Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

31 March, 2011

Successful end to first school term

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

Tomorrow is the final day of the first school term for 2011 and we have much to be proud of as the first term draws to a close.

The first term started smoothly, with 96% of our schools ready to start teaching and learning on the first day of the term, thanks to forward planning by the department the previous year.

One of our only challenges was the accommodation of late arrivals and enrolments in some areas where there was high demand, however this was soon addressed. The WCED made available an extra 330 posts at schools to accommodate this growth and our officials managed to place all learners at schools. I would like to thank them for their work in this regard. Again, I would like to encourage parents to start enrolling your children at schools as soon as possible, as it will assist us in planning for the 2012 school year.

Despite these minor challenges, the year got off to flying start. Highlights include:

  • The opening of new schools - We opened three new schools this term, including the province’s third STEM school, Claremont High School. The other two schools include Bardale Sen Secondary in Mfuleni and the new premises of COSAT in Khayelitsha.

  • The provision of extra textbooks - Most of our learning support materials and stationary was delivered to schools by the end of last year, but in addition to this, we are pleased that we were able to provide mathematics textbooks for all Grade 2 - 7 learners, reading books for 258 primary schools, Physical Science textbooks for Grade 12s, and workbooks for Grades 1 to 6 from the Department of Basic Education.

  • The writing of the NSC supplementary examinations - We are pleased that a total of 8 762 candidates registered for the National Senior Certificate supplementary examinations in February and March and we thank all schools and officials who worked together to ensure smooth running of the exams. The results of these examinations are expected to be released in May.

  • The writing of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs) - Distribution of these national test papers proved to be a difficult logistical exercise. However, to offset the delays in distribution and the shortages experienced at some of our schools, the WCED made available their printing and other resources to ensure that our schools wrote within the timeframes set by the national department. We thank all concerned for ensuring the success of the ANAs in the Western Cape.

  • The announcement of the results of the Grade 3, 6 and 9 diagnostics tests commissioned by the WCED in October last year - The results were encouraging and we were particularly pleased with the numeracy results for Grade 3 learners which improved from 35% in 2008 to 48.3% in 2010, an increase of 13.3%.

  • The National Teaching Awards - Four of our educators in the Western Cape were runners-up and we would like to congratulate all our provincial finalists for their achievements.

  • The finalization of the Grade 12 improvement programme - which includes strategies such as the tutoring programme, an expansion of the telematics programme, textbook top-ups, intensified management support and teacher development courses.

  • The tabling of the 2011/12 budget - announced only yesterday, with significant increases in allocation to textbooks, poorer schools and special needs education.

These are just a few of the highlights we had in the first term. We are particularly pleased that most of our schools took to heart our call for the protection of teaching and learning time.

April does pose some challenges with a number of public holidays scheduled that will disrupt the flow of this term. However, we continue to encourage all learners to read, write and calculate every day. The WCED has updated lists of suggested reading for holiday and leisure-time reading on its web site. The lists cover all ages, grades and the three languages of the Western Cape. The WCED web site includes Tips for Parents on what they can do at home to develop their children’s literacy and numeracy skills.

Grade 12 learners are encouraged to consult their tips for success booklet and begin their preparations for the NSC.

A number of autumn classes have been arranged at schools for Grade 12s, in areas such as Khayelitsha. Learners will get the opportunity to attend extra classes in subjects that deserve special attention - ie. Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.

Our Safe Schools Division of the WCED is also arranging programmes for the April holiday in most districts.

These holiday programmes will include life skills training, sports, games and cultural activities.

In terms of safety, we will be supporting 109 schools with 24 hour patrols and 250 schools with cluster patrols.

Schools must also ensure that their alarm systems are in a working condition and that they test whether their armed response companies would respond should their alarms be activated.

We are also calling on the community to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior at our schools during this period.

We would like to thank all our teachers, principals and officials who have worked so hard to ensure the success of the first quarter.

We wish you well for a short, but well-deserved break during the April holiday.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or

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