School principal visits bunking pupils' homes

2017-05-10 22:55
Sam Crowley, the acting principal of Kretzenshoop Primary (Eugene Gunning, Netwerk24)

Sam Crowley, the acting principal of Kretzenshoop Primary (Eugene Gunning, Netwerk24)

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George - There has been a drop in absenteeism at a George school after the principal started going to the pupils’ homes if they didn’t pitch for school. And it's showing in their marks.

Sam Crowley, the acting principal of Kretzenshoop Primary in Blanco, came up with the idea, Netwerk24 reported.

The school has more than 800 pupils, including Grade Rs.

It is 125 years old and has produced sporting heroes such as former Springbok rugby players Bevin Fortuin and Zane Kirchner.

Crowley said he noticed last year that there were problems with school attendance and, along with it, pupils were performing poorly.

He asked teachers to send him a list every second day with the names of pupils who hadn’t been to school.

Progressive discipline

“As soon as I saw that a pupil had been absent more than two days, I’d go to the child’s home.”

He also visits the communities in which the children live for two hours on a Friday morning.

“My purpose is to get the pupils back to school. It is progressive discipline.”

When he visits the children’s homes, he takes note of social circumstances as well. “Sometimes the parents are there, and other times not.”

He talks to both the parents and the children and then takes the pupils back to school.

“Often the parents are shocked. In most cases the response is positive and the visit becomes an educational session.”

According to Crowley it’s not only the pupils that are benefiting. “It teaches parents responsibility and involvement.”

It is also often the case that parents are at work and do not know that their children are bunking school. 

Earning trust

It must also be borne in mind that the pupils are sometimes exposed to things such as drug or sexual abuse, he said.

Some of the excuses why pupils don’t attend school is that their clothes are dirty or that they have to look after a younger sibling.

Crowley says his approach is positive. He never scolds the pupils.

“I earn their trust. Some of the pupils see me as a father figure, because their dads are absent.”

He listens to what the problems are and, if necessary, gets a social worker to help.

His trips to the area are common knowledge and people know his car. When he drives around, some people stop him to tell him which kids are bunking.

The situation is monitored and when a pupil often doesn’t attend school, it is investigated.

Read more on:    george  |  education  |  good news

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