Donald Grant MP
Minister of Education – Western Cape
This evening, the Western Cape Education Department will be celebrating the top school achievers in the 2012 Western Cape School Awards for Language and Mathematics.
In October 2012 over 250 000 Grade 3, 6 and 9 learners from 1 421 Public Ordinary and Independent schools took part in the WCED’s annual systemic tests for Grade 3, 6 and 9.
In January 2013, the WCED released the Provincial results of the tests which showed improvements in every Grade tested in both language and mathematics.
Tonight, we will be acknowledging and celebrating the top achievers in these tests in the Province.
This includes schools who excelled in the tests and schools who improved their results.
I am looking forward to meeting and congratulating each of our school principals receiving an award tonight on behalf of their schools, learners and educators.
This morning, I visited one of these schools – Nkazimlo PS in Khayelitsha – ahead of tonight’s award ceremony.
The school produced improved results in both language and mathematics in Grade 3.
The school improved its language results from 2.6% in 2011 to 62.4% in 2012. This is a 59.8% increase. In mathematics, the school improved its results by 29.5%. In 2011 it achieved 51.7% and in 2012, 81.2%.
This is a remarkable improvement.
Today, I visited the school to ask their principal, Mrs. Futwa, how and why the school’s results had improved so dramatically in just one year.
Mrs. Futwa explained the process step by step as follows:
* The first thing they looked at was a change of attitude. Teachers, parents and learners were all encouraged to work positively together to make the changes necessary to improve.
* Then strict monitoring measures were put in place to reduce late coming and absenteeism for both learners and educators.
* The School Management Team (SMT) looked at past strategies and ways to improve them. They appointed a LITNUM committee to oversee the running of their new Language and Mathematics strategy.
* The school then set targets through their School Improvement Plan.
* The SMT and the WCED’s curriculum advisors frequently undertook classroom visits and monitoring to ensure that the strategy was being implemented effectively.
* The school extended the school timetable to 15h00 two days a week in agreement with the parents to concentrate on reading, writing and calculating programmes. Saturday classes were also introduced.
* The Workbooks and readers were fully utilised.
* Learners were given additional tasks every day focusing on improving their reading, writing and calculating skills.
* Educators were given exemplar test papers to practise with their learners.
* The school conducted tests once a month in language and mathematics. These tests were moderated by the LITNUM committee to evaluate where there were problem areas that needed attention.
* Educators who required support were provided with additional training and assistance from the WCED and their fellow teachers.
The list of interventions provided by Mrs. Futwa this morning is an example of best practice.
The dedication of the whole school – its educators, school management, learners and parents is evident. Mrs Futwa, who became principal of the school in the beginning of 2012, clearly brought with her a positive and willing attitude. This has guided others in her school to participate as a team and ultimately to achieve improved results which surpass the provincial average for both mathematics and languages.
I am delighted that tonight Mrs. Futwa and her school will be recognised for their achievements.
Nkazimlo PS will be receiving awards in two categories. The first is for the biggest improvement in performance in languages in Grade 3 which is measured in terms of the greatest increase in the number of learners that achieved above 50% in Language in 2012 compared to 2011. The school has won the category, with a total increase of 102 passes.
The second award is for the improvement in performance in mathematics in Grade 3. This is measured in terms of the greatest increase in the number of learners that achieved above 50% in Mathematics in 2012 compared to 2011. The school won the category, with a total increase of 60 passes.
The school will receive a certificate, as well as a monetary incentive of R20 000 for the purchase of teaching and support material for each category.
I am extremely proud of the achievements of Nkazimlo PS and all the other schools that saw improvements in their results last year.
I believe, like Nkazimlo PS, schools in the Western Cape are on the right trajectory. If we continue to have the right attitude, to plan suitably and implement those plans properly, we can improve language and mathematics results in this province.