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10 500 educators, principals and deputy principals receive training on CAPS

Introducing changes to the curriculum is not an event, but a process. Included in that process, is the training of educators.

Therefore, thousands of educators attended training sessions during their holidays to prepare for Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) implementation next year.

Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant (seen above in the maroon jersey) visited Garden’s Commercial High School where 200 educators from 31 schools received training.

"I was delighted to see the enthusiasm and optimism shown by the educators towards the implementation of CAPS next year in their classrooms," Grant reported. 

Grant was accompanied by, inter alia, officials from the regional and head offices. 

Over 9 000 educators received the relevant support and training at 47 training centres across the province in terms of the CAPS which will be implemented in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11 in 2013.

"I am delighted that we have had an overwhelming response to the WCED’s CAPS training." 

Minister Grant with officials and lead teachers photographed at Gardens Commercial.

Information: Bronagh Casey or Paddy Attwell 

WCED programmes to help improve matric performance

In order to assist our learners in preparation for the National Senior Certificate (NSC), the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has initiated a number of targeted and sustained interventions at schools across the province, including a “Winter School” for Grade 12 learners.

Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant visited Mfuleni Secondary in Kuilsrivier to see the programme in operation.

Winter School Learners from Mfuleni Secondary

More learners from Mfuleni

This holiday, ‘Winter School’ programmes were held at 98 high schools in the province. Each of these schools offered specialised tutoring in subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.

Learners have been taught by expert tutors who have a proven record of success at the schools at which they teach. This is to ensure that these learners are receiving the best possible tuition from recognised experts in their fields.

The majority of “Winter School” programmes took place in the first week of the school holidays. Other schools, such as Mfuleni Secondary, opted to conduct their programme during the third and final week of the school holidays.

I am happy with the roll-out of the Grade 12 winter programme so far and am delighted that reports from the districts indicate high attendance rates at their programmes. This morning there was a 100% attendance at Mfuleni Secondary. 

The ‘Winter School’ programme is just one of many interventions by the WCED to help support and assist our Grade 12 learners this year.

For a full report click here

for more information contact Bronagh Casey or Paddy Attwell 

Striving for excellence – why we close schools

By Penny Vinjevold

Head of Education in the Western Cape

The Western Cape Education Department has entered into a public consultation process on whether to close 27 schools in the province.

The aim of the closures is to improve opportunties for learners by placing them in schools that are better equipped to provide quality education.

School closures are not unusual, nor are they unique to the Western Cape. The department builds new schools, expands and replaces existing schools, and considers schools for closure every year to meet changing needs in education.

Education departments in other provinces respond similarly to their changing environments.

For example, more than 1 000 schools closed their doors scross the country between 2006 to 2010, according to the Department of Basic Education’s Annual Survey for Ordinary Schools (2009/10). In 2011 alone, over 100 schools were closed across the country. 

The reasons for these changes include ongoing urbanisation, migration within urban areas, and changing demands for different types of schools, for example, increased demand for high schools and schools for technical training. 

The department has to manage its limited resources carefully and sensitively to ensure that the education system as a whole improves access to quality education, especially for our poorest learners.

Change is never easy. We have to implement change sensitively and for this reason the department follows prescribed procedures that ensure extensive public consultation.

The procedures are based on the requirements of the South African Schools Act and national Guidelines for the Rationalisation of Small or Non-Viable Schools.

The national guidelines note that larger and better resourced schools will contribute to development and poverty alleviation in rural areas.

The WCED is applying national criteria to assess schools identified for possible closure.

They include, for example, learner numbers, the ability of the school to cover the curriculum, the condition of school infrastructure, and attracting and retaining teachers.

Education authorities provide resources based on the number of learners at the school. Larger schools have more resources, including teachers.

Smaller schools often have multigrade classes, with children in more than one grade in the same class. This typically applies in schools with less than 200 learners.

Teachers in small, rural schools use various techniques to teach multigrade classes. However, they cannot compete with larger, well-resourced schools with single-grade classes.

For example, a teacher with learners in seven grades in a single, multigrade classroom has to prepare and deliver 50 lessons a day to cover the same ground as a single grade school with classes for each grade. This is a major challenge.

We have many excellent multigrade teachers. We are sensitive to the memories and associations that people have for these schools.

However, we have to consider the best interests of the learners and whether these schools can compete with single-grade schools that are better equipped to cover the full curriculum.

Educationists agree that multigrade classes are not the best option. The department prefers to provide the best option wherever possible.

In some cases, the department has to consider whether it is worthwhile renovating schools in poor condition that are not viable. The better option is often to place learners in other schools. This applies in particular to property that the department does not own.

