Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

16 October, 2012

School closures: Minister Grant announces plans to improve education opportunities for learners.

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

As the Government of the Western Cape we want to improve the education opportunities of all our children.

Today I will present a plan aimed at improving the lives of over 4 000 learners in this province. This includes measures to enhance the quality of education at some schools and to transfer learners to schools that are better equipped to provide a quality education.

The plan has been developed to accommodate the needs and improve the lives of learners at schools that were identified and recommended to me by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for possible closure.

This has not been an easy process and I have had to make some very difficult decisions, but I am convinced that these decisions are in the best interests of all the learners concerned.

During the process I have carefully considered all representations and submissions made during the public participation processes, together with all the arguments for and against the continued operation of each of the schools.

I would like to thank everyone who participated and can assure you that your voices have been heard.

Included in the representations received were some very powerful arguments both for and against the closure of particular schools. I have carefully considered these arguments and have allowed them to shape my final decisions where they support the best interests of the learners.

I have, throughout this whole process, been determined to consider the Department's past role in assisting and supporting each school, and whether the Department has done enough to assist each school in improving the factors that ultimately have led to them being considered for closure.

While the final decision to close a school rests with me, the role of the Department in preparing for today's announcement has been immense.

I have carefully considered the placement plans prepared by the Department for the learners and employees concerned when determining whether a school closure will benefit all learners concerned.

I have also carefully considered the Department's plans to support schools that will not be closed at the end of this year.

Ultimately, I have determined in each case what can be done to address the very concerns that prompted the Department to recommend each school for possible closure.

These are all factors that have influenced my final decision.

Any decision I have made has been made with restraint, has been informed and is ultimately guided by what is in the best interests of the learners.

I am confident that my final decision in each case will ultimately improve opportunities for the learners concerned.

The Learner Placement Plans for schools that close

For each of the schools recommended to me for closure, the WCED has customised a draft plan for each school.

The draft plan generally provides for the following:

  • the placement of learners at alternative schools;
  • the placement of educators and support staff at alternative schools;
  • the provision of learner transport (where required);
  • the provision of new school uniforms; and
  • provision for school fees and fees exemptions (where required).

Now that I have made my final decision in each case, the WCED will finalise these plans where necessary, in consultation with the schools concerned.

I would like to stress that parents of learners at schools that will close do not have to worry about enrolment for the 2013 school year. The WCED will inform their school of the plans we have in place to accommodate their child/children.

Some important factors of the plan include the following:

  • The WCED respects and follows its responsibilities to its employees - both teaching and administrative. Where I decide to close a school, the WCED will, after consultation, make suitable placement arrangements for all educators and support staff employed by the WCED wherever possible. WCED employees will generally follow the learners concerned. Where this is not possible for whatever reason, the WCED will make alternative arrangements for the employees concerned.

  • Where during the public participation process communities expressed their concerns regarding learner safety in areas experiencing high levels of gang activity and/or learner safety in relation to dangerous roads, I have noted these concerns and will raise them with my colleagues in the Ministry of Community Safety and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to determine what can be done to address these concerns transversally.

  • Where necessary and possible, the WCED will provide the following where learners are required to move to a new school:

    • school uniforms;
    • learner transport within the parameters of the WCED's existing policy; and
    • school feeding.

  • Where necessary and possible, the WCED will cover the school fees payable for the 2013 school year for learners who are required to move from a no-fee school to a fee-paying school or to a school at which higher school fees are payable. Where necessary, the WCED will also assist parents to apply for fee exemptions for future years.

Each decision to close a school has been carefully considered and I believe that - together with the placement plans developed by the Department - the outcome of the entire school closure process will benefit each learner from the affected schools.

Support plans for schools that do not close

I am also pleased with the Department's support plans to assist and provide targeted support to schools that do not close at the end of this year. I believe that these plans will improve the education outcomes at the schools concerned and, in turn, improve the lives of those learners who are currently attending these schools.

