Matric: going the extra mile – Westerford High

2011-10-24 09:26

In the middle of one of Cape Town’s leafiest suburbs, surrounded by oak trees and green playing fields, Westerford High is one of the country’s leading state schools. It has produced a 100% matric pass rate for so many years that it has become a given.

So confident is the school of its exam preparation that its 170 matric pupils were given study leave this week to prepare on their own.

The figures speak for themselves. Last year its 165 matriculants achieved 510 subject distinctions, with 99% of candidates passing well enough to study towards a Bachelor’s degree.

Principal Rob le Roux says no specific preparation exists for the matric exams. Teachers simply do their job and do it well, working “diligently” until the very last official day of school.

Extra classes are made available at the request of matric pupils.

Parents also contribute to the school’s success, Le Roux says. Parent are “very supportive” and pay just over R20?000 in yearly fees for one child.

Although preference is given to applicants living in areas close to the school, children from other ­areas are accepted, provided their marks are good enough.

The fact that Westerford has benefited historically, when the nationalist government poured money into white schools at the expense of black ones, is not lost on Le Roux, who says the school is fortunate to have “systems” that have been “in place for years”.

“We are a privileged school. There are many other schools without facilities that are doing well,” he said. “We are also privileged to have the quality of children that we get.”

With a total of 900 pupils, 170 of whom are writing matric this year, the average class size is 30 pupils and the school has superb facilities.

He attributes the school’s success to the commitment of the 53 teachers – 26 of whom are paid from school coffers rather than the state – and the quality of the pupils who attend the school.

“Our teachers go the extra mile and are always on time. They don’t take time off for strikes and there is never a class without a teacher. They are absolutely dedicated,” says Le Roux.

– West Cape News

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