Situated in Johannesburg and established in 1919, we are widely recognised as a leading South African boys' preparatory school. The school grounds, some 19 acres, are located on Westcliff ridge, with views over Parktown and the surrounding suburbs.
To ensure we live up to our reputation of being a School "where boys are known and grown", we offer 3 classes per grade from Grade 0 - Grade 7. With a total school capacity of 490, the School is enjoying its fullest years ever.
We are proud to offer leading facilities, including our well-equipped classrooms, a custom-designed Resource Centre, a spacious Art Studio, a large Design and Technology Centre, an impressive array of Music rooms and extensive sports facilities. The libraries and computer rooms are equipped with the latest technology, software and publications.
The School's annual tally of scholarships and acceptances into high school attests to the fact that our boys are sought after by many of the country's top colleges.
Combining a strong sense of history with a modern contemporary environment, The Ridge School continues into its 10th decade to provide its boys with an holistic approach to education and the lessons of life.
We aim to produce a boy with a "strong mind, soft heart". The Ridge follows a path from Grade 0 through to Grade 7 where the emphasis is on the development of the whole child. To this end our education focuses on the academic, the cultural, the emotional and the physical areas of a boy’s development. We aim to grow a boy who is well-rounded, happy, confident and able to move on with confidence to any new environment when the occasion arises.
A NURTURING & CHILD-CENTRED ETHOS
The school is famed for its nurturing and child-centred environment which begins in our wonderful Junior Prep, and permeates the Senior Prep and our boarding house. The Ridge is blessed with top quality, high calibre staff at all levels who are well equipped to deal with boys' particular developmental needs. The boys' pastoral needs are looked after by class teachers and tutors, providing guidance at various levels. There is also a strong learning support centre offering remediation, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
A SCHOOL WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME
There are currently 490 boys enrolled at the School, with capacity for 20 boarders. There are 3 classes per year group from Grade 0-7, all with approximately 20 boys in. We believe this to be an effective, child-friendly formula, allowing flexibility if class dynamics require it, while also allowing the School to remain small enough to be personal. These relatively low numbers allow for individual attention for all boys. From Grade two to Grade seven, Mathematics classes are further divided to help facilitate more personalised study and development programmes.
A BALANCED CURRICULUM
There are 4 key components at The Ridge: our wide-ranging and engaging academic life; our sporting versatility and prowess; our rich cultural achievements; and our advanced technological involvement. These are underpinned by our values, based on courtesy, Christian morals and a sense of balance and purpose.
In the academic field, Ridge boys have performed with distinction. Numerous scholarships to the country's top schools are awarded each year, and colleges are eager to gain Ridge boys because of their balanced, enthusiastic approach to learning and life’s myriad of opportunities. We do feed all the major senior schools in the country, especially the leading boys' schools.The Ridge has taken a lead with other prep schools in establishing a process aimed at curriculum development leading to professional teacher growth and school improvement.
While academic success is important, we are not obsessed with results, nor do we spend attention only on those who are capable academically. True education has more to do with stretching and challenging ALL pupils to unleash their potential in whichever sphere of school life their talents lie. To this end we strive to build self-confidence in every individual to encourage creative self-expression and to nurture a willingness to question and debate important life issues, for example, through the small tutorial discussion groups. One of the senior staff is also responsible for the pastoral care of boys in need of extra care and assistance.
Alongside mastery of the basics of effective communications, creative problem solving and an investigative approach to learning are key components of successful and innovative teaching at The Ridge. We are very fortunate to have our well-equipped Design and Technology Centre as well as an advanced level of integration of information technology in the classroom from Grade 0 to Grade 7. In addition the three well-equipped computer laboratories are being increasingly effectively integrated into many learning and thinking skill programmes right across the broad spectrum of the school curriculum.
We also attach great importance to cultural enrichment, and educate broadly through art, music and drama. The school prides itself on the range of its musical activities. Indeed, our Music is widely recognized as a center of excellence. We have a senior choir, a junior choir, a senior orchestra of some 50 boys, a junior orchestra, a wind and sax ensemble, two ORFF groups, a rock group, a brass ensemble, recorder and string groups. To that we can add our wonderful Jazz Band and our lively marimba group! We have been invited to perform at several prestigious events, and eagerly take advantage of opportunities to display our high standard of music on a regular basis.
Moreover, we have a weekly activities period to promote hobbies such as cartooning, model building and many more.
Ridge boys excel in inter-school sporting activities, performing both on and off the field with distinction. Several sporting activities are offered. These include cricket, swimming, tennis, athletics and squash in summer, and football, hockey, rugby and cross-country in winter. The school’s own facilities include 4 tennis courts, 4 playing fields, 3 sets of cricket nets and a heated 25-metre pool. Other specialist activities such as chess and judo are also offered.
The emphasis in sports at The Ridge, however, is one of full participation rather than a focus on a small number of winning teams. It is pleasing that every boy has the chance to represent the school in one or other sporting activity during the year.
TEACHING BOYS TO DO GOOD AND TO DO WELL
A key part of The Ridge ethos is teaching boys to do good and to do well. In the Junior Prep, boys perform tasks to raise money for charity. Over the last few years a pleasing sum has been raised for CHOC and other children’s charities.
In the senior part of the school, boys interact with children from Salvazione Christian School, a small independent school in Brixton. This school largely comprises children from the Slovo Park informal settlement. For more details about this School and the opportunity for Ridge parental involvement, please look under our “Social Responsibility” tab.
Boys in Grade 7 have the option of taking part in the Headmaster’s Leadership Programme; this has 4 components. They have to: perform an act of service; learn a skill; demonstrate organisational capabilities; and undertake a physical development task.
We can tell you so much about the school, but the best test is to have a walk around, and look at the boys themselves. In an article in The Times (UK) on 3 May 2001, headed “The Mark of a Good Prep School”, the following wise words appear:
Watch the children. I always tell parents to look at their eyes. If they are bright, if their smile is cheerful, those are good signs. So is lots of rushing about. If they are all sitting quietly and behaving themselves, chances are that their school life is a little dull.
At The Ridge School, we believe that thinking is an active process which is why we have a Thinking Skills program running in every grade, from Grade 0 to Grade 7. We believe that knowledge must be more than simply acquired and, so, boys are exposed to a number of different "Thinking Tools" throughout their educational journey which assist them in making meaning and developing greater problem solving and critical reasoning skills; these are skills that are absolutely essential for their being successful not only at school, but throughout their lives.
Brain research tells us that approximately 75% of what we learn is conveyed visually and, so, from Grade 0, the boys use Thinking Maps to arrange their thinking in a visual format. These maps continue to be used throughout the school across all subject areas. While a boy’s teacher may change from year to year, the language around Thinking remains constant. In the Senior Prep, boys expand their use of graphic organisers and other visual mapping tools such as Tony Buzan's Mind Maps.Throughout the school, teachers also employ the use of Edward De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats to promote critical thinking and reflection, while Tony Ryan's Thinkers Keys are used to promote problem solving and critical thinking across a range of subject disciplines.
Framing our entire Thinking Skills program are the Habits of Mind, 16 habits identified as being present in highly effective individuals, no matter what their age. These 16 Habits frame our teaching and are infused throughout the boys’ learning to promote active, independent, future-minded learners.
The Ridge School is a proud member of Thinking Schools South Africa (TSSA) and its affiliated international organisation Thinking Schools International (TSI). Our staff enjoy the benefit of the global links that this organisation provides to promote international best-practice around Thinking.