In some cases we will need to address infrastructure concerns and help support schools in improving their learner enrolment numbers. In other cases, academic support and assistance will be needed to help improve the academic performance of the schools concerned or provide them with better resources to deliver the full curriculum. Our aim is to ensure that the lives of the learners will be improved because of this process.

The outcome:

With this said, I have made the following decision in respect to each of the affected schools:

(Please note that this is in alphabetical order)

1. Athwood Primary School (Metro Central)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • Community support during the course of the current school year has reduced the incidence of vandalism and crime at the school.

  • During the public participation process, it was noted that the safety of learners may be compromised should the school be closed, as the learners would have to cross a dangerous road during their commute to and from the proposed receiving schools.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Athwood Primary School.

In light of my decision to keep Athwood Primary School open:

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the school to provide the support required to improve the education outcomes and safety at the school.

  • The WCED will liaise with the school community to improve and sustain current community initiatives to support the safety of the school.

  • I will liaise with my colleagues in the Ministry of Community Safety and/or the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to determine what can be done to address the safety concerns of the school transversally.

2. Beauvallon Secondary School (Metro Central)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The infrastructure at the school is becoming increasingly unsuitable;

  • The unsuitable infrastructure impacts on the safety of learners and teachers, the security of the school and the ability of the school to retain learners.

  • The 461 learners can be accommodated at John Ramsay High School.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Beauvallon Secondary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • John Ramsay High School is within 2km from Beauvallon Secondary School.

  • John Ramsay High School has achieved better academic results and has a better retention rate than Beauvallon Secondary School.

  • John Ramsay High School offers better and safer facilities than Beauvallon Secondary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to John Ramsay High School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Beauvallon Secondary School.

3. Bergrivier NGK Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Bergrivier NGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching.

  • Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of only two educators. These educators are required to teach 41 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 41.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers can be identified.

  • Community services in the area will not necessarily be negatively affected by the closure.

  • The 41 learners can be accommodated at Soetendal Primary School (which is approximately 10.9km from Bergrivier NGK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Bergrivier NGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • There is single grade teaching at Soetendal Primary School.

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Soetendal Primary School than at Bergrivier NGK Primary School.

  • The learners will also have the opportunity to participate in team sports at Soetendal Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 41 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • The WCED will provide mobile classrooms at the receiving school should this be necessary.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Soetendal Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Bergrivier NGK Primary School.

4. Bosplaas NGK Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • During the public participation process, it was established that the safety of the learners concerned would be compromised if Bosplaas NGK Primary School was to close, as learners would have to cross a dangerous railway line and highway to get to and from the proposed receiving school.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Bosplaas NGK Primary School.

In light of my decision to keep Bosplaas NGK Primary School open:

  • Wherever possible and necessary, the WCED will work with the school to provide the support required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

5. Bracken Hill EK Primary School(Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Bracken Hill EK Primary School's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 61 since 2009.

  • Bracken Hill EK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 61 learners across Grades 1 and 3-6.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • The 61 learners can be accommodated at Fraaisig Primary School (which is within 8.9km from Bracken Hill EK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Bracken Hill EK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • Fraaisig Primary School offers single grade teaching.

  • The infrastructure at Fraaisig Primary School is better than at Bracken Hill EK Primary School.

  • Fraaisig Primary School offers better extra-curricular and sports activities than Bracken Hill EK Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 61 learners requiring transport. These learners will be accommodated on two existing learner transport routes.

  • The WCED will cover the school fees charged by Fraaisig Primary School (R100.00 per annum) for the 2013 school year, as the learners will be moving from a no-fee school to a fee-paying school.

  • The WCED will assist parents to apply for fee exemptions for future school years, where necessary.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Fraaisig Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Bracken Hill EK Primary School.

6. Denneprag Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Denneprag Primary School's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 43 learners.

  • Denneprag Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 43 learners across Grades 1-7.

