Areas of Change

Updated August 2020

Policy

There have been changes to the following policies:

  • A review of the school’s Admission Policy and introduction of an equity score as part of the Grade 8 selection process. The review was accompanied by an audit of the admissions processes by members of the SGB. This audit will happen regularly.
  • Better alignment between the recruitment policy and Employment Equity legislation.
  • Alignment of the school’s procurement policy with the principles of B-BBEE and including B-BBEE Status as a compulsory criteria for all tender processes.

Code of Conduct

In 2016 discussions started with members of the RCL which resulted in the subsequent review of the Code of Conduct and School Rules. All pupils, and also parents, were given the opportunity to provide input. We will be revisiting this again, together with an external consultant.

Admissions, Bursaries and Scholarships

In 2019, the school sought independent advice from the Governing Body Foundation about amending our Admission Policy and, specifically, with regards to ways of shifting the demographics of our school. In the same year, the selection process was audited by two parents on the SGB who are people of colour (POC). They made various recommendations which have been incorporated into the selection process. This audit will be done regularly.

Academic and Sport scholarships were purposefully discontinued in 2018 and this money was redirected to make it possible to change the student demographics/composition. In 2020, we introduced academic bursaries specifically reserved for black learners. These are means-based, with amounts being awarded on a sliding scale, according to financial need. (This has been based on the process used by tertiary institutions i.e. NFSAS, where parents have to submit specific documentation such as proof of income etc.)

We also have accepted more learners from scholarship foundations and NGOs such as Allan Gray and Students for a Better Future. We are actively looking to secure new private and NGO partners to increase the number of academic bursaries that can be awarded.

While we can ensure that we offer a significant number of places in Grade 8 to POC in order to change the diversity of the students at our school, unfortunately we cannot control who accepts the places that we have offered. This means that, even though we may offer a significant number of places to POC, they may choose to accept a place at another school, which then means that we may end up with fewer POC learners than we had hoped for in any given year. 

See Equity Statistics here…

Staff Diversity

The SGB appoints the staff employed by the school, while the WCED has to approve all appointments to state posts. An equity score is applied to all shortlisted applicants to both WCED and SGB positions. This practice has been in place for a number of years already.

We are monitoring our progress in terms of improving staff diversity and the current situation is as follows:

  • On the current staff we have 48% POC:
    • POC make up 32% of the teaching staff, of which POC fill 9% of management positions.
  • Appointments over the past two years reflect the following statistics:
    • General staff appointments have consisted of 57% being POC, 57% of appointments to teaching posts have been POC and 100% of appointments to management positions have been POC.
See Equity Statistics here…

Learner Discussions

In 2017, the school launched the “A School Where I Belong” programme, run by Roy Hellenberg and Dylan Wray. A full day ‘Implicit Bias’ workshop was attended by all staff and another shorter session by SGB and RCL members. 

In 2018 “Dialogue Days” were born and teachers were trained to facilitate discussions. The first whole day workshop on “Implicit Bias” involved the whole school and was presented by Dylan Wray and Roy Hellenberg with guest speaker Jonathan Jansen as well as a panel discussion with past pupils from RGHS and other schools. 

More Dialogue Days and discussion periods have been held since and have included the following topics:

From 2019, all Grade 8 learners entering Rustenburg attend a ‘A School Where We All Belong’ workshop as part of Grade 8 orientation week. See ‘Did your daughter tell you’ newsletters.

Staff Development

A full day ‘Implicit Bias’ workshop was attended by all staff in January 2017. This workshop was run by Roy Hellenberg and Dylan Wray. Following this, the majority of our teachers attended a number of sessions to receive training in order to facilitate discussions with learners.  A Transformation committee/team, made up of volunteers, was formed in order to arrange and manage workshops and Dialogue Days at Rustenburg. 

The staff have undergone a number of  transformation workshops over the years and have engaged in dialogue on relevant topics. We regularly have staff inset training, where all staff are included and have to attend regardless of how uncomfortable they may feel. Grounds and cleaning staff have been included in all staff events, including discussions around transformation matters, over the past four years.

In June 2020 the school employed L&N Advisors, represented by Lovelyn Nwadeyi, to work with the school over a period of time in order to facilitate engagement sessions with staff, parents and learners in a manner that is tailored to specifically address matters of belonging at the school. Furthermore, to provide the entire school community with tools and a framework to work towards the same goals for transformation through a lens of anti-racism and social justice. L&N Advisors encourages the use of a restorative justice approach within socio-cultural transformation processes.

