Outgoing Provincial Principals’ Forum members thanked for excellent leadership
13 December 2023
The two-year term of the current district and provincial representatives of the Provincial Principals’ Forum (PPF) comes to an end this month and districts and circuits must elect new chairpersons and vice-chairpersons at the start of 2024.
The provincial forum discusses matters of mutual interest between the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and principals’ representatives to improve the quality of learning and teaching at schools under the auspices of the WCED.
The WCED wishes to thank all those members who served during the current term for their excellent leadership and the contributions they made to achieve their overall goal of developing partnerships for education reform and improving the delivery of quality education. The forums were hubs of constructive interaction at circuit, district and provincial level.
The outgoing Chairperson of the PPF, Gwynne Philander, said the most encompassing highlight during his term of office was the reassurance that both the WCED and principals met with the objective to improve the functionality and purpose of schools. “We had difficult conversations about how this can be achieved, but essentially, we understood that there were small, medium and large constraints. We appreciated the willingness of the WCED executive and the Head of Education, Mr Brent Walters, to deeply understand the challenges that school principals face in their work as school leaders.”
The Deputy Chairperson, Mark Mosdell, concurred with Philander on the challenges they faced during their tenure. “The biggest challenge I felt we faced in some of our meetings was that many issues raised and their solutions were stymied by National Policy. It is something that we have limited access to changing and some of the stumbling blocks that they cause have a serious effect at ground level. What was encouraging though is that the officials were always open to our opinions and would assist with taking up these matters via their official channels.”
Philander said the role of principal is filled with character shaping elements of grit, hope and relief. “We work within an education system that cannot and should not be divorced from the triumphs and tribulations of the society that it strives to please.
We are a learning system and over the past two years and previously, we have sought ways to improve the efficiency of the system.”
Mosdell offered the following encouragement to his colleagues. “School is the core that holds our communities together. I personally consider our work, what we are doing and producing in our schools, to be one of the most important roles in this country. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated by how daunting it is. Please remember that you are part of a much broader community and you do not have to do it on your own. Reach out to the principals in your area and ask for help. If you can see a principal is struggling with an issue, offer to help. We are making real differences in learners' and educators' lives. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at what we have already achieved and realise that we can succeed.”