  • The 43 learners can be accommodated at Ruiterbos Primary School (which is 5km away from Denneprag Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Denneprag Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 43 learners requiring transport. These learners will be accommodated on an existing learner transport route.

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the two educators from Denneprag Primary School follow the learners concerned to Ruiterbos Primary School.

  • The learners concerned will have access to better literacy and numeracy development opportunities, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities at Ruiterbos Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Ruiterbos Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Denneprag Primary School.

7. Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 21 learners.

  • Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of one educator. This educator is required to teach 21 learners across Grades 1-4 and 6.

  • The 21 learners can be accommodated at Vergesig Primary School (which is within 6.7km from Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The learners will have better access to single grade schooling at Vergesig Primary School than before.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 21 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Vergesig Primary School than at Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School.

  • The learners will have access to sports and cultural activities, as well as access to resources such as computers, a science laboratory and a library at Vergesig Primary School.

  • Wherever possible and necessary, the WCED - through the relevant district office - will work with the receiving school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Vergesig Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Hoopsrivier NGK Primary School.

8. Klipheuwel Primary School (West Coast)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low at 31 learners.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • Klipheuwel Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 41 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • The 31 learners can be accommodated at Uitkyk Primary School (which is within 6km from Klipheuwel Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Klipheuwel Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The WCED will provide for safe and reliable learner transport for the 31 learners concerned. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • The learners will have better access to single grade teaching and extra-curricular activities than before.

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at both receiving schools than at Klipheuwel Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Uitkyk Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Klipheuwel Primary School.

9. Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Learner numbers are low at 25 learners.

  • Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 25 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • The 25 learners can be accommodated at De Waalville Primary School (which is 10km from Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • De Waalville Primary School offers single grade teaching and offers better literacy and numeracy development opportunities than Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School.

  • De Waalville Primary School has computer facilities.

  • The school also offers sports and cultural activities.

  • The WCED will cover the school fees charged by De Waalville Primary School (R250.00 per annum) for the 2013 school year, as the learners will be moving from a no-fee school to a fee-paying school.

  • The WCED will assist parents in applying for fee exemptions for future school years, where necessary.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 25 learners requiring transport. An existing route will be extended to accommodate this arrangement.

I believe that the transfer of learners to De Waalville Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Krombeksrivier NGK Primary School.

10. LK Zeeman Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • LK Zeeman Primary School's learner numbers are dwindling and have decreased gradually from 253 in 2009 to 217 in 2012.

  • Given the number of learners at the school, the number of classrooms at the school and the number of grades offered at the school, the school's infrastructure is currently under-utilised.

  • The 217 learners can be accommodated at Amstelhof Primary School (which is approximately 700m from LK Zeeman Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close LK Zeeman Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Amstelhof Primary School than at LK Zeeman Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 8 learners requiring transport. These learners will be accommodated on an existing learner transport route.

  • Given the need for additional education institutions in the area, the WCED will consider the possibility of establishing a new education institution on the existing site of LK Zeeman Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Amstelhof Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at LK Zeeman Primary School

11. Langkloof Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Langkloof Primary School's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 10 since 2009.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • Langkloof Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 10 learners across Grades 1-3.

  • The 10 learners can be accommodated at Molenrivier Primary School (which is 23km from Langkloof Primary School)

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Langkloof Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the two educators from Langkloof Primary School follow the learners concerned to Molenrivier Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 10 learners requiring transport. An existing learner transport route will be extended to accommodate this arrangement.

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Molenrivier Primary School than at Langkloof Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Molenrivier Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Langkloof Primary School.

12. Lavisrylaan Primary School (Metro North)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 156 learners.

  • The Minister sought input from the City of Cape Town on the assertion that a housing development is planned for the Vahalla Park area. The Minister has been advised that the housing development planned for the Valhalla Park area will accommodate primarily people living in or in the immediate surrounds of the Valhalla Park area and is expected to be completed in 2016. Should additional learners move into the housing development, the WCED is confident that these learners can be accommodated at existing schools.

