Minister Schafer’s visit to Grade 12 Winter School Programme at Oval North High School

Minister Debbie Schafer, MEC

Western Cape Government

Although, officially, school holidays began last week, many of our Grade 12 learners are hard at work.

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.

Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is a priority for this Government, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects.

During the upcoming June/July school holidays, the WCED have organised holiday study programmes at 166 of our high schools. The Grade 12 Winter Schools Programme aims to assist learners in high enrolment subjects. These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics. Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED.

In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes. Additional resource materials have been developed to complement the lessons being presented.

The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.

Today, I visited am visiting the Grade 12 Winter School Programme at Oval North High School.

The school has been working hard to improve their pass rates over the last few years. In 2012 they achieved a 66.2% pass rate. In 2013, the school improved their results significantly with a 10 point increase – an 88.2% pass rate. School Principal Mr Kassiem says they aim to achieve a 90% pass rate for 2014. Oval North currently has 148 candidates writing the NSC this year.

In order to achieve their target, the Grade 12 learners from Oval North High School started the academic year a week before the official opening of the schools. The educators of Oval North have been giving afternoon and weekend classes since the beginning of the year. Every month the Principal meets with the parents of the Grade 12 learners. After the March tests the Principal had individual meetings with learners and their parents. The school’s Alumni and teachers are mentors to the learners. Mr Kassiem says he is grateful to the WCED as they have provided additional assistance to the school in the form of;

  • Provided additional classes
  • Given assistance with a Grade 12 motivational seminars for the learners
  • Provided valuable booklets on study methods – “Tips for success booklet”
  • Support from curriculum advisors
  • Provided study materials
  • Provided telematics videos
  • Given assistance with food for the learners
  • The Senior Management Staff of the district has frequently visited the school to work with and motivate the learners
  • Provided common benchmark question papers for March and June
  • Provided increased safety measures at the school

The additional lessons taking place at the school during the Winter School Programme include Accounting, Afrikaans, English, Life Sciences, Maths, Maths Literature and Physical Science.

Mr Kassiem is extremely proud of the Grade 12 learners, “Notwithstanding the difficulties my learners face on a daily basis, they hold onto their dreams and aspirations and strive to achieve their best every day”.

In 2013, Oval North achieved the highest percentage pass in Circuit 6, and I have no doubt with their enthusiasm and commitment, that they will achieve even better results this year.  Mr Kassiem has gone beyond the call of duty, he embodies visionary leadership that collaboratively involves the school community in creating shared school values, vision, mission and goals. I saw this to be evident in his relationship with his learners and educators today.

Even though many of the children at Oval North live and study under the most difficult circumstances, it has not dampened their spirit and determination. I have every confidence in the Oval North Grade 12 class of 2014 and if they have put in the hours that are required, I know that they will make yourselves and the Western Cape proud.