16 January 2013

South Africa: First Day of School - Working 'Better Together' As a Team to Ensure Our Learners Receive a Quality Education

press release

'Today, around 970 000 learners will begin the 2013 school year. I should like to welcome all our new learners and their parents into our Western Cape schools.

I hope they are warmly received by their new school friends and educators. They are now part of a team of Western Cape learners that we, as a Government, want to see ending their school career with an excellent National Senior Certificate based on quality education.

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.

Today I visited Sid G. Rule Primary as part of my series of visits over the next few days to welcome Grade 1 learners to the school. I congratulated their principal, Mrs. Stadler, for their 2012 Language and Mathematics results.

The school received their results on Monday, which indicated that they had achieved 94.9% for Grade 3 mathematics and 88.8% for Grade 3 language, and 80% for Grade 6 mathematics and 79.2% for Grade 6 language.

These results are well above the provincial average. Improving our mathematics and language results will be a priority focus area in the 2013 school year.

Many of our strategies are geared towards assisting and supporting our schools in improving their learners' reading, writing and calculating skills. We will be closely monitoring, through our School Improvement Plan (SIPS) database, the utilisation of textbooks and workbooks in our schools and will be launching a campaign to encourage parents to participate in encouraging their children to read, write and calculate every day.

For our Grade 1 parents - the formal cultivation of your child's reading and writing skills begins today. Each Grade 1 parent 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.

It provides a snapshot of the Language and Mathematics curriculum and how parents can help their children in these subjects. It also includes information on what children must know and be able to do by the end of Grade 1 and recommended reading lists.

While reading, writing and calculating will be focus areas for all our learners in 2013, it is important that all parents of a learner, in any grade, ensures that their child attends school - on time and ready to participate.

As the Western Cape Government we are determined to give all learners of this province an opportunity to complete their education. They cannot do this if they do not attend school. Therefore, in 2013, I am making a special plea to parents to support your children in their education and make sure they attend school every day.

Encourage them, assist them and actively engage with them. If we are ever to beat the cycle of poverty it is through our schools and the education and opportunities our young children receive. The WCED is here to support parents if they feel that their child is in trouble or at risk of dropping out. Our toll free number - 0800 45 46 47 - is there to give parents support and guidance.

It could be the best call you make and we encourage you to make that call if need be. We are all on the same team, and any team works "Better Together" if they are united. Today, I am pleased to announce that six new Western Cape schools are joining our team. I would like to welcome them as they open their doors to learners of this province.

These schools are:

1. Sunningdale PS (Metro North)

2. Concordia PS (Eden and Karoo)

3. Concordia HS (Eden and Karoo)

4. Disa HS (Metro Central)

5. AZ Berman HS (Metro South)

6. Soneike HS (Metro East)

I look forward to engaging and meeting with their staff and learners. In short, I am positive about the year ahead. If we stick together, stay focused and work hard, we can achieve the quality outcomes that the Western Cape Government aspires to and which our children deserve.

Good luck and best wishes to all our learners, educators, parents and officials for the 2013 school year!

Issued by: Western Cape Education

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