  • The 156 learners can be accommodated at Helderberg Primary School (which is within 500m from Lavisrylaan Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Lavisrylaan Primary School

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • There are generally better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Helderberg Primary School than at Lavisrylaan Primary School.

  • Learners will have access to better facilities and more extra-curricular activities at Helderberg Primary School than at Lavisrylaan Primary School.

  • The WCED will cover the difference in school fees charged by Helderberg Primary School (R300.00 per annum) and those charged by Lavisrylaan Primary School (R250.00 per annum) for the 2013 school year.

  • The WCED will assist parents in applying for fee exemptions for future school years, where necessary.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Helderberg Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Lavisrylaan Primary School.

13. Nuhoop NGK PS (West Coast)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • The proposed receiving school, Middeldeurvlei Primary School, relies upon multi-grade teaching and would not provide the learners from Nuhoop NGK Primary School with better literacy and numeracy development opportunities.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Nuhoop NGK Primary

In light of my decision to keep Nuhoop NGK Primary open:

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

14. Peak View Secondary School (Metro Central)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • isiXhosa Home Language was introduced as a subject in 2012 to counter the failures in English Home Language. This is expected to reduce the drop-out rate at the school.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Peak View Secondary School

In light of my decision to keep Peak View Secondary School open:

  • The school must be given an opportunity to improve its results across all grades. The school's results must be improved within the next two years.

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

15. Protea Primary School (Metro Central)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are dwindling and have decreased to 204 learners.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • The 204 learners can be accommodated at Boundary Primary School (which is within 1km from Protea Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Protea Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The learners concerned will have access to better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Boundary Primary School.

  • The learners will have access to a wider choice of educational programmes and extra-mural and sports activities at Boundary Primary School than at Protea Primary School.

  • Minister Grant has noted the learner safety concerns raised during the public participation process and will raise these with his colleagues in the Ministry of Community Safety and/or the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to determine what can be done to address the concerns transversally.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Boundary Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Protea Primary School.

16. Redlands Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 77 learners.

  • Redlands Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of three educators. These educators are required to teach 77 learners across Grades 1-7.

  • The 77 learners can be accommodated at Karatara Primary School (which is 3.1km from Redlands Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Redlands Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the three educators from Redlands Primary School follow the learners concerned to Karatara Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the learners concerned. These learners will be accommodated on an existing learner transport route.

  • Karatara Primary School has better infrastructure than Redlands Primary School.

  • The literacy and numeracy development opportunities are better at Karatara Primary School than at Redlands Primary School.

  • The learners will have better access to extra-curricular and sports activities than at Redlands Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Karatara Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Redlands Primary School

17. Rietfontein NGK Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Rietfontein NGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 26 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 26 learners.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • The 26 learners can be accommodated at Kruisrivier-Wes UCC Primary School (which is 18km from Rietfontein NGKPrimary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Rietfontein NGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the two educators from Rietfontein NGK Primary School follow the learners concerned to the receiving school, Kruisrivier-Wes UCC Primary School.

  • The WCED will provide mobile classrooms at the receiving school should this be necessary.

  • The WCED will arrange safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 26 learners that will now require transport. An existing learner transport route will be extended to accommodate this arrangement.

  • The learners concerned will have access to sports activities at Kruisrivier-Wes UCC Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Kruisrivier-Wes UCC Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Rietfontein NGKPrimary School.

18. Rodewal UCC Primary School (Eden &Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • The school's learner numbers are low but are not dwindling. The learner numbers have increased from 82 in 2009 to 94 in 2012.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Rodewal UCC Primary School.

In light of my decision to keep Rodewal UCC Primary School open:

  • The WCED will, wherever possible and necessary, work with the school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school and to improve retention.

19. Rondevlei EK Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • Rondevlei EK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 55 learners across Grades 1-7.

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 55 learners.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • Learners are being transported from George to maintain learner enrolment levels.