Attracting and retaining teachers in rural areas is an ongoing challenge. The WCED pays incentives to teachers to do so.

Teachers at larger rural schools enjoy more support from their colleagues than those in small rural schools with only one or two classes. They also enjoy greater access to communities of practice.

The WCED considered all these factors carefully before proposing the closure of 27 schools to the provincial Education Minister.

The schools include 20 schools in rural districts. Most of these schools have to rely on multigrade teaching when better options are available at other schools.

Seven of the schools are in urban areas. Three are primary schools with declining numbers where learners can attend neighbouring schools.

Learners at a fourth primary school that is repeatedly vandalised could also attend nearby schools. The department has to ask whether it is worth repeatedly repairing this school when better alternatives are available.

Consistent underperformance and extremely poor infrastructure are among the reasons why the department would like to close three high schools in the greater Cape Town area. The department can accommodate these learners in better, safer learning environments where they are more likely to succeed.

The procedures involved in closing schools start with a review of school provisioning by district officials each year, in line with national and provincial guidelines.

The department proposes closures to the provincial Education Minister, if it believes that this is necessasy. The department only does this if it is possible to place all learnersand teachers in suitable, safe and better learning environments.

The Minister’s task is to interrogate the proposals in consultation with the schools concerned, inititially with school governing bodies and then via public meetings if the Minister decides to proceed with the process.

The Minister will consider each proposed closure on a case by case basis after carefully reviewing all representations received, before making his final decision, in line with the South African Schools Act.

He will base his decisions on the best interests of the learners, after extensive consultation with all roleplayers concerned.

Textbooks and Workbooks Provided to Kraaifontein Schools

This is a follow-up to the misleading claim by the ANC reported yesterday, that four schools in Kraaifontein had not yet received textbooks for 2012. 

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The schools visited by the ANC and SADTU yesterday include:

  • Wallacedene Primary School
  • Bloekombos Primary School
  • Ekuthuleni Primary School
  • Enkululekweni Primary School. 

The production and delivery of workbooks is the function of the National Department of Basic Education based on orders placed by schools.

Textbooks are ordered by schools under the overall direction of the WCED. The direct role of the WCED and of individual schools varies in this process.

All schools in the province are required to:

  • submit details of all workbooks and textbooks ordered by them;
  • submit details of all workbooks and textbooks received by them; as well as
  • notify the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) of any shortages that they are experiencing in this regard.

To date, the WCED has ensured the delivery of all textbooks which were ordered by the schools concerned and which were supplied by the service providers concerned. Textbook shortages are caused where there is a growth in learner numbers during the school year; where the school has not ordered sufficient books; and/or where the service provider is unable to provide the books ordered immediately.

According to information provided to the WCED by the principals of the schools visited yesterday:

  • Each school had received textbooks that they had ordered for the relevant grades at the beginning of the year; and
  • Each school confirmed delivery of the Workbook 1. Some but not all of the four schools confirmed delivery of the Workbook 2 (as explained above). These workbooks are due to be used in the second half of the school year. The WCED has reported these shortages to the National Department of Basic Education. Delivery of these books is expected before the beginning of the third term;

The WCED has written confirmation that Maths textbooks for Grades 1 to 3 and Reading schemes for Grades 1 to 3 were delivered to the relevant schools. These additional textbooks and readers were provided over and above what is nationally prescribed.

Included below is a copy of the data submitted by the principals of each of the schools concerned, which confirms the above.

In October 2011, Western Cape schools were required to order their workbooks for 2012 and were requested to report shortages to their respective education district offices. The language of instruction for learners in Grades 1 to 3 at Wallacedene Primary School is isiXhosa. Wallacedene Primary School ordered Maths and Life Skills workbooks in isiXhosa but did not place an order for English First Additional Language for Foundation Phase (Grades 1 to 3) learners. The National Department of Basic Education has confirmed delivery of the workbooks ordered. The school also ordered and received Maths textbooks and teacher guides for Grades 1 to 3 from the WCED. In addition, the WCED supplied Grade 1 learners with additional Maths textbooks and, due to learner growth, topped up the textbooks provided for Grades 2 and 3. The WCED also supplied the school with First Additional Language English readers for learners that speak isiXhosa.

We are aware of a limited shortage of textbooks at Bloekombos Primary School as a result of a default by the service provider. The WCED has re-ordered these books and we expect these to be delivered in time for the start of the third term. The school received the required workbooks for Grades 1 to 3 in March 2012. The school received an allocation of more than R330,000.00 for textbooks but placed a textbook order to the value of R113,861.66.

