Gang-related issues force former Uitzig pupils to make another move
Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the school safety situation deteriorated after the children were moved and had to cross different gang areas to get to their new schools.
August marked the end of the road for Uitzig Senior Secondary, as the highest court in the country dismissed an appeal against MEC Debbie Schäfer’s decision to close it.
After a nearly three-year legal battle, the Constitutional Court found that the appeal had no reasonable prospect of success.
The Western Cape Education Department had announced four years ago that it wanted to close the quintile 1 school in Elsies River that serves some of Cape Town’s poorest children from gang-ridden areas, due to dwindling pupil numbers, ongoing vandalism and its dilapidated state.
The move had been opposed by Cosatu and members of the school governing body, but eventually pupils were moved to Ravensmead High school and St Andrews Secondary.
Ehrenreich said that towards the end of last year about seven pupils had to be moved to other schools following “tensions” in class.
The other high schools in the area were already overcrowded, so Uitzig was an absolute requirement for the community, he added.
“To overcome the social fabric decline in the area, schools would have to ensure smaller class sizes to give pupils more support.
“When schools are overcrowded, educational results are compromised, so Ravensmead and St Andrews will also face challenges soon,” Ehrenreich said.
“Out of 15 matrics who went to Ravensmead, 10 passed, and we hope the others will go back and try again.”
While the department said it was not aware of the children being moved, spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said St Andrews took in 22 Grade 8 pupils and 24 Grade 9 pupils.
“Ravensmead accepted 12 Grade 10 pupils and one Grade 11 pupil.
“It must be noted that Ravensmead achieved a pass rate of 82% and St Andrews 71%. Whereas Uitsig achieved 15.4% in 2018,” she said.
“We are therefore pleased that the pupils will receive better education opportunities at their new schools.”