  • The 55 learners can be accommodated at Sedgefield Primary School (which is within 17km from Rondevlei EK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Rondevlei EK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The learners will have better access to single grade teaching than before.

  • The literacy and numeracy development opportunities are better at Sedgefield Primary School than at Rondevlei EK Primary School.

  • The learners will have access to sporting activities at Sedgefield Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange for safe and reliable learner transport for the learners concerned. This will include arranging subsidised transport for 13 learners who reside in Rondevlei and accommodating 7 learners on an existing learner transport route.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Sedgefield Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Rondevlei EK Primary School

20. Tonko Bosman Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 28 learners.

  • No viable solutions to increase learner numbers could be identified.

  • Tonko Bosman Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 28 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • The school is located on private property leased to the WCED. The WCED cannot use public funds to upgrade private property and therefore cannot upgrade or maintain the existing facility.

  • During the public participation process, teachers at the school expressed their support for the proposed closure.

  • The 28 learners can be accommodated at Raithby Primary School (which is approximately 3.5km from Tonko Bosman Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Tonko Bosman Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The learners will have better access to single grade teaching than before, as the incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the two educators from Tonko Bosman Primary School follow the learners concerned to Raithby Primary School.

  • The literacy and numeracy development opportunities are better at Raithby Primary School than at Tonko Bosman Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange reliable learner transport to be provided for the 28 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be created for this purpose.

  • Raithby Primary School offers greater access to extra-curricular activities and acceptable school infrastructure than Tonko Bosman Primary School.

  • I have noted the learner safety concerns raised during the public participation process and will raise them with my colleagues in the Ministry of Community Safety and/or the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to determine what can be done to address the concerns transversally.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Raithby Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Tonko Bosman Primary School.

21. Urionskraal NGK Primary School (West Coast)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low at 34 learners.

  • Urionskraal NGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of two educators. These educators are required to teach 34 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • During the public participation process, it was noted that the principal is currently transporting almost a third of the learners in a single vehicle.

  • The governing body of Urionskraal NGK Primary School has expressed its support for the closure of the school.

  • The 34 learners can be accommodated at Maskam Primary School (which is 9km from Urionskraal NGK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Urionskraal NGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The learners will have better access to single grade teaching than before.

  • The literacy and numeracy development opportunities are better at Maskam Primary School than at Urionskraal NGK Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 21 learners requiring transport. The learners will be accommodated on an existing learner transport route.

  • The WCED will cover the school fees charged by Maskam Primary School (R800.00 per annum or R300.00 per annum where parents receive a social grant) for the 2013 school year, as the learners will be moving from a no-fee school to a fee-paying school.

  • The WCED will assist parents in applying for fee exemptions for future school years, where necessary.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Maskam Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Urionskraal NGK Primary School.

22. Valpark Primary School (Metro North)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased to 278 learners.

  • The Minister sought input from the City of Cape Town on the assertion that a housing development is planned for the Vahalla Park area. The Minister has been advised that the housing development will accommodate primarily people living in or in the immediate surrounds of the Valhalla Park area and is expected to be completed in 2016. Should additional learners move into the housing development, the WCED is confident that these learners can be accommodated at existing schools.

  • The 278 learners can be accommodated at Hillside Primary School, Parkvale Primary School and Bergville Primary School (all of which are within 1km from Valpark Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Valpark Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The receiving schools generally offer learners better literacy and numeracy development opportunities than those on offer at Valpark Primary School.

  • The WCED will cover the difference in school fees charged by the receiving schools (between R200.00 per annum and R220.00 per annum) and those currently charged by Valpark Primary School (R120.00 per annum) for the 2013 school year.

  • Learners will generally have better access to education resources (including a library at Bergville Primary School and a science laboratory at Parkvale Primary School), as well as sports and extra-curricular activities at the receiving schools than at Valpark Primary School.

  • The request for a new high school in the Valhalla Park area has been duly noted. I have therefore requested the WCED to investigate thoroughly the possibility of establishing a new high school in the area.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Hillside Primary School, Parkvale Primary School and Bergville Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Valpark Primary School.

