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10 May, 2011
Minister Grant monitors latecoming at Vista High School
Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape
At the end of the last term, my office received a complaint from a member of the public about learners from Vista High School loitering around town after the first school bell.
This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Learners need to be at school on time so that they can fully utilize every minute of every day for learning. Learners that arrive late also distract and interrupt classes where learners have arrived on time.
This morning I went to Vista High School to investigate the public’s complaint. I met the principal of the school, Mr. Salaam, who explained to me that latecoming was a concern, however, new measures at the school to curb latecoming were beginning to take effect.
The school had recently adopted a disciplinary approach to latecoming. Each morning, the names of the late learners are recorded and each of them then have to report for a 40 minute detention after school that day.
Since this approach has been adopted, numbers of late learners have declined.
Last term, over 100 learners were late on any given day, with some learners arriving over one hour after the first school bell. This morning, I recorded 49 late learners.
Although this number is relatively high, all 49 learners arrived within 15 minutes after the first school bell.
Therefore, not only have the numbers of late learners decreased, the amount of teaching and learning time lost has also declined.
It is evident that many of the learners are making an extra effort to be at school on time in order to avoid attending detention.
However, as I explained to them, being on time is for their own benefit. It affects their own futures and they must therefore be responsible for it.
I asked the learners why they were late, and a number of them indicated it was because of train delays. This is a common excuse, which on some occasions is completely valid. However, this is not always the case.
The principal revealed that learners were congregating in the Golden Acre and around parliament in the mornings. This is something that I will again investigate soon.
Given that ‘time on task’ is so important, learners who are late could expect to see me soon!
For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey: 072 724 1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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