Schools Evaluation Authority will begin its evaluations in February | Western Cape Government



Schools Evaluation Authority will begin its evaluations in February

2 February 2020

The Western Cape Schools Evaluation Authority (SEA) will begin its evaluations of schools on 10 February 2020.

The SEA was established by the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill in November 2018, and its associated regulations. It is an independent entity, whose purpose is to support school improvement in the province by identifying factors that impact on performance in the areas that matter most for quality education delivery – Learner Achievement; Teaching and Learning; Behaviour and Safety; Leadership and Management; and Governance, Parents and Community.

The SEA’s Chief Evaluator, Ms Karen Bydell, began her four-year term on 1 October last year. She has now informed me that she has appointed her two Lead Evaluators and two Evaluators so that the SEA can begin its work:

  • Mr Desmond Maarman has been appointed as Lead Evaluator. He has 37 years' experience in education and joins from the Eden and Central Karoo education district, where he served as the District Director since 2016. He has a keen understanding of the on-the-ground experiences of schools, having previously served as a Circuit Manager and Circuit Team Manager.

  • Ms Barbara Houghton has been appointed as Lead Evaluator after holding positions as Headmistress of Springfield Convent of the Holy Rosary and deputy principals of St Cyprian's and Harold Cressy High Schools. She has 40 years' experience in education, and a vast knowledge and understanding of curriculum development and changes.

  • Mr Mervyn Wardle has been appointed as an Evaluator, with almost 30 years' experience in education after holding positions as a deputy principal and school evaluator. He has dedicated his career to school improvement. 

  • Mr George Williams has joined as an Evaluator after 38 years in education. He has served the Cape Winelands education district as a principal and circuit manager. He has extensive experience in school management and a proven track record in school improvement. 


At least 50 schools will be evaluated this year, and an impartial report on each will be submitted to the key stakeholders: the school principal, School Governing Body, District Director, Superintendent-General, and myself.  

The purpose of these reports is to identify the areas in which the school can improve and, where necessary, be supported to improve the quality of education that it delivers.  Importantly, the reports will be released to the public by the SEA in batches.  The intention of this is to improve transparency and accountability in the system.  No individuals will be named.

I wish Ms Bydell and her team the very best as they undertake this important task, which will greatly assist the WCED to fulfil its vision of quality education for every child, in every classroom, in every school in the province, and enhance our theme for this year of functional schools.

Please note: we are not able to release the names of the schools to be evaluated this year.

Soundbite: Minister Schafer on start of SEA evaluations - 2 February 2020

Media Enquiries: 

Kerry Mauchline
Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schäfer
Western Cape Ministry of Education
084 210 3003 (Whatsapp preferred)