See Transformation Timeline here.

Upgrades to Staff Facilities

For many years the facilities provided to our Grounds and Cleaning staff were inadequate, but in recent years, much has been done to improve their staff rooms on campus.

  • New staff room provided for Cleaning staff as part of construction of the Maths & Science Block (2013) with changing facilities.
  • New staff room with access to showers provided for Grounds staff (2015)
  • Cleaning Staff staff room expanded as the team grew (2019)
  • Paving of courtyard near workshops and Grounds Staff staff room to prevent flooding in the rainy season (2019)

Mission and Vision

Rustenburg has undertaken a process to change our Vision and Mission statement in order to foster a more inclusive school environment going forward. Workshops were led by an independent advisor and involved some staff members, the School Governing Body and some members of the Representative Council of Learners. This process is ongoing and will be reviewed regularly.

School Song

The school song is in the process of being re-written. The old song has not been officially sung since the end of 2018. A draft version of the lyrics is currently being considered after which a new tune will be composed.

Consideration for Religious Diversity and Practices

A multi-faith prayer space/room, sponsored by a parent, was created at the start of 2019 and has no affiliation to a particular religion.

We encourage a variety of religious readings and devotions in assembly. This is carefully managed so that one religious group does not do more than another. This is so that those with and those without a faith are all represented in the style of devotions. Over the past few years secular and ‘spiritual’ songs have been carefully selected so as not to have reference to a specific deity, however, going forward only secular songs will be chosen for collective singing at compulsory events e.g. assemblies, prize-givings, Valedictory etc.

For the past few years we have indicated on the school calendar that no assessments should be done on Eid. Going forward, we will be mindful to ensure that the day before and after Eid are also taken into consideration.

Development of isiXhosa at Rustenburg

We have undertaken a process to promote and encourage isiXhosa as a subject at Rustenburg. It was decided that, in addition to isiXhosa First Additional Language, we would offer Conversational isiXhosa for two years to Grade 8 and 9 students until we have enough teaching time allocated to make it financially feasible for a teacher to accept an isiXhosa Second Additional Language post. Conversational isiXhosa is a way of building up towards our goal of offering the subject as a second additional language.

Counselling and Support

A decision to appoint a person of colour, in line with learner preference, as a non-teaching counsellor was approved by the SGB at the start of 2020. A black woman has been appointed as a school counsellor and will start at the school in January 2021.

The school has had conversations about the formation of a committee for POC learners and will continue these conversations with input and guidance from an external consultant.

LGBTQ+ Education and Support

This does form part of our initiatives of removing institutionalised discrimination and is addressed as part of the LO curriculum. Proper education around identity and LGBTQ+ will be done with staff and students in their respective sessions with Ms Lovelyn Nwadeyi.

We have a PRIDE Society that has been active in the school for a number of years now.

Parent Discussions

In the past, there have been some events held at Rustenburg for parents to engage. These include a past pupil speaking at the Matric and New Parent Evenings, “A School where I Belong” book launch for Dylan Wray and Roy Hellenberg, Lovelyn Nwadeyi on Race and Racial Literacy and the production of My Father’s Coat – a history of South Africa. Sadly, most of these were poorly attended.

Parents have their own social responsibility to inform and educate themselves and while we will continue to provide these opportunities for engagement they are ultimately accountable for their own growth. We are, however, looking into ways to ensure this happens more intentionally. We will include this as part of the Grade 8 parent orientation from 2021.

See our list of recommended resources…

Alumnae Involvement

We welcome having past pupils involved in the life of the school and have actively engaged with our Alumnae Association more recently in this regard. We hope that initiatives such as the alumnae mentoring programme are supported by past and present pupils and prove fruitful. Alumnae representatives have been invited to SGB meetings in the past and we hope to continue to do so in the future.

Rustenburg Alumnae has recently formed a transformation sub-committee to help facilitate change at the school and we encourage past pupils to make contact with them directly.

Diversity in Sport at Rustenburg

We undertake to re-evaluate our sporting codes at RGHS, including the trophies that are awarded, to ensure that all sports are acknowledged and treated fairly. We will investigate sport teams and their racial demographics at school level, as well as those we send to Western Province trials.

A real effort has been made via the RGHSSport Instagram platform to acknowledge all sports teams on a similar level. We will continue to ensure that sporting codes such as Soccer and Touch Rugby get the acknowledgment they rightly deserve.