Ntsika Secondary School Principal Madeleine Schoeman shares the secret to the schools improved performance in recent years, including 2017.
This is a difficult question as one cannot single out one action. As staff, we sometimes felt that we were just not connecting with all Grade 12s, but we never gave up.
These results are again a team effort, and the staff in particular must be singled out. They never stopped creating opportunities for our Grade 12s, and persevered even when only a handful attended.
The Grade Head, Nondyebo Nomavuka, spent nearly every day and evening at school to ensure the smooth running of holiday classes and evening sessions. I had to force her to take time off during our short September break!
She, together with Nosisa Ntlangushe, the Grade 12A Class Teacher, had a good relationship with the learners, their parents and outside stakeholders such the mentoring programme by Rhodes University and Gadra.
I can go on to list the role every teacher, our clerk, the security officers, food handlers and the caretakers played; suffice to say that we are fortunate to have such a caring and committed staff, and that one missing ‘puzzle piece’ has a huge impact.
The same could be said for our parents and the wider Grahamstown community: together, we carried our school and gave hope to our learners.
The most important question now is what we should perhaps do differently.
We will carry on with our afternoon and evening study sessions which include a meal at 3.30pm and a sandwich at 6pm, budget permitting, but these must not simply be homework sessions. Learners must work in subject groups from the start of the year to consolidate class work and test themselves.
Second, more writing skills should be practised – just one paragraph a day could push a Diploma Pass to a Bachelor’s Pass, our dream for every learner.
I think I should stop before the list gets too long!