Once-struggling Peak View High comes up trumps
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.