Cape Town - 121122 - Fazil Parker, Principal of Alexander Sinton, has refused to mark the Annual National Assessments claiming it is too much work for his staff. He has returned the test to the Education Department, unmarked, and is now facing disaplinary action. He is at the Edu Dept supported by teachers from his school and principals from other schools. Outside, teachers, (L) Dawood Domingo and (R) Ismail Mathews from Sinton hold up placards, and again inside. REPORTER: ILSE FREDERICKS. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

Cape Town - The principal of a Crawford school was called to a disciplinary meeting after his teachers failed to mark annual tests, which they said would unfairly add to their enormous workload.

A large group of teachers and principals arrived at the offices of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to support Alexander Sinton Secondary principal Fazil Parker.

WCED spokesman Paddy Attwell said the department had organised Thurday’s meeting as part of an investigation into why the school had not marked the Annual National Assessment (ANAs). The ANAs were written by Grade 1 to 6 and Grade 9 pupils across the country in September to assess literacy and numeracy skills.

Parker said the WCED did not tell schools that teachers would have to mark the tests.

“The first time I got to understand that we will be marking the tests was on August 29 when I attended a principal’s meeting,” he said.

“When I returned from the meeting and informed my teachers that they are expected to mark the scripts, they considered this an unreasonable instruction for the simple reason that they already have an enormous workload. They were being given an extra burden.“

Parker said he informed the presenter of a principals’ orientation meeting in September that the school was unable to mark the ANAs.

“On September 27, I was told that a sample of our scripts would be moderated. I said we hadn’t marked [them]. The next day I was told to take the papers to the district office.”

Parker said he took the papers to the district on November 1 and received an instruction to mark them. The scripts were then marked.

Attwell said Brian Schreuder, a deputy director-general in the department, had held a general discussion with the group that attended Thursday’s meeting: “He made an amicable agreement with Mr Parker to discuss specific issues at another meeting. He will gladly accept an invitation to discuss assessment with the whole staff at Alexander Sinton.

“Any further action will depend on the outcome of the investigation.”

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Cape Argus