Ekuthuleni Primary School reported a shortage of Grade 6 workbooks in the first school term. The school received the workbooks ordered for Grade 6 learners from the National Department of Basic Education in March 2012.

If there are any additional shortages then these were not reported to the Department by the schools concerned. We will investigate and assist our schools should there be shortages reported. 

One must also remember that it is the responsibility of the school to also ensure that they have the required textbooks and make additional orders in terms of their norms and standards allocation for textbooks, if necessary. 

WCED’S Textbook Provisioning Plan

The fact is that the WCED has gone above and beyond in textbook allocation to schools. We are currently preparing to deliver about 1.6 million textbooks needed for the 2013 school year. This is over and above the additional R240 million that schools can spend on textbooks from funding allocated to them in terms of national norms and standards.

The department has publicly committed itself to provide the textbooks free of charge to learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11. 

This is in line with the commitment we made last year that over a three year period all children from Grade 1 to 12 will receive a textbook in every subject that they are taking. This year learners in Grades 1, 2 and 3 received maths textbooks and readers and Grade 10 received textbooks in all the subjects they are taking. We are now preparing to roll-out the next stage of our plan to include learners in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11.   

In order to make it easier for schools to order textbooks, schools also can now go online and use the new textbooks ordering system which was introduced last year in a pilot for the ordering of books for Grade 10. 

Schools will now use the system to order textbooks for Grades 4 to 6 and Grade 11 from the national catalogues due for publication in July this year. The WCED will distribute the catalogues electronically as soon as it is published.

The system offers schools a choice of textbooks from the national catalogues of CAPS-approved textbooks while also making it as easy as possible to place orders online.

In terms of the plan, the WCED is investing R144 million this year on textbooks for schools. 

The WCED has also asked schools to ensure that they update information on the department’s central education management information system to ensure correct orders. The information must include the number of learners per grade, subjects and first and second languages.

Supporting documentation will be available from Monday on WCED Online 

Bronagh Casey (Spokesperson for Minister Donald Grant, Ministry for Education, Western Cape Government)

The ANC has once again misled the public

The Western Cape African National Congress has once again misled the media and the general public.

In a statement to the media, the ANC claim that “many learners in this province has (sic) yet to get textbooks at schools at the halfway mark of the year.”

To highlight this false claim, the ANC visited the Kraaifontein area where they claim that learners still do not have textbooks.

These claims are completely false. The four schools visited by the ANC today have received textbooks in the order of more than R1.2 million.

The fact is that these schools have reported to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) that they do have the required textbooks.

It is clear that the ANC’s charade earlier today is a political ploy to divert the attention of the media and the public away from the ANC’s failure to deliver textbooks in Limpopo. This failure in Limpopo is tantamount to denying a crucial element of the constitutional right of the children of Limpopo to an education.

For the ANC to trivialise the catastrophic nature of what has happened in Limpopo through an obviously engineered attempt to score cheap political points is unfortunately typical of the role-players involved.

More details regarding the textbooks provided by the WCED to the four schools concerned will be published on the WCED’s website tomorrow.

Bronagh Casey (Spokesperson for Minister Donald Grant, Ministry for Education, Western Cape Government) 

WCED launches Enrolment 2013 campaign

The Western Cape Education Department has launched a major enrolment campaign to encourage parents to register their children for the 2013 school year by 7 September 2012.

Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant spreading the message that parents must enrol their children in time for 2013.

The campaign is targeting parents in mainly rapidly growing communities where we are most likely to see large numbers of learners enrolling in our schools for the first time. These include Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Langa, Nyanga, Delft, Nomzamo and Strand.

This year the department is, inter alia, promoting its message via spaza shops in selected townships for the first time. with this in the WCED has acquired space on 100 000 small bags of rice that spaza shop owners are using to promote sales of electricity via their shops. On each of the bags of rice is a printed message that reads: Enrol your child for school today. Let’s make education better together!

Not only is the promotion getting the WCED’s message across on early enrolment, it is also helping to build small business.

Most electricity consumers buy the electricity for pre-paid meters at petrol stations and larger shops. Research has shown that spaza shops can double or treble their income if they sell electricity vouchers.

The spaza shop owners are attracting electricity customers by handing out small bags of rice with every sale of electricity.

Asanda Village, Nomzamo near Strand visited by Minister Grant to spread the early-enrolment message.

Tshatshu Game Shop, a spaza shop in Asanda Village, Nomzamo

Minister Grant receives his packet of rice after purchasing electricity from Tshatshu Game Shop

Minister Grant hands over a packet of rice, asking the small boy to tell his mom to read the message.

Inside Tshatshu Game Shop

The serving hatch of Tshatshu Game Shop.

