WCED Releases Winter School Holiday and Teacher Development Training Plan
Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
Schools in the Western Cape officially close for the mid-year holidays on Friday, 24 June 2011.
Although, officially, it is school holidays, many of our schools will continue teaching and learning during this period as part of our winter school holiday programme.
This programme focuses mainly on assisting our Grade 12s. There are only 117 days to go before the start of the National Senior Certificate examinations and we want to maximise every available day to help improve on their results. The disruption to some of our schools resulting from public holidays has played a role in our planning. We have therefore actively encouraged and organised school winter programmes to assist our Grade 12s to make up for any time lost, as well as support schools that are still struggling.
We have also arranged for other fun educational activities for learners in other grades and a variety of teacher development and training courses for educators and principals.
1. Grade 12 Holiday Plan
One of our main objectives is to increase the number of learners passing Grade 12.
During the upcoming holidays, 169 high schools will be offering holiday study programmes that aim to assist learners in high enrolment subjects.
These subjects include Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.
Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors, selected by the WCED. This year, we have developed strict criteria in terms of tutor selection (proven record of success at the schools at which they teach) to ensure that these learners are receiving the best possible tuition from recognised experts in their fields.
In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes, and have developed additional resource materials to complement the lessons being presented.
The dates of each school's programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others throughout the holiday period.
Oscar Mpetha High School in Nyanga, for example, is offering classes every week day from the 27th June till the 9th of July, with learners taking only the last week off for school holidays. Their classes begin each morning at 08:00 and end at 16:00.
The number of schools offering winter classes in each district are as follows:
Metro Central - 13
Metro East - 26
Metro North- 37
Metro South - 36
Overberg - 8
West Coast - 10
Cape Winelands - 19
2. Mindset Learn Support Programme
This holiday, the WCED is introducing an additional programme to support the Grade 12 learners of 2011.
Mindset Learn on DSTV will be running a series of television programmes to assist Grade 12s in preparation for the National Senior Certificate.
The first of these programmes will be screened between the 4th and 15th of July (weekdays) between 09:00 and 17:00.
The winter school television programme includes examination paper overviews, crucial tips for all the major topics, detailed worked solutions and explanations of specially selected past exam questions and live phone-in sessions. It will cover subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting, Economics and English First Additional Language.
All of the 120 schools that are currently receiving the telematics programme will now be able to broadcast the Mindset programme. Learners and teachers who are not involved in the telematics programme are welcome to visit and participate at these schools.
All broadcasts are supported by learner and facilitator guides which the WCED will purchase and deliver to learners.
3. Literacy and Numeracy Training for Educators
As part of the WCED's literacy and numeracy strategy, the WCED will be providing literacy and numeracy training at 257 schools during the June/July holidays.
We are very pleased that over 1 500 educators have registered for the literacy programme and over 1 600 for the numeracy programme. This is extremely encouraging.
Foundation Phase Curriculum Advisors and Intermediate Phase Curriculum Advisors for Language and Mathematics from the WCED will be hosting each training programme.
4. Teacher Development Programmes
Ongoing professional development and training of our educators is a priority for this government.
This June/July holiday, nine seminars and conferences will be held at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute.
Each of these seminars reflect the objectives we set out in our Strategic Plan, with a particular focus on school leadership and management and improving learner literacy outcomes.
Included in the holiday programme is a Foundation Phase reading conference (27-28 June), which has already attracted over 600 participants and a principals' seminar with over 200 participants.
Also on offer are seminars for school management teams, aspiring principals and workshops for educators who teach Physical Science or Life Sciences at the Grade 12 level.
5. Safe Schools' Holiday Programme
The Safe Schools' holiday programme will be launched on the 27th of June across the province for all grades.
These programmes have been developed to keep children safe and occupied during this period.
Educational programmes on offer include substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy seminars, workshops on conflict and drug abuse, and reading sessions.
For active learners, soccer, rugby and netball clinics have been arranged, with other fun alternatives such as frisbee games and treasure hunts.
Arts and crafts, and drama classes will also be available at some of the venues.
6. Parental Involvement
While some schools have decided to offer programmes during the June/July holidays, the WCED is determined to ensure that every learner in the province continues to learn over this period.
We encourage parents to assist their children in keeping a culture of learning alive in the holiday period and ensure that their children continue to practise important skills such as reading, writing and calculating every day.
Principals and their teachers should provide guidance to parents on what they can do, or they can visit the WCEDs website - http://wced.wcape.gov.za/ - for ideas on updated reading lists and building their reading and calculating skills at home.
I am also proud of our educators and principals who have willingly accepted to participate in our holiday programmes and teacher development and training seminars. I want to thank each and every one of them for giving up their vacation time. This reveals their commitment to improving learner outcomes in the province.
The WCED would like to wish all our educators, principals, staff and learners a happy and safe holiday.
We look forward to what we can achieve in the latter part of 2011!
The WCED is encouraged by the support we have received from our schools in planning our school holiday programme.
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Tel: 021 467 2377