Sans Souci probe ‘done’

2017-01-17 06:01

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The new year at Sans Souci Girls’ High School in Newlands is starting off on a more positive note after an intensive investigation following disruptions at the school last year.

Brian Schreuder, head of the provincial education department, says in statement that a departmental investigation did indeed find that learners had been discriminated against.

Debbie Schäfer, provincial education minister, had asked the department to conduct the investigation into aspects of a memorandum by learners last year.

Schreuder explains that four senior department officials, headed by Clifton Frolick, the chief director of districts, began the investigation at the beginning of September. They completed their report during the holidays after providing extensive opportunities for individuals to make representations.

“I have studied their findings and recommendations and found that a number of discriminating practices gave rise to understandable unhappiness among learners and steps have already been taken to remedy these practices,” says Schreuder.

“Further engagement will commence with the school as the new school year commences and these include reviews of the code of conduct, the hair policy which has already been done as well as actions and decisions taken in connection with inclusivity of all cultures and faiths.

“We will also be assisting the governing body through training and support to fulfil its function.”

Schreuder points out that principal Charmain Murray retired at the end of December after 36 years of service, the last 17 years as principal of Sans Souci.

“She has indicated that her decision, while of retirement age, is as a consequence of the trauma of the unfolding events and believes this to be in her and the school’s best interests.

“It needs to be stated that the school’s performance has been uniformly good for which Murray as principal received numerous awards and accolades.

“I am very pleased to note that the school’s results in last year’s matric examination have once again been excellent.”

Schreuder adds that the department has learnt valuable lessons from this matter and will endeavour to preempt any such instances going forward.

“I have already asked schools last year to review and amend their codes of conduct where necessary and we will engage with schools about this important aspect.

“We welcome input from learners and aggrieved parties, but must stress that we cannot tolerate actions which make well-functioning Western Cape schools ungovernable. Order and discipline are cornerstones of good education institutions and learners must respect discipline and rules. That is what education is about.

“The department will do all in its power to ensure that appropriate rules are applied with fairness and dignity.”

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