Western Cape Education Department Plans Well in Advance for 2013 School Year
Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
While the 2012 school year is still in full swing, the WCED has been working hard to ensure that it is prepared and ready for the 2013 school year.
The intention is to make sure that our schools are ready to receive the close to a million children who will attend school in the Western Cape on 16 January next year. We would like all our schools to be organized and caring institutions which instill confidence and pride in our learners and their parents.
This is a massive task and requires extensive communication, planning and organisation by both the schools and the WCED.
At the beginning of September, the WCED released the "2013 Planning Calendar for Schools".
The purpose of the calendar is to prepare teachers, principals and parents well in advance on the education activities planned for 2013.
The calendar includes a schedule of dates for training programmes, meetings, tests and examinations, as well as other important administrative deadlines.
The protection of teaching and learning time will continue in 2013 and we expect all our learners and their educators to be in school for all 199 days of the school year.
In 2013, there is increased emphasis on the training and development of our educators.
The calendar includes dates for training programmes and workshops for educators, principals and school management teams. Two compulsory training programmes will take place in the June/July holidays. The first is literacy and numeracy training targeting educators in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases from 250 schools.
The second is Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) training. CAPS was first introduced to the school curriculum this year. It is being introduced into the school system in stages, starting with the Foundation Phase (Grade 1-3) and Grade 10 this year; in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11 in 2013; and the remaining grades in 2014. Therefore educators teaching Grades 7, 8 and 9 and 12 will receive CAPS training in June 2013 in preparation for the roll-out of CAPS in these Grades in the 2014 school year.
There are a number of other training programmes and meetings on offer that are optional courses to meet specific needs. The programmes will be run throughout the school year at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI). The training includes areas such as ICT proficiency, special needs education, training for Heads of Departments, principals and school management teams.
There are also courses on offer for aspiring school principals and school leaders, a Mathematics Solutions Conference, and a Reading and Writing seminar.
Significant administrative dates have also been included in the planning calendar so that educators and principals can plan for the year ahead.
The calendar provides the final dates for a variety of important tests and examinations next year, such as the WCED Grade 3,6 and 9 systemic tests (which will take place between the 9th and the 22nd of October), the NSC examinations and the Senior Certificate examinations.
Other important administrative dates include the 2013 School Snap Survey, applications for growth and curriculum posts, dates for submissions for various learning and teaching support materials and equipment and the publication of vacancy lists.
Enrolment for the 2013 school year will take place in two phases between the 1st of March to 21 June, and 16 July to 6 September.
One of the more exciting planning tools we will have in place next year is the School Improvement Plan (SIPS). The SIPS is an online management tool that was piloted in all schools this year. It contains a wealth of information that can be used for effective planning purposes. It also requires schools to set targets for improvements for each grade in each of the next three years. The School Improvement Plan makes provision for:
• The school profile.
• The number of learners on the nutrition programme and learner transpor.
• Staff and learner numbers including past trends and projections.
• The average number of days absent per learner and educator.
• The number of learners repeating per year.
• The number of meetings with parents to discuss learner academic performance.
• Policies needing priority attention.
One of the most valuable functions on the SIPS programme is the Resources page, which will allow us to monitor and assess whether schools have ordered, received, issued, used and retrieved the required textbooks at given dates: whether they have received, issued and used their workbooks; and the number of learners who have either desks and chairs in their classroom.
Officials from the WCED are then able to monitor the needs of our schools more effectively in this regard. It also ensures that the principals of this Province take responsibility for ensuring that they report the relevant shortages they need so that they WCED can deal with any shortages as soon as possible.
The "Academic Performance Improvement" function is extremely important in monitoring the performance and improvement levels of each school. Each school has to submit improvement targets which are determined by principals in consultation with the relevant district office after careful analysis of the Grades 3, 6 and 9 literacy and numeracy test results, the Annual National Assessment results, the National Senior Certificate results and internal test results. Once determined, the targets are captured into the SIPS database and monitored to ensure that each of our schools is progressing.
This function also enhances accountability across the system and allows us to identify schools that are at risk in meeting targets so that we can provide the necessary support and assistance.
I can confidently say that our planning for 2013 has been successful so far, with many of our tasks being completed before deadlines.
The WCED has already ordered the required CAPS textbooks for 2013 and expects delivery to take place at all schools by mid-November so that schools have sufficient time to report any shortages.
The WCED also completed the Basket of Posts process in early August. By completing the process so early, we were able to ensure that all schools were informed of their teacher allocation for 2013 by the week of 27 August. This is three weeks earlier than in 2012.
I am very proud that the Department has completed the plans for 2013 so far in advance. Once again, our forward planning for education has improved year on year. We have done so to the best of our ability given the information at our disposal and our efforts to ensure early enrolment at schools.
This has allowed schools enough time to proactively plan ahead and prepare for the upcoming year.
I would like to thank all the officials in the WCED for all their hard work in making this possible. It is now up to our educators and principals to ensure that they diarise all the planning calendar dates and ensure up-to-date SIPS submissions so that we can have a smooth 2013 school year.