Pro­fes­sion­als make a plan


Four of the schools Gro­cott’s Mail vis­ited on the first day, Wed­nes­day 11 Jan­uary, are up and run­ning smoothly – de­spite some sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges.

DD Si­wisa Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Zolani Gosani said their text­books needed a top-up.

While Gro­cott’s Mail was there, sup­port staff Nkosinkul­wani Hani and Sivuy­ile Maqoko were de­liv­er­ing wheel­bar­row-loads of work­books and sta­tionery to class­rooms.

The school has 35 more pupils than they are ap­proved for.

“We’re ap­proved for 514 learn­ers,” Gosani said, "and we have 549.

“There have been a few trans­fers, a few new ad­mis- sions. Our classes this year will be on av­er­age 35 or 36."

Gosani was ex­pect­ing scholar trans­port to be up and run­ning by yes­ter­day. "It will sim­ply con­tinue with the 2016 ap­proved learn­ers."

The school meal was due to be served in an hour, he said.

DD Si­wisa was not neg­a­tively af­fected by post-pro­vi­sion­ing in late 2016, he said.

"We have 15 classes and 16 staff mem­bers," he said.

Andile Matya and his Grade 7a pupils were re­ar­rang­ing their new class­room. To ac­com­mo­date big­ger num­bers, the orig­i­nal class­room was di­vided in two.

At Archie Mbolekwa Pri­mary, prin­ci­pal Zola Moth­la­bane wasn't yet able to pro­vide fi­nal num­bers.

“We’re still putting chil­dren into classes,” he said.

How­ever, the school’s strong rep­u­ta­tion has put pres­sure on its class sizes and most have more than 40 chil­dren in a class.

“By the look of things, there are quite a few more chil­dren,” he said.

“We are cov­ered for sta­tionery and text­books,” he said, “but we have no work­books and that’s a real prob­lem for the Foun­da­tion Phase, where the syl­labus is based on those work­books.

“How­ever, we were told at a meet­ing on Mon­day that they are on their way.”

Archie Mbolekwa had 640 pupils in 2016. They have 17 teach­ers.

There are plenty of late registrations, and he so far hasn't turned away any pupils.

“We nor­mally don’t. Even if they’re a bur­den on our sys­tems, we ab­sorb them. We don’t want chil­dren on the streets.”

PJ Olivier has 365 pupils, with 11 state-paid teach­ers and 10 em­ployed by the SGB.

Ac­cord­ing to prin­ci­pal Joubert Retief, they still have some space for Afrikaanss­peak­ing pupils in grades 4-7.

While the school has enough teach­ers, there is a huge bur­den on the par­ents for pay­ing the SGB staff, Retief said. They have lost one HOD po­si­tion and one Post Level 1 teacher since 2015 due to de­part­men­tal ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion.

“This means the school is man­aged by one prin­ci­pal and one HOD. We are a com­bined school and should ide­ally have at least three HODs,” Re- tief said. Schools had re­ceived up­dated post-pro­vi­sion­ing norms on Tues­day.

“There is a new man­age­ment plan for the PPN process which should have been fi­nalised by Septem­ber 2016. We hope to fill a Post Level 1 po­si­tion as soon as pos­si­ble,” he said.

How­ever, they were grate­ful to have re­ceived some text­books on the day the school started for learn­ers. "We still wait for a sec­ond de­liv­ery so that we will be fully sub­scribed. Prin­ci­pals heard on Mon­day that a back or­der had been placed for sta­tionery and we hope that we will re­ceive it be­fore the end of Jan­uary."

Oat­lands Prep has 345 pupils and 17 teacher, in­clud­ing a mu­sic teacher and a com­puter teacher.

Nine are paid by the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and eight by the school gov­ern­ing body. Prin­ci­pal Rosaria de la Mare said not enough teach­ers were paid by the depart­ment.

“In­cre­men­tal In­tro­duc­tion of African Lan­guages teacher have been in­cluded in the num­ber of teach­ers al­lo­cated to us, whereas the depart­ment pre­vi­ously al­lo­cated them as teach­ers.”

Some of the text­books re­quired for the year had been pro­vided.

“Where our teach­ers do not have suf­fi­cient text­books, they have made a plan.”

Oat­lands had many late ap­pli­ca­tions.

“We ac­cepted some pupils where spa­ces were avail­able, but we have a long wait­ing list,” said De La Mare.

Archie Mbolekwa prin­ci­pal Zola Moth­la­bane says sta­tionery and text­books are cov­ered, as far as the school is con­cerned, but they are still wait­ing for work­books.

Pho­tos: Sue Maclennan

Nkosinkul­wani Hani takes work­books to a class­room at DD Si­wisa Pri­mary.

DD Si­wisa Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Zolani Gosani poses for out­side his Grade 4 class­room.

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