Just over One Million Learners in the Western Cape Start School Today
Statement by Minister Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education
Today was an exciting day for many learners and parents as just over a million learners in the Western Cape started school. Today was also especially exciting for me as it was my first "first day of school" as the Provincial Minister of Education.
This morning, I was very pleased to see how organised the school management team was at Blue Downs Primary School in Blue Downs. Only one learner cried when her mother left but aside from this, there was not a tear in sight. School principal, Mr Solomons, informed me that the school ran orientation programmes at the end of 2014 to familiarise the parents and learners with the school and their teachers.
One would expect some form of delay in the morning with the enrolment of new learners. However, all learners, including the Grade 1s, were in their classrooms by 08:00, seated and learning. For parents looking to enrol their children at the school today, the School Governing Body members and officials were on hand to assist.
This is the kind of leadership we need to see more of in our schools.
As most of the preparations were completed well before the end of last year, I am pleased that so far, all reports indicate that we have had a smooth start to the 2015 school year.
In the coming days, schools will report to districts any places available due to enrolled learners not arriving at their particular school.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will be on stand-by to provide assistance at schools where there are late registrations and any other last-minute tasks that need to be completed.
To parents who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have failed to enrol their child, they are advised to approach their nearest school as there could be some enrolment cancellations after the school holidays. In many cases, parents have enrolled their children at two or more schools. Therefore spaces become available for learners who are on waiting lists or are looking for placement at a school.
Alternatively I urge them to approach the local district office as soon as possible, for assistance with finding a place at a school.
Each district office has identified officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place when schools re-open.
I should like to welcome all our new learners and their parents into our Western Cape schools. I would also like to appeal to parents to take an active part in your child’s education. Children can achieve much more with supportive, interested parents. Without it, their entire futures could be compromised.
Parents have an important role in their child’s school career and we ask that they assist us in this 12-year journey in cultivating and encouraging their child’s reading and writing skills.
Each Grade 1 parent has received or will soon receive a booklet which is a guide for parents with learners entering Grade 1. The guide includes some suggestions as to what parents must do to support their child in the first year of school. Children can achieve much more with supportive, interested parents. Without it, their entire futures could be compromised.
Finally, I would like to wish all our learners and educators good luck for the 2015 school year.
I hope that it is a productive and successful year. I am optimistic for 2015 and look forward to what we can achieve in education.