Plan to Address the Needs of Our Under-performing Schools
In November 2009 this Government made a commitment to reduce the number of underperforming schools, which had progressively increased from 36 in 2006 to 85 in 2009.
An underperforming school is a school that achieves less than 60% in the National Senior Certificate.
In 2010 the WCED began to implement a targeted and sustained strategy to support these schools. These strategies include a number of interventions.
Key elements of the Grade 12 improvement programme include the following:
- Ensuring that all Grade 12 learners have textbooks in at least 6 core subjects.
- Providing Grade 12 learners with a study guideline called “Tips for Success” that provides advice on how and what to study for each subject, the structure of exam papers and how to manage their study time.
- Providing learners with previous examination papers.
- Regular school visits by officials for curriculum support and monitoring.
- Meetings with learners and parents.
- Motivational talks by our district directors and staff.
- Tutoring of learners over week-ends and holidays by experienced teachers with a record of high learner achievement.
- Subject specific support to educators to improve curriculum delivery.
- A Telematics project which broadcasts lessons via satellite in selected subjects to 144 schools after school and over weekends.
- Personal mentoring by teachers of learners at risk.
- Providing learners with safe homework and study spaces.
The number of underperforming schools has consistently declined from 85 in 2009 to 76 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 26 in 2012.
In 2013, we hope to reduce the number of underperforming schools in the Western Cape even further.
The 2013 plan incorporates many of the successful interventions of the past, and also includes some new interventions.
We have currently in the Western Cape 26 schools that achieved less than 60% in the 2012 NSC. 10 of these schools have remained below 60% for over a year.
The remaining 16 schools had previously achieved results of above 60%, but achieved below 60% in the 2012 NSC.
Our goal is to support each of these 26 schools in order for them to move out of the “underperforming school’ category.
This year’s plan is more focused in that each district has developed an improvement plan, using the successful strategies of the past, but refining it specifically to meet individual school needs.
Each education district has conducted an analysis of the 2012 NSC which has been discussed with each of the 26 schools. This also included an analysis of the new Class of 2013 – examining the Grade 11 results of every learner and subject.
An individual plan for each school has been developed incorporating elements of the strategies and programmes described above into their individual plans.
Schools have been required to submit their performance targets and plans for the year on the electronic “School Improvement Plan” (SIP). These targets and plans will be monitored quarterly and, where required, the Department will provide appropriate, differentiated support to teachers and school management teams.
Teacher attendance at these schools will be closely monitored through the SIPS as well.
Each district has submitted “focus areas” in which they have identified and are specific to each school.
Some of these “focus areas” include:
- Monitoring the use of textbooks
- Capacitating School Governing Bodies
- Weekly progress reports
- Lesson observation in specific subjects
- The monitoring of curriculum compliance and pace.
- The training of Subject Heads of Department to improve their curriculum management skills.
- Developing the examination setting skills of educators.
- Improving marking and assessment skills of educators
- “Lead teachers” to meet with teachers in their subject fields to discuss best practice in planning, methodology and assessment.
- Learners ‘at risk’ to receive individual support such as counseling, target setting and study plans.
(Please note that not all these focus areas are implemented in each of the 26 schools. It is dependent on each school’s needs.)
R8.4 million has been invested in the plan this year.
I would like to wish all our 26 underperforming schools the best of luck in 2013. They have some hard work ahead of them, but can be assured that the WCED will support them along the way.
I have in the course of the last few weeks I have visited the majority of these schools and I am pleased that each school has clearly defined plans in place and is committed to improving not only the quantity but also the quality of their results.
They are all motivated to improve and I will be monitoring and encouraging their progress throughout the year.