IN the space of just four years Cavalleria Primary dramatically increased its numeracy pass rate from 2.9 percent to 44.7 percent.
Principal Hurshele Carolissen, who has been the head of the Kraaifontein school for just over a year, attributed their success to hard work, lots of sacrifice and plenty of after-school lessons.
When asked what made the school special, he said: “There is a real care for the children as if they’re our own. We care for them in the same way we want to provide for our own children.”
Carolissen received an award last night on behalf of the school at the Western Cape Education Department’s 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Awards for improvement in numeracy in Grade 3.
The school had increased its pass rate from 2.9 percent in 2008 to 15.8 percent in 2010 and 44.7 percent in 2011.
Speaking to the Cape Times yesterday, Carolissen said the improvements were due to a team of hard-working and willing teachers.
He said there had been no special preparation for last year’s Grade 3 and 6 literacy and numeracy tests, but rather a concerted effort through the year to correctly teach and learn the curriculum.
Grade 3 class teacher Jennifer Smith said every day was filled with hard work as she targeted pupils at their individual levels of achievement.
Education MEC Donald Grant, speaking at the award ceremony last night, said Cavalleria Primary’s achievements were “staggering”.
“The message I get from Mr Carolissen and his team and from many of the other high performing and improving schools in this province is that if we want to make education better we have to all put in the hard work and we have to all do it together,” he said
The Cape Times also visited Laerskool Welgemoed yesterday which was awarded a prize for overall excellence in outcomes for grades 3 and 6.
The results of the annual literacy and numeracy testing were released last month.
The pass rates were 30.4 percent for Grade 3 literacy, 31.5 percent for Grade 6 language and 44.2 percent for Grade 9 language.
About 47.6 percent of pupils passed Grade 3 numeracy, 23.4 percent passed Grade 6 maths and just 10.4 percent passed Grade 9 maths.
Grant had said at the time that the results were at “unacceptable levels”.
He said last night it was important to acknowledge and celebrate examples of best practice.
“The relevance of these improvements should not go unnoticed when we consider tonight’s award winners.
“Many of the schools here tonight achieved excellent results in both literacy and numeracy – with some schools achieving 100 percent pass rates in some of the subjects,” Grant said.
He made special mention of Rustenberg Girls Junior for achieving a 100 percent pass rate in both Grade 3 numeracy and Grade 6 literacy, Oakhurst Girls Primary for achieving 100 percent in both Grade 3 and Grade 6 literacy and languages, and Paarl Meisieskool with 100 percent in both Grade 3 literacy and numeracy.
Grant also congratulated Breeriver Laerskool in the Cape Winelands and Springfield Convent.
Both schools had achieved a 100 percent pass rate in both Grade 3 literacy and numeracy and in Grade 6 language and maths.
He said it was the department’s aim to improve the results at disadvantaged schools which faced significant challenges and made special mention of a number which had seen improvements:
l Rocklands Primary in Mitchells Plain, where Grade 3 pupils achieved an 87 percent pass rate in numeracy, compared to 30 percent three years ago.
l Charleston Hill Primary in Paarl, where Grade 3 pupils increased their numeracy results from 17.6 percent in 2008 to 56.4 percent in 2011.
l Tyholora Primary in Paarl, where pupils increased their results from 17.5 percent in 2008 to 57.6 percent last year.
“If these schools continue along this trajectory I can’t wait to see what they achieve this year,” said Grant