Annual Reports

KINGSWOOD COLLEGE

BRIDGING YEAR REPORT 2015

The Bridging Year programme forms a significant part of the Kingswood tradition of offering students an opportunity to experience a year where they can develop a holistic view for their lives. The aim this year has been to allow for situations to arise where the students have had to learn that they need to become responsible and accountable for life’s challenges. We have engaged the students at all levels in the decision making process in the House, which I believe not only enables but empowers them to learn to make the ‘right’ decision, since the decisions that are made will ultimately affect their destiny.

This year we have 14 students that have registered for the Kingswood Bridging Year. 4 of the students have previous Kingswood College links (Class of 2014), 6 from a number of well-known schools in South Africa (East London, Port Elizabeth, Port Alfred and Plettenberg Bay) and 2 from New Zealand and Zimbabwe. For the first time in many years 2 girls joined the BY programme. They all come to Kingswood with different needs ranging from the need to improve on their matric subjects, whilst others are just still very uncertain about their career paths and are needing a ‘Gap Year’ (‘life after school’ experience).

They have gelled into a formidable team and have encouraged one another to reach the goals that they have set for themselves. The camaraderie in the House has been heartening as they have fed off each others’ humour, support and friendship.  It must be remembered that some of these boys have not been exposed to boarding life and this has been the challenge that we have all had to address. It is also the first co-educational school that some of them have attended and having to deal with the gender difference has been quite a test.

In order to meet the requirements of tertiary educational institutions the students have been afforded the opportunity to register to re-write a minimum of 3 Grade 12 subjects (IEB or SNC). This requires that the students attend these lessons regularly and maintain a positive approach to their studies. Students initially found the adjustment to the bridging year difficult. However, with much guidance and determination the students have been able to rally and they have successfully embraced the academic routine that exists here at Kingswood.  The students have become much more focused and their work ethic within the House has been exemplary. The students’ academic marks have reflected this approach and we are expecting good results come the end of the year.

Students that have not chosen to re-write Grade 12 subjects were encouraged to select UNISA courses that they will most likely continue to study further once they have left Kingswood. We had 3 students that registered for specific courses (B.Com’ Economics, Business Management, Sports Management). These students have impressed in the way that they have approached their studies in such a positive and mature manner. Here they have had to become responsible and accountable for their studies (assignments, tests, examinations) as there have been no teachers (lecturers) chasing after them.

The other major component of the programme was the development of Life Skills. Here the students have been exposed to numerous skills that will hopefully prepare them to be able to cope better in the future.  They have also participated in a number of activities that have challenged their limitations – Open Water Diving, Skydiving, Rhino Capture, 8 km Canoe Trail up the Kleinemonde River and Adventure Based Learning (Fort Fordyce and Elandsberg). What has really been encouraging has been the way in which the students have stood beside and supported each other as they were severely stretched psychologically, emotionally and physically. The encouragement of each other has been phenomenal. Where would they have been exposed to such extremes had they ventured into adult life?  This is what is so unique about the Kingswood Bridging Year programme, it gives the students an opportunity to discover themselves as they are exposed to so many different challenges (academic, social, physical, emotional, physiological and physiological) in a supportive environment.

The students have also availed themselves to the Colleges’ sport programme and enjoyed the challenges both on and off the field. I did give the ‘new-comers’ to the College an opportunity to settle in first before expecting them to make a commitment to the sports programme. 

I believe that they leave Kingswood knowing that can accomplish anything that they set their minds to. I wish them well in their endeavours for 2016 and for their futures. I hope that we are all able to maintain contact as these friendships that have been established are life friendships.

Ian Knott-Craig


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