The future generation, outside Tshatshu Game Shop in Nomzamo.

The spaza shop owners are attracting electricity customers by handing out small bags of rice with every sale of electricity.

The shop owners are using the bags to promote sales of electricity via their shops.

Minister Grant: I sincerely hope that every recipient of a bag of rice, whether a parent of a child or not, then promotes the message of early enrolment.

For more particulars regarding the launch, deadlines and what parents need to bring along when they register their children please click here.

For enquiries, please e-mail Bronagh Casey 

A new bird’s eye view will help Western Cape Education Officials plan even more effectively

Minister Grant and Superintendent-General of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Ms Vinjevold, announced the launch of the new GIS (Geographic Information System) that has been integrated into the Province’s CEMIS (Centralised Educational Management System) database and that now provides a visual, global snapshot of, for instance, overcrowding and underutilisation of schools and that will therefore facilitate infrastructure planning for education in the province.

Left to right: Education Minister Donald Gant, Penny Vinjevold, Head of Education, Gerrit Coetzee, Infrastructure Planning, who helped develop the system, Archie Lewis, Chief Director for Physical Resources   

Minister Grant demonstrates how useful the system is to obtain a clearer, graphic picture for instance of which schools service a town (in this case, Citrusdal) or community.

Part of the press contingent at the demonstration. 

For a full report of the project that includes a list of new and replacement schools built as part of the Provincial Infrastructure play please click here.

Information: Bronagh Casey (Spokesperson for Minister Donald Grant) and Paddy Attwell (Director for Communication with the WCED)

Literacy and Numeracy Awards 2011: Independent Schools
In this category, an award is presented to ONE independent school in the province where the combined performance at Grades 3 and 6 level in Numeracy and Literacy in 2011 illustrates meritorious outcomes. Excellence of outcomes is measured in terms of a combination of both the pass rates and mean scores.
Overall Excellence of outcomes in Numeracy and Literacy in Grades 3 and 6 (Principal indicated within brackets followed by the District and total average)
Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary (Ms Dunn) Metro South | 90.7%
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Literacy and Numeracy Awards 2011: Independent Schools

In this category, an award is presented to ONE independent school in the province where the combined performance at Grades 3 and 6 level in Numeracy and Literacy in 2011 illustrates meritorious outcomes. Excellence of outcomes is measured in terms of a combination of both the pass rates and mean scores.

Overall Excellence of outcomes in Numeracy and Literacy in Grades 3 and 6 (Principal indicated within brackets followed by the District and total average)

  • Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary (Ms Dunn) Metro South | 90.7%

Hint: click on the photo and then wait a while for a higher resolution image

Literacy and Numeracy Awards 2011: Excellence in Outcomes

In this category, an award is presented to ONE school in the province where the combined performance at Grade 3 level in Literacy and Numeracy combined in 2011 illustrates meritorious outcomes. Excellence of outcomes is measured in terms of a combination of both the pass rates and mean scores.

Excellence in Outcomes at Grade 3 level for schools that do not have Grade 6 (Principal indicated within brackets followed by the District and total average)

  • Voorbereidingskool Durbanville (Mnr RJ Nortier) Metro North | 82.0%

Excellence in Outcomes at Grade 3 level for schools that do not have Grade 6 (Principal indicated within brackets followed by the District and total average)

  • Laerskool Durbanville (Mnr JC Swart) Metro North | 76.8%

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Literacy and Numeracy Awards 2011: Excellence in Outcomes

In this category, awards are made to eight schools (one per district) where the combined performance at Grades 3 and 6 in Numeracy / Mathematics in 2011 illustrates meritorious outcomes. Excellence of outcomes is measured in terms of a combination of both the pass rates and mean scores. The winners in this category exclude the winners in category 1(a) and 1(b).

Excellence of outcomes in Numeracy / Mathematics (Principal indicated within brackets followed by the District and total average)

  • Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School (Mr AS Ryan) Metro Central | 87.9%
  • Laerskool Hendrik Louw (Mnr L Brown) Metro East | 81.2%
  • Kenridge Primary School (Mrs SR Smith) Metro North | 84.2%
  • Bergvliet Primary School (Ms LSL de Beer) Metro South | 86.5%
  • Hoër Meisieskool Paarl (Mev R Colyn) Cape Winelands | 85.3%
  • Plettenberg Bay Primary School (Mr H Bester) Eden & Central Karoo | 78.3%
  • Laerskool Swellendam (Mnr FC Liebenberg) Overberg | 76.4%
  • Laerskool Vredendal (Mnr JM Moon) West Coast | 81,1%

Hint: click on the photo and then wait a while for a higher resolution image