Once-strug­gling Peak View High comes up trumps

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TANYA PETERSEN

IN 2011, there were fears Peak View High School in Bridgetown would be clos­ing its doors due to its low ma­tric pass rate – a mere 18.9%.

Since then, the school has gone from be­ing one of the worst per­form­ing schools in the prov­ince to achiev­ing a pass rate of 81.4% last year.

It’s a no­table achieve­ment for the school, to which then MEC for ed­u­ca­tion Don­ald Grant had is­sued a no­tice of his in­ten­tion to close it in 2011.

Some of the rea­sons cited were poor ma­tric re­sults over the years and low pass rates in English home lan­guage.

How­ever, in­ter­ven­tions were put in place to help the school. Em­ploy­ing a Xhosa teacher in 2012 was a key fac­tor im­prov­ing the over­all pass rate, be­cause most of the pupils did not have English as their first lan­guage.

Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spokesper­son Paddy At­twell said in 2012, after con­sid­er­ing the rea­sons to close the school, Grant had de­cided against it.

“The school opted to in­tro­duce isiXhosa home lan­guage in 2012 to counter the fail­ure rate in English home lan­guage. Min­is­ter Grant said in Oc­to­ber 2012 the school should be given an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove its re­sults across all grades over the next two years.”

There was an im­me­di­ate im­prove­ment – the class of 2012 had a 74.4% pass rate and it has not fallen be­low 70% since. In 2016, the school achieved a 100% ma­tric pass rate.

Peak View prin­ci­pal Oswald de Vil­liers said al­though the class of 2017 achieved a lower pass rate than the class of 2016, he was still im­pressed as they jumped from a 28% pass rate in the Septem­ber ex­ams to 81.4% in the fi­nals.

How­ever, they only had four bach­e­lor passes last year, com­pared to 18 in 2016, he said.

De Vil­liers ex­plained one of the prob­lems with last year’s matrics was of the 93 pupils, 28 were “progress” pupils who had failed Grade 11.

That so many passed the final ex­ams was due to the hard work of the teach­ers he said, adding they had gone be­yond the call of duty by work­ing after hours with the pupils.

“We of­fered ex­tra classes after school from Mon­day to Thurs­day, as well as Satur­day classes and one-on-one sessions,” De Vil­liers said.

He had high hopes the class of 2018 would do even bet­ter than this year’s matrics.

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