 2 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1555
Grade 3 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1560
Grade 4 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1575
Grade 5 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1579
Grade 6 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1583
Grade 7 – https://victoriaprimary.co.za/?page_id=1140
Grade 7 parents, please check your email on Monday for a letter from Mr Greyling. This will explain the schedule for their first day back at school. We are so looking forward to having them back! If you are able, I encourage you to listen to the video clip posted on our website that gives sound advice to parents in preparing your child for her return to school. When the Grade 7s return they must please bring their library books back and put them in the boxes provided in their classrooms.
Message from the Intersen Phase (Grade 4-7):
During this week the teachers in the Intersen Phase familiarised themselves with the trimmed curriculum issued by the Department of Education. This curriculum provided the teachers with some valuable guidelines and weekly planners. Various skills are incorporated in the teaching plans, and formal assessments are also included. The teachers also formed whatsapp groups for their classes. Very clear rules were communicated regarding the use of these groups. Our aim this week was to determine how your daughter is doing at home specifically in each grade. Is she coping with the workload and is she managing to complete the various activities? Thank you for your responses thus far. This will enable us to plot the way forward.
The memo’s for last week are on the website and the D6 Communicator. The teachers have decided to provide the girls with some time next week to consolidate all the work they have received in the last two months. Please encourage them to use next week to complete some of the activities they couldn’t complete. Marking from the memo’s will enable the girls to identify the problem areas in their work and hopefully, they will be able to rectify the relevant problem areas. There will also be some ‘food for the soul’ as the girls adjust to the new way of living. Rest assured, our Intersen teachers are eagerly awaiting your daughters’ return and they are ready not only to teach, but to guide your daughters through these challenging times.
Happy birthday to all our children who have celebrated “lock-down” birthdays! Chikhulupiriro Mitochi, Lusenathi Mkalipi, Grace Kretzmann, Anelisa Mnyamana, Ayabulela Mnyamana, Ayaxola Mnyamana, Olona Tamsonqa, Lineo Peter, Hannah Stoltz, Aliyah Bezuidenhout, Sanelisiwe Mbete, Noluthando Mtshali, Oyintando Sinam, Lulutho Makalima, Zazi Veto, Chloë Rischbeter, Sally Kadye, Unthando Dyantyi, Shiloh Loots, Manahil Rizvi, Silubonile Royi, Stella Mullin, Angela Ndhlovu, Davila Siwe Noundou, Shiloh du Plessis, Zingce Mjuleni, Linomtha Skeyi, Rutendo Chakona, Lunje Manzana, Lulolodwa Siko, Ruby Short, Liyakha Shushu, Asanele Mvela, Kelly Thorne, Asavela Mtuze, Milisuthando Nkayi, Anopa-Nyasha Thondlana, Abby Jass, Jayla Frans, Zozibini Gamlashe, Buhle Koliti, Zukhanye Ntlabati, Katleho Radebe, Emihle Siwa, Angawo Zono, Lashante Rama, Lwandisiwe Siqwede, Amahle Madubula, Misha Potts, Abenathi Kulati, Zaydiah Adler, Lande Gxina, Emihle Kulati, Emihle Somniso, Uviwe Vani, Elrie-Louise Minnaar, Chloe Sweetman, Leah Doyle, Caelyn Abdul, Azizipho Ngindana, Kelly Doyle, Chanelle Musarurwa, Emily Webber, Lejaye du Plessis, Lulo Dyantyi, Esona Mali, Yakhanani Yapi, Luminathi Khonza, Ifeoma Nnadozie, Fanelesibonge Madondo, Asante Ndoni, Makayla Cock and Jennifer Sweetman.
Mrs Michelle Rafferty
I am having a busy and fun time during lockdown. My mom and dad helps me with my school work. My favourite thing about lockdown is having my family together. I am missing my grandparents, my friends and my teacher. I am feeling nervous about coming back to school.
Love Makatendeka (Grade 1 – Mrs Andrews)
Messages from the Leadership Team
Hey Girls! I know you all are still probably stressed, but I trust that everyone is keeping well and is keeping up with their work. I just want to remind you girls that we are all strong, hard-working girls and if we keep focused everything will be just fine. Top the Grade 7s- Wow I can’t wait to be reunited with you all. All in all, I just want everyone to keep pushing through and remind themselves that tough times never last. I know we’ve got this! – Tara
Getting through lockdown isn’t always a piece of cake, but it helps to keep a routine so that procrastination doesn’t become a problem. Remember to eat healthy and to stay fit, even if it’s just a few star jumps in your room every day. A lovely thing that I really enjoy is reading, because although we can’t physically pack our bags and travel across the country, reading is a lovely way to escape the real world for a little bit. Broaden your horizons by learning a new skill, for example I learnt that I really love baking, not out of a box but from scratch. – Mika
While being in quarantine we’re being tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths. Keep a safe distance from people and disinfect constantly touched surfaces. Just because you’re in a stressful situation doesn’t mean that you have to get stressed out. We may be in a storm, but the key is to not let the storm get to you. All that you can do is stay positive and make the most of your time while being cautious. -Esona
This Lockdown thing has surely disturbed the plans we had for
2020, at Victoria Primary School. As I sit at home I think and reflect on how this Coronavirus has destroyed 2020. So as a member of the leadership team I would like to encourage every girl at V.P.S to stay at home, stay positive and keep safe. This Coronavirus has given us time to bond with our families while keeping safe at home. We will be back at school and everything will be back to normal, but as for now we need to protect ourselves. I would like to remind everyone that nothing lasts forever. Hope is the most powerful thing. I know there’s no magic in it but when you know what you hope for and stick to it things will be back to normal. – Sisonke
Adapting to change can be difficult during these crazy times. We need to turn to our creative side to keep us busy. Keeping busy with our school work, practicing our Arts and music, will have us all more than ready when we return back to school! Remember to be kind in these uncertain times as you never know what each person is going through. Stay
safe everyone and hope to see you all
soon – Chloe
Dear Grade 7 Parents
Due to us not receiving the PPEs for all learners and that we have not offically been inspected and been declared ready we will NOT be opening VP tomorrow. We will give you 48 hours notice when these requirements have been put in place. Please do not feel on edge. Keep your precious girls safe at home and we will continue as we have been until we get the official go ahead from the department. Your daughter’s safety is our first priority . Regards Mrs Rafferty