From the Principal’s Desk – 3 November 2016

Dear Parents

IES International Helderberg School is enjoying a season of steady progress, physical improvement and student happiness. I spoke to some of the students who joined us recently and asked them how they felt about arriving and settling into the school. Students spoke about the opportunities they have, how it’s a safe place to learn, that teachers take the time to work with you, that making friends is easy, how they are accepted and loved for who they are and that they are getting an international education in a school that cares. The answers confirmed that ISH is a very special place and I know I’m not alone in feeling very blessed to be part of this community each day.

I have also spent time speaking to a selection of High School students, who have achieved at a very high level in disciplines that they have chosen for themselves, outside of school. These students who take up tennis, music, gymnastics and karate, all demonstrate exceptional levels of discipline, commitment and perseverance.

Emily-Anne (Year 9) participated in Rhythmic Gymnastics, received her Western Province colours and was placed 14th in South Africa in the U13 division at the National Championships. She speaks about her love of competing and how working to this level of achievement taught her dedication and to value work hard.  Michael (Year 8) participated in gymnastics and was selected to participate in the South African Championships in trampoline where he placed 7th and 9th in this discipline. He told me he participated to this level because he loved trampoline and enjoyed competing against other gymnasts. His brother, Stephen (Year 11) has also participated at National Championships after receiving his Western Cape colours for gymnastics. Finnian (Year 10) has just completed his Grade 8 Trinity examinations in drumming and is waiting for his results. He shared that he enjoys measuring himself against the standards set by examinations and knowing where his skill level lies as a drummer. His passion for music and especially drums shines when he speaks to you. Luca (Year 9) is ranked 97th in South Africa for Under 14 tennis. His love of tennis is obvious when he talks about this sport and he speaks about how he enjoys the challenge of relying on himself to win and having to do this as an individual. Reuben (Year 9), placed 1st in the Western Cape and at the South African Championships in 2016 and this honours his sustained effort in Goju-ryu (the form of Karate that is seen in all ‘The Karate Kid’ movies) He told me he, “Loves it, that he gets a, “Major kick out of it” Ha! Ha! (Great pun Reuben!) and loves the physical exercise this karate brings to his life.

We celebrate our students who have discovered and pursue these varied activities. Now to add to this – Reuben and his brother Timeon are both South African champions in karate but they are also working on a project that reflects their human spirit and global citizenship. The 14-18th November is, ‘International Anti-Bullying Week’, so there is no better time to celebrate these two anti-bullying ambassadors that attend Helderberg International. Here are two articles and valuable links that tell you more about these two influential ISH students.

Yours in education

Garth Kitching

Head of School

 Both articles written by Sinta Ebersohn and used with permission) Sinta Ebersohn is a parent at ISH.

‘Stellenbosch brothers, Timeon Jansen van Rensburg (10yrs) and Reuben Jansen van Rensburg (13yrs), both won their respective divisions of the South African Goju Ryu Karate Championships in August. Almost two years ago, they created interactive comic strips, teaching young children empathy, to prevent bullying.

Read more about the principles on which it is based at

Although the two boys are a force to be reckoned with, they do not believe that self-defence is the solution for bullies, but rather The Adventures of Bully & Boo. The modules, which are available worldwide in five languages, namely Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Spanish and French, sketch scenarios where bullying occurs and then opens up a conversation about the behaviour, the impact thereof and how it can be handled. Parental guidance is advised and teachers can present these modules as lessons, for which training is available.

Competent persons who enjoy working with children, can also register as Ambassadors of the project and present it at nursery schools, primary schools and other institutions worldwide. More about this at


November 14 to 18 is International Anti-Bullying Week again and The Adventures of Bully & Boo, will be freely available online just like last year!

The interactive comic strips, created by two brothers, Reuben and Timeon Jansen van Rensburg, who have been victims of bullying themselves, were launched in English in 2014. Incidents of bullying are portrayed which leads into a discussion about ways to interpret and handle such situations.

Research has shown that the best way to prevent bully behaviour, is to teach children empathy from a very young age. Being able to put themselves into other’s shoes and have an understanding of another’s perspective, enables children to develop a healthy insight into the effect of their actions and alternative options when encountering bullying.

Since its launch, the module has been translated into Afrikaans, Xhosa, French and Spanish and is available worldwide. These modules will be freely accessible online during this year’s International Anti-Bullying Week. Parents and Teachers use the modules to educate their children and create awareness of the immense social challenges communities and families face because of bullying.

(Articles taken from website addresses: and