23. Wansbek VGK Primary School (Cape Winelands)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased from 17 in 2009 to 7 in 2012.

  • Wansbek VGK Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of one educator. This educator is required to teach 7 learners across Grades 4-6.

  • The 7 learners can be accommodated at Le Chasseur VGK Primary School (which is 6.5km from Wansbek VGK Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Wansbek VGK Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the educator from Wansbek VGK Primary School will follow the learners concerned to Le Chasseur VGK Primary School.

  • The literacy and numeracy development opportunities are better at the receiving school than at Wansbek VGK Primary School.

  • The WCED will provide safe and reliable learner transport to the 7 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • The learners will have access to sports and cultural activities, as well as access to resources such as computers, a science laboratory and a library at Le Chasseur VGK Primary School.

  • The WCED will, wherever possible and necessary, work with the receiving school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Le Chasseur VGK Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Wansbek VGK Primary School.

24. Warmbad-Spa Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are dwindling and have decreased to 62 learners.

  • Warmbad-Spa Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of three educators. These educators are required to teach 62 learners across Grades 1-6.

  • The 62 learners can be accommodated at Uitvlugt UCC Primary School (19km away from Warmbad-Spa Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Warmbad-Spa Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the two educators from Warmbad-Spa Primary School follow the learners concerned to Uitvlugt UCC Primary School.

  • If necessary, the WCED will install mobile classrooms at Uitvlugt Primary School to expand the infrastructure capacity at the school.

  • The WCED will arrange safe and reliable learner transport to be provided for the 62 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • There are better literacy development opportunities at Uitvlught UCC Primary School.

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the receiving school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes and enrolments at the school.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Uitvlugt UCC Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Warmbad-Spa Primary School.

25. Welbedacht UCC Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the relevant considerations which have emerged were the following:

  • The school's learner numbers are low and have decreased from 112 to 87 since 2009.

  • Welbedacht UCC Primary School relies upon multi-grade teaching. Based on learner enrolment figures at the school, the staff establishment provided by the WCED consists of three educators. These educators are required to teach 87 learners across Grades 1-7.

  • The school is located on private property leased to the WCED. The buildings from which the school operates are in a poor condition and a number of classes are simultaneously held in a single church hall. The school's infrastructure is therefore not conducive to quality teaching and learning.

  • The WCED cannot use public funds to upgrade private property and therefore cannot upgrade or maintain the existing facility.

  • The 87 learners can be accommodated at Rooiberg SSKV Primary School (which is 11km from Welbedacht UCC Primary School).

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision to close Welbedacht UCC Primary School.

Further to the information above I want to point out that:

  • The incidence of multi-grade teaching will be reduced where the three educators from Welbedacht UCC Primary School follow the learners concerned to the proposed receiving school, Rooiberg SSKV Primary School.

  • The infrastructure at Rooiberg SSKV Primary School is more conducive to quality teaching and learning than the infrastructure at Welbedacht UCC Primary School.

  • The WCED will arrange safe and reliable learner transport for the 87 learners requiring transport. A new learner transport route will be established for this purpose.

  • There are better literacy and numeracy development opportunities at Rooiberg SSKV Primary School than at Welbedacht UCC Primary School.

  • Sports activities are offered at Rooiberg SSKV Primary School.

I believe that the transfer of learners to Rooiberg SSKV Primary School will create better learning opportunities for the learners at Welbedacht UCC Primary School.

26. Wittedrif Primary School (Eden & Central Karoo)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • The need for a viable primary school in the Wittedrif area is duly noted.

  • Suitable land needs to be identified and secured for the purposes of building a new primary school.

  • Pending the establishment of a primary school in the Wittedrif area, Wittedrif Primary School will continue to operate.

  • The WCED is currently considering the available options in this regard.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Wittedrif Primary School.

In light of my decision to keep Wittedrif Primary School open:

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes at the school.

