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16 March, 2011
Western Cape 2010 Literacy and Numeracy Awards (See here for individual awards)
Speech by Donald Grant, Western Cape Education Minister, at the presentation of the 2010 Western Cape Awards for Achievement in Literacy and Numeracy (Grades 3 and 6), De Kuilen Primary School, Kuils River, 16 March 2011.
It is with great pleasure that I am here tonight to celebrate the achievements of schools that have produced excellent results in our Grade 3 and 6 literacy and numeracy assessment tests in 2010.
Last year's testing was significant as it was the first time such testing had been conducted on such a massive scale.
Many thanks to all who worked tirelessly to ensure that these tests were made possible. This was an enormous logistical undertaking which was professionally administered by the WCED and outside service providers. So I thank you.
It is notable, that it was the first time in South Africa that Grade 9 learners were tested.
Another first for this province was the inclusion of independent schools in the testing.
And I would like to personally welcome representatives from El Shaddai Christian School, who are the first recipients of our independent school awards in these tests. We are delighted that you are able to join us here tonight.
These tests are of paramount importance to us.
As many of you are aware, ensuring that our learners are able to read, write and calculate at the appropriate level is a non-negotiable. If we are to improve learner outcomes in this province, we need to fulfill these basic requirements.
However, an important aspect of this is to know where our learners' strengths and weaknesses lie.
If we do not set benchmarks for our learners, and test them against these benchmarks on a regular basis, we will never be able to target individual learning needs and improve learner outcomes.
If the results of 2010 are anything to go by, it is evident that these targeted interventions and strategies are making a difference.
For example, the results in Grade 3 revealed increases in both literacy and numeracy with 54.9% of learners achieving 50% or more in literacy, an increase of 1.4% from 2008, and in numeracy, a remarkable 13.3% increase from 35% to 48.3%.
Overall, in Grade 3, 78% of our primary schools in the province improved their results in numeracy, with 52.9% of schools improving by more than 10%.
In literacy, 54.9% of schools improved their results, with 33.3% of schools increasing by more then 10%.
These are encouraging improvements.
But tonight is not about our overall provincial improvements. It is about recognizing and acknowledging individual schools for excellence and improved performance.
I am so very proud of all the schools that are present here tonight.
We have before us, some of our top performing schools in the province, as well as those that have consistently performed well over the last few years.
Special mention must be made to Sweet Valley Primary School in Bergvliet and Augsburg Landbougimnasium in Clanwilliam who have consistently managed to perform the best in their respective districts. This is the third year in a row that they will receive an award for overall excellence in outcomes.
I think that deserves a round of applause.
Also represented here tonight are the schools that have drastically improved in their performance.
These schools face a myriad of challenges each day but through hard work and determination have managed, in just a short time, to turnaround their results and make us all very proud.
I visited one of these schools yesterday - Impendulo Primary School in Makhaza.
This school achieved impressive improvements in their results, turning the 4% they achieved for numeracy in 2008, to 50% in 2010 - an improvement of 46%.
In literacy they improved by 41.7%, increasing their pass percentage from 16.6% in 2008 to 58.3% in 2010.
Yesterday, I asked their principal Mrs Pheliswa Busika, who is present tonight, what contributed to such an increase.
It was no surprise that very familiar themes emerged.
This included, amongst other things, an emphasis on "Time on task", in other words, spending more time in the classroom, utilizing every minute of every school day.
The promotion of reading, writing and calculating during school time and at home was also emphasised, as well as, encouraging parental involvement in their children's education.
Another contribution towards their improved performance, as stated by Mrs Busika, was the utilization of support from the WCED. The school welcomed the expertise on offer, and learned new techniques and skills on how to optimize the delivery of the curriculum and support struggling learners.
But none of these interventions and strategies would have worked if it weren't for one very important factor - teamwork.
This was evident at Impendulo Primary School. They created a strong and committed team that comprised of the principal, the educators, staff and parents, district staff and even the learner's themselves.
I am very sure, it is the same at all the schools present here tonight.
But every good team needs a good leader, and I would personally like to thank all our principals present before me that we appreciate and value your leadership in our schools.
Our educators and curriculum advisors in your schools have also done us very proud and we congratulate them for their learner's achievements. It was a tough year last year, but through commitment and dedication, you have all achieved success. Congratulations.
Finally, I would like to thank Encyclopaedia Britannica for making a generous contribution towards tonight's winners. Each of the schools awarded tonight will receive a certificate which will enable them to access the full Encyclopaedia Britannica on-line at their schools, which is a wonderful learning resource.
WCED Awards for Meritorious Achievement in the 2010
(for photographs of recipients, click on the link alongside each category)
1. Introduction and background
The Western Cape Education Department has since 2002 began testing a sample of Primary School learners in Literacy and Numeracy. The test was first conducted with grade 3 learners in 2002
and in 2003 the grade 6 learners wrote the Literacy and Numeracy tests.
In striving to improve the performance of learners in both Literacy and Numeracy, the WCED continued to offer the Literacy and Numeracy tests in grades 3 and 6. These tests were offered every alternate year.
In 2010, all learners in the 1 076 public primary schools in the province participated in the grade 3 and 6 literacy / language and numeracy/ mathematics tests. These tests will be written annually at the grade 3 and 6 level. A total of 26 independent schools participated in the tests at grade 6 level in 2010.
The tests in Language and Mathematics was also written by learners at grade 9 level. This was a pilot project for 2010.
Primary schools that produce excellent results and those that have shown the greatest improvement over the years in Literacy and Numeracy must be recognised for their progress and achievement. The awards will serve as an incentive for schools to continue to better their achievements.
The top schools and the schools that show the greatest improvement in grade 3 across districts will be awarded.
2. Categories of awards
Awards are allocated in terms of identified criteria. Recognition is also given to schools in terms of their social and economic context and here we specifically identify schools that have shown progress and improvement according to the national quintiles.
In terms of the 2010 Grade 3 and 6 Literacy and Numeracy results, awards to Primary schools are allocated in the following categories:
Category 1: Excellence in Outcomes
Category 1(a): Overall Excellence in Outcomes (Click here for photographs)
Category 1(b): Excellence of outcomes in Literacy (Click here for photographs)
Category 1(c): Excellence of outcomes in Numeracy (Click here for photographs)
Category 1 (d): Excellence in Outcomes at grade 3 level (43 schools) (Click here for photographs)
All awardees (category 1d to 1f) will receive a certificate as well as a monetary incentive of
Category 1 (e): Excellence in Outcomes at grade 6 level (19 schools) (Click here for photographs)
Category 2: Overall improvement in performance in the context within which a school operates (grade 3)
Improvement in overall performance
All awardees will receive a certificate as well as a monetary incentive of R20 000,00 for the purchase of teaching and learning support material.
Awards will be allocated in terms of:
A. Farm and Multigrade Schools (Click here for photographs)
B. Schools with an enrolment of 600 learners or more (Click here for photographs)
C. Schools with an enrolment of less than 600 learners (Click here for photographs)
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