Focus on maths, science

2016-07-26 06:00
 The tuck-shop area is just one of the maintenance projects completed at Cape Town High School.

The tuck-shop area is just one of the maintenance projects completed at Cape Town High School.

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Over the past year, Cape Town High School has undergone extensive refurbishment thanks to a partnership between the Western Cape Education Department and the Leisure Group’s Charitable Trust. The largely maintenance related upgrades are now nearing completion, but planning for the landmark city school is far from over.

In fact, according to project representatives, the real work has only just begun.

“Renovating and repairing the facilities at Cape Town High has been a very important first step towards a much larger goal,” says Bill Rawson, chairman of the Rawson Property Group, member of the Charitable Trust, and recently appointed board member of Cape Town High’s governing body.

“Our aim over the next few years is to help the school become a centre for excellence in maths and science education. Creating a safe, healthy and stimulating learning environment is only the start.”

While the renovations have focussed largely on returning the school to peak condition – including painting, roof and window repairs, bathroom refits, paving and more – there has also been an emphasis on increasing the number of students the school will be able to accommodate in the future.

This ties closely into plans from the Leisure Group’s Education Trust to supplement future student intakes with underprivileged learners who have a high aptitude for maths and science.

“The Education Trust sources students with the potential to excel in maths and science from primary schools in underprivileged areas, and sponsors their education at selected high schools that are able – in conjunction with our mentorship programs – to nurture that potential into fruition,” says Keith Turberville, trustee for both trusts.

At Cape Town High, that growth is expected to see around 300 more student placements available, across all grades. Fifty of these each year, on Grade 8 intake, will be Education Trust science and math focussed beneficiaries. The intended effect of this is twofold.

“Firstly, by feeding a significant number of talented math and science minds into the school, we’re encouraging educators to focus on these areas, which will hopefully see more like-minded students apply for admission as time goes by,” says Turberville. “Secondly, the guaranteed income from the Education Trust’s beneficiaries will help supplement the school’s cash-flow, and enable Cape Town High to compete with other schools to attract top quality staff.”

As Rawson points out, however, the school will require a certain level of funding at the outset in order to ensure the standard of education required by the Education Trust for its beneficiaries.

While Cape Town High’s evolution is only just beginning, the long-term goal is to become Cape Town’s next official maths and science specialist school. This will involve slowly phasing out some subjects in order to concentrate on a broader variety of maths and science disciplines.

“These changes are unlikely to happen overnight, but if things go as well as expected, it could be the first of many similar projects and a positive start towards a better education for all,” he says.

V If you’d like to make a donation, or get involved in sponsoring a deserving student’s education via the Leisure Education Trust, visit leisuregrouptrust.org or contact ed@leisuregroup.co.za.

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