Local schools show off marks

2016-03-01 06:00

Three Rondebosch schools made it onto awards for systemic tests in the Western Cape.

The provincial education department gave 53 awards in 12 categories to schools for improvement and excellence in the department’s systemic tests in October last year.

Debbie Schäfer, provincial education minister, presented the awards at a function at Fairview Primary School in Grassy Park last month and praised the schools for their achievements.

The systemic tests measure the performance of learners in languages and Maths in Grades 3, 6 and 9.

The tests help to identify what must be done to improve languages and Maths performance, especially in primary schools, to build the foundation needed for further learning.

Groote Schuur received an award for overall improvement in Grade 9 for schools with 600 or more learners.

Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School received an award for overall excellence in Grades 3 and 6 for schools with a minimum of 30 learners in those grades. The high school also received an award for overall excellence in Grade 9.

Oakhurst Girls’ Primary, also in Rondebosch, as well as Kirstenhof Primary in Tokai, received awards for excellence in language for Grades 3 and 6.

Herschel Girls School in Claremont received an award for overall excellence in Grades 3, 6 and 9.

During Schäfer’s address she pointed out her pleasure to celebrate the achievements of the schools that have produced excellent results and improvements in the Grade 3, 6 and 9 tests last year.

“One essential of a quality education is that no child leaves school without having mastered the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy. In fact, no child should proceed to Grade 4 without having mastered basic literacy and numeracy.

“A quality education starts with all learners having mastered literacy and numeracy at internationally benchmarked levels, with their education having included information literacy to prepare them for the modern economy.

“Failure to develop each learner’s capability to his or her full potential is not just a loss for the individual but a loss to our country and the economy. The fact remains that mastering literacy skills brings with it a host of social, economic, cultural and health benefits for the individual and society as a whole.

“This year, we will be piloting the new Grade R to 3 project. The goal of this intervention is to provide structured and focused support for improved learning in the foundation phase in 105 schools in the Western Cape and so ensure that all Grade 3 learners read and write at the required level before the end of Grade 3.

“I believe that if our learners do not achieve this, it causes them to become despondent as they cannot cope with the work in the higher grades, and this ultimately leads to them dropping out of school,” she said.

She also pointed out that the testing provided an early indicating element in primary schools as well as a more regular indicator at key stages of the schooling system.

“Constructively used, this is very valuable information,” she said.

“Feedback indicates that this is producing a more confident and knowledgeable teaching corps in this province, which is crucial for us to make progress.

“I am therefore delighted that the systemic tests conducted last year ultimately show us that our interventions are working, and that the quality of teaching and learning in our schools in the Western Cape is improving.

“The Maths results last year were particularly pleasing; the pass rates increasing from 2014 by 3.6% in Grade 3, 7.3% in Grade 6 and 7.3% in Grade 9.

“Factors that have played a role include significant investment in teacher training, ongoing testing and support by our districts.”

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