27. Zonnebloem NEST Senior School (Metro Central)

I have considered all representations made to me by the governing body of the school, the community concerned at the public hearing and members of the public. Amongst the representations made were the following considerations:

  • The conditions at the school can be significantly improved to overcome the problems of a high drop-out rate and poor performance levels in Grades 8-12.

  • The high drop-out rate at the school is illustrated as follows:

    • 65 learners enrolled in Grade 8 in 2008. Of these learners, only 29 remained at the school in Grade 12 in 2012. This represents a retention rate of 44.6%.
    • 74 learners enrolled in Grade 8 in 2007. Of these learners, only 27 learners remained at the school Grade 12 in 2011. This represents a retention rate of 36.5%.

  • The poor levels of performance at the school are illustrated as follows:

    • Although the school may have achieved a pass rate of 85.2% in the 2011 NSC examinations, the very low number of learners involved is concerning. 23 of the school's 27 Grade 12 learners passed the 2011 NSC examinations.
    • The school currently promotes 59.5% of its learners, meaning that 40.5% of its learners do not meet the promotion requirements.

Given these considerations I have therefore made the decision not to close Zonnebloem NEST Senior School.

In light of my decision to keep Zonnebloem NEST Senior School open:

  • The school is located on private property leased to the WCED and is in a poor state of repair. The WCED cannot use public funds to upgrade private property and therefore cannot upgrade or maintain the existing facility. I will approach the owner of the land to improve the condition of the school's infrastructure as a matter of urgency.

  • The WCED, wherever possible and necessary, will work with the school to provide whatever support is required to improve the education outcomes and retention at the school.

Conclusion

Like many people in this province, I want the best for our children.

And that's why we are building new schools, expanding and replacing existing schools and even closing schools if there is a better alternative available for a child.

Our children deserve nothing less than what it takes to provide them with quality education and with it the opportunities to make the most of their lives.

I believe that this plan will do exactly that.

Each decision to close a school has been carefully considered and I believe that - together with the placement plans developed by the Department - the outcome of the entire school closure process will benefit each learner from the affected schools.

I am fully aware that, in some cases, communities may be upset with my decision to close their school given the historical and cultural significance that these schools have in their respective communities. I am mindful of this, but am equally mindful of what is in the best interests of the learners concerned. As the Provincial Minister of Education, it is incumbent upon me to ensure that wherever possible this Government improves opportunities for all learners.

We strongly encourage each affected parent or community member to read the plan for their affected school carefully so they understand fully how it will benefit their child or children.

During the last few months, attempts have been made to hijack this issue for cheap, political gain.

The facts simply speak for themselves. School closures are not unique to the Western Cape. Provincial governments across the country have closed thousands of public schools to date, many of which affected children in the poorest of communities.

For instance, the Sunday Times has reported that since 2000 provincial governments across the country have closed down more than 1100 schools in the Free State, more than 640 schools in North West, more than 590 schools in the Eastern Cape, approximately 215 schools in Mpumalanga, more than 110 schools in the Northern Cape and more than 170 schools in Limpopo.

Improving the opportunities of learners is not about winning votes - it is about what is in our children's best interests and how we can improve their life chances.

It is about prioritising the needs of learners, not ignoring them.

It is about creating opportunities, not blocking them.

School closures are a common occurrence yearly throughout the country and internationally. They are part of any provincial department's education strategy when re-evaluating and assessing the size, shape and needs of their education system.

Many educationalists would agree that closing a school is sometimes a necessary step in improving an education system.

In saying that, many educationalists would also agree that a decision to close a school should be made with restraint taking into consideration every possible position and only after following proper procedure - procedure that was developed and passed by the national government.

In the case of these schools, we have done exactly that and I believe we have made the right decisions which will produce a positive outcome for all the learners concerned.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  021 467 2377 or bronagh.casey@westerncape.gov.za.


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2012 Western Cape Education Department