New woman at the helm

2019-03-14 06:00

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The oldest primary school in the greater Lwandle area has a new woman at the helm.

After close to two decades steering the ship of Umnqophiso Primary School, former principal Phumla Momba retired, paving the way for Seipati Thole to take the reins and lead the school, staff and learners.

The new principal, who started her career in teaching in the Free State and moved to the Cape in 2008, is no stranger to the school, having served as deputy principal from August last year, before assuming office as head of the school at the beginning of the 2019 academic year.

“I was a teacher for more than 20 years before coming to Umnqophiso,” she said, “and I taught at a school in Mitchell’s Plain.”

During her time as principal Thole hopes not only to build good, thriving relationships with staff members, learners and parents, but also with the community.

She believes the brief stint she had as a deputy principal prepared her well for the new role, and she is only too ready to get started on plans for bettering the school.

“I have introduced what I call uniformity to remove the spirit of competition that existed among the teachers,” Thole related.

“I also want to develop teachers and plan to send them on courses, since education continues to evolve. Something that worked 10 years ago may not work today.”

Furthermore, Thole hopes to initiate plans for the upgrade of the school building, which is “rather old”. She is aware of this challenge and hopes to start with the refurbishment of the school’s admin building.

As the school is also used for night school classes by the community, Thole wants to rope in the aid of the parents and the broader community in the hopes that they will become more involved in their children’s education.

“The parents need to be involved,” she says, “and there are various programmes in the pipeline which will induce their involvement. I am glad to be here and I believe I can take the school to another level.

“I will continue teaching and also be head the management of the school. As a leader, I believe I need to practice what I preach.”

Aside from plans to fix the school building, Thole also has plans to better the learner’s overall education.

She has already introduced activities outside the classroom, which she believes will further stimulate learners.

“Life skills are very important, as children learn more through play,” Thole said. “The aim is to not only focus on classroom teaching.”

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