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Khayelitsha school wins numbers game

Cape Town - A change in attitude, shortened school holidays, and a crackdown on tardiness have contributed to a dramatic improvement in results at a Khayelitsha primary school.

In just a year Nkazimlo Primary’s results in provincial Grade 3 maths tests increased from 51.7 percent to 81.2 percent.

Ayakha Ngubombi and Pumlani Mfeketho do a maths exercise. Picture Cindy Waxa. Credit: INLSA

The school’s Grade 3 results in provincial language tests also increased from 2.6 percent in 2011 to 62.4 percent last year.

On Tuesday night, the school received two awards at the 2012 Western Cape School Awards for Language and Mathematics. More than 250 000 grade 3, 6 and 9 pupils wrote the province’s annual language and maths tests in October.

Nkazimlo Primary received the awards for greatest improvement in performance in Grade 3 language as well as in Grade 3 maths for schools with an enrolment of 500 or more pupils. The school received R40 000 to purchase learning material.

Corina Futwa who became the school’s principal a year ago, said one of the first steps the school took was to change the attitudes of teachers and parents.

“We had to make sure that educators know that they had to work hand in hand with the parents and vice versa.”

Late coming and absenteeism were the next problems the school “eliminated”.

Futwa said each teacher kept a register of latecomers. After a week this register was checked for regular culprits. Letters were then sent to the parents and meetings were held.

The school also formed a literacy and numeracy committee and set targets for improvement. Futwa said the school’s senior management team had visited classes to identify problems. Curriculum advisers had also made visits.

She said teachers who performed well supported their colleagues who did not perform as well. Classes were held on weekends and school holidays were shortened.

Futwa said the school also networked with schools that had previously done well in the tests.

“I was so excited and the teachers were so excited when we received the results. It was achieved through their team work,” she said.

Education MEC Donald Grant, who visited the school on Tuesday, said: “

I am proud of the achievements of Nkazimlo Primary School and all the other schools that saw improvements in their results last year.”

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